It’s easy to blame Obama for being too lazy to send someone out to Syria to actually check the toe tags instead of clicking through a few videos, marking the WMD box checked and then checking out the trailer for the remake of Robocop.
But it’s not like anyone else has been doing a much better job.
French intelligence released a report confirming a chemical weapons attack by Assad that killed 281 people based in part “on dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services”.
Forget James Bond. Jacques Bond dispenses with the tuxedo, martinis and the Walther PPK and equipped with a Snuggie, a swivel chair and some Hot Pockets assembles a case for war based on his unique skill of video cullings. It really is the ultimate playlist with Europe’s The Final Countdown as the soundtrack. Or maybe Iggy Pop’s Search and Destroy.
When Assad said that the accusations are based “on arbitrary videos posted on the Internet”, he kind of had a point. Or maybe he didn’t. After all they’re based on arbitrary videos posted on the internet and then culled by the crack Le Hot Pockets team at French intelligence and the best YouTube watchers our own intelligence services have to offer.
It’s easy to get confused when building a case for war based on YouTube videos.
France’s Top Secret YouTubers claimed 281 people had been killed. Our own YouTubers appear to have come up with 1,429 since that’s the number that John Kerry has been waving around on any channel willing to give him 5 minutes of airtime.
But maybe our YouTubers just watched the same video 5 times.
Across the channel, UK’s social media spooks claimed 350 dead. Maybe they watched the full video. Doctors Without Borders, which hopefully counted actual bodies instead of URLs, pegged the death toll at 355. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights went up to 502. Even that is only 1/3 of Kerry’s 1,429.
Where does Kerry get his oddly specific 1,429 number from? No one knows. The Senate Intelligence Committee received 13 videos whose authenticity was verified by that specter known as “the intelligence community”. The intelligence community is a notoriously flexible entity. It usually knows the truth, but sometimes serves other masters.
Back when Obama was determined to blame a movie trailer for the murder of four Americans, the intelligence community, which originally pointed to a terrorist attack, was muscled by Hillary’s people into blaming the dreaded YouTube video in the Benghazi talking points.
Online videos don’t make the best case for war. It’s not just Jimmy Kimmel who can fake viral videos.
Both sides in the Syrian Civil War have filled the internet with viral videos claiming to show the other side using chemical weapons, killing babies and eating with their left hands. There’s a fake suicide bomber auction video being distributed by the regime and a fake government massacre being passed around by the rebels. And those are just some of the more notorious examples.
The pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army is hacking websites and the Syria expert whose Wall Street Journal article claiming that the Syrian rebels were moderate was cited by McCain and Kerry turned out to have faked her academic credentials while working for a Syrian rebel front group.
The best thing to believe about Syria is nothing. Both sides are engaged in epic levels of fakery. And if we are going to bomb Syria, the least we can do is sort through real life evidence.
Obama may begin wars over YouTube videos and blame wars on YouTube videos, but the people who die in those wars are all too real. In his UN General Assembly speech, he mentioned the video seven times, but never once mentioned the names of the two former Navy SEALS who rushed to the rescue.
If the future is to belong to anyone, it should belong to men like them and not to amateur YouTube reviewers who start wars.
Those who live in a virtual world, often forget that the things that matter are real. Wars aren’t really virtual; even if they’re fought with drones and reported on by Twitter accounts. The people who die in them are real and the money used to wage them has to be taken out of the monthly paychecks of families struggling to pay for winter clothing, braces and a home cooked meal.
Obama, like Hollande and Cameron, his leading Syrian War allies, slashed military spending while starting new wars. He cut military paychecks and raised the cost of military healthcare while drastically slashing the armed forces. In a debate, he sneered that objections to his policy of gutting the Navy while expecting it to fight all his wars for him were like so retro.
“We have fewer ships than we did… we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama said. The line quickly became a trending Twitter hashtag and inspired YouTube videos; none of which, fortunately, led to jail sentences.
But now it’s not hashtags or YouTube videos steaming toward Syria; it’s Navy ships with not enough of the cruise missiles that Obama would like to fire off. And so the bayonets may have to do.
YouTube videos are great for streaming Obama’s war speeches and finding scapegoats for the terrorist attacks he wants to deny happened, but they don’t fight wars.