Obama becoming a consummate politician

For a politician, being articulate and intelligent, even when saying the “right things” to please friends’, foes’ and fence-sitters’ ears, does not imply existence of wisdom or, for that matter, leadership. We have just placed such a politician in the White House to take on the reins of this nation, and from day one after the votes had been counted, each and every decision Obama has made seems as if done solely with the aim of achieving a net positive result in overall political constituencies; credibility… or “doing the right thing”… be damned.

Obama is quickly becoming the consummate centrist in American politics. If the Pope stands in the center, Obama is going to show Americans that he is more papist than the pope. Not necessarily centrist in ideology or moderation, but centrist with respect as to where the vote is… where Americans stand, right or wrong. And he is succeeding, just like Bill Clinton did; for, after all, Obama chose to have the same group of whisperers as his Democratic predecessor. He is becoming the supremely accomplished politician.

A presumed purveyor of change for America, Obama is showing us not so much the road to change for the nation but how he is personally accepting unsavory change. His apologists, many of my progressive friends among them, may say that there is a master plan behind the president’s surrendering on many progressive and moral issues, but that is only hope mixed with tons of rationalization in their part. I, for one, have had it apologizing for Obama’s decisions time and again… and feel that he is proving to be, in many respects, little better than George W. Bush was, trying to satisfy us with a fresh coat of paint in a room that cries for complete redecoration.

So Obama had to sack Gen. David McKiernan! Heck, that’s just but one of the many unpleasant things the ruler of this monarchist Republic must do to keep the specter of our legions alive throughout the world. A new general assuming command in Pashtun-land is unlikely to change at all the outcome of the war there, but it does go a needed step farther in proving that Obama is not an anti-militarist.

A step which has now been followed by a short run as the president capitulated to the wishes of the Pentagon by denying permission to the publishing of those “abuse-torture” pictures of the American military in Iraq that the courts had conceded to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). No one now will dare accuse Barack Obama of being less of a Cesar, a less worthy commander-in-chief, than any of his predecessors. Or so poor Obama thinks! Keeping the fate of Iraq and Afghanistan de facto in the hands of the military will turn out to be a major mistake in his presidency.

Let’s face it, key politicians whether Republicans or Democrats (read, House Speaker Pelosi) were not misled by former president Bush on waterboarding and other forms of torture. They, like the overwhelming majority of their constituents, two-thirds on the basis of recent polls, don’t very much care about denouncing torture or safeguarding the rights of non-Americans, particularly those whose ethnicities don’t reflect well in our national mirror. The issue has been so divisive in the United States that the one-third minority which stands against torture – and for human rights – has had to resort to a rationale which states that torture shouldn’t be used because it doesn’t work… rather than say, torture must not be used because it is inhumane and wrong. Needless to say, the argument that it is illegal by international law is of little consequence for people who accept no laws adopted beyond their own frontiers.

Our apparent disdain for human rights, where they appear in conflict with our desires and our way of life, is appalling; but even more abhorrent is the prejudicial way in which we place a tangible value in a human life, “ours versus theirs.” The number of Afghan civilian casualties which are recently becoming collateral damage in our killing sprees, mostly women and children, are being assigned a value of $2,000 per death and $1,000 per major injury – Karzai no doubt placing such value at our request! Try and compare those figures with the $3.1 million average per victim of the 9/11 tragedy. Now you can look in the mirror and see yourself as being worth 1,500 Afghans. A very sick reminder of what our warmongering, consumerist society has become.

As for Obama, his handling of the economy should have already shown that he is far from being anti-business… anti big-business, that is… thanks to a cadre of status-quo politicians and economists far more concerned with saving capitalism in its present form than with rescuing our raped economy and the future of our progenies.

Oh how I wish I would have to eat my words; that at the end of the day, this president would prove me wrong; truly change the course of this nation, and help bring to justice those criminals in the past administration that brought this nation to shame and ruin.

No, Mr. President, we cannot move on, as you keep suggesting; not until we recognize, accept and make amends for all the criminality incurred in our name during the recent past. All those trips you made overseas at the onset of your presidency, or the interview at al-Arabiya TV, will be seen by the world as nothing but empty palaver.