Sanctioning America's sanctimoniousness

Americans continue to be treated as children-citizens by presidential decree… not one that would require an official seal, but one that continuously asks them to look forward; seldom if ever to take a peek back. Many presidents have at times evoked the need for such behavior appealing to the so-called “good of the country”… but Obama seems to be the master of forgiveness for what he claims to be in our nation’s best interests.

And, in this regard, no president has ever been so profoundly wrong!

Looking forward will not be the answer unless our past is clear… or cleansed. One gets incredibly tired of the whitewash Americans get from politicians and a government which clearly and unashamedly lie under the guise of doing so “for the good of the people.” In defense of the status quo, perhaps most of us would agree; or our “virtuous” capitalist system, and the powerful elite that run our lives… but for our own good? We would be in a deep state of delirium by believing our self-serving leaders, yet we apparently do.

Obama could have, and should have, opted to tell the American people the truth at the onset of his presidency. The truth about the economy and a system that is both corrupt and bankrupt. The truth about our international modus operandi that polices the world as if it were America’s own playground, using an obscene budget-breaking military might to engender its/our own enemy, what we have righteously come to define as “terrorism.” And, most importantly, to acknowledge the truth of America’s amorality in matters of human rights, making the necessary amends.

Starting with the latter, isn’t it about time we face the truth about America’s consent to torture via its leaders? Why are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney (the gorilla-VP and chief mentor to the president), Alberto Gonzales (then White House Counsel), and attorneys Jay Beebe (now a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals) and John Yoo (presently a tenured professor at Berkeley) – and several others in government positions who had the moral duty to dissent – roaming the streets free instead of paying for their crimes in prison cells? But Obama is fully aware that bringing these criminals to justice is a no-winner in the game of politics, particularly when we have such a divided country where half or more of the people believe – or have been brainwashed to believe – that torture is in “our case” justified, always under the pretense of ubiquitous self-preservation.

And if we accept torture as justified… the same morality leads us to accept the crimes of our military; after all, they are the “defenders of our freedoms”… as repugnantly idiotic as that may sound when applied to crimes that have been perpetrated by soldiers under our orders and flag. Have we asked ourselves what the final disposition was on those horrific crimes perpetrated in Iraq, whether the holocaust in Fallujah or the incident in Haditha almost 5 years ago where 24 Iraqi men, women and children were massacred by US marines? Yes, all but one has been exonerated… with the NCO in charge, Sergeant Frank Wuterich, still awaiting trial for “negligent homicide.” As the late congressman John Murtha put it, “There was no firefight; there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” And just as it had happened with the My Lai (Vietnam) massacre four decades before, where 350 unarmed old men, women and children were cut down in a brief period of time, “our soldier-criminals” went scot-free… for unlike the Germans, or the Japanese, we have yet to lose a decisive war so as to be made accountable for war crimes. Sgt. Wuterich is the new face for Lt. Calley, the symbol of criminality, a criminality for which no American will be asked to pay a price; after all, we intend to tell the world that home-grown criminals – there should be no extenuating circumstances for hate or vengeance on innocents – do weigh higher in our scale of preference, esteem if you please, than foreign innocent civilians. And as for torture… that is something no longer happening, we are told, so let’s follow the president’s request: and look forward, and not look back. We refuse to heed advice from our great philosopher George Santayana… and sure enough, we are asking for history to repeat itself.

So much for torture, military crimes, and the soon to erode military power that will come from the US losing hegemony of the seas… as China secures its maritime borders via missiles (Dong Feng F21D) that will render American supercarriers, now dominating the seas, as vulnerable as anything else floating thousands of miles away from Beiging.

But the coup de grace that will likely unravel Obama’s presidency, and possibly the fate of his party, will be the inability to look back at the economy and place the blame where it belonged at the very start of his presidency eighteen months ago. Instead, his choice (or chosen bad advice) was to become a populist hero by promising “the undeliverable” in an economy where the true culprit is a capitalist system run amock. All his genius, articulateness and charisma cannot help Obama with a moribund economy that had reached its low ebb due to widespread greed and a capitalist system without controls.

Look forward, not back… says Obama. But wouldn’t it make more sense, at least for now, to look at the past and correct the mistakes we’ve made? Or even use some common sense in planning current events? How can a president with a nation in great economic pain allow his spouse and daughter (plus an entourage of imperial proportions including 70 special agents) to vacation in cordoned-off Spanish beaches? Shouldn’t Michelle Obama and Sasha have done the right symbolic thing, visiting the oil-polluted beaches of the Gulf (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) and not the Meditterranean? Two graduates of Harvard Law School making such a decision?

Unfortunately, Mr. President, we will not do well or learn our lessons if we look forward without seeing what we are leaving behind… and correcting our past mistakes; making an effort to bring to justice responsible key individuals from prior administrations.