Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Narrative Über Alles

I know this sounds both hyperbolic and unoriginal, but conservatives really do live in an alternative version of reality where inconvenient facts have no impact on the story line and contradictions do not bother them.

In this particular instance, they are claiming that France - which they previously described as a country of "surrender monkeys" - is taking the lead in punishing ISIS after this weekend's terrorist attacks in Paris. French fighter jets made four air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Of course, conservatives also claim that President Obama (who they alternately describe as a blood-thirsty tyrant and a spineless mom jean-wearing appeaser) has been too timid to get involved and therefore done nothing. Whereas, in fact, we have made 6,353 airstrikes over the last fifteen months - about four times all other coalition air strikes combined. But, once again, conservatives have their own vacuum-packed narrative, which I must admit they have been pretty consistent with across time, embarrassing hiccups notwithstanding:

Opposing Obama almost seems to be their sole political polestar. As I wrote about in my first blog post, they have been in favor of U.S. military intervention in Syria's civil war fairly consistently - but they constantly flip-flopped on which side to support. Initially, they demanded that Obama topple Assad by supporting the rebels. Never mind the Al-Qaeda elements among them. Seeing bad guys on both sides, Obama had hoped to stay out. Then Assad used chemical weapons, which is a big no-no in international law, and Obama said we need to consider air strikes. Suddenly, conservative hawks became doves. They stopped calling Obama a wimp and resumed calling him a dictator. And when he diplomatically brokered a moratorium on the use of chemical weapons in the conflict, conservatives resumed calling him a wimp. But now that ISIS is making gains, they support Russia's efforts to bolster Assad. As George Orwell wrote in 1984, "We've always been at war with Eastasia." Otherwise, the situation has not changed much except that we are there. But conservatives have been consistent in two other things. They think that Muslims are bad and that we should bomb some brown people over there. Whoever they are.

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