I sometimes have to struggle to stop myself going with the more-pleasing vision of things, rather than accept the sadly-more-sour reality. An example? I found myself moved when Barack Obama made his victory speech after being elected president for the first time. That huge crowd, those Afro-Americans in tears, the great hope of a bright new day after the bumbling and bellicose Bush. I was glad, too, to see him win out over Mitt Plastic-man Romney. In his second and final term, I thought, Obama’ll come through. He’ll live up to that bit about talking to one’s enemies rather than resorting to force against them.
And today I feel myself being nudged towards the more-pleasing vision. The American president tells us “The people of Northern Ireland and their leaders have travelled a great distance over the past fifteen years. Step by step, they have traded bullets for ballots, destruction and division for dialogue and institutions, and pointed the way toward a shared future for all…On behalf of the American people, I salute the people and leaders of Northern Ireland and the model they have given to others struggling toward peace and reconciliation around the world.”
Gives you a warm glow, doesn’t it? The man who overcame all the odds to become American President, supporting us in our peace-and-reconciliation efforts. A warm glow providing, that is, you don’t look at Obama’s drone-work in Pakistan. No, not home-work, drone-work. There, well over 3,000 people have been killed during his time in office. The claim is that the drone-attacks are taking out (aka killing) the bad guys – al qaeda activists. There’s truth in this. There’s also the awkward fact that if a drone demolishes a house containing an al qaeda activist and at the same time demolishes a house next door containing, say, six adult males who are leading peaceful lives, those six adult males are counted as al quaeda activists. This gets round the tedious notion of having to talk about drones doing “collateral damage”. Mind you, we’re still left with a lot of dead women and children but hey, nobody’s perfect.
So that’s the reality. The man who’s praising us for our drive towards peace and reconciliation, and promising his support and that of his country as we do so, is in charge of a foreign policy that kills people in their thousands, many of them innocent people, and then lies about what’s been done. This man is also ultimately responsible for Guantanamo Bay, a torture centre which he promised he would close if elected.
I know the world of politics and power is a rough old world, but I think there’s a strong stench of hypocrisy comes with high words from a man who presides over so much continuing pain and death, much of it inflicted on innocent people. And I know T S Eliot said humankind cannot bear too much reality. But sometimes you have to grit your teeth and see the world as it is. Fifteen years ago a peace process was put together, with considerable American help. It looks as if the Yanks were implementing a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do policy.
The cartoon above your blog portrays Obama as Judge,Jury and Executioner.I seem to remember paramilitary groups who did the same.But I suppose that was ok because it was for some “noble cause”,wasn’t it!
Good interview with Paul Street on PressTV titled “Obama more brutal than Bush,Cheney”(in number of deaths caused by Drone killings).Good to see decent Americans are intending to demonstrate at Corporations etc that are involved in the manufacture of Drones. Obama is a marketing brand & does what he is told by the Military, Industrial, Corporate complex & as a black man fitted the (real powers) marketing plan. It reminds me of the Nuremburg trials in which Nazi’s were not tried for war crimes if they could prove that the allies had carried out similar war crimes. D
Obama was a fraud since day one,how could he be a man of the people ,the downtrodden working poor or the ever shrinking beleaguered middle class when he charges $25,000 a plate at fund raisers,takes body language lessons to look more “regal”.Things have gotten worse not only for the average American citizen who craved change from the status quo of a faux democracy but for those foreign countries under relentless stress from the fear of drone attacks on their homes and villages that are signed off by Obama himself.Then there is the hunger strike in Guantanamo,Cuba where the prisoners are being held indefinitely without due process of law,Obama promised to close the torture prisons down when he was elected and these detainees are now languishing near death without hope because of Obama’s lies.