It’s funny how the controversies in American history invariably have two sides. Abolition versus slavery. Gold standard versus free silver. Stalwarts versus Mugwumps. It makes sense that our two-party system would lend itself to such dualities, but what if we ever ran into an issue that had more than two sides? For example, what if it were possible to believe these two contradictory statements?
- Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian rebels was an unconscionable violation of both international and moral law.
- United States military intervention to remove him would not improve the lives of the Syrian people.
Obviously, this is just a thought experiment. You’re either against Assad or against military strikes; you’re for intervention or for chemical weapons. But what if there were some rupture in the fabric of American discourse that created a third dimension of argument? Come to think of it, what if there were a second political party? Today is Friday, and such are the flights of a fanciful mind: idle, useless, bound for a sharp reunion with the earth. Won’t you choose a side with me?
As Vizzini in The Princess Bride, Wallace Shawn taught us a classic error.
Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton is guaranteed to become president. It’s obvious Trump can’t win. He’s utterly unqualified. His negatives are too high. Everyone of sense can see he is doomed in the general, just as we all knew his candidacy was going nowhere in the primaries. Okay, so he won almost all the primaries, but that was a fluke. This time, there’s no way. Democrats will keep the White House in 2016, because all of Trump’s signature issues appeal to fundamentally limited subsets of voters. He’s not selling anything the majority of Americans can agree on. On a completely unrelated note, the Intercept has reported that Trump called Hillary “trigger happy” at a rally in Lynden, Washington, where he warned that she would embroil the United States in another land war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Hillary is courting neoconservatives put off by Trump’s isolationism. Here’s Republican strategist Steve Schmidt:
Donald Trump will be running to the left as we understand it against Hillary Clinton on national security issues. And the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.
Finally, the Democrats have an opportunity to position themselves as the party of hawks—and at a moment when war is so popular!
Marco Rubio implements US policy in Syria.
Once in a generation, someone invents a story so powerful it rewrites the world. For our generation, that story was the Iraq war, and we will probably watch sequels the rest of our lives: ISIS, proxy war in Syria, ethnic nationalism returns to Europe, Ahmed Goes to Camp(s), et cetera. As made-up stories go, “we invade Iraq and they love us” is Huckleberry Finn, and the rest of us are writing Hardy Boys. Further fictions pale. Yet Kurt Schlichter’s What Defeating ISIS Would Look Like proves that in the field of literature, there is still a lot of work to be done. A taste:
The Americans published daily body counts. This horrified liberals, but delighted the American people, who for too long had had no good news nor any way to measure success.
Now hit that More button and eat the whole meal.
If you’ve played an hour and can’t spot the devil at the table, you are the devil.
We all know that Barack Obama is either a genius tactician or the puppet of a Maoist conspiracy. He’s black, and all previous black candidates for president were puppets of Maoist conspiracies. That’s why they lost. Obama won, so it therefore follows that he is a genius tactician. I introduce this airtight syllogism because his recent behavior re: Syria seems kind of weird. He said he wanted to intervene, but then he went and asked Congress, the same people who vigorously opposed his plan to put different light bulbs in the White House. Why, if Obama wants to intervene in Syria, would he seek a resolution from the most hostile House of Representatives and the most dysfunctional Senate in recent history? The answer is simple: he doesn’t want to intervene in Syria.
Bashar al-Assad, barely winning the race to be the biggest dick in Syria
With the US at the top of its game and no other foreign entanglements to distract us, I can’t think of any reason not to bomb Syria. Assad used chemical weapons. That makes him an even worse bad guy, and the only thing that stops a bad guy with sarin is a good guy with laser-guided bombs. Unlike poison gas, bombs only destroy buildings and weapons. Bombs are pretty much the opposite of weapons, if you think about it long enough. Don’t think about it too long, though, because then you might ask a terrifying question: whom are we bombing for?