The liberals are at it again. You know the ones, the depraved right wing of the Democratic Party, the pallid old vampires demanding that we vote for either a senile segregationist or a fascist cop.
In times like these, the depthless depravity of the Democratic Party bears another looking-over, not simply because smashing liberal idols gives us joy, but because if we’re not careful, the narrative they’re pushing — this idea that Trump represents a clean break with the past, and that the only way to save the country is to vote Democrat — will be the only one we hear for the rest of our lives.
Rewind to 2012. Does anyone these days remember Barack Obama’s kill list? The one the humorless bureaucrats in charge decided to call the “Disposition Matrix?”
As revealed by the New York Times:
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
Obama did this every week in a meeting with his advisors. They called them “Terror Tuesdays,” no joke.
It was during this period that the Obama administration redefined the word “militant” to mean any male aged 16 or older killed by a drone strike. The vast majority of the mainstream press repeated the lie, as Glenn Greenwald has often reminded us, resulting in wildly distorted views of the war.
Where is the antiwar movement?
Obama would go on to bomb 7 countries that we know of (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen), even starting up ISIS in the process (just as Reagan helped jump-start the Taliban), fomenting a bloody civil war not only in Syria, but also in Libya and parts of Iraq. He once personally intervened to imprison a Yemeni journalist for reporting on secret US bombings in the country. In his final year of office he dropped 26,171 bombs. As many as 90% of his victims were the wrong people.
Yet, the anti-war movement evaporated the moment Obama took office, prompting HuffPost to ask the question on every sane’s person mind at the time, “Where has the Antiwar Movement Gone?” Polls found that in “2003, only 22 percent of Democrats approved of Bush’s foreign policy, but in 2010, 78 percent told Quinnipiac pollsters they were just fine with Obama’s very Bush-like foreign policy” of bombing people in places they couldn’t find on a map.
This is the key point to emphasize as Democrats ramp up the campaign rhetoric this year and the next: to hell with their smug moralizing, the Democratic voting base is willing to sign off on mass murder as long as it’s their guy doing it. The press is full of journalists taking a big, fat shit on Obama’s breathtaking litany of atrocities, but by and large you won’t see Democrats doing it.
In fact, Democrats loved Obama — 88.5% of them, at least, utterly impervious to the facts of his disastrous presidency. How did this attitude affect Democratic success in the ballot box? Here’s Ryan Cooper writing for The Week:
Obama instead attempted to restore the pre-crisis status quo, saving the banks from their own misdeeds while letting homeowners drown, and going for moderate, incremental reforms when he did anything at all. The result was a catastrophic collapse of the party’s fortunes, losing over 1,030 federal and state seats, control of both the Senate and the House, and finally the presidency as well.
Cooper titled his piece, “Democrats need to get over their Obama nostalgia.” Indeed. However, such an idealistic outcome is decidedly improbable, no matter how ghastly the details of his presidency.
How to survive Obama’s kill list
In 2018, Rolling Stone published an incredible story about a US citizen, Bilal Abdul Kareem, who learned that he was on his own country’s kill list after working for several years in the Middle East as an independent journalist. With a title like “How to Survive America’s Kill List,” the story sounds like an instruction manual, but reads like a sentencing:
Reports vary, but some estimate that Trump has upped the pace of drone attacks by about four or five times the Obama rate, which itself was 10 times the rate of Bush.
… in the wake of 9/11, [the US] has become two countries.
One is a democracy, visible to the population and governed by the lofty laws and rules and constitutional principles we learned about in Schoolhouse Rock.
The second nation is an authoritarian state-within-a-state, governed exclusively by the executive branch. In this parallel world, all rights redound to a bureaucracy that may kill anyone it pleases at any time, restrained only by the inclinations of the executive.
Notably, many people wind up in the Disposition Matrix via automated metadata analysis. Denmark recently freed 32 inmates from prison upon discovering serious flaws in such analysis that led to wrongful convictions. Imagine what the Danish would do if they found out their government was literally blowing up babies, hospitals, entire weddings, based on flawed information.
Anticipating this line of thought, Kareem asks: “Listen, are you OK with the acts the U.S. government would carry out over on this side of the divide? Are you OK with that happening in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, in New York, or in your hometown?”
It’s probably difficult for most people to imagine drones bombing people indiscriminately in the US, but between the 45,000 a year who die for lack of healthcare and victims of police killings, it seems the country is already well on its way to perfecting alternative models for mass murder.
Vote doo no matter who
In 2016, Democrats’ answer to such problems was Hillary Clinton, the ghoulish freak who laughed maniacally on live television about destroying Libya, formerly the wealthiest nation on the African continent.
It seems right-wing Democrats are hell-bent on pushing the absolute vilest characters to lead us all into the next serious of blunderous pogroms and coups.
All of this “Vote Blue No Matter Who” funny business, let’s remember, rests on the mistaken premise that Trump represents a break from previous policies, and not just the latest in a series of intensifying horrors.
People like to blame the WMD myth on George W. Bush, but ol’ G.W. was just copying his predecessor’s homework. It was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who declared in 1998, “No one has done what Saddam Hussein has done, or is thinking of doing. He is producing weapons of mass destruction, and he is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other dictators.” All told, Clinton bombed the usual victims — Afghanistan and Iraq — plus Sudan and Serbia (where he sided with an ethno-nationalist terrorist organization). It was Clinton, a Democrat, who launched the first drone into Afghanistan for the same reasons as Bush, Jr.
George H.W. Bush, of course, waged his own war against Iraq in 1990, justified not by the WMD myth, but by the incubator babies hoax. “Do it for the babies!” Basically guaranteed to work every time. Everybody was mighty damn sure it was true, until they weren’t.
Going back one more administration, Ronald Reagan’s policy in Afghanistan brings us full circle: his administration funded and armed the jihadists who would later form the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Reagan loved these jihadists. They were popular in the US at the time — the 1980’s version of the Free Syrian Army. Rambo III was originally dedicated to the Taliban.
Going back to brunch
Even this cursory glance at the US’s warmongering in the Middle East shows quite clearly that, regardless of which political party is in control, policy in the region is relentlessly stable from one administration to the next. Usually this continuity manifests in a series of escalations — not breaks — in policy. Hence, Clinton used modern drone strikes for the first time immediately before Bush took office, who then used them on a massive scale for the first time. Then Obama increased drone bombings tenfold. His successor has increased air strikes by five times.
The takeaway: the next Democrat to occupy the Oval Office will sit down every week to decide which people in the Disposition Matrix die, probably at a rate that makes previous administrations look pacifist in comparison. All of the noise and hullabaloo about how evil and unprecedented Trump is will go up in a cloud of Hellfire missile smoke, to be replaced by one long sigh of relief. “The Resistance” will go back to brunch.