CONTEMPTIBLE? July 4, 2010Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Israel-Palestine.
Has Obama sunk to the depths of contempt? According to Ha’aretz, he warned that an inquiry into the murder of its citizens would be bad for the Turkish Government.
Of course, what Obama actually said and meant may be misrepresented. Haaretz’s reported:
United States President Barak Obama warned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that an international probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla could have negative consequences for Turkey, British Arabic-language daily al-Hayat reported Saturday.
According to the report, Obama warned Erdogan that the international probe which Turkey has demanded could turn into a “double edged sword,” as it could lead to accusations against the passengers on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara ship, some of whom were members of the pro-Palestinian IHH organization.
Both leaders were meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, and I suppose one has to be careful about interpretations. The concerns of Prime Minister Erdogan seem reasonable and proper to me. As far as I am aware, the accusations against IHH are purely a propaganda, rovian technique employed by the Israeli Government, which does not change the essential and critical facts of the case. Erdogan has passed such tests in the past, from more threatening opponents.
The position of the American Government with respect to the occupation and persecution of Palestine is extraordinary and wrong. How is it to be understood? How is Obama to be understood? We know from experience that the views expressed by governments do not necessarily reflect considered public opinion.
The war in Afghanistan against the Resistance, for example, with its’s attendant murder, terror suffering and destruction, is absurd. And the worst of the Afghani Warlords have been American allies in the past. Why would would anybody in conscience in engage in such behavior. Obama is so pathetic, one is left feeling sorry for him. Mass murderers are like that in lacking courage and strength in their humanity I suppose. So what is to be done?
There is an eternal theme here, no doubt literature has the issues covered. The exercise of responsibility depends on qualities other than ambition, capacity, courage and conviction. We who judge our leaders often judge them harshly by not allowing for human failure, but we are right to do so. The problems facing humanity are such that they cannot be ignored.
President Obama’s domestic opponents (via Truthdig) are not taking issue on trivial issues, or so it seems based the color of his skin or his hairstyle. It is worth reflecting that FDR, who presidential historians seem to think was the most outstanding president, got around for much of his time in a wheelchair. The problem as we have witnessed recently with sufficient money using the propaganda techniques, Goebbels pioneered, can turn democratic process on its head.
Clearly, the criticism of Obama goes beyond the color of the skin and style of haircut, when Republican Chairman criticizes the Presidents conduct of the war in Afghanistan. Juan Cole observes:
Self-contradiction poses no conundrum for politicians as long as the public does not notice it. That it is illogical to denigrate Obama as leader while praising the troop surge and the counter-insurgency strategy that he authorized appears not to occur to anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line. Conservatives (with the exception of Libertarians) can embrace this paradox because they hold twin premises. The first is that the United States should always be at war and all of its wars are glorious, righteous and beneficial to all concerned, even the enemy. The second is that a Democratic president is sort of like gay marriage; it is against nature and intrinsically wrong, and while it may actually exist in some times and places, it must be vigorously ignored until it can be undone and safely forgotten about. With a Democratic president in the White House, the munificent War must resemble the virgin birth, having no human author and yet bestowing infinite grace on all.
Obama is not alone in addressing the conventional needs of the circumstance. He campaigned as a populist, and governs as a corporate politician. The lot of a politician is not easy, but like all of us they can be judged by the fruits of their decisions. Often, as Obama clearly does, they believe that violence is the foundation on which political power is constructed in the world. It is futile to be prescriptive for others, but we may be able to build a consensus on problems,values, process and outcomes. When, as many of have, too much of material well being and excess, we tend to caught in the logic of greed, which is the same logic of violence, and hence war becomes habitually necessary, without the added economic inducement of the military-industrial complex. We might live by other principles, such as justice and truth as examples, whatever they may be – and, of course, should we ask those questions?
Juan Cole has different interpretation of President Obama’s response to PM Erdogan. Of course, if peace and justice could be achieved in Palestine and now the Middle East, a lot of problems would be simultaneously solved.
Paul Woodward at War in Context runs with the same idea, quoting Andrew Bacevich’s analysis of the opaque Obama.