Friday, June 14

Has Obama launched a Wag the Dog war in Syria? (UPDATED)

 I typed "Friday" evening n the first paragraph; have corrected to Thursday and added the calendar date; no other changes.

(For readers unfamiliar with the term "Wag the Dog" see this Wikipedia article.)

It was just last Thursday evening (June 6) that the Washington Post and Guardian published Ed Snowden's revelations about the Surveillance State. By Wednesday things had gotten out of hand. Journalist James Bamford, who probably knows more about NSA and the Surveillance State than any other civilian, was shooting off his mouth again (and again) about NSA; TV news producers were pulling NSA whistleblowers like William Binney out of mothballs for in-depth interviews; pollsters were reporting that a solid majority of Americans, having gotten oriented to Mr Snowden's news, were extremely upset to learn that their personal business was routinely surveilled; members of Congress were grilling the head of the NSA and everyone else they could get their hands on about a lengthening list of 'affairs' that pointed to surveillance overreach on the part of the Obama Administration (Associated Press Affair, James Rosen Affair, etc.).

Worse, CNN and MSNBC cable TV, which are virtual propaganda arms of the Obama Administration, had gone rogue. They were featuring long interviews with Talking Heads who warned in great detail about the Surveillance State. Even Democratic Party spin doctor Howard Dean got into the act. He corrected an Obama Zombie Politician while she was trying to shrug off the NSA scandal by saying here was nothing oppressive about a spy agency spying. Mr Dean interjected that building an "architecture of oppression" was definitely something to worry about and that Americans shouldn't assume government is always benign.

And by Wednesday the early fallout from the NSA Affair was raining down on European heads of state. European publics were angry to learn that American spying had extended even to their personal business while their elected leaders looked the other way.

Something had to be done to change the national conversation, none of which was going the Obama administration's way. The next day, Thursday, that being yesterday, the Obama administration announced it now had proof that Bashir Assad had used chemical weapons against 150 Syrians. This meant the Red Line on Syria that President Obama had established last year had been crossed -- a situation that the British and French governments had been pointing out for several months.

Reporter John King told Anderson Cooper last night on AC360 that he had word from his sources in the Obama administration that the U.S. was now engaged militarily in Syria, although exactly what this engagement entails -- we'll just have to wait for the official explanation. (Reuters reported about an hour ago that the Obama administration is considering establishing a "No Fly" zone over Syria.)

Lawrence O'Donnell, the host for MSNBC's The Last Word, did not take the news well. How, he practically shouted, was the Obama administration going to manage the situation if Assad was overthrown, given the U.S. track record with nation building?

It remains to be seen whether by this evening American editorialists, bloggers and news-talk hosts on radio and TV will be chanting in unison, 'Obama's Wag the Dog War!'

The next revelation from Edward Snowden also remains to be seen.


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