Pardon me if I have little sympathy with the American contrived confrontation with Syria. I do not know what President Barack Obama is thinking as he decides that some kind of military intervention is appropriate to restore peace in the Middle East after a decade of American efforts to that end. And that is after another decade and more of effort by the Soviet Union to alter the makeup of that region at least politically.
But for whatever reason, he has put himself in what I consider an embarrassing position as a shill who fights for rights that he does not possess. This is the president of the United States, but he is referred to by Republican talking head Ann Coulter as a "monkey." His foreign policy is described by Rush Limbaugh as "shucking and jiving." No one is above the unhinged racism of the Republican Party, not even our president.
Why President Obama is so outraged by this particular atrocity is something I do not claim to know, but it is not a novelty either in Syria or in the Middle East in general. I think there is only one credible reason for Obama's behavior, and it is the simplest explanation, which is usually correct: he is actually outraged by the gas attacks, so outraged as a father and husband that he almost went ahead without America to stop such a thing.
Meanwhile, Republicans are deep in their fantasies, proclaiming that the president of their fantasy world, Ronald Reagan, would never tolerate such a thing, despite the reality that Reagan looked the other way when Saddam Hussein of Iraq attacked his own citizens with chemical weapons on more than one occasion. Are Republicans capable of acknowledging reality? We may never know.
But President Obama was in no hurry to attack some country that is no threat to us, unless you accept that chemical weapons could make their torturous way from Syria to the Black Market and into the hands of terrorists. He does not intend to ask the Congress for permission to attack Grenada, for instance, as Reagan did. He does not intend to react to an attack by Saudi Arabians by attacking Iraq, as George Bush did--but on the other hand, he is apparently not totally averse to employing our Armed Forces against a Third-World nation that can do us no harm as they are.
This brings us to lesson that I learned years ago. In discussing the Viet Nam situation, anti-war people had an axiom: if you must choose between a real evil and a hypothetical evil, always choose the real evil. Hence, since the idea of Syrian chemical weapons being used on Americans, in America, by terrorists who smuggled them into the country, is a theoretical evil, then we decide to address the real evil of attacking Syria right now. And that is an easy call: we should not attack Syria for something that might be done at an undetermined point in the future.
Then today the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, released an editorial that has been printed in the New York Times. In it, he says that America should not employ what I call "cowboy diplomacy," going around the world shooting first and asking questions later. Putin also says, "...we must not forget that God created us equal."
What did we see in media reaction to this statement? Did America come together in unity to reject the hypocrisy of a world leader who has unleashed poisonous gas on his own people already? Did we rebuke Putin and reject his attempt to divide us against ourselves and our President? Oh, heck no--right-wing media is using Putin's whining as another tool in their unending war against the African American President that they hate to the point of insanity.
Obama Derangement Syndrome even prevails in the liberal media, as talking heads to the left and right discuss Putin's editorial as though he were entitled to lecture America on our principles. At least we have some principles, although we fail to live up to them. But the very fact that Americans who are suffering from discrimination appeal to our Constitution is proof that America is a nation of laws and not of men, as the saying goes.
Don't I wish that America would remember that God created us all equal! And by "us," I mean, "all Americans, regardless of any other factor." The concept of being created equal is a founding principle of America, yet it does not apply to African Americans or LGBT Americans or Muslim Americans...oh well, let's just say it doesn't apply no matter how much we mouth the platitude.
Where does Putin get off scolding us about falling short of our ideals? Well, where does America get off scolding the world about human rights when we deliberately deny human rights to our own citizens without apology? How long do Americans have to wait until, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, we finally rise up and live out the true meaning of our creed? King's statement is more relevant than ever, as the Religious Right abandons the Creed of the Christian Church and proclaims that God is an angry, vengeful monster who hates their sanctioned victims? If they really believed in the Christian faith they would be recanting and apologizing right now for their heresy.
But what we see is stupid talking heads going even further in spreading treasonous propaganda that we don't really have to unite behind this president. Maybe some other president, but after all, Obama isn't really the president, somehow. This is the achievement today of Vladimir Putin. And we are not smart enough as a nation even to see it happening.