Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Did Obama go on an ‘apology tour’ in 2009?

That was the accusation by the Mitt last night in the third and, mercifully, final debate. The reference is to Obama’s trip early in his term to Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries where he made nice with the residents thereof and actually grabbed the attention of people who thought maybe the yanks were genuinely about to turn over a new leaf and stop doing things like, um, invading and slaughtering them.

It was actually one of the least mendacious things Romney had to say although also mind-fuckingly cynical. But it is true that, given the basement-level standing of the U.S. in that part of the world after Bush 2 had finished the non-stop debacle of his tenure, Obama dutifully set off to repair the damage and buy some time.

Which he did. His speeches hinted recognition of the possibility that the U.S. in fact had erred. Europeans, Arabs and those forgotten Latin Americans were impressed with Obama, his smarts and his history, and they were more impressed with us for electing a guy from a minority group that was historically suspect in the eyes of the white majority. It really did seem as though new winds were blowing and that things just might be done differently.

But that turned out to be just fluff, and Obama never backed up his lofty orations with what I maintain would have been the key lever to break with the past: a repudiation of the Bush years. This would have had to include at least two aspects: aggressive and illegal war-making against a non-threatening enemy; and grotesque violations of basic human rights both as part of said wars and domestically in the bogus ‘War on Terror’. For good measure, he could have tossed in the looting of the national wealth, especially though not exclusively through the official wink-wink at the massive corruption being practiced by the financial sector in the run-up to the great meltdown of 2008.

Obama did none of that. Instead of opening up a debate on the origins of the Iraq conquest, he promptly turned the page on that sorry chapter and said so explicitly at the time. He threw in for immediate burial the top-level collusion in the torture of defenseless detainees. Despite his immediate photo-op to ‘close’ Guantánamo, the place remains open to this day; worse yet, Obama went beyond Bush’s worst crimes and instituted official murder as part of presidential power. We can thank him for that new Oval Office faculty, which will undoubtedly be utilized in all sorts of ways that today’s liberal apologists seem not terribly worried about—but one day will mourn, no doubt in a state of shock.

As is now well known, Obama also conspired actively with his top advisors to pump a vast river of cash into the coffers of the banks and into the grubby mitts of the same bankers who had collapsed the world economy to satisfy their greed, all the while pretending to champion the much abused little guys. Many experts whom even I can read and understand have been proposing dozens of alternative approaches to restoring the financial system to health, but Obama has kept to the Bush strategy of strengthening the 1% and waiting for prosperity to trickle down. Or not.

So Obama now has to face an opportunistic attack from sleazeoids like Romney who should be thanking him for covering their exposed buttocks when they and their enterprises were in serious danger. Obama pretended to apologize for the Bush screw-ups, but he didn’t mean it; now that his humble-face, Mr Audacity usefulness is not needed, he gets twitted for being a wimp.

1 comment:

Lezak Shallat said...

and it shudda been a longer trip, he had a lot to apologize for,