The Naked Emperor Goes to War

It is disheartening to contemplate the fact that we seem poised to intervene in the Syrian civil war in such a way as to raise the specter of a much wider regional conflict, with the potential to threaten Israel and, even, engage the Russians. It is appalling to consider that we would even think of such a move when, as *everyone* knows, its success would usher our deadly enemy al Qaeda into power in that nation, with terrible consequences for the ancient Christian remnant there, as well as for anyone else not suffused with the terrible zeal of the jihadim. It is horrifying to think that we might send our sons into battle for … not even for nothing, but for less than nothing, in sheer terms of geopolitical advantage.

But what really takes the cake is that the main reason we seem ready to attack is that, it is argued, we must do so in order to maintain the international credibility of Barack Obama as a serious statesman.

If you need to do something to make yourself seem credible, it’s already too late: the very need to do such a thing demonstrates that you have no credibility to begin with.

So naturally, whatever you do will be apprehended as vain posturing. And this means that whatever you do it will be seen as *immoral:* false and wrong, because improperly motivated and dishonestly undertaken.

Moderns have played “let’s pretend” with all our lives – with the economy, with healthcare, with “rights,” with the environment, with race and immigration, with sex, you name it – for many decades, and as their presumption has grown, so have the immensities of their prevarications. These lies have cost us all real money, have killed thousands, nay millions of people. All that is very bad; is evil.

But never before have they proposed explicitly that we should *go to war* so as to protect their Potemkin village from toppling over, so they can keep playing their game of “let’s pretend.”

No one is really deceived. Everyone knows perfectly well what is going on. They all play along, because they feel they must. But the whole charade is wearing awfully thin. Look at Boehner’s face, and you can see it:

130905154839-boehner-obama-syria-gi-story-top

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28 thoughts on “The Naked Emperor Goes to War

  1. Well, I would not say for nothing. Although immoral, there is a method to the evil. Those who said Iraq was a “war for oil” were not too far off the mark. But it is not oil per se that is the target. Oil is simply a means. The goal is to maintain the US dollar as the world reserve currency. One major way to accomplish that is to require oil to be traded in US dollars. Keeping the oil producing nations in line is the way to enforce the “petrodollar”. As many have pointed out, we could be resource independent by developing our own, but if we did that, how could we justify attacking the Middle East to keep “oil supply” available (and conveniently denominated in US dollars?)? It is less about credibility of Obama, and more about the credibility of the US dollar (which is sorely lacking credibility of late). Hence, Saudi Arabia gets a pass no matter what they do because they stick to the petrodollar; Syria and Iran want to drop the USD for rubles or yuan, so we drop bombs on them.

  2. By their fruits shall ye know them… Obama’s foreign policy is consistent and effective. It aims at weakening the United States and aiding the West’s millennial enemy, Islam. The alienated Left, to which Obama belongs, sees any enemy of the West as its friend, at least temporarily. The Left sees in weakening the US and in strengthening the fighting forces of Islam a tactical phase in its strategy of imposing the liberal-managerial-therapeutic regime universally. (Foreign policy is invariably also domestic policy.) Many years ago in my prolonged debate with various parties about education I urged that the results of contemporary American education at whatever level one might name were precisely the results that those in charge of the educational institutions desired, whether they said so or not. I see no reason not to apply the same reasoning to current American foreign policy. Except in Egypt, where the Egyptian generals belatedly refused to cooperate, Obama’s people have achieved the results that they wanted, whether they say so or not. The Left wants war in Syria because bringing bellicose Islam to power there is part of its long term war on America. Obama’s credibility is certainly bound up with these other issues, but it is not the central issue in the existing tangled situation.

    It will be evident that I have a slightly different view of the matter from our friend Kristor’s.

    Sincerely,

    TFB

    I add a PS, just to make myself clear. In the months after 9/11, the USA had an obligation to punish its attackers. As soon as Bush II turned punishing our enemies into building liberal democracies out of warlord territories, American foreign and military policy had gone off the rails. There is a shameful continuity between Bush II’s foreign policy and Obama’s.

    • Obama’s foreign policy … aims at weakening the United States and aiding the West’s millennial enemy, Islam.

      Obama hasn’t done a tenth of the strengthening of Islam that the Bush administration did (eg, by removing Saddam and immeasurably strengthening the position of Shiite Iran). So by your logic I guess Bush and Cheney are also working for the radical left.

      • Bush and Cheney were certainly not working for any national order that we here at The Orthosphere would endorse. While they would never have subscribed to the proposition that they were working for the radical left, they were in effect implementing policies that the current radical left, embodied by the Obama administration, is happy to continue. I guess by the rhetoric of your two sentences that you want to challenge me. I am, however, unchallenged. I assert absolutely that Bush and Cheney strengthened Islam against the West. Your attempt to diminish the alienated character of the sitting American government is tendentious.

        Sincerely, TFB

        PS. I recognize the pseudonym a.morphous. He is the one who went on about Richard Nixon in a previous strand some months ago. Possibly he has a fly in his bonnet about me. Who knows? I regard his participation in The Orthosphere as fraudulent and trespassing. He has no legitimate business to conduct in this forum.

        Sincerely, TFB

        PPS. Perhaps Tarl (see below) will defend Bush and Cheney or perhaps he will defend Obama’s plan to attack Syria, a nation that joined the 1991 coalition against Iraq. Either way, I await the argument eagerly. I did not write that a.morphous is a “meanie” (that is Tarl’s diction, falsely ascribed to me); I wrote that he was a fraud and a trespasser, having no real business on the website and being prone to tendentiousness. Neither did I squeal (Tarl’s diction again); I merely made a statement. Finally, I have not deleted the posting by a.morphous. As Tarl may witness, it stands. It is the case nevertheless that The Orthosphere is not a public wall open to graffito artists and passers-by; it is a private forum with a well-defined purpose and rules for participation. As such its owner and its supervisors have an absolute and non-negotiable right to control communications on it.

        I applaud Tarl’s cognitive achievement in knowing what he thinks.

        Sincerely, TFB

      • a.morphous has been accused of incivility. Perhaps those uncivil comments were deleted, because the only ones I can see are perfectly civil. They are also relevant and supported with evidence.

        Meanwhile, Thomas F. Bertonneau’s response is
        (a) to squeal that his opponent is a big giant meanie, and
        (b) to delete comments he doesn’t like.

        I know who I think is the intellectual fraud based on the exchange I’ve seen so far.

      • While they would never have subscribed to the proposition that they were working for the radical left, they were in effect implementing policies that the current radical left, embodied by the Obama administration, is happy to continue.

        So let me get this straight: the Bushies were not working for the radical left, but because Obama is continuing their policies, that somehow retroactively makes them agents of the left? What are you actually trying to say?

        I would guess that we might agree that there is not much difference between the policies of neoconservatives and the supposedly “radical left” Obama administration. Where we disagree is that:
        (a) that this continuity of policy is attributable to the radical left.
        (b) these policies are intended to aid Islamists (I can’t imagine why that would be a desire of either party)

        Whereas I believe that:
        (a) the continuity is due to both parties basically being in service of American imperialism
        (b) the fact that Islamists are the main beneficiaries is due mostly to institutionalized incompetence.

        I don’t know that either of these belief systems is entirely satisfactory, but mine seems to involve far less ridiculous stretching of credulity than yours (to me anyway).

        Meanwhile, the actual “radical left” (not all that radical, but to the left of the Obama administration) is pretty firmly against military intervention in Syria.

        I regard his participation in The Orthosphere as fraudulent and trespassing.

        I have no idea what you mean by “fraudulent”; I am not pretending to anything. As for trespassing, the proprietors are free to kick me off whenever they like. And I should add that so far have been pleasantly surprised by the tolerance and fairness of whoever is moderating this forum.

      • Mr. Morphous used the term “Islamist.” This is a disingenuous term devised by leftists (in the news media, I believe) to disguise the nature of Islam. This term allows people to pretend that there is such a thing as moderate Islam, an inocuous religion as valid as any other, which stands in contrast to “radical” Islam as practiced by a handful of “extremist” “Islamists” who have “hijacked” the “religion of peace” (my apologies for all the scare quotes, but they do illustrate how many lies are told about Islam). The reality is that “Islamists” are merely those who take the dictates of their religion seriously, and do what it commands.

        There are moderate Moslems, but there is no moderate Islam. To the extent that a Moslem is a good Moslem (i.e., doing what Islam tells him to do), he is an “extremist,” i.e., one who kills non-Moslems, implements the barbarous rules of Islam, and works toward a global caliphate.

        In short, “Islamist” is a deceptive term that means “believing Moslem who practices his faith seriously.”

      • Sometimes incompetence explains more than conspiracy. That is not to say that conspirators and interest groups don’t exist or don’t exert pressures on the president, whether he is a conservative Republican or a liberal Democrat.

        What is hard to fathom is why, after seeing the mistakes of the Bush and Obama administrations, much of the foreign policy establishment is unable to learn much from those mistakes. The military seems a bit more cautious. I am sure that both President Bush and President Obama see themselves as acting on the side of the angels with the best of motives, but the result has been and threatens to continue to be hellish.

        I agree with a.morphous that the Bush administration strengthened Iran vis-à-vis Iraq. I am not sure that strengthens or weakens Islam overall. More importantly, America should not be trying to steer the internal course of Islamic development by ill-considered foreign interventions.

        a.morphous blames our actions on American imperialism, but President Obama is hardly a classic imperialist. Is he an accidental one? And it begs the question of why his foreign policy is imperialist.

      • I did not write that a.morphous is a “meanie” (that is Tarl’s diction, falsely ascribed to me); I wrote that he was a fraud and a trespasser, having no real business on the website and being prone to tendentiousness.

        Yes, and it is perfectly obvious that the real meaning of the bolded assertions is “waaaaah, he’s being meeeeeean to me!”

        Neither did I squeal (Tarl’s diction again); I merely made a statement.

        The squeal was evident enough, as is the indignant gobbling tone of your PPS.

        Finally, I have not deleted the posting by a.morphous.

        You mentioned, “He is the one who went on about Richard Nixon in a previous strand some months ago.” I looked up that thread and you most certainly did delete his postings. What a powerful, decisive refutation of his arguments that was!

        The Orthosphere is not a public wall open to graffito artists and passers-by

        a.morphous is neither of those.

        it is a private forum with a well-defined purpose and rules for participation

        None of which a.morphous has violated, despite all your pompous bluster. But no doubt your definition of violating the purpose and rules of this forum is the same as your definition of fraud and trespass, i.e., disagreement with the all-knowing Thomas F. Bertonneau.

      • Perhaps Mr. Morphous’ earlier comments were deleted; it does not mean that Mr. Bertonneau deleted them. He is not the only contributor with power beyond posting.

        Tarl, I would not be surprised if your personal attacks get deleted. If you want to get into what were once called “flame wars,” please find another forum. The adults here are trying to engage in serious conversation, and childish outbursts are not welcome.

      • No comments have been deleted from this thread. As the author of the OP, I receive notifications from WordPress of all the comments that arrive. None of the comments that have been noticed to me have been deleted.

        Well, that’s not quite true. I deleted a comment that contained no letters of the Roman alphabet, but rather only kanji.

      • Perhaps Mr. Morphous’ earlier comments were deleted; it does not mean that Mr. Bertonneau deleted them.

        In the previous thread to which TFB alluded here, TFB said that he did: “I have without hesitation deleted a remark by “a.morphous” on the grounds that it is uninformed, personal, rancorous, and uncivil.”

        Tarl, I would not be surprised if your personal attacks get deleted.

        I shall be curious to see whether Bertonneau’s posts get deleted as well. His 9/7 7:10pm post contained a personal attack on a.morphous that, so far as I could see, had exactly zero justification. As I already said, a.morphous’s contributions were, so far as I could see, civil and relevant, whereas Bertonneau’s responses have consisted primarily of calumny heaped on a.morphous. Is the rule here that Bertonneau gets to make personal attacks on people, but nobody can point this out because to do so constitutes a personal attack on him? Is it considered “starting a childish flame war” to observe that Bertonneau attacked a.morphous without any apparent justification?

        I am not going to defend a.morphous’s arguments, by the way – he can defend them for himself.

  3. Kristor,

    Thank you for posting this. It is really, really hard to justify this action based on just war theory. I don’t see how it can honestly be done. It is hard to justify it under any theory other than we must to this to maintain whatever remains of the credibility of the Obama presidency, and the President’s vacillation on Syria has already undermined that. Neither Assad, nor Putin, nor Iran, nor Al Qaeda is quaking in their boots over the proposed strikes, though a lot of innocents may be. One suspects that the House of Saud is pushing President Obama into this.

  4. Obama’s puppets have an unrelenting hostility to Russia and its allies because those countries uphold a semblance of a moral order attuned to the natural law. America has been waging an all out cultural war against Islam and Russia to desacralize that part of world. Recall back in the early 2000s neo-conservative thinkers were arguing for the necessity of a “Protestant Reformation” in the Islamic world that would destroy traditional culture there.

    In one of his recent works E Michael Jones notes that the first places the Iranian revolutionaries attacked were the movie theaters and pharmacies. The movie theaters pumped Western style decadence into their countries and the pharmacies provided contraceptives courtesy of the Rockefeller Foundation (a similar tactic was used against urban Catholics in America and in Western Europe in the preceding decades). It is for this reason – that because the forces of social liberalism received their most stunning setback since Spain – that America is hellbent on war there.

    • Ita Scripta Est: Obama’s puppets have an unrelenting hostility to Russia and its allies because those countries uphold a semblance of a moral order attuned to the natural law. America has been waging an all out cultural war against Islam and Russia to desacralize that part of world.

      Thomas F. Bertonneau: Obama’s foreign policy is consistent and effective. It aims at weakening the United States and aiding the West’s millennial enemy, Islam

      Obama is simultaneously waging “all out cultural war” against Islam, while simultaneously aiding it because it is “the West’s millennial enemy”? I think you folks need to get your story straight.

      • It’s simple. The Left hates the illiberalism of Islam less than it hates the illiberalism of orthodox Christianity. It’s greatest enemy is the latter – or so it wrongly thinks. The Left figures Islam will dissolve under the acid of liberal society, in due course. If in the meantime Moslem jihadim can be used to kill Anglo warrior types, so much the better. Number one on the Leftist to do list is the deletion of the Christian West. Number two is a “Reformation” for Islam.

      • I am not in a conspiracy with Ita Scripta Est. He and I do not coordinate our remarks. Nor is there any reason why we should. I disagree with the assertion that the US is currently waging an all-out war against Islam. The Obama regime is waging a relentless war against the maximum of secularity achieved in the Muslim nations. By direct intervention using American troops and pilots, the Obama regime bloodily toppled the Ghaddafy regime in Libya, a regime that had entered into formal agreements with the US concerning its weapons of mass destruction, which it gave up to the UN. The Obama regime loudly encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood in its revolution against Hosni Mubarak, as close a thing to a secular ruler as Egypt has produced since Nasser. And now the Obama regime wants to aid the Sunni-backed, Al Qaeda-affiliated “rebels” in Syria — a policy the only possible outcome of which is the elimination of the Alawite dynast, who, once again, is the closest thing to a secular ruler that Syria has produced. In Libya, Egypt, and Syria, the massacre of Christians is an invariable element of the “rebellion.” Wherever the Obama regime has intervened, directly or otherwise, a prominent result has been the persecution and mass-murder of Arab Christians, about which the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has uttered in public not one word.

      • The Obama regime is waging a relentless war against the maximum of secularity achieved in the Muslim nations.

        You have not addressed the point that this war is merely a continuation of the far more effective Bush “regime’s” policies, which also removed secular leaders and empowered Islamic radicals. So if it’s a conspiracy, it cannot realistically be tracked back to the goals of the radical left.

      • Your conclusion only follows from the premise that Bush II was not a leftist. He was. Not a radical leftist, such as Obama, but definitely a liberal (i.e., leftism lite), of the “right liberal” variety.

        See Mark Richardson’s and Lawrence Auster’s blogs for definitions of left liberal and right liberal.

    • Scripta, it’s pretty funny that you have the same view of white evangelical Protestants that the Nation of Islam has of white people in general. They rant about white devils and you rant about Protestant devils. I’m tired of hateful enemies within. There should be no place for people like you in America.

      • “There should be no place for people like you in America” sounds more threatening than any comments I have seen from Ita Scripta Est.

      • Patriot,

        I have engaged Mr. Est on the Catholic/Protestant divide, and while he has repeated some of the common Catholic misconceptions/misinterpretations of Calvinism, he has not descended to the depths you accuse him of.

        There are debatable points in his post—did the pharmaceutical companies target Catholics with contraceptives, or were they just trying to increase profits regardless of who used them?—but if anyone is splashing vitriol, surely it is you and not he.

      • It occurs to me that the better question would be, if pharmaceutical companies targeted Catholics, did they do so because they were Catholics, or did they do so because typically fecund Catholics had “more to gain” from the alleged benefits of birth control? I suspect the latter.

  5. What is the President’s broader strategy? In his own words:

    “It also fits into a broader strategy that we have to make sure that we can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic and economic and political pressure required so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability not only to Syria but to the region.”

    –President Obama

    See http://www.juancole.com/2013/09/broader-strategy-germanos.html

    As rhetoric, this is not as snappy as “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight” or even “regime change” or “nation building.” More importantly, this is wishful thinking.

    Professor Juan Cole writes:

    “It should be remembered that the US couldn’t end the Iraqi civil war despite having over 100,000 boots on the ground in that country. It is highly unlikely that Washington can end this one from 30,000 feet.”

    “By striking Syria, Obama has all but guaranteed that a negotiated solution becomes impossible for years to come. In the absence of serious negotiations, the civil war will continue and likely get worse. The US should give serious thought to what the likely actual (as opposed to ideal) reaction in Syria will be to the landing of a few cruise missiles. The anti-regime elements will celebrate, convinced that it will all be over quickly if the US gets involved. The last thing they will want will be to negotiate with the regime.”

    See http://www.juancole.com/2013/09/attack-syria-prolong.html

  6. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/09/11 | Free Northerner

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