Lily Tomlin Didn’t Know the Half of It: In the Age of Obama, It’s Impossible to Keep Up on Your Cynicism
Lily Tomlin once said “We try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.” She didn’t know the half of it, because she said this before the age of Obama.
Tonight Obama gives his last (thank God!) State of the Union Address. To guilt us all about the widespread reluctance to admit tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, Obama is trotting out a poor boy who lost his family–and his arms–to an bomb strike in Syria.
This is the most rank emotional manipulation I have ever seen in politics, and that is saying a lot. It is cynical beyond belief.
For one thing, as tragic as his story is, this boy is not representative of the refugees that will attempt to get in the US. It is well known that the refugees in Europe are disproportionately young adult males, not women and young wounded waifs.
You could get a more representative example of would-be refugees in front of the Cologne Cathedral on New Year’s Eve.
For another, Obama’s policies in Syria have been cynical beyond belief, and have dramatically worsened the humanitarian crisis in the country. As is his wont in such matters, he chose the worst option. He did not intervene decisively early in the crisis, thereby allowing it to spin out of control. That is defensible. But he also has supported the arming (via the CIA) of opposition groups in Syria, including Islamist groups. This has increased the intensity of, and extended, the war.
Don’t take my word for it. Walter Russell Mead, a very middle-of-the-road guy who started with high hopes for Obama, wrote a scathing article about Obama’s Syria cynicism back in November.
It hasn’t gotten better. Indeed, tonight’s farce shows that it’s gotten even worse.
All of this takes place against the background of the Iranian seizure of two US riverine patrol craft, two Swedish-built CB90 boats.
There is zero doubt-zero-that the Iranians did this to troll Obama’s SOTU. But the show must go on! So rather than make an issue out of this that might detract attention from Obama’s swan song star turn, the administration, with the appalling assistance of the Pentagon, is saying “no big deal! Just an accident!”
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told The Associated Press that the boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them.
“We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” Cook said.
U.S. officials said that the incident happened near Farsi Island, situated in the middle of the Persian Gulf. They say it stemmed from some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats, causing them to run aground. The troops were picked up by Iran.
I have only two words in reply. Bull. Shit.
First, there is no way both boats had mechanical issues. If only one had problems, the other could tow it.
Second–and more outrageously–these are bleeping riverine boats intended to operate in very shallow waters. They draw .8 meters. That’s less than 3 feet, boys and girls. They wouldn’t go aground in your back yard after a heavy rain.
Third, in these days of GPS, a navigation error can be ruled out.
My conclusion: they were seized. Without a fight. Which tells you something about the Rules of Engagement vis a vis Iran that we operate under in the Gulf.
Josh Earnest actually had the audacity to say that it is incidents like this that make the Iran deal worthwhile.
I’d explain what he means, but I’m hopelessly trapped by archaic Western concepts like “logic,” so I can’t.
How many cheeks does Obama have to turn to domestic critics? Zero. How many to Iran? I can’t count that high.
Of course this will only stoke the Sunni freaks in the Gulf into even greater frenzies of paranoia about Obama’s Shia sympathies, thereby intensifying an already fraught situation.
So what’s the State of the Union? I’ll let you know when I get caught up on my cynicism. This may take a while.