I posted a few days ago that I was not okay with the Tomahawk missile strike against an installation used by the government forces in Syria. I’m still iffy. I think people like Paul Joseph Watson and Stefan Molyneux made very good points (even if PJW got a little hysterical on Twitter he dialed it back for a well-reasoned piece on YouTube the next day) about why they are concerned about this course of action. But then I have to consider the source, as always. I’ve been clear that I do not always agree with everything the commenters and philosophers I like to watch have to say, and Watson and Molyneux have in common that they are committed anti-interventionists. They are sold on the theory that the Iraq War was unjustified and based on lies, for example, and I do not agree with that. I do not believe that the Iraq War was a mistake, “weapons of mass destruction” or not (and there were some found, ironically many being smuggled off to Syria). I do not believe that you can’t impose Western style governments on medieval style Middle Eastern craphole countries, I acknowledge that it’s a tremendous undertaking in terms of money and manpower (and yes, in blood) but if you pull it off, like we were in Iraq before Whatshisname pulled us out, the region and the world are the better for it. Watson and Molyneux do not see it that way. They’re wrong. That’s fine.
Of great concern to me was not just who came out forcefully against this action, but also who came out in favor of it. That list of names includes Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Dr. Pantsuit, and most of the dinosaur media. That tells me nothing good can come of this, except for the little voice in the back piping up and reminding me that these people all know that an action like this runs a real chance of either blowing up in President Trump’s face, separating him from his voters, or both, and we all know that the Democrats and the dinosaur media do not give a flipping care if people die if their deaths are useful to the Democrat agenda. Right now, that agenda is “wreck President Trump any way we can.” These people are crazy, not stupid, and they know one good way to damage the president is to make it look like he’s become co-opted by the establishment. So applying an “if they like it it has to be bad” standard is not quite as good a yardstick as it normally is.
Folks on the internet are having all kinds of different reactions and frankly few if any are raising valid points. One side is screaming “we had to do something!” like killing people with gas was worse than killing them with bombs and bullets and because someone took pictures of dead kids we’re all supposed to shut off our logic and reason and just think with the feels. The other side is wailing “We didn’t elect Trump to be a Neo-Con warhawk!” and acting like we just annexed Damascus and the amphibious assault is already on its way across the Mediterranean. In a world where it’s always hard to tell who to believe already, it’s harder than ever right now.
For me, I’m remaining mindful of the important fact that President Trump does have access to information the general public does not. It’s kind of hard for many folks in this day and age to accept and understand that we do not have all the information and that even the most free society in the world has to have some secrets just like the most peaceful nation on the planet has to have bombs and guns. I can almost feel it like a physical barrier in my mind, resisting the idea that there’s more to the picture outside the frame and these people in Washington know things I don’t. That’s the job we elected them to do (and one more reason why I’m thankful that it’s not Dr. Pantsuit there right now or Whatshisname there anymore). So seeking out the truth requires some lateral thinking, and the results might not be entirely satisfying.
Ultimately in this situation, I am looking to the opinions of three American allies to base whether I think this is a good move or not: King Abdullah of Jordan, President Al-Sisi of Egypt, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. I don’t really trust the viewpoint of the Saudis and I am of the opinion that they’d be happy for us to deal with the problems in the region, especially if that means we draw the ire of Iran and even Russia so they don’t have to. But I trust Jordan to an extent, and Egypt to a much greater extent–I think they may have some pro-Muslim bias that will influence their decisionmaking and support, but Jordan is right next door having to deal with the fallout here and Egypt is not only right around the corner but her current leader is an honest-to-goodness moderate Muslim, the kind of leader the Islamic world needs if it’s ever going to come out of the Dark Ages. And as far as Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu are concerned, not only are they also right next door (and the IDF is extending aid to war victims, has been for years), but I’d follow Bibi into hell and I’m not even remotely Jewish. And of course, there’s no Muslim bias there. Netanyahu held the front for eight long years of being treated like dirt by the United States and still had the guts to stare down the United Nations. Call me a Zionist, I don’t care, it just makes it funnier when other folks call me a Nazi.
To my knowledge, Abdullah and Al-Sisi have both come out in support of the American action, and on Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter there was a statement (in Hebrew so I’m kind of relying on Google Translate here) about how he either called or took a call from Mike Pence expressing gratitude for Netanyahu’s support of American actions in the region. Not quite a full-throated endorsement, but definitely far from a condemnation. These voices, especially Netanyahu and the IDF (which I have not seen anything from on Twitter), will be my pole stars, along with the inescapable fundamental concept that if action is indeed needed, we’re in far better hands than we ever could have been with Dr. Pantsuit, far better than with Whatshisname, and arguably even far better than most if not all other Republican contenders would have had us.
Steady as she goes.