Column of the Americas
Dec 15, 2009
Blessed are the Warmakers
By Roberto Rodriguez
They will speak of peace and wage war
They will wage war and call it peace
They will mercilessly wage war
and be hailed as peacemakers
Never in history anywhere in the world have leaders waged war not
believing it to be a noble cause. And of course, wars are usually
waged against infidels and against evil in the name of God. Now,
President Barack Obama appears to have joined those ranks. Truthfully,
he has not joined the brutes of history, i.e., Ghengis Khan or
Caligula. Instead, in maters of war, he has become quintessentially
American. He has followed in the footsteps of James Polk, Teddy
Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and most
remarkably, his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, in continuing
to wage wars of aggression under false pretenses. And like his named
predecessors, he will escalate the war(s) to end the war(s).
And now, back to the Tiger Woods saga, or better yet, to things that
really matter. For instance, whatever happened to balloon boy? And how
is Sarah Palin’s book tour coming along?
That seems to be the focus and attention span of American media. More
time is spent on covering sex scandals, reality TV and its
flight-by-night stars and empty headed celebrities than on the story
of our times: the American assertion of the right to wage worldwide
permanent war. The president is not only engaged in a costly war in
Iraq, but is also escalating the war in Afghanistan. Worse, he is also
laying the foundation for a third war in Pakistan.
His acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize was a scene straight
out of the Twilight Zone. Rather than speak of peace, he made the case
for war… for so-called just war. Every tin pot dictator and warmonger
around the world was pleased. At home, right wing politicians such as
Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove and even Sarah Palin herself heaped
extraordinary praise on the Commander-in-Chief.
And as noted, the news cycle has moved on. The war(s) is no longer an
issue, even though the country cannot afford to wage them. Yet in
poetic language, the president has defended and sanctioned his
predecessor’s war policies, no less, during the Nobel Peace Prize
ceremony in Oslo. And not surprisingly, the right wing is pleased.
Apparently, defending the notion of a -just war- does not include
denouncing unjust wars by name: Iraq.
There are unjust, illegal and immoral wars and all of them spell Iraq.
Yet, the president could not get himself to name Iraq. Truthfully, had
he done so, it would have exposed the past administration to the
International War Crimes Tribunal and other courts of justice. Not
mentioning Iraq does not absolve or insulate the past administration
from criminal or legal claims at the Tribunal. It only gives them
protection and cover during the tenure of the current administration.
No president anywhere can make an illegal war legal, moral or just.
It was bad enough that the president was nominated for this prize
while waging two wars and while calling for escalation in Afghanistan,
but worse is that he obscenely justified war, while receiving this
Perhaps at fault here is not the president, but rather, the committee
that bestowed him this honor. What were they thinking? It is obvious;
Bush raised worldwide tension every time he spoke arrogantly of war,
of fighting evil and doing so in the name of God. The world frowned
upon this Texas cowboy.
Now, they have embraced president Obama. He speaks of peace but wages
war. At least he’s not Bush.
President Obama gives credibility to war. Gives it a good name. He
speaks of committing more troops as though he were sending Boy Scout
and Girl Scout troops and Peace Corps volunteers overseas. His
eloquent talk permits U.S. troops to continue to kill by the
thousands, including through the use of unmanned drone technology. No
blood on anyone's hands here. His smooth talk makes easy their
dehumanization. He calls them incorrigibles. His predecessor called
them evil. He calls them evil. As long as not too many Americans are
killed on the battlefield, the sanitized wars will continue. And the
wars will continue until the nation’s enemies resemble us, until
everyone shares our values and partakes in our customs, until they all
speak English and pray to a Christian God.
Blessed are the Warmakers.
© 2009 Column of the Americas. Rodriguez can be reached at XColumn@gmail.com
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