By Danny Schechter
New York, New York: The ISIS gang makes great enemies. They dress in black, wear Halloween masks, wave flags, act viciously, and cut off the heads of journalists.
Never mind that the Saudis beheaded ten dissidents on the night that Jack Foley became their first victim. We didn't know the Saudi victims and didn't want to embarrass our ally, but chop people we do know, and you are asking for a drone up your keister.
Nothing like a grotesque atrocity to pump up Joe Biden to vow to "chase ISIS to the gates of hell," a war cry designed to get the Christian right behind him since the IS detests Jesus too. Barack Obama's vow to destroy and "degrade" ISIS did not have the same populist appeal.
Every evangelical activist who has been singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" has a new cause now, even if ISIS' last victim was an Israeli-American.
Never mind the role we may have played in training and funding this latest face of Islamic terror; they have managed to do what few maniacs have--unite Iran and the US on the field of battle. Their scary presence has also buried all discussion of the failures of US policy that destroyed Iraq and assisted their emergence.
When you don't understand the culture of countries you invade, it's easy to demonize. And, just in time, since al Qaeda had lost its sting and fear appeal. We needed a new enemy to detest, and, poof, here they are, just in time!
It is a bit trickier giving Putin the same treatment--not just because "the facts" and factions in the Ukraine--including oligarchs, real Nazis, Democrats and demagogues--are harder to define. And, also because Americans are not that familiar with the country's latest savior, the billionaire "Chocolate king," Petro Poroshenko.
Ukraine is a harder conflict to sell. It's complex: you have got the East and the West, a blizzard of languages and minorities, and the fact that it seems clear that Putin has not been calling all the shots even though we want to portray the situation as if he is and has.
So what to call him? Let's recycle a name that is more evil than bin Laden, more memorable than ISIS and one that everyone in England of a certain age, certainly, and the US hates.
How about Hitler? Can we get that monster to goosestep across the world stage one more time? When you say Hitler, you don't have to say much more.
Who can we get to make Vlad seem really bad? How about David Cameron, the British Prime Minister. He will do anything to sound like Churchill and get his puss in the papers. Cameron reached into his little book of historical cliches to compare the mistakes made by the West in Munich in '38 with those being made now.
Even the debaters at the Oxford Union would see this parallel as a stretch.
Here's how it went down--at first in secret, then as a leak.
Reported the Guardian: "David Cameron has told European leaders that the west risks making similar mistakes in appeasing Vladimir Putin over Ukraine as Britain and France did with Adolf Hitler in the run-up to the second world war.