10 December 2009

The War President And His Peace Prize

So we have a President who, in accepting a Nobel Peace Prize, talks about a "just war" that just happens to be the one to which he committed thousands of new troops.

I know I'm not the only one who sees the "disconnect." Even the producers of Faux, I mean Fox, News could see it, even if only because it gave them another way to pick at Obama. "War President Accepts Peace Prize." That's what emblazoned the screens of those who watched their so-called news program. I saw it in a diner in which I'd stopped on my way to work.

He said something to the effect that sometimes you have to make war in order to get peace. Well, there may be silver lining to his making a statement like that: At least I will never, ever have to explain 1984 again. My students can now see it happening before their eyes.

Let's see: You have to make war to make peace. You have to get fat to get skinny. You have to kill in order to give birth. You have to become poor to get rich. You have to ignore in order to learn. Hmm...This is an interesting line of logic, to say the least. Could repression be expression? Maybe Dr. Joyce Brothers (When was the last time you thought about her?) was right, in a way, after all! Maybe Obama should hire her as an advisor.

One more step of that kind of logic, and we come to this conclusion: You have to support repressive thugs in order to bring about democracy. You have to colonize in order to liberate. And, finally, you have to fail at invading a country like Afghanistan--as the Ottomans, British and Russians did--and have your empire fall as a result, in order to secure your place as one of the great powers in the history of nations.

All right. Obama may be ignorant of history. In that regard, he's not alone among Presidents. Nor does the fact that his speech was full of Newspeak make him terribly different from other rulers we've had. But there is one thing that sets him apart from even George W, who was easily the worst President of my lifetime: At least Bush the Younger had an exit strategy, however flawed, for the American invasion of Iraq. On the other hand, Obama is saying that we'll be out of Afghanistan within 18 months, but he's sending in more troops. Say what?

One other area in which he has out-Bushed Bush is in his declaration that people can be held indefinitely and without charge or trial, not only on the suspicion that they've committed crimes (Bush's decision), but just in case they may commit a crime.

The truth of the matter is that we can almost never predict whether or not someone will commit a crime. The most seemingly law-abiding citizen might find him or her self in dire circumstances; at that point, he or she may or may not "cross the line." And, there are plenty of people who would like to see the US destroyed but will not take any action to make it happen.

So, Obama is not only a "war president;" he is more of a foe of civil liberties than Bush the Younger, or any other President of my lifetime, could have dreamed of being.

And for that, he gets a Nobel Peace Prize? No wonder some people don't believe in God!