When Reality Meets Ideology: How the Left is Responding to Syria

by Mark Angelides

The Left (and much of the Right) appears to have themselves in a bit of a paradoxical pickle. They have become entrapped in strands of righteous virtue trying to decide on one hand how to denounce Trump, Putin and Al-Assad, whilst on the other, trying to support Syrians who decry Al-Assad, the takedown of those who use chemical weapons, and Obama’s rhetoric from 2012. Even for those experienced at DoubleThink, this poses a problem. Can virtues be adequately signaled whilst both supporting a policy yet denouncing a monster? It seems they can’t quite manage the mental acrobatics required, so are reverting to type, and just screeching louder.
When President Trump authorized the bombing of Syrian airfields in response to what his office said was an Al-Assad chemical weapons attack, not only was this in line with what many Syrian refugees want, it is also what Barack Obama famously called for with his “Red Line” in 2012. It is also in direct opposition t the Kremlin, who claim that the attacks were carried out by Syrian rebel groups.
But, but, but, It’s Trump!!! They cry. And how could any self-respecting person agree with the actions of him? At the point when the most “mouth-frothing” occurs, I like to apply the “partisan test”. If the exact same actions had been taken by someone on the opposite side f the House, what would the reaction be? Would they hail it as a strike for freedom (as they did when they bombed Libya)? Would it be classed as a just action?
Protests are presently happening in the UK with the usual suspects taking to the streets saying “Don’t Bomb Syria”. Speeches are being made and voices are being heard; but maybe not the right voices. When a Syrian refugee tried to speak at the rally in support of the strikes, he was told off by organizers and demonstrators were ordered to “chant over the top of him”. So who are they trying to help? The Syrians who do not support either a brutal Al-Assad regime or ISIS are being ignored. But surely these are the people who we should be listening to; the people who want their country stable enough to return to.
When their prejudices are met with reality, they should reflect and adjust, but they won’t. They will keep on chanting the lines over and over until they convince themselves that they are right. The Syrian people do not matter to them. The end of a brutal regime does not matter to them. What does matter is the opportunity to show their virtue and righteousness, regardless of the cost in human lives.