“To all these liberals outraged at Trump banning refugees: Where were you when Obama was dropping bombs on their homelands?”
The comment/tweet is meant to confuse and demoralize well-meaning liberals, to paint them as hypocrites, to stop their support of Muslim refugees in its tracks, and to make them question their support of Obama for the last eight years. It should do none of these.
Instead, liberals and moderates should fight this ridiculous logic. And since I haven’t seen this written anywhere else, here are ten counter-arguments. Please feel free to link to this the next time you hear this canard about Obama bombing (in more ways than one). But before you link to me, here are some questions I suggest you ask the commenter:
1. “Why are you against fighting ISIS?” Almost all of the bombs being discussed were dropped in an effort to combat ISIS. Some people want you to feel that Obama has been feckless, but if he has, he’s been following a Pentagon that had the same strategy under Bush. In fact you might ask:
2. “Right, Obama dropped 100,000 bombs. How many did Bush drop?” They’re trying to get you to question your support of Obama, so they’ll resist any kind of bi-partisan approach to the issue. They’ll also happily cite Obama’s 2011 “ban,” even though refugees were only slowed, never banned by Obama.
3. “Should we have left Osama bin Laden alone?” If anyone actually answers yes to this, that’s a true Noam Chomsky leftist, leave that crazy hippie alone.
4. “Why would you compare a first-time breach of the First Amendment to a 15-year-old policy?” Talk about a false equivalence: judges have found Trump’s executive order to violate freedom of religion, and these posters act as though you tacitly supported such a thing all along. Trump’s policy is new and worth new protest. On the flip side, by January 2009, Courts and Congress had spent the previous seven years affirming blanket powers granted by Congress’ Authorization of the Use of Military Force, and so one could hardly be blamed for feeling a little AUMF fatigue when it came to protesting Obama’s drones.
5. “Who could have been President from 2009 to 2017 and not dropped those bombs?” Oh, they hate that one. They like singling out Obama and Clinton for vitriol; singling out anyone (except Putin) for praise is 180 degrees from their capacity.
6. “Can you show me your anti-Obama-bombing tweets from before November 2016?” Many of the people writing these are naked supporters of, and usually paid by, Putin/Russia, for example Sarah Abdullah, whose pinned tweet to this effect, at the top of her twitter profile, garnered almost 10,000 likes. Putin wasn’t paying people like her for that language then, and so most can’t link you to pre-November tweets warning about Obama’s bombs. Below find some of her Putin-paid tweets:
7. “Do we agree that Putin shouldn’t be dropping similar bombs on Syria today?” After they refuse to answer either of the last two, very simple questions, you might write “I don’t discuss situational ethics with Putin/autocrat supporters.”
8. “Which refugees should we take, then, the ones from the war in Congo in which we aren’t involved?” Of course our first responsibility is to the refugees of the countries we’ve been bombing. How is it hypocritical to punish the bad guys but also help the victims? Isn’t that what movie heroes do?
9. “Is it okay for Trump to bomb the same countries?” Because he is. Right now.
While sending these questions, I advise you to answer as many of the other person’s questions as you can. You’re the one who answers questions. The Trumpkin is the one who doesn’t. You’re not saying that Obama should bomb innocent people. You’re simply questioning this person’s false equivalences.
If you’re not happy with their answers to any of those replies – which is likely – send them a screenshot of this:
Most people are loyal to Dems or Repubs not because they agree with everything they say, but because they agree with some of it and are convinced that the other side is a) worse and b) the only other choice. Did many Dems make something of a Faustian bargain with Obama? Sure, but only because they’re convinced that no less hawkish person could have possibly won the presidency. All things considered, following every White-House-press-conference-level news source of the last 30 years, that’s hardly an irrational position. Anyone who believes otherwise must find a psychologist or other MD who would consider that irrational.
MAYBE Al Gore or someone could have become President in 2009, shut down the war on terror, and let Osama Bin Laden live with impunity. Such a hypothetical ignores the realities of the Pentagon, the DOD, the CIA, and other agencies and the President’s usual desire to get along with them. (Until Trump, that is.) They wanted Obama to bomb with drones. He wanted to please them and please moderate voters at the same time. For all you know, if he hadn’t pleased them, if he hadn’t killed Osama, he would have lost in 2012. Which would have invalidated/ended Obamacare, LGBT rights, the climate deals that led to Paris, the Obama approach to job creation which brought the unemployment rate under 5, etc. That’s the Faustian bargain that was made.
All along, Dems told themselves, well, it sucks that those people are being drone-killed, but SOME progress in American society is better than none, and the alternative is much, much worse. And they will probably be right. In an ideal world, would Michael Moore have become President of The United States of Candyland? Sure, maybe. But again it’s hardly IRRATIONAL to think that’s impossible – get me the MD who disagrees.
Bottom line: this is no time to wilt on the internet. Fight false logic with facts. Now.