Historical myopia is incredible. After reading through countless books on the early 20th Century nationalist movements, I have determined there is no Western scholar incapable of twisting events into an indictment of particular figures, strictly on the basis of them not being popularly elected. Wherever and however, they stretch the truth so as to hold anti-democratic regimes accountable for standards far beyond the reach of liberal opponents, even when the evidence is glaring.
Case in point: Benito Mussolini. Most writers will concede that his rule was relatively benign, with the harshest punishment for enemies usually entailing imprisonment on islands or in small villages, not the dreadful conditions of some concentration camp. Nevertheless, they persist, scraping at any random example to find fault. For Mussolini, this is the claim that he killed countless Ethiopians with poison gas, because he wanted their land. The less-examined record of course reveals that the weapon was used sparingly at specific infrastructure sites, and as a response to the African nation’s longtime atrocities, including the use of exploding bullets on Italian soldiers. None of that is relevant though, because he was a fascist, and that makes him a war criminal.
Now suppose we examine for a second the legacy of Barack Obama, our former commander-in-chief. As president, he authorized the killing of over 3,700 people using drone strikes, with over 300 of those being civilians. More than this, he went so far as to brag about his ability to end the lives of the targets, most of whom were brown Middle Eastern people:
“Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”
His crowning achievement in this regard was the shelling of Libya, which culminated in an attack on the convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan leader reportedly asked his attackers “What did I do to you?” as he was sodomized with a bayonet , beaten, and shot to death. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (another empowered product of democracy) cackled about the killing, saying “We came, we saw, he died.”
Just like that. Pure sadism and mass murder, yet how many scholars have written (or will write) books describing Obama as a war criminal? Will Hillary sit awkwardly in a Nuremberg defense box, awaiting the ultimate penalty? Might children grow up absorbing histories about the cruelty and vicious nature of these figures, and how justice was done?
Of course not. They were democratically elected, and therefore all actions taken, whether for “national security” or “the promotion of human rights,” stand to be moderately brushed away as acceptable. Sure, one or two historians will bring up the drone issue, but only as a minor footnote on the page of “controversy,” a term which alone nullifies all seriousness. Chances are, such creatures will end up being celebrated by children for their bravery, tenacity, and progressiveness.
Cast a few votes, and suddenly the rules don’t apply.