Can the Gangster Recruit the Pope?

The Subject: Source: Mediaite

AJ: They are both liberals…

XB: When you say Obama is a “liberal” in what sense are you using the term? In terms of his economic policies and his foreign policy he has been very right wing. For example, his Affordable Care Act was modeled after a healthcare program first proposed by the Heritage Foundation. In terms of civil liberties he has been more right wing than George W. Bush. This includes his defense of the NSA, record deportations, a pardon record worse than Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., and a refusal to do anything of value on the ecological front. For example, he has not ratified the Kyoto Protocols, a protocol 192 other countries have assented to. In the realm of foreign policy one can just look at his extrajudicial assassination campaign where he murders terror suspects without charge or trial. Bush kidnapped and tortured suspects which is damnable but not as bad as outright murder. I think it is an insult to actual liberalism to call Obama a liberal. I agree that he may be more liberal in terms of things like gay marriage and reproductive rights but on core policy issues that determine the organization of power in the US he is very right wing.

Here are some sources:

EB: @ XB: Keep in mind he didn’t start the Wars that brought down all the hate against Americans.

XB: @EB: It’s true that Obama did not start the war in Afghanistan and Iraq but I think it’s a mistake to say “all the hate against Americans” that we are now witnessing across the world is simply the product of the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The legitimate resentment that many oppressed populations of the world have toward the US can be attributed to US support for repressive dictatorships and its consistent opposition to democratic change in strategically significant areas of the globe.

Long before Bush launched the so-called war on terror there was a reservoir of hatred for US policies in the Middle East. The difference with the Bush administration was that the September 11th attacks finally forced many Americans who were otherwise indifferent to the suffering of others to start paying more attention to what underlies the hatred.

So I think it doesn’t tell us much to ask who started the disastrous situation the US and the world now finds itself in because every administration has been identical in its belligerence in this respect. Rather the question should be if President Obama, when presented with this history of oppression, chose to rectify for past wrongs or expand upon the criminality that characterized his predecessors.

I think at every turn Obama has done the latter. Maybe the most illustrative example of his decision to continue in the tradition of criminality was when he advised that we “look forward, not backwards,” when faced with the question of investigating the Bush administration for torture.

EB: @ XB: Keep in mind. US presidents that have gone too far in exposing the wrong doings by the US were killed. Kennedy comes to mind. I think Obama is well Ware of that he can only do so much. The money machine that profits from war is very powerful

XB: I think it’s incorrect to characterize Kennedy as someone who was killed because he went “too far” in “exposing the wrongdoings of the US.” A reading of US history demonstrates that Kennedy played a decisive role in perpetuating crimes. This includes supporting the military dictatorship in Guatemala and the bombing of South Vietnam, which was an act of military aggression by the standards of the United Nations. He also attempted to murder Fidel Castro and authorized covert terrorist attacks against Cuba.

But suppose your assertion is true and any President who dares to challenge US criminality is bound to be assassinated. Does this in any way justify the resort to criminality? All this suggests is that President Obama is not only a war criminal but a coward. If you think murdering innocent men, women, and children in illegal wars is worth continuing in order to prevent your own assassination I think you don’t deserve any respect as a leader. People in the so-called third world stand up for what they think is right under far more severe forms of repression with the near-certainty that they will be murdered.

But quite apart from these speculations can you cite any period from President Obama’s presidency that hinted that he was someone who opposed US criminality outside of the quite standard tactical objections to savagery that is commonplace in imperial society? Take for example Obama’s so-called critique of the Iraq war. He called it “dumb.”

Murdering an estimated 500,000 people in an illegal invasion and occupation is not a “dumb” decision, it’s an international crime which would have landed weaker leaders in the Hague to be tried and possibly executed. Even when Obama withdrew from Iraq he only did so because the Maliki government wouldn’t grant US soldiers legal immunity (the so-called zero option.)

I think it’s the task of informed citizens to harshly criticize the criminal policies of national leaders. We shouldn’t be making excuses for them. There’s a huge and immensely influential media apparatus that does this for every president. If we discard the rhetoric and simply look at Obama’s policies I think you’d arrive at a similar conclusion.

MR: They speak the SAME language and I LOVE IT!!!

XB: You do know that Obama is the same guy who said “I’m really good at killing people,” in regard to his international campaign of extrajudicial murder? What do you think Pope Francis would have to say about murdering people from the sky without charge or trial?

MR: @ XB: I live in a community where crime is normalcy and black and brown children are numb to it. This was waaay before President Obama took the oath of office.

XB: What does this have to do with the question that I posed? I simply asked what the Pope would think about extrajudicial murder. Also where in my comment did you sense any undertone on race relations? My point wasn’t a comment on race. It was a comment on morality. Can you expand upon your comment because I’m having a hard time figuring out why it’s relevant to my comment about drone strikes.


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