Rightbloggers Go Peacenik on Syria; Prefer War with Iran, Obama

tomt200.jpgHere's a lovely historical irony: A Democratic president has proposed limited military action in the Middle East, and conservative Republicans are aligning with anti-war Democrats, Occupy Wall Street, The Nation, MoveOn, and Code Pink to stop him.

For those of us who oppose the intervention, it should be a wonderful Kumbaya moment. But rightbloggers have no gift for consensus; they just can't reach out to the people they spend their waking moments hating, even to stop a war. It's like having a schizophrenic back you up in a bar fight; you never know whether they're going to wind up a liability.

These are great days to be a peacenik, whether on principle or opportunistically. Since Obama told the nation that Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people in Syria required U.S. intervention, he's been hammered by critics from both sides of the traditional Red-Blue divide.

By and large, though, rightbloggers don't acknowledge liberal opposition to the Syria adventure -- or, when they do, try to discredit it; for example, at the Washington Examiner Byron York claimed "there is a comparison much more fitting than Iraq for the contemplated action in Syria. It is the Obama administration's intervention in the Libyan civil war." Makes sense -- you often hear people on the street talking about how they'd love another Iraq War, but Obama taking out our old friend Gaddafi was a horrible mistake.

See, you stupid hippies, this is what you look like. I bet you love bombing Syria almost as much as your boyfriend Obama.
Now, there are plenty of Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators who are still willing to give war a chance, just as they did in the days when Saddam Hussein was going to kill us all with WMD. But they retain and share one important attribute with their newly anti-war colleagues: They hope to include Obama among the Syria collateral damage.

At the Wall Street Journal, for example, Kimberley Strassel said Obama's "crude calculus is that Congress can now rescue him however it votes" -- apparently he's somehow managed to convince voters that the Republican House is obstructionist! -- and so hypocritically challenges them "to rise above the 'partisan' politics that he has, with great calculation, dumped on them." Strassel urged the Republicans to heroically take the fall: "Remember (no matter how painful) that this is not a vote about the president or his machinations," she said. "The only question before Republicans is this: Will they send a message to the world's despots that America will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction? If they will not send that message, they risk complicity in this president's failed foreign policy." Go ahead, fellas, being bigger than Obama! There's a first time for everything.

But the rightblogger consensus on Syria is overwhelmingly negative. If you believe John Hawkins of Right Wing News (and this is one subject on which he may be trustworthy), the fellow travelers he's polled are 84.8% opposed -- and 76.1% opposed even "if it were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Assad used chemical weapons in Syria," which is Obama's casus belli.

On the question, "Do you think Congress should give Obama authorization for ANY sort of military operation in Syria?" 100% of Hawkins' respondents voted no.

This goes for the top of the rightblogger chain, too. "If [Obama] does bomb Syria," prognosticated Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, "it will either do nothing much -- underscoring his irrelevance -- or it will topple Assad, which will likely lead to an Islamist Syria hostile to the United States." Guess the "More Rubble, Less Trouble" model is no longer operative.

Another former Iraq war cheerleader, Ace of Spades, gave thumbs-up to "14 Reasons to Not Bomb Syria," and accused Obama of not wanting to let Congress vote on it. (After Obama did just that, Spades became enraged that Bruce Springsteen had not come out against Syria strikes -- "Where have all the strutting, preening Angry Doves gone to? America needs your wisdom, Band Camp" -- and declared, "we cannot go to war under this clownshow's disaster-movie leadership" because the Administration tried to recruit Iran and Russia to the operation, which he considered insufficiently butch.)

At RedState, one of the last redoubts of Iraq War boosterism, the tide is running strongly against. "We should be staying out of it," declared showrunner Erick Erickson. "We should be hoping both sides incapacitate each other... We should be rooting for injuries in Syria, not rooting for the rebels."

Many of these guys were, ten years ago, calling those of us who opposed the Iraq adventure traitors. Why are they now against the Syria adventure? They're all got their reasons -- and some of them are doozies.

Erickson's RedState colleague Some Guy headlined, "The Obama Administration Gets Pwned By AIPAC?" -- which confused us, as we thought the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee approved the Syria mission, until we realized that was what Some Guy meant -- Obama had been "hooked, gaffed, and landed" into war by the Israel Lobby!

"The executive director of [pro-intervention non-profit] SETF is affiliated with WINEP, a pro-Israel think tank," reported Some Guy. "And there is the nasty little coincidence of the SETF having the same hosting server and apparently the same web designer as a Jewish school in Boca Raton, FL. But the dots... eh, they're probably just coincidences."

Boy, there's a switcheroo, huh? Rightbloggers have been trying to extricate American Jews from the death-grip of Democrats for years -- see such vintage hits as RedState's Daniel Horowitz' "Obama Lied, AIPAC Died" ("It's a time for choosing for many of the old Scoop Jackson Democrats. They are either with America and Israel, or they are with Obama and Hamas"). But for the moment at least rightbloggers seem less interested in this, with guys like Michael Savage declaring "Israel was looking to have big brother do her bidding... I think that the whole thing about Obama hating Israel is a ruse." No wonder Pat Buchanan's on board!

Some have expressed opposition because Obama won't go far enough -- that is, won't promise to kill Assad with his strikes nor salt the Syrian ground afterward so nothing can grow.

"I don't believe it is in America's interest to use force here," former UN ambassador/lunatic John Bolton told the Free Beacon. "But if we were going to respond, why respond proportionately? Why not respond disproportionately?... A 'tank plinking' kind of raid will remove whatever credibility the president still has."

Victor Davis Hanson said Obama's 2011 Libya intervention "proved a fiasco... but at least we took out Qaddafi, our understood aim." But he still complained that in Syria Obama could not be trusted to "retaliate against grievances... in such force that the attacked cannot retaliate, or at least realizes its planned retaliation would only ensure it more misery." A few puny bombs, and then Assad will be left free to gas at will -- maybe even gas us, because America really is a weak horse, just like Bin Laden thought!

Others just don't accept the case for war. That's understandable. Critics reasonably say that the Administration hasn't proven Assad used chemical weapons, and don't want to be rushed into conflict before the U.N. issues its report. "So far, no convincing evidence has been made public proving that Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of Syrian people," wrote the Christian Science Monitor. "That has left the door open to alternate scenarios and conspiracy theories."

It sure has. Some people (including Vladimir Putin) think it was the rebels who deployed the chemical weapons, not Assad. And some, like Yossef Bodansky, think the Administration actually set the chemical attacks up so Obama could make boom-boom.

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