Telling A Lie And A Truth In The Same Sentence
In a speech on Wednesday, Obama admitted that his drone attacks have killed civilians including children – hundreds of children, I should add. But, to be fair to the President, I refrain from saying “innocent children” because I have to admit we don’t know if those children were really innocent. According to US foreign policy, one must prove his or her innocence to avoid getting assassinated and frankly no one had ever proved those kids’ innocence. That’s the approach in deciding who’ll be blown to pieces: “suspected” Al Qaeda members and sympathizers and those who “plan” to attack “US interests” are all fair game and so are their families. Besides, they have reason to believe that at least some of those dark-skinned Muslim children, who lose fathers and uncles and other family members, will grow up to commit, or at least support, acts of terror against innocent US soldiers who mind their own business – in those foreign countries or neighboring countries (lots of neighboring countries with US troops to choose from).
Obama went on to suggest that “like all wars”, “war on terror” (a completely manufactured and bogus pretext for waging wars of imperial aggression in Asia, Middle East and Africa), should eventually come to an end, although, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pentagon officials suggested the war on terror would continue for at least another 10 or even 20 years.
You have to give it to Obama. He’s something else. No wonder many of our genius liberals “love it when [they] wake up and Obama is president”. Who else can give such meaningless and meaningful speeches, at the same time? I’m reminded of a comedian I saw on a comedy show who said: TV commercials are amazing. They somehow manage to tell the truth and lie in the same sentence. Car dealers, for example, say: “come drive away a brand new car with no money down, and if you’ve got no credit, bad credit, delinquencies or bankruptcies it’s no problem, “on approved credit”. They lie for two minutes and then end it with a piece of truth: “on approved credit”.
Some pundits and “analysts” said his speech was significant and meant a change of direction. Rachel Maddow of Obama Worship Network, otherwise known as MSNBC, insisted “rhetoric is important”, when reminded that it was just that. It starts with rhetoric, she added!
Obama justified assassinating Anwar Al-Awlaki because he had issued a fatwa against the US and was planning to attack Americans and there was no opportunity to capture him, but he forgot to mention that no indictment was ever issued against him and no evidence was ever presented. He also forgot to mention three other US citizens who were also executed with US drones, including Al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son, Abdulrahman, which Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to on May 22, in a letter to Congress. When questioned about that assassination, Obama’s Press Secretary at the time, Robert Gibbs, who now is a frequent guest on news shows, including MSNBC, said that the 16 year old boy who was also a US citizen “should have had a more responsible father.”
Obama also suggested that the “Authorization to use military force” which was granted to the President on September 14, 2001, in the pro-war hysteria that had gripped the Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, be shifted back to Congress, which according to the Constitution, is the body that’s supposed to make war and peace decisions. Even if we were to agree with the action of the Congress in 2001, the President – Bush or Obama – never really had the authority to wage all the wars, drone attacks, regime changes and assassinations that they both committed – especially Obama – under that authorization. This is what the relevant section said:
“(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
Obama, being a constitutional lawyer knows full well that he’s acting extra-judiciously and in violation of the Constitution. He just wants people to think that he gives a damn about the rule of law, while in reality, he doesn’t. He tells lies while at the same time tells a truth. His speech, if devoid of content, was amusing. Just as he did when he tried to justify secretly seizing phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors to scare off their sources who might report on government misconduct and atrocities, he seemed to be saying: “stop me before I commit more crimes”.
After his Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records causing irreparable harm to not only AP, but all news organizations who can potentially expose government wrongdoing, he said he’d be open to a federal “shield law”, which would protect journalists from government pressure to reveal their sources. In other words, he says: I did it because it wasn’t illegal. In his latest speech, he seemed to be asking Congress to take the authorization back because apparently he can’t help himself from killing people in the name of “war on terror”.
Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International USA said: “The Obama administration continues to claim authority to kill virtually anyone anywhere in the world under the ‘global battlefield’ legal theory and a radical redefinition of the concept of imminence.” Dixon Osburn of Human Rights First said: “the administration appears to be institutionalizing a problematic targeted killing policy without public debate on whether the rules are lawful or appropriate.”
Obama has clearly broken new ground in usurping special and dangerous authorities for the office of the Presidency – rights never given in the Constitution. And now he pleads ignorance and says that some of that authority should go back to Congress. If he honestly believed in what he preaches, why would he not only use that misplaced and misinterpreted authority, but go way beyond it for five years? That’s classic Obama. He claims to believe in government transparency, while leading one of the most secretive administrations ever. He claims to support government accountability, while his Justice Department goes after and punishes whistle blowers, and threatens reporters’ sources. He says Guantanamo should be closed, while refusing to use his authority to do it. He claims to champion the rule of law, while violating it, at the same time. And, as the comedian would say: he tells lies and truth in the same sentence.
The pretense of acting in accordance to the law is clearly just that: a pretense and a weak one at that. Nor is this anything new. For generations, US presidents have waged wars without regard to and with the full acquiescence of the Congress who refuses to hold the Executive Branch accountable, not to mention all the covert wars and acts of war waged by or with the help of the CIA and special ops. The fact is that the Executive Branch executes what the corporate Empire wants and the Congress is there to give the system legitimacy and a semblance of legality. The ruling corporate oligarchy, along with all government branches and the media it hires and owns, does what it wants for their enrichment. The rest is just for public deception.