I spent a good deal of the period 1985-1991 behind the Iron Curtain, in East Germany, the East Bloc and in the Soviet Union itself. Nostalgic as I am for the good old days — when, unlike the Islamists, we had a worthy and interesting opponent in the Soviets and their client states, with the added bonus that the Communists were not a death cult, reveling in the joys of “martyrdom” — it seems utterly pointless for us to go to war with Syria over what is, in fact, an internal matter and none of our “humanitarian” business. Whether the Assad regime is killing its own people (and keep in mind that modern”Syria,” like the other “nations’ of the Middle East, is an imaginary state, dating from 1963, 1966, or 1970, depending on how you count, but a fully paid-up member of the ummah) with chemical weapons should not matter in the slightest to the West, strategically speaking, and one would think those on the Left who screamed about Chimpy McHitler would agree. Or even some on the Right. Alas, no.
But that was so then and this is so now. What’s completely clear — as it was to some of us from the beginning — is that the high “moral” dudgeon of the leftist protests against Bush were simply the means to the electoral end of installing their man in the White House. Obama never had the slightest intention of rolling back Bush’s mistakes; for him, they were not a bug of the presidency, but a compelling feature. Not for any foreign-policy reasons — with apparatchiks like Kerry at State, Samantha Power at the U.N. (when she deigns to show up) and the enlisted man, Chuck Hagel, at the Pentagon, this is the most incompetent administration since Jimmy Carter’s — but because the war-machine apparatus could just as easily be employed against the domestic population as well.