US President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office of the White House on August 8, 2014 in Washington, DC after US jets struck ISIL positions in northern Iraq.
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to begin air strikes on Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian government. The pretext is the rapidly expanding US war on ISIL, but in fact this is the long-desired US attack on Syria that was temporarily thwarted, reportedly by popular opposition last year (but more likely by US knowledge that its claims the Assad government was behind the chemical attacks at Ghouta had no basis in reality and would not stand up to even superficial scrutiny).
Though it makes for a compelling story, the idea that popular opposition to Obama’s plans to attack Syria last year stopped the bombs seems more wishful thinking than reality.
Consider how easy it has been these past two weeks to obliterate any opposition among the American people to the same US attack plan regurgitated almost exactly one year later.
A series of salacious stories about ISIL slaughtering a Yazidi minority that no one had even heard of mobilized US public opinion in favor of initial US strikes and even ground troops in Iraq.
Never mind that the US and its allies had armed and trained the individuals who now call themselves ISIL (now simply “IS”) for a number of years.
Another “babies thrown from incubators” story and even self-identified non-interventionists were screaming for bombing runs.
Then came the video released purporting to be the beheading of US freelance journalist (and former USAID contractor) James Foley. Though the video did not show an actual beheading, skeptics were nevertheless silenced by admonitions to not add to the family’s grief by questioning the official US government line. The videos were feverishly removed from social media outlets before many had the chance to see that they did not show a beheading at all.