We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. We had another war in Libya. Renditions, preventive detention and tribunals still continue. Guantanamo is still open. Predator assassinations are quintupled over what the evil George W. Bush and Darth Vader Cheney had done. Troops have increased in Afghanastan. Foreign policy is very similar as when Bush was in office. And none of this was undone, overturned or rejected – as was advocated during the election – when the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House from 2009-2011.
And yet, no protests. No name calling. No hand wringing about the moral condition of our leaders.
Where are the howls of protest against an indecent and immoral war that is trading blood for oil?
Where are the anti-war protest marches in Hollywood, San Francisco and other less ideologically myopic and insular cloisters?
Where are the accusations of foreign adventurism, racism, imperialism, colonialism, corporatism and globalization?
Where are the movies depicting our soldiers and intelligence officers as rapists, murderers and torturers? (You can be sure there will be a patriotic, glowing, military love-fest of a flicker show depicting the bin Laden assassination released, oh, somewhere around October of 2012. Curious timing, that.)
Where are the accusations of crony politics and paybacks for no-bid contracts to continue this bully war?
Where are the fist-pumping, rule-of-law types demanding constitutional and moral justification for circumventing habeas corpus, civilian court trials, tribunals, appeals, or any other protection that might be offered to an enemy combatant? Where is the outrage for just brazenly acting as judge, jury and executioner by killing suspects with Predator drones? Or for being judge, jury and executioner for bin Laden when so much to-do was made over giving KSM a civilian trial?
Where is the outrage about the collateral damage that results from a 'more rubble, less trouble' brand of warfare that indiscriminately launches hellfire missiles into a compound to execute suspected terrorists, incinerating innumerable innocents in the process? Where is the criticism for this blood-lust?
Where is the ruckus from the civil liberties crowd in opposition to the Patriot Act?
Where are the daily body counts and stirring videos of the caskets coming home?
Where are the moving personal interest stories about the wives left behind and the heightened alcoholism, suicides and murders committed by returning soldiers resulting from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
Why are these things now considered excessively divisive? Were these concerns ever sincerely held? Is the opposition dropped because it does not suit the protesters politically? Were these sycophants merely creating a partisan atmosphere of "Bush lied, people died" for the purpose of getting their guy elected? Why aren't those on the political right using these items as targets of opportunity, criticizing the policies and demonizing members of the administration beyond caricature (think Cheney)?
Can this be chalked up to cynicism? Hypocrisy?
Are we to believe that just repackaging the Bush policies as "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters" and banning the use of the words jihadist, terrorist and Islamacist somehow transforms the policies? Are those protesters on the left so easily tricked that they don't recognize the renamed policies? Is their ability to tease out nuance completely disarmed by the hope and change mantra?
Is this a case of "behind every apparent double standard is an unconfessed single standard"? That is, if somebody is in office and is a conservative or Republican, then assume that the motives are all evil, nefarious and inhumane and attack every action, but when the officeholder is a liberal or Democrat then pas d'ennemis à gauche?
Has it all been a political ruse similar to previous political posturing on a different issue that has been acknowledged by President Obama and Harry Reid?
Victor Davis Hanson's observation seems to suggest that maybe all of the pre-election hoopla was just that:
In his first year in the White House, Barack Obama, a war critic and foe of the Bush-Cheney protocols, embraced or expanded almost all of the measures that he and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party had long derided—apparently because what had seemed superfluous to a candidate proved essential to a president with responsibility for the safety of 300 million people.This analysis is strikingly similar to Obama's own admission about how he handled the debt crisis prior to the 2008 election:
I think that it's important to understand the vantage point of a Senator versus the vantage point of a...President.Either the Republican allegations about Sen. Obama's lack of experience were right, Sen. Obama was woefully ignorant or Sen. Obama demagogued the issue for political gain. No matter what the reason, he now admits that his actions were dangerous and irresponsible. How is it that the "Presi-dunce" George W. Bush was able to see and understand what the 'articulate , bright, clean, nice-looking' Obama was unable to see? And is that same slandering-the-policy-before-adopting-the-policy dynamic used by Sen. Obama with regard to raising the debt limit at play with the wars and foreign policy? Is Pres. Obama willing to admit that this demagogic election cycle deny-it-before-you-buy-it tactic just as dangerous and irresponsible in the case of war and foreign policy? Has this voting for something before voting against methodology ever been used before?
As President, you start realizing, "You know what? We-- we can't play around with this stuff. This is the full faith in credit of the United States." And so that was just a example of a new Senator, you know, making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country.
Pres. Obama seems to be quite comfortable with perpetuating policies that he previously identified as absurd. Let's call it ex codice absurdum. Law eminating from absurdity is not new and is not the exclusive province of one party or the other. Normally the practitioner believes the absurdity for which the law is crafted - at least making the policy well intended (SF Happy Meal Ban, SF circumcision ban). Or a new law might be the reaction to some other half-baked absurdity (SF nudity problem). But usually one does not so brazenly rail against a policy in advance of supporting said policy. At least not without an open apology or an admission of a change of heart. This sort of two-faced approach to policy is demagoguery, chutzpah and subterfuge on stilts. A kind of adultery done on a national scale where the populice is cheated on by law makers. Hypocricy with the addition of intent to deceive.
Ex codice absurdum, where law makers no longer merely rely on absurdity to guide policy, but where they embrace what they previously identified as absurd, immoral or evil policy.
Where is the gatekeeper to call out this level of hypocrisy?
Maybe all this civility toward the sitting president has come about because of a change of heart on the part of the media. Or maybe because Oprah called for more civility to be shown to President Obama when she said "Even if you're not in support of his policies, there needs to be a certain level of respect." Who can know?
But one wonders if the country will drive deep into the character assassination swamp of yesteryear if a Republican is back in the White House.
John Stossel, FBN