Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pack Up Your Troubles and Celebrate the Hegemony

President Obama is still trying to pretend that Iraq isn't kicking him in the tush on his way out. How serendipitous that he actually kept a campaign promise for a change, though! He vowed we'd get out of there, and so we are. But he desperately, desperately wanted to stay. As Marie Burns puts it on Reality Chex, he delivered one of those Friday news dumps in order to deflect probing questions from the sponges of the Washington press corps.

And instead of using his weekly radio address to sound the alarm about a growing humanitarian crisis here at home, he trumpets his bellicosity and crows about his security state creds. It really is kind of jarring, in light of the fact that thousands of his own desperate people are demonstrating in the streets.

Speaking of dumps, I haven't rooted around in the bottom of the White House dumpster for awhile in search of discarded versions of presidential speeches that accidentally speak the truth in their first drafts.  But after hearing more bullshit than usual from Dear Leader this morning, I could not resist. Here is the original transcript, with his redacted truthy notes in parentheses:
This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world.  I was proud to announce that—as promised—the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of this year.  And in Libya, the death of Moammar Qadhafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.
(If I looked a little haggard and unlike my usual frosty self at my press con, it was because I had just spent the whole damn morning begging -- yes, I was reduced to begging -- President Al Maliki to let me keep just one teensy base there.  But no--o-o-o-o!  After all the years and all the billions we spent, and all the death and destruction in the name of freedom -- they were ungrateful and would not give us immunity in case Blackwater/Xe went on another one of its rampages.  I didn't get my way.  America is not unconditionally loved or feared.  The Iraqis can't forget Abu Ghraib.)
In Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war.  Last year, I announced the end of our combat mission in Iraq.  We’ve already removed more than 100,000 troops, and Iraqi forces have taken full responsibility for the security of their own country.  Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people have the chance to forge their own future.  And now the rest of our troops will be home for the holidays.
(Failure is success. The troops are being evicted and we'll pretend it's gonna be a Holly Jolly Christmas. But not for long!  If we keep 'em home, the unemployment rate will skyrocket to 25 percent. Plus there's Afghanistan.... and Libya....and the rest of Africa under the pretext of fighting in Uganda for humanitarian reasons after 20 years of ignoring some sadistic sect.  However, some of the troops must remain in the Homeland to protect our own endangered species: The One Percent.)
In Libya, our brave pilots and crews helped prevent a massacre, save countless lives, and give the Libyan people the chance to prevail.  Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.  Soon, our NATO mission will come to a successful end even as we continue to support the Libyan people, and people across the Arab world, who seek a democratic future.
(The brave grunts sitting in Nevada trailers who operated the Drone Missiles saved countless lives by killing countless collateral "targets" thousands of miles away. We will continue to support the Libyan people and other oil-rich peoples who seek a democratic future by extracting oil concessions for my billionaire campaign contributors.)
These successes are part of a larger story.  After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence.  The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus on Afghanistan and achieve major victories against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.  As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. 
(We are turning the page and looking forward, not backward. There will be no prosecutions of the Bush War Crimes. We have squandered trillions of dollars on a bloated defense budget. We're temporarily bringing some troops home, but they are forever troops for our endless wars.  We have the confidence to believe that the American people will never find out exactly how we decide to kill people on foreign soil... even American citizens, even teenage sons of American citizens.  This is the larger story. Shelve it in the horror section. We will continue to obfuscate, prosecute whistleblowers and subpoena journalists, and spy on you).
To put this in perspective, when I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars.  By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.As we end these wars, we’re focusing on our greatest challenge as a nation—rebuilding our economy and renewing our strength at home.  Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength—our own people.  Now, the nation we need to build is our own. 
(Just not quite yet. First we have to ship 250,000 of your jobs to South Korea.
 But keep calling Congress and donate to my grassroots campaign and pretend that I'm not being financed by Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex.)
We have to tackle this challenge with the same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight.  That’s why we have to do everything in our power to get our economy moving again.  That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, so we can rebuild our country – our schools, our roads, our bridges – and put our veterans, construction workers, teachers, cops and firefighters back to work.   And that’s why I hope all of us can draw strength from the example of our men and women in uniform.
(I just promised huge tax breaks to anti-union corporations like Walmart and McDonald's, and factory farm conglomerates like ConAgra and Tyson Foods if they will only hire my leftover psychologically and physically damaged returning vets at low wages. This corporate welfare check will further bloat the profits of the folks who hire undocumented immigrants, so it's a win-win for my battleground state contributors. Plus, I must try to appease the vets, a third of whom say the wars weren't worth it. Look at the men and women in uniform. I'm trying to make you civvies feel guilty, because you don't have it as bad as they do.  Celebrate my War Machine, Occupiers.  Ask not what your country can do for you if you're not willing to die for the MIC).

They’ve met their responsibilities to America.  Now it’s time to meet ours.  It’s time to come together and show the world why the United States of America remains the greatest source for freedom and opportunity that the world has ever known.
(Don't expect jobs, health care or change for the better any time soon. Slavery is freedom. Unemployment is opportunity. Despair is hope. Rejoice in the One Percent Nation.  Can you chip in $5 to my grassroots campaign?)

Update:  Glenn Greenwald is bemused by Obama's recent celebratory rhetoric.


Anne Lavoie said...

Bravo! Another thoroughly outrageous and outrageously funny piece. Thanks, Karen.

James Singer said...

Fine piece. Added it to my Facebook page. Thanks

Valerie said...

This is so pathetic on the part of Obama. Does anyone buy into his rhetoric anymore? Do any Democrats really swallow the lie that Obama has kept a campaign promise in leaving Iraq?

Any reason that gets us to leave Iraq would be a call for celebration if I didn't suspect that Obama will just go out and find another war, covert or otherwise, to support. I read, somewhere not too long ago, that American soldiers are already being trained to fight the Chinese. This endless war cycle isn't going to stop until our country is totally bankrupted or the 99% get a clue and join the Occupy movement.

Hey! I just thought of something! Does our leaving Iraq mean we can shrink the military budget?

Anne Lavoie said...


Shrink the budget? Maybe. Technically. Kind of. Sort of. In the same way we have had no declared wars since WWII. Deception and budgetary slights of hand.

But before you think we are in one less war and can save money, recall that we now have troops on the ground in Africa - Uganda and beyond. Plus the new billion dollar embassy in Baghdad employing 30,000 people needs thousands of guards, which I heard will be private military contractors, of course. Privatization and corporate welfare are thriving these days.

The 'savings' will be money taken from the U.S. military branches and transferred to private contractors. They are not technically considered U.S. military service members, as far I can decipher from Obama's speeches, although it would help if his forked tongue wasn't in the way.

In announcing his foreign policy victories recently, Obama claimed that not one US service member had been on the ground in Libya. (Maybe 'not one' in politispeak means there were many.) However, the news media reported months ago that some US special forces military personnel had been there, helping the Rebels and helping identify and guide bombing targets. So what is the truth?

Frankly, the lies coming out of Obama's mouth these days are becoming more numerous and more blatant. I can only imagine the measures he will sink to as the election and his defeat gets closer. Given that his ego seems to thrive on his being a War President, I don't think it bodes well.

James F Traynor said...

Boy Karen you really sliced and diced him and he had it coming. I alternately feel anger towards and pity for the guy; he's such an arrogant clown. A political Inspector Clouseau.
But that begs the question. What the hell are we to do? This country is in political and economic free fall. I personally will write in Bernie Sanders, but I realize that it's just giving Fate the bird, hoping that, if enough people do so or vote third party, the Democratic Party will reform.

Anne Lavoie said...


We can only Hope that there will be a major Change at the Democratic Party Convention, like dumping Obama.

If Democrats had any heart, soul, or brain, they would ditch the Republican Assassinator-In-Chief, and go with a real Democrat who truly stands for the People, if they could find such a person.

Just this week on his campaign tour, I mean his Jobs Bill tour, Obama told the crowd that he is NOT the Democratic President (yeah, we noticed) or the Republican President (coulda fooled us) but 'The President', as in Independent I guess.

Well, too bad for us that he didn't tell us that before he stole the Democratic nomination from Hillary by pretending to be a Democrat.

By all rights, Mr. Independent President should not even be trying to win the Democratic nomination for President. Let him run as an Independent! I can think of a perfect fit for a running mate: Joe Lieberman. They can run as The War Twins.

Occupy the Democratic Convention!

Valerie said...

I agree that our only chance is ditching Obama at the convention or a populist primary challenger (with a history) throws his/her hat into the ring at the last minute and all the disillusioned Democrats go for the challenger. I really hope it is not Hillary because I really think we would only be going from the frying pan into the fire. She is a corporatist through and through.

At this point, I plan on writing in Bernie but if there is an organised campaign to write in a progressive, I will go with that person. The point is, we need to all be writing in the same name if our vote is to count at all. I really think it can be done. The trick is finding a candidate that a good chunk of the voting population can support. I used to think it was Russ Feingold but since he has allied himself with the sinking ship that is Obama, I have lost all respect for the man.

I sure wish Elizabeth Warren had some senate time under her belt. She would be the most electable. What about Alan Grayson? Does anyone out there think he is presidential material?

Anyone else have ideas? We really need to start floating some names in the blogosphere. Maybe an organised effort to get a write-in campaign going might be enough to scare the pants off the DNC.

Valerie said...


This whole military contractor thing is sounding very 60's CIAish. We are really turning into a rogue nation aren't we? My concern with the mercenaries being assigned to the embassy is that they will have diplomatic immunity. I'll bet the Iraqis are concerned with the same thing.

Valerie said...

OK this is my last comment.

Our friend, Neil, found this great video clip of Occupy Tampa. It is totally uplifting and I asked if I could pass it along. It is short but really enjoyable.

Kat said...

Thanks for this, Karen.
Must keep my eyes on the prize and not be diverted by the silliness of the Republican candidates. I did watch the debate the other night and I do have to admit that my jaw dropped when Ron Paul walked into the belly of the beast and said that Reagan negotiated with terrorists. And then he had the nerve to say (I paraphrase) "There aren't any terrorists at Guantanamo Bay-- those guys haven't been charged with anything." So, yes Paul is nutty on a variety of issues. But what about Obama? Isn't it pure nuttiness to throw money at these wars, engendering hatred in that part of the world under the guise of "fighting terrorism".

Will said...

Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges talking about OWS on Charlie Rose last night. Busy day today and haven't seen it yet myself, but thought you guys would enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

GREAT interview with Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges on Occupy Wall Street.

Anne Lavoie said...

The interview with Charlie Rose was quite good. It made me realize a few things.

First is that, as Chris Hedges said, there is no way to appeal to the System. We can't vote against Goldman Sachs! Therefore, the system will not change or be changed. There is no point in our making demands. That simply gives them power instead of owning it ourselves.

The solution? First we admit defeat as far as changing this totally corrupt system. We acknowledge that corporations stole our democracy, our voice, and vote. Let them have their sick, broken down, morally and fiscally bankrupt system. It's theirs now. They broke it, they own it.

Then we take the only recourse we have - we form a new form of government of, by, and for the People as intended, independent of the established Corpogovernment. There is precedent and a glowing example of this right now: Libya!

The US Government, European nations, and the UN encouraged then formally recognized the formation of an alternate government formed by a ragtag group of rebels. They were officially acknowledged as being the only legitimate government of Libya, and this was while the established government was still in power!!! What a great example and precedent for us.

So, I propose we now start discussing and planning for the form we want our new government to take. Perhaps a Social Democracy, for instance. We have no time to waste. We then could conduct an online election/decision on what form of government, then nominate representatives or leaders, etc.

After all, we may soon need such a structure when the Corpogovernment cracks down on us, so that we can formally appeal to international authorities for help.

Who knows, maybe we can even appeal directly to the World Court for arrest of certain war criminals - the list is getting pretty long, and our own Independence movement has just begun - CITIZENS UNITED.