The weird kabuki of Democrats and Republicans lying about the Middle East

You probably haven’t heard much about it. Washington has discovered that Americans are tired of battle after the Iraq War. When Americans were polled and prodded in 2013 on whether the Obama administration should intervene directly to remove Bashar al-Assad’s government from power in Syria, they came out against it so overwhelmingly that even hawkish Republicans who had been taunting Obama for his “inaction” in Syria decided to vote against formally joining the conflict. The continued chaos and fallout from the shorter intervention in Libya did not boost public confidence in the benefits that accrue from Washington’s war making.

And so what has happened is that Washington continues to participate in war; it just doesn’t really involve or bother the public about it. And in fact, everyone — including President Obama and his Republican critics in Congress and the Senate — acts as if America isn’t really involved in the Middle East at all anymore. And certainly not in Syria. They simply pretend that not much is happening, at all really. Obama takes the credit for his Solomonic husbanding of America’s power. And Republicans scream that he is “doing nothing” in Syria until the paint peels off the walls of Congress…

Our entire political class speaks as if it’s a bizarro world. Republicans castigate the president for inaction in Syria, when they know that we have been acting in Syria and that, when given the chance, they voted against him taking action. Obama claims to be a man who pulled America back from the abyss of Middle East violence, even as he constantly increases the number of countries in which we are deployed. The same weird kabuki took place in the endless Benghazi hearings. Forgoing any real questions about what the CIA’s mission was in that annex in Benghazi, Republican investigators tried to catch Clinton and Obama in impolitic lies. The more important and substantive lies surrounding Libya were, somehow, off limits.