I'm not "writing Obama off" -- whatever that means. I'm just looking at what he is actually saying, his actual positions, and what he has actually done -- and not done -- in the U.S. Senate. In the previous post, I noted a long list of actions -- both substantive and symbolic -- that Obama could have already taken from his position of national power, then I concluded: "But he did not do so; he is not doing so now; and there is no reason to believe that he will do so in the future, despite the eloquent lip service he occasionally pays to one or two of these points."My pro-Obama friends will shake their heads, but the whole piece is worth reading. We better know what's going on, because it's coming right at us.
Of course, I can't predict the future. Anything is possible, and perhaps Obama will astound us all with a new American revolution that will restore the Republic and dismantle the vast military empire America has built over many decades. Perhaps he will declare an end to the "War on Terror" -- the use of massive, nation-breaking military force, state terror, torture, rendition, secret prisons, concentration camps, and Constitution-stripping tyranny -- to deal with isolated groups of extremists that pose no existential threat to the United States. Perhaps he will establish a "Truth Commission" to investigate and prosecute the many high crimes of the Bush Administration. Perhaps he will change his position on Iraq, and call for a genuine withdrawal of all American forces there. Perhaps he will change his bellicose position on Iran, which he enunciated so forcefully to AIPAC recently. Perhaps he will forthrightly condemn the American-backed "regime change" invasion of Somalia, which has created the worst humanitarian disaster in the world (outside of Asia's recent natural disasters). Perhaps instead of stoking fears about the non-existent "Social Security crisis" -- and attending to the many Wall Street bankers and elitist lobbyists on his team -- he will call for the repeal of the draconian Bankruptcy Bill, he will shift billions of dollars from the Pentagon to the rebuilding of New Orleans and the restoration of the thousands upon thousands of refugees to their homes. Perhaps he will do all these things, and more -- even though he has not given the slightest indication whatsoever that this is what he would do in office.
Rather, in many cases, the opposite is true. He says he will do "everything, and I mean everything" to stop Iran from getting a single nuclear bomb like the thousands in the American arsenal and the hundreds in Israel's arsenal. He will take "no options" off the table in this feverish quest, including, one can only assume, the Hillary-like "obliteration" of Iran and its 70 million people. He has pledged to enlarge the American military machine, already gorged to monstrous, unmanageable size by blood and corruption. This in turn will guarantee the continued militarization of the American economy and our foreign policy, geared toward the continual fomenting of "war and rumors of war" to justify the all-devouring machine. He pledges to continue the "War on Terror," but to do it "better, smarter," and perhaps even expanding it into Pakistan. He pledges to leave behind an unspecified number of American troops in Iraq "and the region" -- forces that will continue to launch attacks in that broken land, sowing more hatred, more blowback for America.
These are simply facts, drawn from Obama's own speeches and position papers. What sort of "perspective" should we take toward these facts? Should we squint real hard and pretend they're not there?
....There is always hope of America becoming better, there is always hope for positive change. But that hope does not reside -- and has never resided -- in a single politician, or party, or faction. It resides in every individual citizen: in what they think and believe, in what they will accept and countenance, in what they will not stand for, in what they will work for. Hope resides in the amount of knowledge and truth and insight that we can all produce and disseminate and act upon. And hope depends on our ability -- and our willingness -- to confront reality as it is, to deal with our leaders and would-be leaders as they are, not as we wish them to be. For how can you change anything if you cannot see it clearly?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Search for Info/News on Torture
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