Palestinians walk through the rubble of their homes in October 2014 in Shuja'iyya, Gaza, after Israel's U.S.-backed bombing (AP/Adel Hana)

It's not about party, it's about hunger for war: 19 percent of Democrats also said they'd bomb fake country from "Aladdin"

You're missing the point. 30% of Republicans said they'd bomb Agrabah — but so did 19% of Democrats.


Ben Norton
December 19, 2015 2:00AM (UTC)

There are few things more predictable in mainstream American politics than blind, dogmatic partisanism.

Liberal-leaning polling agency Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a study today that found that 30 percent of Republicans would support bombing Agrabah, the fictional nation from the Disney movie "Aladdin."

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The media went wild with the story. It was reported in countless web sites, newspapers, and blogs.

Yet virtually everyone is missing the larger point.

What was almost completely ignored was the fact that PPP also asked Democratic primary voters if they would bomb Agrabah. 19 percent said they supported it.

Yes, 36 percent of surveyed Democrats said they opposed it, but 19 is still a huge number — and not that far off from the Republican figure of 30 percent. Moreover, when you adjust for the 45 percent of Democrats who did not provide a yes or no answer, it means 35 percent of Democrats who gave a specific answer to PPP supported bombing a fictitious Arabic-sounding country.

The media has, predictably, turned this study into a vacuous partisan cause célèbre, while ignoring the larger implications of the poll: Both parties are violent and hawkish.

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Democrats have started and overseen plenty of wars. Obama's presidency has been no exception.

The Obama administration reduced Libya to rubble in the catastrophic 2011 NATO bombing campaign spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, destroying the government and plunging the nation into chaos.

Obama extended the disastrous war in Afghanistan twice — breaking his many promises that he would end it.

The secretive drone war drastically expanded under Obama has killed thousands of people, including hundreds of civilians, while terrorizing average people in Pakistan and beyond.

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While Israel brutally bombed Gaza in the summer of 2014, killing more than 2,250 people, the vast majority of whom were civilians, destroying hospitals, schools, homes, shelters, mosques, and churches in what human rights organizations called war crimes, the Obama administration wholeheartedly stood behind Israel, boosting military aid and sending more weapons.

For eight months, the Saudi-led coalition has been raining bombs on Yemen, killing thousands and carrying out more war crimes. Obama has, once again, stood behind the coalition, which the U.N. says is responsible for two-thirds of civilian casualties.

The Obama administration has also supported, expanded, and backed wars in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Mali and more.

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Democrats have said virtually nothing about these policies. Why? Because they are being carried out by a Democratic administration.

These are wars that have left hundreds of thousands of people dead and displaced millions, fueling the worst refugee crisis since World War II. But there has been little dissent from American liberals.

It is no surprise, then, that roughly one-third of Democrats who responded with a yes or no to PPP said they would support bombing the fictional country from "Aladdin."

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Clearly Republicans are much more hawkish than Democrats, but Democrats are already incredibly hawkish to begin with.

Instead of framing the poll in terms of fatuous dogmatism, we should reflect on the fact that it shows just how violent and hawkish both hegemonic U.S. political parties are, and work toward a more peaceful — and sensible — foreign policy.


Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

MORE FROM Ben Norton

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aladdin Barack Obama Democrats Poll War

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