Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Scary is as scary does

The cynicism of Obama standing before Congress as the defender of the little guy is breathtaking even if one acknowledges the golden opportunity presented by the bizarre circular firing squad over in the Republican camp. But from an unscientific reading of my Facebook feed, it’s going to work: Obama is going to look like the noble defender of Fairness against mean, rich, white people.

Others are going to parse the weakness of the announced measures, especially the dastardly turning of our state A-G, Eric Schneiderman, who was poised to do some real harm to the mortgage-industrial complex and now looks like a sellout. But I prefer to take note of other developments this week, such as the simultaneous endorsement of war crimes and indictment of whistle-blowing, all occurring on the watch of Mr Fair Guy.

As the people of Iraq are painfully aware, Frank Wuterich, the sole remaining defendant in the notorious Haditha massacre of 2005 has just gotten off with a slap on the wrist and no jail time. This despite ample evidence that he led his squad in slaughtering two dozen civilians in a revenge attack after a U.S. soldier died.

Not that the incident was particularly unusual, just harder to cover up, as reporters later discovered. In 2011 the New York Times found secret transcripts of military interviews from the investigation into the Haditha massacre in which Marines described killing civilians on a regular basis, including shooting children in vehicles that failed to stop at military checkpoints.

Amazingly, no one at the Times was indicted for aiding the enemy during wartime for these reports on the whacking of civilians.

Meanwhile, on the home front, John Kiriakou, a CIA employee who dared dissent from the torture regime is now facing espionage charges. Kiriakou made news in 2007 when revealed that accused terrorist Abu Zubaydah had been waterboarded. Now that’s where the investigative and prosecutorial machinery really gears up under President Fair: when the secrets start to leak out of how our government agents kidnap people, fly them around the world to be tortured and then lock them up without charges.

So spare me the horror stories about nasty Newt and Million-Dollar Mitt. Okay, they’re repulsive snakes and in a normal world would be required to take medication under supervision. But they’re so obvious as to be somewhat less dangerous. It’s the smooth-talking enablers of corruption and war crimes that have me worried.

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