There is an old Joe Rogan stand-up comedy routine in which he proposes that ‘the elite’ intentionally put forward an unintelligent man — George W. Bush — for President in order to test how stupid the general population was.
“There’s only one way to find out how dumb we really are… They had to make a dumb guy the President.” — Rogan
This rant came to my mind this week, as President Trump was starting yet another American military campaign.
It wasn’t the illegality of Trump’s action in Syria that did it; both with regards to the American Constitution and, of course, international law. Trump is merely the third President of the ‘War on Terror’-era to disregard these apparently insignificant rules. Him doing so appalls me no more and no less than when Obama or W. Bush did it.
It wasn’t that the Democrats lining up in support for the latest war were the same cast of characters who promoted and abetted the Iraq War — Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, etc. Even Hillary Clinton appeared this week, though it was to condemn Trump for not being bloodthirsty enough, for not going further with the carnage.
It wasn’t even the universal praise for war across the mainstream media; from Fox’s sweaty rants about “patriotism,” — with one host even breaking down in tears when discussing how “proud” he was of Trump — to writers at the New York Times and Washington Post, who made Trump sound like the Duke of Wellington fighting Napoleon, to the CNN host who proclaimed that Trump had finally “become the President.”
(It is interesting that all Trump had to do to gain establishment media favor was start firing missiles)
No, what made me think of Joe Rogan was the audacious narrative being used by mainstream media to sell the war.
The Iraq War has become something of a sad punchline in the United States in recent years; a topic for condemnation and even mockery.
The image which captures this time period most fittingly for me is of Colin Powell at the United Nations. He holds up his ominous looking vial, pinky extended like it’s tea time, an American flag pinned to his chest. Here sits a liar, lying to the world, which knows he’s lying.
The narrative he is presenting: An evil Hitler-like dictator is in possession of chemical weapons, and thus the United States must attack and overthrow the dictator as a global humanitarian effort.
It would be interesting to find out how many of those who would have laughed, or grimaced, at that picture of Powell a week ago, are now first in line yelling “Please Trump, Save the Children! … (with bombs)” from the latest Hitler-like dictator alleged to have chemical weapons.
I wonder how long it will be before the bulk of the American population realizes the next war will not be any more humanitarian than the last war. Put more succinctly: When will we reject the idea that War is Peace?
If you are cheerleading Trump’s warmongering, yet want to ban refugees from entering the United States, I’m afraid I have some bad news — Imperialistic militarism will only create more refugees seeking sanctuary.
If you are clamoring for more war, but also believe there should be a wall on the Mexican border to prevent so-called “illegal” immigrants from entering the US and using services the country can’t afford, or you are someone who criticized the proposals of Bernie Sanders for their cost, more bad news — Global empire is what is unaffordable, not universal healthcare.
And, if you are someone who believes that this time the United States is conducting a benevolent war for humanitarian purposes, then you are either hopelessly inept or willfully defending neocolonial tyranny. Either way, you make me sick.
So it’s war … again. It always is.
The only question that remains is: What type of war will this be?
Will it be like Obama’s Libyan campaign or H.W.’s exploits in Panama; quick and easy for the United States, but decidedly more painful for the people who see their country destroyed?
Will it be more like Iraq or Vietnam; not only a disaster for the people within the country being destroyed, but a catastrophe for the United States, both financially, and in terms of the physical and mental devastation inflicted upon the young people tasked with doing the fighting?
Or, will Syria be but a step on the road to Iran, Russia, and something dramatically more serious?
This week, those who benefit most from the American military-industrial complex learned that the general population is stupid enough to believe, without evidence, the same ludicrous story about dictators and chemical weapons that has been so roundly derided for most of the last decade.
Armed with this knowledge, god knows what they’ll do.
This piece was originally published on Medium.
Read the last Week in the Narrative here.