Monday, May 25, 2009

Obama's War

Miracles will not happen,” the president said,  “. . . but with a common focus, we can make strides.”  “ . . . the path to success is slow and unsure.”  The United States, the national security advisor pledged, would do “whatever we could, to do what we can as quickly as possible to help . . . .”  “There will be more violence, and there will be setbacks.”  Too bad the officials did not invite Washington State House leader, Representative Lynn Kessler, to comment because she would surely have supplied the only cliché missed by the assembled notables:  “there is light at the end of the tunnel.”  Isn’t this a bit of deja vu all over again?  The speakers were president Obama and national security advisor Jones not Bush and Rice.  Otherwise, who could notice the difference?


Last week the United States, We The People, killed more than a hundred innocent Afghani civilians.  We bombed them, as Curtis LeMay would have it, back to the stone age, “their corpses,” wrote Chris Hedges, “blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs. . . .”  We denied it, naturally, just as we have denied the last 5,000 Afghani civilians we have killed.  We will investigate, of course, but already, as The Daily World reported on 7 May, “the top U. S. commander in Afghanistan suggested the Taliban might be to blame.”  Eventually we will apologize, just as we have done for the other 5,000 innocent men, women and children we have killed:  Terribly sorry;  the tragic cost of war; so regrettable, but it is the price that must be paid; “We think,” as Madaline Halfbright said some years ago, “that the price is worth it.”  And then we will go on killing. 


We pull the trigger in Nevada.  We fly pilot-less drones - - the reaper and the predator and other iterations of unseen death.  They zoom in.  The killers are thousands of miles away.  They are stimulated by the death they bring according to one pilot in a recent interview.  The remote pilots don’t have to see the bodies, the blood.  They see a flash and move on.  “We don’t get it wrong” one pilot said on 60 Minutes recently.  A wedding party - - terrorists.  Nothing wrong.  A funeral - - terrorists.  Nothing wrong. 


Too bad. 

So sorry. 

Obama expresses regret and promises to “make every effort” to avoid further “tragedies.” Already in Afghanistan and Pakistan we are covered in blood.  Rivers of blood.  Oceans of blood.  The pilots of the drones kill the mourners or the celebrants and then go home to breakfast with the wife and kiddies.


This is computer-game killing.  Targeted.  Ruthless.  Anonymous.  Value free.  Movements on a computer screen.  Voiceless, virtual humans - - obliterated.


Push the button. 


Time for my shift to end.  Got to get home to the wife and kids who move about the world without the faintest inkling that someone, somewhere could be watching, waiting, plotting.  Armed.  Lethal.  Our brothers, sons, fathers, mothers, sisters, aunts. 


Is this the kind of country we want to be?  “We are morally no different from the psychopaths within the Taliban,” Chris Hedges wrote on the 11th, “who Afghans remember we empowered, funded and armed during the 10-year war with the Soviet Union.  Acid thrown in a girl’s face or beheadings?  Death delivered from the air or fields of shiny cluster bombs?  This is the language of war.  It is what we speak.  It is what those we fight speak.”


  This is not change we can believe in.


Millions, tens of millions of people voted for candidate Obama in November, willingly suspending disbelief, hoping, yearning for someone who would change the trajectory of the militarist, imperialist country we have become under presidents and congresses for the past sixty years.  They believed brand Obama.  But the brand was a marketing tool, a way to elect a more acceptable representative of the ruling military-industrial-congressional complex. 


Where are the Democrats?  Unfortunately, and tragically for our future, they are all with Obama and the empire.

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