Obama, Bush and Romney
Glenn Greenwald and Ibrahim Mothana illustrate why this fall is, in some ways, unimportant:
Mothana, in the New York Times:
Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen — including the assassination of three American citizens in September 2011, including a 16-year-old. During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush’s policies.
Defenders of human rights must speak out. America’s counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for A.Q.A.P., but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world.
And Greenwald’s commentary:
Mainstream American progressivism has really disgraced itself with the behavior that Mothana laments in that passage. What’s most amazing to me about this discussion is how it is simultaneously (a) so obvious (apparently, when you bomb people and constantly kill civilians, you make them want to attack you back: who knew?) and yet (b) so impervious to evidence and reason. It doesn’t matter how much proof you supply that this is true, that U.S. militarism and interference in the Muslim world is largely responsible for the very Terrorism problem that is invoked to justify them. It makes little difference.
You can show people the statements of accused Terrorists about why they are willing to sacrifice their lives to harm Americans and the evidence of what radicalized them, and how they almost unanimously cite the desire to avenge U.S.-caused civilian deaths. You can show them studies commissioned by the U.S. Pentagon which document the same thing. You can show them statements from the U.S. Government itself explaining that the 9/11 attackers were motivated by a desire to avenge U.S. aggression and deter further interference in the Muslim world. You can show them the in-depth reporting from American journalists who travel to these countries (or are held hostage there) and then emphatically warn that it is U.S. attacks which are fueling anti-American Terrorism. You can show them experts in these countries who devote their lives to studying them who issue the same warnings. And you can show them the pleas from the people who live in these countries — such as Ibrahim Mothana — who are distraught and angry that the U.S. is emboldening Al Qaeda in their country with its ongoing attacks and killing of civilians.
But this mountain of empirical evidence doesn’t matter. Americans (especially media figures) have been so inculcated with a childish morality narrative which is pleasing and self-affirming to believe — The Terrorists attack us because they are bad and we are good — that it’s just inconceivable that it is actually the U.S. itself which is enabling these plots and has long been galvanizing the very anti-American animus that fuels them. That, combined with rank partisan opportunism (these are Obama’s drones), has rendered this causal truth nothing short of taboo.
Of course, what are you gonna do? Vote for Mitt?
There is no alternative path, no alternative future available. Just war and terrorism, rinse, repeat. So that’s uplifting.