Friday, September 9, 2016

Gary Johnson Gaffes Badly on Aleppo

Gary Johnson’s smoothly sailing ship hit an iceberg yesterday.

Being a serious Presidential candidate is hard, and, if you're not careful, the whole thing can blow up in your face...quickly.

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the trending topics around the world today, and, at the center of it all is the Syrian city of Aleppo. It’s 2.1 million residents have been caught in the middle of the Syrian Civil War between government-loyal forces and opposition forces. It’s resulted in mass bombings of Syrian civilians and soft targets by both sides.

The images are gut wrenching and heart breaking. A couple of weeks ago, a viral video of a five-year-old Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh captured attention as he was placed, dust covered and injured, into an ambulance without a peep from him. The dazed look in his young eyes shocked the world. CNN reports that his ten-year-old brother, Ali, died a few days later from injuries sustained in the bombing. 

It’s a scene that repeats over and over in Aleppo. Bombings, crying children, busted families, and a good people caught in the middle.

Gary Johnson was asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe by journalist Mike Barnicle if elected President, what would he do about Aleppo?

Johnson asked, “And what is Aleppo?”

Barnicle went on to explain that Aleppo it is the epicenter of the Syrian refugee crisis. After that, Johnson seemed to pick up on and understand the question. His answer was that it should be a diplomatic end to the crisis involving Russian influence.

Later, Johnson responded that he was disappointed with himself and that he needed to do better when it comes to knowing what Aleppo is. 

Now, this is not a gotcha question. Gary Johnson should have known what Aleppo is. He should know what Raqqa and Damascus are. The fact that he doesn’t shouldn’t, however, disqualify him. His answer to the question, once clarified, showed that he clearly understood the crisis at some level. He also made no excuses and blamed no one for the gaffe but himself.

It’s more galling that Johnson didn’t know specifically what’s going on in Aleppo itself. A once beautiful city is now ruined, and, more importantly, many of its residents have nowhere to turn. They sit in their homes as the bombs drop.

Ironically by gaffing, Johnson may have brought attention to the entire crisis. I doubt this will count for much in the end.  Johnson's supporters don't care. Those that are voting for Johnson as an alternative don't care. The only ones that care are probably the hardcores and the media.


Abdul said...

Which is worse? Not knowing about Aleppo or that "c" means classified? :-)

johnnystir said...

I always thought "C" was for cookie.