Thursday, August 6, 2015

Full Orwell

President Obama: "War Is Peace"

James Taranto at the WSJ points out that President Obama has finally gone "full Orwell." I agree with Taranto. The President has been leading up to this point for years.

"You might say we’ve always been at war with Westasia. Obama has gone full Orwell here. He claims that his “diplomacy” precludes the possibility of any “sort of war” while acknowledging it will feed a war machine. He is quite literally claiming that war is peace." 
To what is Taranto referring? Here's how he introduces his point:

The question, then, is not whether to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but how.
According to Obama, there are only two ways of answering that question:
So let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.
“Let’s not mince words” serves the same function as “let me be clear”: It prompts the reader to ignore the mincing of words that immediately follows. The next sentence, all of two dozen words, includes two maybes. It asserts that a choice we face “ultimately” will have consequences “soon”—which seems achronological, though maybe Obama means “soon” relative to the age of the universe.
Most telling is the equivocation “some sort of war.” Does Obama really think that by choosing his form of “diplomacy,” America would prevent war of any sort? No. In fact, he acknowledges it will foment several sorts of war:
Now, this is not to say that sanctions relief will provide no benefit to Iran’s military. Let’s stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to. We have no illusions about the Iranian government, or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies—including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq. They try to destabilize our Gulf partners. But Iran has been engaged in these activities for decades. They engaged in them before sanctions and while sanctions were in place. In fact, Iran even engaged in these activities in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War—a war that cost them nearly a million lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.
But there is an even more basic objection to Obama’s statement. Assume for the sake of argument that the “Iranian hard-liners” and the Republicans really do want an all-out military confrontation. Now, consider an example from history when such a result actually obtained. On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 8, Congress declared war on Japan. Would it make any sense to say that the Japanese and the U.S. Congress had made “common cause”?
Obama is equating mutual antagonism with its opposite, “common cause.” Again, Orwell put it more pithily: War is peace.
It’s all quite a diminution for the man who said, in accepting the Democratic nomination in 2008:
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.
What accounts for Obama’s change in mindset? Are the times less serious now? Are the stakes lower?

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