We read in scholarly studies in the field of communications that our papers of record feature analysis after analysis justifying war, justifying bombing, justifying enforcing no fly zones with yet more bombs. We read that Obama hestitated on Syria and allowed millions of ruined lives. We read that Libya was the exemplar of presidential conduct, liberating oppressed people with a few sorties.
What methods of conflict management did the opposition choose? How serious was the initial repression of protest? What was the response of the protesters and their external friends? How did all that work out?
Ben Ali in Tunisia was the first down in Arab Spring. Then Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Both were clients of the US, both jailed journalists and clamped down on dissidents, including torture. Obama wisely STFU (kept quiet). US lack of interference allowed civil society to win.
Almost immediately the uprising spread to Syria and Libya and suddenly Obama was loudly declaiming about it all, much to the detriment of everyone on the ground. Colonel Qaddafi was the most despised US enemy in the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) and the previous despised enemy--Saddam Hussein--suffered a horrific endgame fate. As these known enemies of the US thought it through, they realized they might not be afforded the golden parachute of Ben Ali. As it went down, Osama bin Laden was added to that image-of-terrible-death in the middle of Arab Spring, on May 2. Then when Qaddafi was slaughtered, Assad knew what he had to do, slaughter all opposition. So instead of focusing our causal headlamp on US backfiring violence, we instead blast Obama for not attacking Syria.
Where is the peace scholarship on Libya and the effect of Obama's disastrous bombing policy? Mostly MIA. Instead of noting that Libya is now a failed state exporting jihadis to Europe, having killed the US ambassador Christopher Stevens, we read that it was "decisive" and a military success.
The relative costs of these uprisings have been overlooked by most, with some public peace intellectual exceptions, such as Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, who point out in Foreign Affairs that the nonviolent Arab Springs were costly but the violent uprisings have been orders of magnitude worse, with zero positive results.
Tunisa, 300 dead; Egypt, 900 dead; Libya, 30,000 dead; Syria, 150,000 dead plus nine million refugees internally and crossborder. Really? We can't see a difference?
The moral rhetoric justifying military responses is bankrupt. It never ends. Major media sources these people day and night. We need Chenoweth, Stephan, Patrick Coy, Cris Toffolo, Elavie Ndura, Linda Johnston, Michael Nagler, Erin Niemela, Lawrence Wittner, Rachel Cunliffe, Patrick Hiller, Laura Finley, and many many more peace intellectuals in the major media, not the same tired losers who cost blood and treasure.
Can we tell our media to help instead of being dupes? That would be the best start we could make.