McCain answered the question about the gun debate by citing Obama’s culpability for the attack through his foreign policy: “Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures,” McCain said. …
When pressed by a reporter on the claim that Obama was “directly” responsible, McCain reiterated his point — that Obama should not have withdrawn combat troops from Iraq: “He pulled everybody out of Iraq, and I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked, and there would be attacks on the United States of America,” he said. “It’s a matter of record, so he is directly responsible.” …
While the gunman referenced the Islamic State multiple times on Sunday, investigators say they are still working to figure out precisely what motivated the gunman and determine how he spent the months leading up to the attack.
In this post yesterday, I used a lengthy excerpt from an article yesterday at the Washington Post by Mike DeBonis, reporting on that bizarre news conference that John McCain held yesterday. At least I thought it was bizarre, and assumed that readers would by now know enough about the concept of “lone wolf” terrorist sympathizers encouraged via the Internet or even by television news reporting on military conflicts and radical groups—including those who, like Mateen, were born in this country and never traveled outside of it—and also would by yesterday afternoon know that Mateen apparently was gay yet also either was or pretended to be homophobic as a way to deflect suspicions by his father and other family members that he was gay. (The above excerpt is taken from the DeBonis article, and was included in the lengthier excerpt in yesterday’s post.)*
Thus the title of my post, which was intended as a facetious takedown of McCain’s comments, especially because those comments made clear that McCain was conflating ISIS’s military victories in Iraq and elsewhere with the ability of terrorist groups of all stripes to use the Internet to encourage nutcases who have access to assault weapons to commit mass deadly assaults and those who just have access to non-military-type weapons to commit deadly assaults on one person at a time.
McCain’s claim that if Obama had kept troops in Iraq and prevented further ISIS victories in that country, Mateen would not have attacked a gay bar he had frequented and claimed his motive was defense of Islam struck me as so obviously absurd—and the point of my post and its title so obviously clear—that it needed no explanation beyond the sarcasm.
And judging from the comments in the post’s comments thread, most readers understood the post and its title. But via email I’ve learned that the post’s purpose was not clear enough. So this post should clear it up.
*Parenthetical added 6/18 at 10:32 a.m.
ADDENDUM: This piece today by NYT columnist Timothy Egan is, I think, the best column of the entire campaign season. It’s not mainly about Orlando, although it touches on it. It’s about Trump, the media, and the Republican Party.
I don’t think any commentary by anyone going forward will surpass this. Don’t miss it.
Added 6/17 at 11:45 a.m.
PS: In a column that sent chills down my spine from beginning to end, these two sentences are the ones I want to highlight:
“Man up,” wrote the Republican strategist Rick Wilson. “Show courage. Say what’s in your hearts; he’s insane. He’s poison. He’s doomed. He’s killing the party.”
In this week of trial and tragedy, Trump showed us how he would govern — by fear, by intimidation, by lies, by turning American against American, by exhibiting all the empathy of a sociopath.
Trump indeed is surely quite literally insane. And a sociopath, which is what Trump University and his other business practices that the news media has reported on in depth in the last two weeks illustrate. These truths should not be shied away from—as politically incorrect.
Added 6/17 at 12:04 p.m.