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Thursday: Glen’s righteous rant and then he loses the plot at the end. Sigh.

Not Your Sweetie pointed me to a righteous rant that Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report made about the left’s capitulation to Obama.  Glen thinks that Obama is not the lesser evil.  He is the evil.  But the problem remains that many voters on the left are quite willing to let him get away with murdering America because they are fixed on intentions.  I couldn’t say it any better so I will let Glen do the honors:

Who is the Effective Evil? I haven’t even gotten into his actual term as president, much less his expansion of the theaters of war, his unique assaults on International Law, and his massacre of Due Process of Law in the United States. But I want to pause right here, because piling up facts on Obama’s Most Effective Evils doesn’t seem to do any good if the prevailing conversation isn’t really about facts – but about intentions.

The prevailing assumption on the Left is that Obama has good intentions. Heintends to the Right Thing – or, at least, he intends to do better than the Republicans intend to do. It’s all supposed to be about intentions. Let’s be clear: There is absolutely no factual basis to believe he intends to do anything other than the same thing he has already done, whether Democrats control Congress or not, which is to serve Wall Street’s most fundamental interests.

But, the whole idea of debating Obama’s intentions is ridiculous. It’s psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.

I have no doubt that New Gingrich and Republicans in general have worse intentions for the future of my people – of Black people – than Michelle Obama’s husband does. But, that doesn’t matter. Black people are not going to roll over for whatever nightmarish Apocalypse the sick mind of Newt Gingrich would like to bring about. But, they have already rolled over for Obama’s economic Apocalypse in Black America. There was been very little resistance. Which is just another way of saying that Obama has successfully blunted any retribution by organized African America against the corporate powers that have devastated and destabilized Black America in ways that have little precedence in modern times.

Obama has protected these Wall Streeters from what should be the most righteous wrath of Black folks. To take a riff from Shakespeare’s Othello, “Obama has done Wall Street a great service, and they know it.” He has proven to be fantastically effective at serving the Supremely Evil. Don’t you dare call him the Lesser.

He is the More Effective Evil because Black Folks – historically, the most progressive cohort in the United States – and Liberals, and even lots of folks that call themselves Marxists, let him get away murder! Yet, people still insist on calling him a Lesser Evil, while he drives a stake through Due Process of Law.

I have not spoken much about the second half of Obama’s first term in office. That is the period when the Left generally becomes disgusted with what they call his excessive “compromises” and “cave-ins” to Republicans. But that is a profoundly wrong reading of reality. Obama was simply continuing down his own Road to Austerity – the one he, himself, had initiated before even taking office. The only person caving in and compromising to the Republicans, was the Obama that many of YOU made up in your heads.

Yep, pretty much.  Obama never was that guy the left thought he was.  He left it all to the imagination and flattered his fan base and love bombed them.  What we need now is an intervention for the left to deprogram them.  This faith in Obama and the Democrats to somehow hold the line or make it right flies in the face of all of the evidence to the contrary.  This religion is bad for you.  You know it but you keep going to the altar and making sacrifices for it anyway.  Find a new church before you waste more of your life pining for a paradise that they promise but never intend to deliver.

So, Glen has all the stuff about who Obama really serves pretty much nailed down.  Then he pivots and starts catering to his base.  This one is anti-war.  This is where I despair.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m as anti-war as anyone on the left and always have been but I’m also a rational being.  Let me assure you that I have every reason to want the wars to end because my only brother is serving in Afghanistan.  So, the sooner we stabilize and pull out, the better.  But I don’t want to leave the region in worse shape than when we invaded.  Let’s put the blame for the terrible state of affairs where it belongs, with Bush/Cheney.  Destabilization was their goal, I think.  That guarantees that we will have to stay in central Asia for a long time.  And Pakistan is a nuclear powderkeg run by Islamacists who are just slightly more sane than their neighbors to the west.  Getting out of Afghanistan was never going to be easy in the best of circumstances.  Iraq is a different story.  Let’s just leave already.  Iran is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.  If Israel wants to go there against our warnings, let them do it on their own dime.  I’m sick of catering to Israel and their own extremist base.

But I am sickened by the response of the left to Syria.  Darfur got a lot of attention a few years back and everyone remembers what happened to Bosnia and Rwanda.  But there are children in Syria who are being maimed and are dying in pain without treatment, murdered by their own government who has turned its guns on civilians and I am watching the left cross its arms and tighten its lips and turn a cold shoulder to this suffering.  What would it take for them to want to call NATO airstrikes?  How many Syrians will have to die?  How many reporters and Syrian activists will have to die?  The uprising in Syria has taken its toll of foreign correspondents who die from lack of access to medical care as they sneak in and out of the country to cover events or are killed by those events.  And remember that the Syrian uprising is part of the Arab Spring.  Why would we want to curtail that?  I’m sorry, but people are people.  I don’t care what their political views are, butchering young human beings is morally wrong.  If it’s wrong for a soldier to go on a rampage against Afghanis, it’s just as wrong to leave Syrians to their fates unaided.

There is a point where anti-war activism makes no sense.  The lack of compassion is astonishing.  But even if they had a point about their complete, adamant, unmovable resistance to intervening on behalf of other human beings, they are going about it all wrong.  To end the wars, you must end the economic war in this country first.  That war is commanding all of our attention at this time.  There will not be a popular movement in this country to end the wars right this very minute until working people stop worrying about how they are going to keep a roof over their heads and feed their kids.  You don’t have to think back too many years to remember that the anti-war movement was much stronger and got better press back when the economy was stronger, before the financial collapse of 2008.  The collapse has sucked the oxygen out of the that fight.  Anti-war activists will not get the sympathy of the public if the average person thinks they are out of touch with when war is not a priority for them at the present time.

This is the Shock Doctrine in all its regalia.  Naomi Klein should be all over this.  Marshall your troops against the economy, re-establish control of your own government and then the wars will end and no sooner.

If you are truly anti-war, you are wasting your time attending meetings and drafting resolutions about how to end the wars over there.  Focus your attention at home on the economy and holding the Democratic party accountable.  It always was and always will be the economy stupid.

46 Responses

  1. I’d take out the ‘stupid’ at the end because I’m not into that label. but otherwise, very good!

    • Made it better but didn’t take it out. I want to reference the Clinton campaign motto because it’s as true now as it was back then. It always is and always will be the economy and anyone who doesn’t get that is one sandwich short of a picnic.

      • Ah! That works — 🙂 .. I totally missed the more obscure reference.

        I’m starting to wonder (because it’s SUCH a consistent pattern) if horrible wars are used as a distraction from economic woes and progress.

        Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan — terrible. But, while we focus on stopping the wars candidates who are absolutely terrible on domestic & economic AND military issues slip into power.

        At this point, I’m against war not just from my sincerely pacifist perspective but, also because We cannot afford them financially. It’s not just The Economy Stupid but, our Domestic Economy, Stupid.

        We’re in desperate trouble. And sinking fast.

        • and no help in sight ;evil;

        • No, we can’t afford any more wars. That’s true. But airstriking Syria as part of a NATO force is not going to war in Syria any more than it was going to war in Libya.

        • “I’m starting to wonder (because it’s SUCH a consistent pattern) if horrible wars are used as a distraction from economic woes and progress.”

          I think that’s backwards. The economy was ticking along okay until the Vietnam War sucked it dry. The same with the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars. Yes, the tech bubble burst, but the economy would have been much more resilient without the war spending drain. The military/industrial complex is sucking up all the resources and the poor and elderly are taking the blame.

          • And how do you control the military industrial complex? You need to get rid of Republicans and some conservative Democrats.

      • Though I would suggest a very narrow-purpose version of that saying to be used only at times: ” It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the stupid economy.”

  2. This country is going bankrupt, first and foremost due to its massive military spending, far beyond what is actually needed to defend this country.

    The plutocrats of the world chose this country to be the global enforcer of plutocracy after WW2, because it was the only country capable of doing that, as the British Empire had been exhausted beyond recovery by the two World Wars. However, the people of the USA, historically, had usually displayed a sensible reluctance to interfere in other people’s wars. So, the plutocrats, and their wholly owned subsidiary, the US government, had to scare the USAmerican people into militarism by waving the Communist bogeyman in their faces 24-7. It worked all too well, frightening the citizenry into signing off on massive (and graft-ridden) military spending as well as curtailments of civil liberties, and of course the constant toll of blood.

    It was an unending gravy train for the War Pigs, until the USSR spoiled it all by collapsing.

    The War Pigs had to find a new bogeyman.

    They thought they had found one in Iraq, but the 1991 war was too brief. Saddam looked like a joke after that. They flailed about for an enemy throughout the Clinton years, until al-Qaida finally obliged them. [I can’t prove it, but I guess I will go to my grave suspecting the Chimperial Cheney Assministration knew the 9/11 attacks were coming and decided to let them happen, knowing they could get away with that thanks to the ironclad corporate control of the media.] A Middle Eastern enemy was ideal for the War Pigs’ purposes, as they also coveted the oil and other resources of that region. Afghanistan has no oil, but plenty of valuable solid minerals. However, since Afghanistan has no oil, and they wanted oil, the War Pigs had to find “evidence” that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks, to justify a 2nd war with Iraq. That’s what the torture was for–what it’s always for, the production of false confessions.

    Unfortunately for the War Pigs, it turned out that when the Iraqis were fighting for their family, their country, and their faith–people and things they actually LOVED, rather than a tinhorn dictator’s ambitions–they fought a lot harder than they did in 1991, and so the War Pigs’ plans went glimmering.

    It’s not even a moral issue any longer. This country simply can’t AFFORD to be the gendarme of global plutocracy any longer. Military spending is sending our economy into the grave.

    End the Empire. Bring our people home. The world doesn’t want us out there, anyway, and I would be happy to oblige them. The Middle East is unsalvageable. We CAN’T save them, and we’ve already killed too many of them in our attempts to dominate their resources–which we also CAN’T do. They have good reason to hate us. Let’s just get out of there and stay out.

    • WE can’t do it but if NATO decides to run airstrikes, we would be obligated by our treaty to join. That’s the way treaties work.

      • Then we need to abrogate all of those treaties and come home. Our economic survival requires massive cuts in military spending.

      • Is NATO allowed to do that under International Treaty Law and the United Nations Charter? Isn’t that why we needed a unanimous Security Council Resolution to get legal permission and clearance for the Libya airstrikes? And isn’t that the permission that China-Russia
        withhold and prevent by vetoing any relevant UN Security Council Resolutions in this case?

        • Given the effort that Sec. Clinton put into trying to change the Russians’ minds, it may very well be that we were going to intervene in Syria. Maybe there will be humanitarian assistance.

  3. The NATO air strike cure for what ails Syria is called into question:

    “The awful work might be done with bombs and poison gas delivered from the air, but in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, East Timor, and Sierra Leone, the weapons were rifles, machetes, and clubs; the killing and terrorizing of the population was carried out from close up. And a risk- free intervention undertaken from far away—especially if it promises to be effective in the long run—is likely to cause an immediate speed-up on the ground. This can be stopped only if the intervention itself shifts to the ground, and this shift seems to me morally necessary. The aim of the intervention, after all, is to rescue people in trouble, and fighting on the ground, in the case as I have described it, is what rescue requires.”
    -Michael Watzer

    Click to access walzer-triumphofjustwartheory.pdf

    Also read Glenn Greenwald today for an update on the aftermath of NATO sfforts in Libya.

    • Yes, I realize that this would be very difficult. I wouldn’t be in favor of extending US military personnel to ground combat. But to say we just aren’t going to do anything? Yeah, I’m agin it. We need to come up with a solution, whether it is aggressive diplomacy or air strikes or humanitarian aid. Ignoring it is not an option.

    • Bill Clinton’s airstrikes worked fine against Milosevic’s “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo. But it may have been easier to get M to pull out of Kosovo, and Saddam to pull out of Kuwait, than to overturn a dictator in his own capitol. (Though Bill’s efforts eventually did result in Milosevic’s own citizens turning him over to the Hague.)

  4. So, as in Libya, these are the “good guys” you want us to start an illegal war to support? Because that’s worked out so well….

    From Human Rights Watch:

    “Armed opposition elements have carried out serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to the Syrian National Council (SNC) and other leading Syrian opposition groups. Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha. Human Rights Watch has also received reports of executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians….

    “Other video footage reviewed by Human Rights Watch and information received in interviews indicates that members of armed opposition groups have executed people in their custody whom they suspected of crimes against the opposition.

    “One video, released on YouTube on February 4, shows a man hung from a tree by his neck in front of several armed fighters. Commentary indicates that he is a shabeeha fighter captured and executed by the FSA Kafr Takharim battalion on January 22. In a second video,which appears to have been released by the FSA Al-Farouq battalion on YouTube, a person identified as a member of Air Force Intelligence based in Homs is interrogated and confesses to shooting at protesters. The detainee’s face is very badly beaten, cut, and bruised, and he appears disoriented. Written statements accompanying the video state that it was filmed before his execution, and the interrogator in the video, amid curses, asks him for his final request before dying.”


    • Oh my god, does the University of Iowa actually give degrees to people who can’t think?
      If NATO decided to bomb Syria, we’d be hard pressed to not join in. We would fulfill our obligations because that is what treaty members do. It’s perfectly legal and responsible. Anyone who would say otherwise does not understand the nature of NATO and what we are pledged to do. And this would be a very good cause.
      Iraq was a stupid war and Afghanistan quickly turned into one but that doesn’t mean that there are no circumstances where it would be inappropriate to intervene.
      The argument you are making is that because some opposition leaders are taking out their opponents that we should not try to end the violence against innocent civilians by their own government. If one opposition force member behaves badly, then the whole population should suffer. We should not try to prevent the government from causing a massacre. We should just let them endanger the lives of foreign correspondents in Syria. That the deaths of reporters and journalists and activists who are covering the events in Homs, well, that’s just too damn bad. Is that your argument? Because that sounds stupid to me.
      But, hey, I didn’t vote for the Lightbringer in 2008 so I have nothing to feel embarrassed about.

      • How much of our blood and treasure are you willing to spill to “save” foreigners who probably–with good reason–hate our guts anyway?

        • If it is just limited to airstrikes like we did in Libya, I think it would be money well spent. It’s unfortunate that so much money has been wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan when it could be put to better use somewhere else.
          I think what bothers me the most about the left’s reaction is that it sounds like “fuck’em”. Even if you don’t want to pay for it or question its utility or think they will hate you, no innocent child or civilian in Syria deserves the “fuck’em” attitude. We’ve become hardened to the realities of what is happening to people who through no fault of their own are living under military rule and a brutal dictatorship. You’d just better hope that if we ever have a similar situation here that the people around the world don’t just spit, shrug their shoulders and walk away and leave us to our fates.

          • I haven’t read anything about the Syria thing. So, I’m not speaking to that issue specifically.

            I think there’s a deep distrust of how our acquiescence would be interpreted. Look at how Hillary’s so-called vote for the Iraq war was interpreted … I’m sure she thought she was voting for UN intervention in the case that the inspectors found Weapons of Mass Destruction. Instead the inspectors found nothing, were kicked out of the country and we went in with all guns blazing.

            When our government is controlled – dominated – by the bat-shit crazies, how do we trust them with a limited-war.

            I can’t stand the idea. I’m sorry that it’s offensive to you. But, as someone almost said, you fight wars with the leadership you have. And I don’t want to fight any more wars with these guys.

            As I said, I’ve read nothing about this but, is it at all possible that there is some sort of CARROT that could help. Does it always have to be guns and sanctions?

          • But this is not a war. It is not like Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, if NATO decided to go in, we probably wouldn’t have many options. We’ve had airstrikes before and it hasn’t meant putting troops on the ground. We just did it in Libya. It’s more like running interference. Syria may be different because targeted airstrikes may be more difficult. I’d be in favor of aggressive diplomacy or humanitarian assistance from off the coast in the Mediterranean. I have no idea how this would work but we’ve sent hospital ships to places before. Or maybe we could talk Israel into running interference for them. They seem anxious to bomb something. Yes, yes, I know this is out of the question. But jeez, not doing anything is really rough. This time, there is no exaggeration about the threat to the population. This is really happening.

          • I wouldn’t blame them if they did. We’ll have earned it.

          • Katie, iirc almost all the Sentators voted for the Authorization to Use Military Force. Hillary’s reason was more complicated. Iirc she thought Powell could use it to BLUFF the UN into action.

            Iirc in early 2008, David Brooks wrote a defense of Hillary’s vote in NYT titled “No Apology Necessary” — but I can’t find it now.

        • How much of our blood and treasure are you willing to spill…

          At least enough to neutralize Syria’s Russian-built and Russian-staffed integrated air defense system.

          • Once the decision is made to hit Syria with air strikes, taking down their integrated air defense system–radar, anti-aircraft gun/missle batteries, MiG-29/31 fighter squadrons, air bases–becomes first priority.

            This inevitably leads to the need to strike other military and industrial targets a few days later–army bases, naval port facilities, roads, railyards, power stations, dams, arms and ammunition factories, sewage treatment plants, and so on.

            Air war has its own relentless logic to it, monster from the id. Once the decision is made to begin it, each sortie will follow the last, all set according to a ruthless timetable, all designed to utterly destroy the Syrian nation’s ability to wage war.

          • Why? Because we totally screwed up in Iraq and Afghanistan and we need to atone for it. There really *are* people in the world who need help to free themselves from tyranny and this tyrant is not Al Qaeda. It’s not an issue of terrorism, unless you count terrorism against your own citizens.
            I hate war. I hate that we wasted so much blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if we are going to claim to be protecting innocents and liberating people from oppression, then we damn well better do it, but do it smartly. Nakajima is right. There is a logic to airstrikes. They can be very effective with little risk to Americans. And with coordination from other NATO countries, we are not bearing the cost of the whole operation by ourselves.
            Funny how the Republicans were all gung ho about their catastrophic wars in central asia. Remember “Cut and Run” when we wanted to stop funding the wars? But look who screams the loudest when the US is obligated to fulfill its treaty responsibilities. There are real, serious reasons why we might not want to get involved but hypocritical Republicans are not making them. They just want to disgrace and embarrass our current administration. That reflects badly on the entire country if we can’t keep our promises but Republicans don’t care.

          • The way we atone for it is to get the hell out of the world and stay out.

          • Of course, monster from the id, if the decision is made to hit Syria in such a way, Putin is not entirely averse to hitting the U.S. with a military strike in an unexpected place…my guess would be the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

            The TAP wrecked and in flames. Now THERE’S an image for the evening news.

          • All the more reason to stay out of Syria.

          • Russia does not want to lose control of its naval base in Tartus, Syria, either. If the U.S. and NATO does hit Syria hard, Putin may have little choice but to take Russia into war with the U.S. So a Russian military strike to take out the TAP is quite possible.

            The People’s Republic of China would, of course, then begin mobilizing its army, cancelling all leaves and calling up reserves…

          • Thank you, NK, for making better arguments against military intervention than I would know how to make. 🙂

            I must go away for a while now. Sayonara.

  5. When Glen Ford says:

    I have no doubt that Newt Gingrich and Republicans in general have worse intentions for the future of my people – of Black people – than Michelle Obama’s husband does

    it only reinforces the perception I’ve always had, that it’s not Barack who is (or perceives himself to be?) the black person in the Obama family.

  6. Re intervention into Syria, the EU has now restricted Ms. Assad’s shopping sprees in Europe. That’ll teach him … eh, her … eh …

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not that her behaviour isn’t abominable, but how does this sanction directed at her in any way help the suffering people of Syria?

  7. I’m against intervention in Syria on practical grounds, but that is very different from the unwillingness to ever use military force found in much of the Left. Practical arguments can potentially be countered, and minds changed. I am reminded that Gore Vidal was a young isolationist in the run-up to WWII, and still blames our entry on a conspiracy by FDR.

    • I grimly agree our participation in WW2 was necessary. However, for the interventionists, WW2 was the great example, while for people like me, it was the great exception.

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