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Very Serious Person Fareed Zakaria:

When Alisyn Camerota asked him, “What changed last night?” Zakaria responded that Trump “became President of the United States.”

“I think this was actually a big moment because Candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war,” Zakaria said. “He told President [BarackObama, ‘You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.’ He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the President of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.”

That is high praise from Zakaria, who previously said that Trump has succeeded “by bullshitting.”

The comment was also noteworthy since Zakaria’s CNN colleague Van Jones used very similar language to describe Trump in February, saying he “became president” when he used a widely-publicized speech to honor the wife of a fallen Navy SEAL.

I have no opinion on whether bombing Syria was the right thing to do, but I do know that if it was, the fact that Trump did so was literally an almost completely random outcome: Ivanka or Jared or someone else showed him a picture of some gassed children, and he did a 180 on US involvement in the Syrian civil war.

As for Zakaria, it’s disgusting how elite media types become (metaphorically I pray) passionately aroused by the sight of a president killing people.  Again: I don’t know whether the latest Syrian intervention is good, wise, moral, prudent etc.  I do know that the kind of barely latent power-worship that gets triggered by unilateral military action by the Commander in Chief is none of those things.

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  • PunditusMaximus

    Our media does love watching some brown people get murdered.

    • Norrin Radd

      You think that goes for Zaria? He is brown.

      • sibusisodan

        How’s Kansas, Norrin? Or is it Illinois?

      • Rob in CT

        “Other people” then.

        Second the other question. Are we in Kansas today, or Chicago?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Yeah, this is more along the lines of the “We should Do Something!/Should we Do Something?” dance, of course not mutually exclusive with MURICA FUCK YEAH!”

      • brewmn

        But he sees himself as part of that cosmopolitan elite where color isn’t an issue. So, does “poor, brown” instead work for you?

      • PunditusMaximus

        Yep! No zeal like the converted.

      • Aaron Morrow

        It’s Zakaria.

        Since you can’t tell those people apart, he’s Indian, not Arab.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          A few miles from me an Indian guy is dead and another wounded because a RWNJ couldn’t tell the difference.

    • brad

      Not to downplay the loss of life and injuries suffered in the attack, although if they were Syrian military, at this point, not to mourn them either, but, in any case..
      this was about blowing shit up real good to make our childlike President, and Press Corp, feel strong and show that he did “something” because “something” had to be done.

  • Joe_JP

    The author of The Moor’s Account noted on Twitter that bombings of this nature is sort of a rite of passage for Presidents (and trolls, I guess) that generally get responses from the range of support to insignificance.

    The Yemen bombing attack, e.g., got a bit of attention since one of our citizens actually died, but not much notice. This even though there was a significant uptick in drone attacks generally, beyond that one raid.

    Anyway, I thought he “became [word omitted]” when he gave a speech to Congress that was semi-literate. Hard to keep track.

    • farin

      Two of our citizens, in fact, but one was a small child so she doesn’t count.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        If only she had been “unborn”.

        • farin

          I suppose “unborn” is a possible euphemism for the situation.

  • Rob in CT

    It’s really sickening, the warboners people get.

    Also: who knew flip-flopping was Presidential? Oh, right, when it involves flopping over to “blow shit up.” It’s flipping in the other direction that’s bad.

    • ap77

      These people are monsters. I don’t know what to do about it.

    • CP

      It’s really sickening, the warboners people get.

      I can’t tell if it makes it more disgusting or less that this only happens when Republican presidents do it.

      (Compare and contrast this warboner and equivalents under Bush, Bush, and Reagan, with the scolding Clinton and Obama got for 1) doing something, 2) not doing something, 3) doing something the wrong way, or 4) doing something for the wrong reasons. About the only foreign military action taken in those sixteen years that a consensus agreed was good was killing Bin Laden, and even then you could tell that for most of them, having to give their approval felt like having their teeth pulled out without anesthesia).

      • Phil Perspective

        Maybe you noticed on Twitter, but I certainly did, that some members of #TheResistance got warboners last night. They think that Cheeto is a demented fuckstick but think him bombing other countries is peachy keen?

      • Rob in CT

        Remember “don’t spike the football!” ? Musn’t spike the football… so yeah, there is a double-standard.

        The sheer number of people whose response to wacking bin Laden was to dance a jig was creepy. My response was that an ugly thing that needed doing got done, fine, over. But people wanted to celebrate it. Ick.

        I remember the Trumper chucklefucks a few cubes down watching strafing runs from Iraq!, The Sequel, thoroughly enjoying themselves.

        I remember the office superChristian passing around a joke that went “what’s the only thing that should go through the head of an American soldier upon seeing OBL? Recoil!” [note that it’s not like this exact thing happening under Obama did anything to make this person vote Democrat – superChristians care about innocent babies, you know]

        Yeah, tell me how bloodthirsty the evil foreigners are. *spit*

        • tsam

          Yeah, it got done, but I kind of expected the US president to not go on TV and beat his chest and brag about it for political points. Whatever.

          • Rob in CT

            Right, but I remember a drumbeat of media stuff about how Obama mustn’t do such a thing (though it wasn’t clear to me that he any intention of doing that). Mission Accomplished was great, though. :eyeroll:

          • Norrin Radd

            If a guy killed 3,000 of your neighbors you’d be surprised that people danced a jig at his death? Why? Would you be surprised at people dancing that Hitler died? Or people dancing at Dylan Roof’s execution? Were you surprised that so many people applauded a white nationalist being punched on TV?

            When the monster dies people cheer. Its not so complicated. Most people aren’t pacifists. The really interesting question is why that is. My hunch is that human DNA isn’t really built that way. But I don’t think that’s repugnant.

            • CP

              Yeah, I was pretty much in the “it’s not in my nature but I won’t judge people who do it” (especially since I live in DC, which was one of the two cities hit on the day of) camp.

            • Rob in CT

              I didn’t say I was surprised.

            • sharculese

              Would you be surprised at people dancing that Hitler died? Or people dancing at Dylan Roof’s execution? Were you surprised that so many people applauded a white nationalist being punched on TV?

              Not surprised. Just disappointed.

            • Colin Day

              I’ve read that Halsey or Nimitz reacted to the killing of Yamamoto with what? that’s it? I wanted to lead the s.o.b. up Pennsylvania Avenue in chains!

          • Joe_JP

            Yeah, it got done, but I kind of expected the US president to not go on TV and beat his chest and brag about it for political points. Whatever.

            My expectation: He would inform the public that OBL was no longer out there endangering the US, using the t.v., and it would be seen as a major accomplishment.

            This to me is not the same as “beating his chest and bragging” — as I recall the announcement was not that crude.

            He wouldn’t, like saint or something, not cite it to make a case for how he should be re-elected or be entrusted to make certain decisions. To be somewhat crude, this would be a “political points” matter on some level. It doesn’t make sense for it not to be factored in, especially given how Democrats are smeared as unqualified in military/foreign affairs.

            Some of the responses of the people, if understandable on a human level [like use of violence against some asshole Nazi, one who didn’t help kill 3000 people, being cheered here], was rather crude.

    • The Lorax

      I was struck by all the people on NPR who were saying, “this is such a departure from his otherwise uniformly isolationist rhetoric!”

      Yeah, except for the part when he said he’d bomb the shit out of Syria. And reinvade Iraq.

      Our press is odious.

    • Pamoya

      Agreed. This is so gross.

  • Origami Isopod

    it’s disgusting how elite media types become (metaphorically I pray) passionately aroused by the sight of a president killing people.

    With Brian Williams it seems to be somewhat more than just metaphorical.

    • tsam

      WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

      • Norrin Radd

        I saw that live last night. My take in the moment was that he was commenting on the fact that they (Trumpkins) intentionally staged and videoed the the attack for good PR. It was like looking at a 4th of July display…in an every Wag the Dog kind of way. Since they warned the Russians and Syrians ahead of time and they reportedly got it of the way it was really an entirely staged PR event designed to boost the Great White Lie’s popularity.

    • JKTH

      Christ what an asshole.

    • keta

      Just wait until he tells us all what an exhilarating ride he had aboard one of them, a la Major “King” Kong.

    • tsam

      Between this warfapping and Zakaria’s sudden all-in approval, it stands to reason that a president would impulsively bomb shit just to get this kind of reaction out of the media. Especially a weak minded narcissist like Trump.

    • brewmn

      Macolm Nance has become a national treasure, though.

  • rewenzo

    “I think this was actually a big moment because Candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war,” Zakaria said. “He told President [Barack] Obama, ‘You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.’ He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the President of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.”

    I don’t know what to do in Syria but it’s striking to me that according to Zakaria:

    1) What made Trump an unserious candidate for President was his opinion that President’s need authorization from Congress to attack other countries.

    2) That an attack on Syria, which is, by most accounts, a violation of international law, is somehow actually an enforcement of international norms.

    • Norrin Radd

      1) I’m not sure that Obama really believed he needed Congressional approval to attack Assad. As a political and philosophical matter he wanted it, especially because he was himself skeptical of using military force to oust Assad.

      2) Do 2 wrongs equal a right? If there was an international body, say a united body, of countries, or nations if you will, that could stop and prosecute Assad’s multiple violations of chemical weapons bans then people would be less supportive of the Great White Lie’s unilateral intervention but there isn’t.

      I tell you what had Clinton taken this action instead of the Great White Lie I would absolutely support it. I would also support her No Fly Zone proposal. Because she has a brain… If my board only had more room I’d fly all those refugees out.

      • Morse Code for J

        Had Clinton taken this action, I would have been just as furious with her as I am right now with Trump.

        We hit an airfield with Tomahawks. Unless we used the variant with cluster munitions (according to the Wiki, we suspended use of those in 2003), it’s simply a matter of clearing debris, patching holes in the runway and standing up temporary facilities. And obviously this is only one of five airfields suitable for use by the regime’s air force.

        We also warned the Russians what we were doing in advance. That probably means that anyone or anything involved in this attack got enough time to move elsewhere. It has the virtue of preventing an unintended war with Russia, but it obviously also means that the mission was as pointless as it was expensive. We did it so that we can say now we did it.

        If Assad’s forces want to do it again, they have five intact airfields from which to launch. They know we don’t care enough to put a single pilot in harm’s way or take in a single refugee. So do their targets. The only ones in the dark about how pointless this shit was might just be our news media.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Reports are that Syrian airplanes are already using the airfield again. It would have been far cheaper, and possibly as effective, to send a bunch of drones in.

    • Colin Day

      Even if we could extradite Assad to the Hague, what would happen to Syria?

  • leftwingfox

    There’s a really horrific element to the broken 2-party system here. Many in the current Democratic party favor military intervention; they will support or oppose it based on their personal positions on such matter, regardless of who is in charge. The current Republican party also favor military interventions, but will also oppose any attempts by a Democratic president to do so out of pure partisanship.

    So the Republican party out of power acts as a check on military intervention. The Democratic party out of power act as enablers.

    • JKTH

      That’s true, but my bigger concern is that it’s also a reflection of the public. Far too many people seem to love militaristic dick-waving until it goes horribly wrong (and don’t apply this lesson to future dick-waving).

    • Morse Code for J

      The utility of military intervention into a foreign humanitarian crisis is a delusion spanning all political persuasions in America. World War II taught us that we were the good guys, and we assumed that the Marshall Plan could work everywhere; obviously, both are at least subject to major caveats, even if they’re not utterly wrong.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Where have we tried to do another Marshall Plan? Yeah, we send in “aid” in many places, but nothing on that scale that I’m aware of.

        • Morse Code for J

          Sure, nothing on that scale, but I meant more the idea of the Marshall Plan, i.e., that we could build a democratic ally and trading partner out of ashes and rubble once a war ends.

  • CP

    On New Day this morning, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria praised Donald Trump for launching missiles at Syria.
    When Alisyn Camerota asked him, “What changed last night?” Zakaria responded that Trump “became President of the United States.”

    Wow, somebody called it.

    I can’t remember who because I’ve been reading various threads on both LGM and Balloon Juice about this since yesterday, but I’ve seen at least one person specifically name-checking Fareed Zakaria among those who’d go crazy over this. And somebody else specifically saying that the MSM would say “this is when Trump became president of the United States.”

    As for Zakaria, it’s disgusting how elite media types become (metaphorically I pray) passionately aroused by the sight of a president killing people. Again: I don’t know whether the latest Syrian intervention is good, wise, moral, prudent etc. I do know that the kind of barely latent power-worship that gets triggered by unilateral military action by the Commander in Chief is none of those things.

    I couldn’t agree more. Our pundit overlords are prodigiously shallow dolts who treat everything in their job like a middle school status-based drama game, and this is as perfect an example as I’ve ever seen.

    (Naturally, Fox News and half the country will simply wail in outrage that this proves how much the liberally biased Lamestream Media hates Trump).

  • Elect me president, and I promise to tie elite pundits and conservative bloggers to bombs before we drop them.

    • NBarnes

      I’m in, where do I volunteer?

      • PunditusMaximus

        Sold immediately.

    • efgoldman

      Elect me president

      I’m moving to Chicago right away, so i can vote for you multiple times.

      • Cheap Wino

        No need to move. You can drive the bus of illegal voters to New Hampshire to do your share.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          I’ve always wondered where these thousands and thousands of voters came from that apparently didn’t need every Democrat in their own state.

          Perhaps I’ve stumbled on the reason Clinton lost those critical electoral states by narrow margins- she sent too many of her voters to NH.

    • BigHank53

      Man, that’s even more cruel than the bacon-fat-smeared-on-bullets stunts. Who do we hate enough to bomb with pundits?

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I’m pretty sure this would be violation of the Geneva convention.

      That said, I have a list. A VERY long list.

  • pianomover

    A young child when given any praise or approval for an action will repeat that action in order to again receive the praise. Eventually the reward will drop off and the child will either find another event to win praise or they will Act out inappropriately to gain attention.

    Which child is Drumpf?

    • farin

      When the praise is for impulsively blowing stuff up, would the behavior be different either way?

  • Pingback: The Art of the Syrian Deal - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

  • Trump fires $100 million in cruse missiles from the hip, blows up a warehouse and a couple of planes, and this is supposed to make him presidential?

  • Origami Isopod

    Jesse Berney @jesseberney

    [Donald Trump poops in the big boy potty all by himself]

    CABLE PUNDIT: In this moment, Donald Trump has just become president.

    6:21 AM – 7 Apr 2017

    • Karen24

      LOL.

    • efgoldman

      CABLE PUNDIT: In this moment, Donald Trump has just become president.

      That’s what they said after The Speech, too. What did that last, maybe 72 hours?
      He’ll step on his own dick, or someone will do it for him.

      • We’re gonna have to keep a list of cable pundits who declare the Anger Yam has “just become president.”

        • lahtiji

          I can picture a large sign outside the White House, “___ Days Since Last Presidential Act.”

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Never has a word been so accurate as “Act”.

  • Bloix

    The legal basis for bombing Syria is that the use of chemical weapons is illegal under international law. And Zakaria invokes international law as the justification for Trump’s actions: “the President of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms.”

    But the Constitution explicitly vests this power in Congress, not the presidency. Article 1, Section 8 says:

    “The Congress shall have Power …

    10: To define and punish … Offences against the Law of Nations..”

    The President has no such power. Nothing in Article II comes close to giving the President the authority without enabling legislation to “enforce international norms.”

    So what Zakaria is saying is that Trump became President by committing an impeachable act.

    • Yup.

      When you think about it, it’s almost Nietzschean.

      • Thom

        Or at least Joseph Heller-ian.

        • Heller for us schlubs; Nietzsche for the Ubermensch.

          It is a neat trick how Zakaria frames Trump as obedient to a higher community by betraying his office in a merely national system, though.

      • brad

        Errm, I have to question this. The will to power was something Nietzsche played with in notes, not something he argued in favor of.
        And that’s the only way I can make any sense of what you’re saying.

        • I think philosophers get credit for ideas they describe for the first time, even if they don’t prescribe them. So I don’t see the problem.

          • brad

            He chose not to publish those notes, he made an active choice not to argue for the idea. His sister did so posthumously as part of her general antisemitic and fascistic activities. It’s not unreleased music, it’s something he actively decided not to say, when he still had the facility to make the choice.

            • I take it you are saying my choice of the label “Nietzschean” for an idea or personality type is at odds with the correct academic or philosophical understanding of the appropriate set of texts written by Nietzsche, and way qualified scholars use the word “Nietzschean” to describe broader contexts.

              Either that or you’re just using my mention of the man’s name to show off your detailed understanding of the historiographic controversy.

              • efgoldman

                Dueling Pedants! Everyone come watch!!

                • Maybe brad will come back and let us know whether it was a case of “dueling peasants”, “mansplaining”, or something else.

                • Or dueling pissants, maybe.

              • brad

                You really are a hostile person.
                I studied Nietzsche as a focus in grad school, sorry I happen to disagree with what you’ve decided.

                • You didn’t disagree, you created the appearance of saying I was wrong while actually saying nothing at all that was to the point. It was about one notch higher on the relevance scale than “your refusing to concede proves you’re a hostile person.”

                • brad

                  I don’t agree Nietzschean is a synonym for fascistic. I thought I made that clear.
                  Don’t worry, I won’t make the mistake of expressing disagreement with you again.

                • If you had said that was what you read me as saying I could have explained I didn’t.

                  Unfortunately, I’ll probably forget your name and reply to you again, so I can’t make the same promise.

    • wengler

      I think Obama should’ve enforced the Paris Climate Accords by nuking a Chinese coal plant.

  • Warren Terra

    LGM commenter Malaclypse was pointing out the Pavlovian potential here on Twitter – this is one of only two times Trump has been widely praised by the mainstream media, and the other was when he gave an hour-long deadly dull meaningless speech, so we should expect more showy military actions from him. This is certainly a real risk, but “Pavlovian” applies to the pundits, too, who see any “decisive” action and their hearts go aflutter.

    But let’s look at the incredible, execrable thing Trump did yesterday, which had a bunch of rather amazing features; in no particular order, and my apologies for the length:

    1) It certainly seemed to be against US Law. The idea that the 2001 AUMF extends to bombing the Syrian government’s air base in 2017 would be risible anytime, but Congress was asked to bless such actions in 2013 and refused – though apparently there never was a final vote.

    2) Moreover, Trump is on record saying an attack on Syria is both a bad idea and one requiring Congressional approval, under circumstances in 2013 that aren’t significantly different from those applying now (if anything, there was a better argument for attacking in 2013, when the Syrian government was weaker)

    3) It’s against international law, too, but that almost never stops us.

    4) The list of people who weren’t considered and informed is simply amazing. Apparently the NSC wasn’t involved or informed. We didn’t consult with or even inform our closest allies, some of whom are involved in military operations alongside us in the region. We didn’t seek the blessing of the UN. Hell, Trump was sitting down to dinner with China’s President and its chief diplomat, and we don’t even know whether they were told in advance.

    5) And, obviously, not a word was said to a single deputy or undersecretary of State or Defense, because none of them exist. It’s April.

    6) Trump didn’t even plan ahead to inform the American people – there was no prepared statement, and no technical facilities for live broadcast when he later spoke to some reporters. There’s still no clear idea what our policy now it, and whether Trump thinks we’re at war with Syria.

    7) Equally amazing, there’s who he did inform: Putin, and therefore Assad. Some of this is because of the precipitate nature of the attack: he wanted to avoid killing Russians, and didn’t leave time for a warning that after the chemical weapons attack any Syrian Air Force facilities would be considered open targets, and Russians should leave them. But it means that Assad knew, and our allies didn’t.

    8) Because Assad knew, we spent $100M blowing up an empty air base. There have been endless Milo Minderbender jokes that it would have been cheaper to pay them to do it themselves.

    9) And of course the Press isn’t paying enough attention to the significance of that. Trump spent $100M on completely empty military theater – notably, he wants to cancel the NEA’s $150M annual budget, which pays for other forms of theater. He did this without consulting our allies, and in collusion with Assad (who salvaged his equipment beforehand, and notably didn’t move an orphanage onto the crosshairs). If there’s a strategy involved it hasn’t been declared and no-one’s inferred one; the media are just cheering the explosions, undeterred that this appears to have been a wildly expensive PR operation cooked up between Trump and Putin, with no further plan – and that’s the best possibility, as if it was simply Trump flailing and making things go boom to wild applause the result might be American troops entering the Syrian quagmire.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Putin and Trump are both using it for PR, and doing a good job. But I doubt it was planned out between them beforehand… Trump’s people couldn’t plan a military operation if they had 23 armies in Kamchatka.

      • Tyto

        +3D6.

    • Ask Me Gently

      Good breakdown. Thanks.

    • wengler

      If there’s any consolation, a big chunk of Trump supporters absolutely hated this airstrike. They see the corporate media’s endorsement of it as praise from the enemy and they lost some camp followers from the troll hive last night.

      • CP

        I’ll take my silver linings wherever I can take them.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      But the media got to run endless “Breaking News!!!!!!!!!!!!” banners while showing pictures of stuff being blown up.

      Everybody loves watching stuff get blown up. You’re unAmerican if you don’t. I’d bet their ratings went up.

      And it’s cheap. You just run the government video clips over and over and over and over and over again, while your “experts”, most of whom are already drawing a regular paycheck, offer their “wisdom”.

      Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” is still pretty accurate.

  • Mr. Fred

    It was not good, wise, prudent or moral. It was stupid; typical playing to the cameras by Trump without any thought of the long term consequences. Congress wasn’t consulted, much less given a chance to approve. A client state of Russia was attacked after weeks of signaling that their support of Assad was fine and within days of saying Assad was not an issue we were even going to talk about. The attack was made while the President of China was visiting, a massive diplomatic insult to Xi and China. Assad is a monster. But these kinds of theatrics are going to hurt us more than him, around the world, not just in the region. Trump is a dangerous idiot, no surprise. Tillerson is hopeless. But this gives strong evidence that many of our military leaders have terrible judgement too.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Wise, prudent, or moral require a mens rea, and Trump barely makes it to the mens room. But was it good? It was a very long way from being the best use of 100 million dollars, but aside from that opportunity cost it may have been a net good. Syria is complicated and working out the effects is way beyond me.

    • efgoldman

      typical playing to the cameras by Trump without any thought of the long term consequences.

      For Apricot Asswipe, “long term” is the next weekend. See Murc’s long post in the previous thread – or almost anything I typed since the primaries started.

    • wengler

      But this gives strong evidence that many of our military leaders have terrible judgement too.

      I really wish people would wake up and realize that the military isn’t going to save us. Guys like Mattis and McMaster have been waiting for a chance to strike against the Syria-Russia-Iran alliance for some time now.

      • Mr. Fred

        Americans are unwilling to understand that the record of the US military has been pretty unimpressive since WWII. (See Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.) This is not a criticism of our servicemen and women. It is a criticism of the leadership, especially at the general officer level, and the system that produced it. (What kind of system would put stars on the shoulders of someone like Michael Flynn?) If they are itching to strike at the Syria-Russia-Iran alliance, and I agree that they are, they will probably bungle it badly. They are itching to attack North Korea too, and they are unlikely to do that well either.

  • sam

    I’m honestly at a loss at how to feel about this whole thing. We’ve spent years watching the Syrian people get utterly destroyed, and something needs to be done, but even if we think that something is military intervention, there’s just no way in hell that I trust this craven bunch of monsters to make good decisions (not even “morally good” decisions. Just not “disastrously bad” decisions).

    Added to this fact is that my brother just moved to Amman this week* and I don’t get a lot of sleep at night.

    *prior to this, he has spend the last four years living in (1) Kabul, (2) Beirut, and (3) Antakya, so we generally don’t sleep a lot, but any escalation of bombs falling out of the sky within 100 miles of my brother doesn’t help the situation.

    • Rob in CT

      Woah, what does your brother do for a living? NGO work?

      • sam

        Yes. He just took a new job as Senior Education Advisor for the Middle East and Eurasia for Save the Children (Norway) – he’s basically implementing educational programs for refugee children from Syria and Iraq. Prior to this he was in Lebanon and Turkey doing something similar for the IRC (in turkey he was actually supervising a team INSIDE Syria), and prior to that he was in Afghanistan working for the Aga Khan Foundation specifically setting up girls’ educational programs.

        This tweet links to an interview he did with NPR about two years ago about his work: https://twitter.com/verysimple/status/577117968460570624

    • J. Otto Pohl

      Amman and all of Jordan is perfectly safe. I just had a student return from there. Hell I live in Iraq and it is safe where I live.

      • sam

        Oh, my head knows he’s safe – and certainly miles safer than when he was literally sending us photographs of car bomb remnants from his backyard in Kabul. That doesn’t mean we don’t worry about him.

      • sam

        I mean – My parents and I live in NYC – we’ve had plenty of our own shit go on and no one suggests that we move out of town :)

        • Thom

          In Dave Eggers’ book about Katrina, Zeitoun, the protagonist’s American-born wife is talking with her sister-in-law in Syria and the latter says something like “How can you live in such a dangerous place?” (referring to New Orleans, and its propensity to flood). (NB: this was before the Syrian civil war.)

          • sam

            yeah – my folks and I have a habit of, every time we hear about something on the news about something ‘in-country’ where my brother is, immediately emailing him to make sure he’s OK. 99% of the time, whatever it is happened nowhere near where he lives/works (but, you know, there’s also the time he was instagramming car bomb remnants from his backyard).

            So when the Chelsea bomb thing happened, he IMMEDIATELY started emailing all of us to make sure we were all OK.

            We live uptown.

            He, of course, also had the experience of having moved to London three days before 9/11 and not being able to reach any of us for many hours that day, because the phones were so completely screwed up – so we all have our soft spots.

  • addicted44

    This is the kind of stuff the term kabuki theater exists for.

    It’s little but a distraction.

    An epic waste of money, that allows Trump to show that he can be tough on Russia and Syria, but actually accomplishes absolutely nothing other than helping push his ratings up.

  • Crusty

    To give Zakaria the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the “he became president” business refers to the idea that campaign promises go out the window once shit actually happens. I dunno.

    • JKTH

      Solemnly breaking campaign promises to do what Everyone Knows needs to be done does sound a lot like him.

  • Warren Terra

    So the news now is that Syria conducted air operations from Al Shayrat airbase today, barely 12 hours after the attack. The only surprise for me is that Assad didn’t pretend the base was inoperative to help out his friends Putin and Trump.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    As for Zakaria, it’s disgusting how elite media types become (metaphorically I pray) passionately aroused by the sight of a Republican president killing people. Again: I don’t know whether the latest Syrian intervention is good, wise, moral, prudent etc. I do know that the kind of barely latent power-worship that gets triggered by unilateral military action by the a GOP Commander in Chief is none of those things.

    Democrats are never regarded with anything but skepticism if not outright disdain and that includes when conducting military strikes. MSM loves their Republican War Daddies but takes their Democratic Mommies Who Clean Things Up for granted.

    • And under different circumstances that might be a reasonable way to run a government.

      One of those circumstances is not a two-party system of elected government.

      If Democrat meant “civil service worker” and Republican meant “guy who alternates between giving orders and doing PR,” I might give it to them.

  • eclare

    UUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

  • priceyeah

    It’s often folly to impute development or change in public figures one hardly knows based on some kind of prestige factor…. When you’re talking about this specific 70-year-old human being, I’d just aver that he’s made such statements look very foolish many times over the last two years. We’re still waiting for the promised pivot….. If I were paid to give my opinion on national TV, I’d sure as hell wait until the evidence was absolutely conclusive before uttering a word on the subject.

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