by Dan Sanchez
In 2013, American and British public opinion said “hell no” to plans to bomb (and surely regime change) Syria, taking the momentum out of the march to war. This marked a peak in post-Iraq war-weariness. But then in August 2014, many hearts were touched by the plight of a group of Yazidis trapped on a mountain and besieged by ISIS. So public opinion sanctioned a humanitarian military rescue. During the operation, it was revealed that the crisis was blown way out of proportion, as excuses for war so often are.
Predictably, ISIS retaliated. The group posted snuff films depicting the beheading of western journalists. American outrage was intense enough to allow President Obama to essentially launch a new war on ISIS. And since ISIS was in Syria as well as Iraq, this provided cover for American planes to enter and bomb Syria after all. This too elicited retaliation, in the form of ISIS terror attacks against civilians on western soil: in France, the U.S., Belgium, and elsewhere.
Following these attacks, western war weariness was eclipsed by a resurgent militant hostility toward Muslim peoples. Now America is in a fighting mood, and may be one major attack away from tipping headlong into war fever again. And all it took was less than two years of escalating tit-for-tat hostilities between western militaries and ISIS, starting with the Yazidi rescue, for public sentiment to revert from “hell no” to “let’s roll.” The American war machine is primed and “Ready for Hillary” or Trump.
How did we become so manipulable and herd-like? So easily spooked into hysterical stampedes? So docile and ready to be driven by our government herders over the precipice of war?