Grotesquely parading down a hideously symbolic red carpet, Obama proceeded to plant himself comfortably behind yet another global bully pulpit, announcing once again, in case we forgot, that the United States will continue to reign as the concern-trolling bully and moral arbiter of the planet.
How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause. Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill. Nations arise, telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats, but those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.Obama himself has conveniently used religion as his own license to kill. Four years ago, concerned about his own reelection prospects and deeming himself in dire need of some bellicose propaganda to counter the GOP's silly accusations of deficient virility, he planted a story in the New York Times about his Terror Tuesday Kill List. The tortured narrative of the article sought to portray him as a thoughtful Archangel of Death, a Saint Michael in heaven with a halo, as opposed to stupid Lucifer with a Bushy face burning in the hellish flames of merely mortal ignorance.
Not being a particularly religious man himself, Obama relied on the Roman Catholic faith of his national security mentor and future CIA director to justify his assassination program, which to date has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Beside the president at every step is his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to a dogged police detective, tracking terrorists from his cavelike office in the White House basement, or a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.
The nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name. He signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on the more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan — about a third of the total.
Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.How easily Saint Barack learned to justify his violence to the name of some higher cause. Transcending the mindless fundamentalism of the bloodthirsty despots of wars past, our intellectual president uses the New York Times as his own enhanced propaganda Bible, even getting the scribes to elevate his chamber of death to a Platonic man cave of advanced ideas. After all, were it not for the pragmatic Greek philosophers, there never would have been any Christian intellectuals to justify the whole gamut of depravity, from misogyny, to imperialism and plunder, to inquisitorial torture and death, to pedophilia.
Since many of the thousands of Obama's drone victims have been residents of "tribal" areas, how much easier for him to justify their deaths. They are stateless people, belonging to no nation. Since they have no protection from any formal government, they are thus dehumanized, rendered into nameless "bug-splat" by American Predator and Reaper drones.
But Obama apparently succeeded PR-wise in Hiroshima, adding his own glib chapter to what he only pretends to decry: "Nations arise, telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats, but those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different."
While he has been rightly castigated by scientists and independent critics for presuming to lecture the world on nuclear weapons after appropriating an obscene trillion dollars to upgrade America's own arsenal, his speech itself got relatively glowing reviews from the liberal press, anxious to defend him against silly GOP accusations that he went to Hiroshima to apologize for America's dropping the atomic bombs. That is so patently unfair. Obama not only didn't apologize, he deliberately thumbed his nose at Nagasaki, an even more depraved war crime given that the war was over by the time Truman committed his two-fer.
Obama even bent over backward to avoid directly mentioning that the United States actually dropped the bombs. His opening salvo in the alleged U.S. rapprochement with Japanese survivors was, in fact, stunningly maudlin and insulting to the victims:
Seventy-one years ago, on a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.
Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 in Japanese men, women and children; thousands of Koreans; a dozen Americans held prisoner. Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.To hear Obama tell it, death just sort of fell down from the sky like an act of an Old Testament God, in burning little radioactive isotopes instead of raindrops. No input needed from Harry Truman or even from the unrepentant pilot of the Enola Gay, who named his bomb "Little Boy." See, Obama just could not bring himself to admit that the United States destroyed Hiroshima. Rather, a Biblical wall of fire and a flash of light did the trick, in order to demonstrate that "mankind" still possesses the means to go all retro Adam and Eve, and destroy itself.
The victims of the war crimes should ask for nothing more than for Saint Barack to examine the consciences of both the warmongers and the innocent bystanders. Then he will order up some absolution and even co-opt Bernie Sanders in calling for a "moral" (not an anti-capitalist) revolution. Why else is his name Barack, which literally means Blessed? All of us must have some skin in this depraved game, utter our acts of contrition even as the Church of Capitalism itself is exempt. He wants the world congregation to believe that all wars are started by popular referendum rather than by plutocratic priests lounging in a corner sacristy, guarded by men with guns and shielded by their billions of dollars in excess, tax-free profits.
And lest we forget, Obama's Hiroshima bucket list of a visit was a mere sidelight to the real purpose of his Asia trip: a sales junket to cement support for the corporate coup known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's been called NAFTA on steroids. Maybe we should also call it the A-Bomb of all treaties, given that it blows up democracy in favor of a global oligarchy.
But the New York Times cloyingly and dutifully described the prime photo-op ("Hiroshima Survivor Cries, and Obama Gives Him a Hug") And then it was on to the stoic panoramic spectacle of the official kiss and makeup session between just two elite guys:
Mr. Obama’s visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park had all the pomp, ceremony and planned choreography of a state visit or a leader’s funeral. With thousands in attendance and much of Japan watching on TV, Mr. Obama walked forward alone at the park and laid a wreath on a white pyramid. He paused before the memorial’s cenotaph, his head bowed.
A moment later, Mr. Abe approached with his own wreath, which he laid beside Mr. Obama’s on another pyramid. After a moment’s reflection, the two leaders shook hands — a clear signal of the extraordinary alliance their two nations had forged out of the ashes of war.It's a pyramid scheme, all right. Substitute "wealth" for "wreath" for what goes on the tippy-top, and you can almost envision a veritable TPP Ballet, maybe staged as a hawkish update of the Firebird. Out of the smoldering ashes of war comes the renewed conflagration of capitalism on crack.