Contrary to Bergen’s generous belief that progressives are deluding themselves about Obama’s militarism, many are fully aware of it and, because it’s a Democrat doing it, have become aggressively supportive of it. That, without a doubt, will be one of Obama’s most enduring legacies: transforming these policies of excessive militarism, rampant secrecy and civil liberties assaults from right-wing radicalism into robust bipartisan consensus (try though they might, not even progressives will be able to turn around and credibly pretend to object to such things the next time there is a GOP President).
Now, there is one element of delusion to Democratic support for Obama’s militarism, and it plagues not only his most ardent supporters but also Bergen’s Op-Ed. Most Democratic praise for “Obama’s foreign policy successes” fails even to acknowledge, let alone condemn, the thousands of innocent people whose lives have been extinguished by his militarism. These deaths simply do not exist in their world. When you force them to address it, they’ll simply dismiss it away with the military terminology first popularized by Timothy McVeigh (that’s just “collateral damage”) and then quickly return to the Bush-era mantra of mindlessly invoking the word “Terrorism” to justify whatever violence the U.S. Government commits. They see themselves, and especially their leader, as so righteous and noble that incidents like this and this and so many others are blissfully kept far away from their consciousness because the reality of what they support cannot be reconciled with their self-perception; that, more than anything, is what explains the bitterness directed at Hayes yesterday: he publicized facts which they desperately prefer be hidden, not just from others but from themselves.