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Reading between the Lines

Jay's picture

As the Obama Administration trots out its dog-and-pony show to advocate for war, I’ve been noticing some departures from our last misadventure. Although Lambert regularly uses the terms Pravda and Izvestia for major US news outlets as our own notorious examples of Soviet-era propaganda organs, the comparison has become more and more apt, because US journalism consumers appear to be honing their skills at reading between the lines. Here are some of my observations and what I think may be their significance in the larger scheme of things.

Despite promoting military action against Syria, the cable television newstalkers and mainstream print media are confronted by polls showing that only a tiny and very mushy minority of Americans support an attack, and that minority appears to be shrinking. Despite support for a strike by congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle, constituents are calling their congress members by a margin of over 100-to-1 against military action. Once again, the voices against military adventurism are being kept out of the discourse of editorial pages and by news talk show bookers. But the war party can’t get any traction, and if you listen closely to what conversations are allowed to air, half the participants get caught up with Freudian slips as they correct themselves for saying “Saddam” instead of “Assad” and “Iraq” instead of “Syria.” MSNBC anchors have sour looks on their faces as though the administration has provided them with rotten fish to hawk to their audiences.

What does this add up to? As a result of the previous wars, the press has no credibility with the public, and they’re becoming aware of that fact, even if only to spin harder. The levers of propaganda no longer work.

After five years of betraying the left flank of his own political party, the chickens are finally coming home to roost for Barack Obama. The haste, clumsiness, missteps, strong rhetoric, and final ambivalent, poultroonish deferral to congress for authorization has become a pattern of his administrative style. As are the completely foreseeable “unintended consequences.”

What does this add up to? A congressional vote that stands as a stunning rebuke for an administration that is quickly becoming a lame duck in only its fifth year. Reelection chances dashed for anyone who votes to go to war. Progressive budget priorities chopped to pay for a war that no one on the left supports. Finally, a crisis of presidential legitimacy.

And if there is a military strike before a vote whose defeat is a foregone conclusion? There also appears to be a schism in the Defense apparatus. On the one hand you have rank-and-file military even far up into the top floors of the Pentagon who concern themselves mainly with practical considerations, and on the other hand you have the monomaniacal top-down military-contractor-graft-congressional-neocon-petrodollar-LikudnoArabian-Doctor Strangelove sociopathic pyromaniacal shit disturbers who will get in bed with al Qaeda if it suits their purposes.

What does this add up to? If we go through with a strike we could see a real breakdown in command.

I could quite easily see bad consequences before we invaded Iraq. I see much worse consequences following hostilities with Syria, and by extension Russia, Iran, China, etc:

  • Military Industrial Complex creating a war prior to budget negotiations in order to preserve military funding while domestic funding gets eliminated wholesale.
  • China dumping US debt en masse, causing the dollar to tumble.
  • Preemptive strikes by Russia against Syrian rebels for using chemical weapons.
  • The use of a false flag Chechen terrorist attack in Russia to justify a Russian attack against Saudi Arabia.
  • Cutoff of Russian natural gas supplies to Western Europe during the heating season.
  • Gasoline prices that cause the U.S. markets and economy to have a massive stroke: Think $200/gallon; instant, irreversible paralysis.
  • Drawing Iran and/or Israel into the conflict, and the possible use of Israeli or Pakistani nuclear weapons.
  • Impeachment of the President.
  • A breakdown of discipline in the military between those loyal to the chain of command, and those loyal to the constitution, leading to mutiny, coup d’etat, presidential abdication.

Any or none of these things may happen if Obama hits the button and opens Pandora’s box of horrible global unintended consequences. So why do it?

The only thing I can come up with is that it is the consensus of a Confederacy of Dunces whose shortsighted, addlepated wish list includes increased defense spending, access to oil that is valued to be very expensive due to price rigging by corrupt market participants, and primacy of the dollar as reserve currency. And they’re willing to burn the whole world down to get it. It’s always worked in the past.

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Submitted by lambert on

I hope Alan Grayson does a happy triumph dance. I remember what Ian Welsh said: "The left must take Obama down, and be seen to take him down" (because otherwise there is no left). Grayson -- who the press is willing to quote on this -- is making up for the sorry-ass performance of the so-called "Progressive Caucus." Yay!

UPDATE I can tell you had fun writing that post!

par4's picture
Submitted by par4 on

If you look at this scenario in a cosmic justice perspective it couldn't happen to a more deserving nation.