Friday, January 14, 2011

Pastor Obama Inspires Us

Whatever I might say about the Peace Laureate's Thursday speech has already been said much better by Chris Floyd:
As President Barack Obama consoled the nation Wednesday with talk of "rain puddles in heaven," his agents were murdering four more people in his illegal war in Pakistan. The incongruity was excruciating; you could almost feel your neck snapping from the moral whiplash induced by the contrast between word and deed.

But of course this contrast remained totally obscured. Instead, the media was saturated with bipartisan praise for Obama's heavenly puddles and "transcendent" rhetoric about "aligning our actions with our values" and measuring our lives by "how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of others better." Naturally, in the midst of so much self-congratulatory afflatus, there was not much room for a short story from the Associated Press noting that Wednesday saw yet another attack by American drone missiles on a remote village in Pakistan.

Yet even this report was itself drenched in the mindset of righteous murder that lurked behind the treacly tropes that Obama was delivering to a rapturous crowd. You can see it in the language of the very first paragraph:
Suspected U.S. unmanned aircraft fired four missiles at a house in a militant-infested area of northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least four people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
An "infested" area -- the language used for vermin, for insects, for filthy creatures fit only for extermination. These insects are what is being killed in the wilds of Pakistan: not human beings, not sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. Just strange, worthless little creepy-crawlies called "militants." And if you think this is too extreme an extrapolation, not truly representative of the imperial mindset, recall the words of Admiral William Fallon.

Surely you remember the good Admiral -- former head of U.S. Central Command, the military cockpit of the Terror War. For a brief moment back in 2008, this imperial proconsul was the darling of the progressosphere. Why? Because in a fawning article in Esquire, he made a few noises indicating his lack of enthusiasm for an immediate extension of the Terror War into Iran. Yet even this tepid demurral (which he quickly and cravenly denied making) was couched in the exterminationist language that now imbues both the civilian and military wings of the imperial establishment. As I noted at the time:
Fallon himself has long denied the hearsay evidence that he had declared, upon taking over Central Command, that a war on Iran "isn't going to happen on my watch." And in fact, the article itself depicts Fallon's true attitude toward the idea of an attack on Iran right up front, in his own words. After noting Fallon's concerns about focusing too much on Iran to the exclusion of the other "pots boiling over" in the region, [author Thomas Barnett] presses the point and asks: And if it comes to war? Fallon replies with stark, brutal clarity:

"'Get serious,' the admiral says. 'These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.'"
And whatever Mr. Floyd left out was also said, much better than I could have, by Arthur Silber:
Thus does the murdering leader of the Death State use a dead child to burnish the image of the State itself and, which is undoubtedly more critical from Obama's perspective, to burnish the image of those who direct the Death State's operations. If you dare to think that those who lead the Death State and implement its policies engage in murder, conquest, plunder, and brutalization without end, that is only because you are "cynical" and engaging in "vitriol." Our leaders are "good and important": do you want to disagree with a murdered child?
Chris Floyd's piece can, and should, be read in full here; Arthur Silber's, here.

Yes, the Barackster is said to be quite a good speaker. Maybe so, but I couldn't tell you. His words are drowned out by his murderous actions.


Phil Marx said...


This has absolutely no relevance to your current post, but I just thought you might enjoy it.

Mimi said...

I wonder how many of the electorate entertain a picture of O. sitting up late-- after discharging his benign activities on behalf of his beloved people all day--and struggling with a sentence here, a phrase there, to shape such heartfelt, sob-enducing rhetoric. Could they possibly grasp that he has whole STABLES of advisors, writers, makeup artists, elocution coaches, and others who are engaged full-time in shaping his image (his blessed image). Guess the same people think Palin and GW actually wrote their books themselves. It's possible, seems to me, that politicians at a certain level never even approve their speeches, but are simply coached in the theatrics required to put them over to an ever-willing-to-be-seduced populace.
But you know me, Jim, I'm just a cynic.

Jim Wetzel said...

Phil -- thanks. I did indeed enjoy it.

Mimi -- I feel just as I did when I was a child and the other boys told me that Santa Claus was a fraud. You mean presidents don't write their own speeches? Pols don't write their own books? I'm crushed all over again. Mimi, you cynic, you! I hope you're happy!

(Actually, I hope you're very happy indeed, with the joy that current events don't give, and therefore also can't take away.)

Mimi said...

Happy is as happy does, says this smug Jerseyite.