The Cognitive Dissonance Of Connecting Bush To Obama To Trump

by William Skink

What started with Bush after 9/11 continued under Obama and is metastasizing fast under Trump. Yet, thanks to partisan binary thinking, any claim of continuity between these three presidents creates immediate cognitive dissonance.

One of the arguments–actually, more like a warning–made during the Obama years was that failing to reign in executive power meant allowing that power to pass on to the next war criminal destined to give international law a fat, American middle finger.

I hoped this argument would be more persuasive, since Democrats at the time didn’t seem too worried about Obama doing things like executing an American teenager with a drone strike and deposing Gaddafi with the business end of a bayonet.

Since Democrats are now flipping their shit over how the Trump regime is punishing children for the actions of their adult family members, let’s quickly revisit the justification Robert Gibbs gave for Team Obama killing an American teenager:

ADAMSON: …It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.

GIBBS: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.

I’m sure Robert Gibbs can eat wherever the hell he wants in DC. Why? Because the power of partisan binary thinking disappears any threatening info that could trigger cognitive dissonance. It’s both impressive and demoralizing to witness.

Our lovely corporate media helps Americans avoid cognitive dissonance as best they can. For example, did you hear that the Trump regime killed that 16 year old teenager’s 8 year old sister? Yep, it happened, and barely anyone gave a fuck that it happened:

In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.

Killing civilians–be it women, children or men (jk, men are never considered civilians) is simply how US imperialism rolls. Why do anything to actually inform the American public about what is done, daily, in their name? That could revive the anti-war movement and hurt profits for Boeing and Raytheon, and we can’t have that.

But the information is out there for those who want to look. For example, Ben Rhodes recently admitted that Obama armed jihadists in Syria–you know, those bad people that are so bad it’s apparently ok to kill their children.

This is from a ZH piece zeroing in on one particular illuminating exchange:

In a wide ranging interview titled “Confronting the Consequences of Obama’s Foreign Policy” The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan put the question to Ben Rhodes, who served as longtime deputy national security adviser at the White House under Obama and is now promoting his newly published book, The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House.

Rhodes has been described as being so trusted and close to Obama that he was “in the room” for almost every foreign policy decision of significance that Obama made during his eight years in office. While the Intercept interview is worth listening to in full, it’s the segment on Syria that caught our attention.

In spite of Rhodes trying to dance around the issue, he sheepishly answers in the affirmative when Mehdi Hasan asks the following question about supporting jihadists in Syria:

Did you intervene too much in Syria? Because the CIA spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding and arming anti-Assad rebels, a lot of those arms, as you know, ended up in the hands of jihadist groups, some even in the hands of ISIS.

Your critics would say you exacerbated that proxy war in Syria; you prolonged the conflict in Syria; you ended up bolstering jihadists.

Rhodes initially rambles about his book and “second guessing” Syria policy in avoidance of the question. But Hasan pulls him back with the following: “Oh, come on, but you were coordinating a lot of their arms.”

The two spar over Hasan’s charge of “bolstering jihadists” in the following key section of the interview, at the end of which Rhodes reluctantly answers “yeah…” — but while trying to pass ultimate blame onto US allies Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (similar to what Vice President Biden did in a 2014 speech):

MH: Oh, come on, but you were coordinating a lot of their arms. You know, the U.S. was heavily involved in that war with the Saudis and the Qataris and the Turks.

BR: Well, I was going to say: Turkey, Qatar, Saudi.

MH: You were in there as well.

BR: Yeah, but, the fact of the matter is that once it kind of devolved into kind of a sectarian-based civil war with different sides fighting for their perceived survival, I think we, the ability to bring that type of situation to close, and part of what I wrestled with in the book is the limits of our ability to pull a lever and make killing like that stop once it’s underway.

To our knowledge this is the only time a major media organization has directly asked a high ranking foreign policy adviser from the Obama administration to own up to the years long White House support to jihadists in Syria.

I assume Ben Rhodes won’t be accosted in public for his role in arming jihadists who separate kids from their families by separating heads from bodies. and Obama? He scored a nice Netflix deal while also scamming Chicago to build the Obama Presidential Center.

But this is all in the past. The clear and present danger is Trump. Forget those distant Obama years, and the even more distant memories of Team Bush. Don’t think critically about how we got here. Just focus on Trump. And his minions. And whatever new outrage corporate media is telling you to be outraged about.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to The Cognitive Dissonance Of Connecting Bush To Obama To Trump

  1. Big Swede says:

    I was going to say Happy Independence Day here but now I’m having second thoughts.

    Patriotism, properly understood, is a loyalty to the citizens who came before you. The emotional draw is gratitude for what they bequeathed. That implies a duty to preserve it for the next generation. If citizenship is just a meaningless transaction, then those citizens who came before us are no more important than the next guy who wanders over the border. Put another way, according to our rulers, our ancestors are strangers and so are our decedents. What possible reason would anyone have to be loyal to strangers?

    It’s actually worse than that. The reason America is descending into a transactional land of strangers is that our ancestors decided to piss it all away. Why should anyone feel loyalty to the people who pushed through the 1986 immigration act? Why should we want to preserve what they passed onto us? If anything, we should take this day to dig up their bones and smash them to bits on the capital mall. That sounds harsh, but is there anything more monstrous than denying your decedents a chance to live the life you lived?

    There’s another side to patriotism. That’s the loyalty to the institutions. In a liberal democracy, the citizen respects the office, even if he does not respect the man holding the office. Look around at our institutions. They are just as corrupt as the men who are in charge of them. No rational person can look at what is happening with the FBI and not think the entire political class needs to meet Madame Guillotine. After the last chop, send in the bulldozers to flatten the place. Maybe salt the earth afterwards.

    For most of my life, I was an easy mark, when it came to flag waving. I believed the stuff they taught us in school and preached to us in the media. Despite her flaws, I thought the ideal of America was worth defending. The trouble is, the people in charge had other ideas. Like a lot of people over the last dozen or so years, I’ve had a change of heart about a lot of things. One of them is patriotism. You can be loyal to people, but you cannot be loyal to ideas or institutions. That’s a sucker’s play and I’m not a sucker anymore.-Z Man

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