Killing and destruction for the sake of American credibility

Alex Pareene was correct:

Here’s another thing you should understand about these guys: The only thing the elite Washington press corps likes more than a bipartisan commission on debt reduction is a stack of flag-draped coffins.

And he wrote these sentences in March.

There is much we don’t know about the shower of Tomahawk missles we aimed at Syrian air fields. Many pundits who look like the Washington Post’s David Ignatius or want to be admired by people who look or sound like David Ignatius insist that the attack changes nothing of Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power or his posture toward refugees or the United States. Yet starting last night with the Sunday-sober tones of MSNBC’s Brian Williams, whose position depends on corporate’s belief that a news organization in 2017 needs a mandarin from the days of Rather-Jennings-Brokaw on retainer, the coverage has already turned deferential if not sycophantic. On Morning Joe, I lost track of the number of times the pundits qualified statements with “James Mattis said” and “Rex Tillerson made sure” and, most importantly, the number of times one of these people lamented how Barack Obama had – wait for it – damaged American Credibility in the Middle East.

This isn’t the fog of war – this is the stupidity of intentional amnesia. If Obama has damaged our credibility, point to his military endorsement of Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen and his penchant for drone warfare. Moreoever, if the United States has no credibility in the region, why aren’t pundits blaming the bloody and pointless Iraq War? The myopia reminds me of the way in which pundits have let conservatives get away with using “Robert Bork” as a portmanteau for Both Sides Do it when Bork, over the Reagan White House’s protests, insisted on a floor vote on his nomination and lost, pathetically.

Those pundits, Democrats, and Trumpets supporting the president by stressing his wisdom in picking the least damaging of military options haven’t pursued the consequences of their logic: if blowing up an airfield affected nothing in Syrian politics and perhaps cost lives, then what was the point other than Restoring American Credibility? We and the rest of the world already knew we had elected a president with a grotesque need for the nostrums of TV personalities and a pathological obsession with ratings and winning. In a sense American credibility has waited for and wanted a president like Donald J. Trump since 1898.

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