Could John McCain or Mitt Romney have gotten away with what President Barack Obama is doing?
Where Democrats once feverishly denounced the actions of George W. Bush, they are now eerily silent when their own candidate behaves in much the same way as his predecessor.
In recent days President Barack Obama has: defended the massive NSA Prism program which spies on U.S. citizens; admitted that the U.S. kills innocent people with its bombs; and has decided to arm Syrian rebels who are fighting on the same side as al-Qaeda in Syria.
And nearly all Democrats are silent.
In fact, a Pew Research poll released last week showed that 64% of Democrats believe that NSA surveillance is acceptable. When George W. Bush was president, that number was 37%.
Since being re-elected in 2012, Obama has signed the Monsanto Protection Act, proposed cutting Social Security, deployed 500 U.S. Marines to Spain, agreed to let U.S. spy agencies scour the financial records of U.S. citizens, sent U.S. troops to Niger to set up a drone base, sent $50 million to assist France's war in Mali, and signed the 2013 NDAA which blocks the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
If Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election there would certainly have been massive public outrage had he behaved in a manner in which Obama has in the past five months. It's unlikely that a president Romney could have gotten away with publicly defending spying on U.S. citizens, or sending arms to the violent opposition in Syria, or waging a war on whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
So it is now official: People who believe in peace and privacy would have been better off if Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 presidential election because there would have been popular revolt by liberal democrats who are now instead largely silent.
Liberal Democrats blasted the "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" agenda initiated by the Bush administration which Romney embraced during his campaign. But this destructive ideology has been codified by the Obama administration, yet most liberals are silent. Obama could have told Americans that there are really only a small number of people around the world who have the desire and ability to attack in the U.S., and that their reasons for doing so are simply in response to U.S. foreign policy and based on revenge. Instead, Obama has dropped bombs in six Muslim countries, thus fueling even more anti-American sentiment, and has validated a neo-conservative propaganda technique by telling Americans that the U.S. is at war with terrorists and that it is necessary to balance privacy and security (which is code for 'privacy is no longer a constitutional right').
One can only imagine the outrage by the progressive community had a president Romney said that he wanted to send arms to Syrian rebels, knowing that the United States' sworn enemy al-Qaeda, is fighting among the Syrian opposition and that clearly U.S. arms would end up in the hands of the entity with whom the U.S. claims to be at war. Theories of the CIA and al-Qaeda being partners would have been bandied about, and posters featuring Romney and al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pictures would have been omnipresent at demonstrations. But when their guy Obama fights on the same side as al-Qaeda, they are silent.
These are the same rebels who refused to enter into Russian/U.S.-led peace talks, have cut out the heart of a Syrian soldier and eaten it, and according to a U.N. official, are not seeking democracy. These facts would have been fodder for democrats to use against a Romney presidency that was pushing to send weapons to Syrian anti-government forces.
The Obama administration's claim that Syria crossed a "red-line" by supposedly using chemical weapons is dubious at best. In fact, a former Bush administration official said that Israel may be behind use of chemical arms in Syria, and the initial reports of chemical weapons use stated that it was likely that it was the rebels, not the government who used the weapons. When Colin Powell went to the U.N. in 2003 to convince people that Iraq had large stockpiles of WMD, democrats were skeptical, and said that even if Iraq did have WMD it is not a reason for war, given the U.S. has the largest arsenal of WMD in the world. But when Obama states that Syria apparently used chemical weapons (but can't provide proof) democrats don't point out that he is simply looking for an excuse to intervene in Syria.
The real reason Obama decided to send arms to the Syrian opposition has nothing to do with chemical weapons, according to Shamus Cooke. The United States and its European allies want regime change in Syria and are prepared to add fuel to the fire in Syria to do so. Just as importantly, the Obama administration has repeatedly said that 'Assad must go', thus, according to Cooke, "if Assad stayed in power, U.S. foreign policy would appear weak internationally, which is one main reason that the U.S. political establishment wants to go "all in" for regime change in Syria: super powers must back up their threats, since otherwise other nations might choose to challenge the United States."
U.S. lawmakers have told the public that weapons delivered to Syria won't end up in the hands of al-Nusra Front, the State Department-labeled terrorist group fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army. Providing material support to terrorist organizations is a violation of the U.S. Patriot Act (18 U. S. C. §2339B).
Syrian rebels have promised U.S. and European officials that any military weaponry they get won't end up with extremists among the anti-government forces. That would be similar to a tavern owner promising that none of its patrons would drive drunk after being at their drinking establishment all night. Liberals fail to point out this ruse but likely would have done so if Romney were president.
Basic logic states that sending more guns into a conflict will only add to the violence of that conflict. When Obama does it, it's acceptable to democrats. Had Mitt Romney become president, it would have led to massive protests, and combined with revelations of spying on citizens, it could have led to a call for impeachment. At worst there would have been dialog and a challenge to government overreach and bombastic foreign policy.
With Barack Obama at the helm, spying on U.S. citizens, using drones instead of U.S. troops to advance an aggressive U.S. military presence around the world, and assassinating American citizens is palatable. Obama supporters have been pacified as their president takes the United States further down an authoritarian, empire-building path. If Romney had been elected president, democrats would not be willfully ignorant, there would be public backlash, and peace would have a chance of prevailing.