He kind of sort of forgot to include himself, Congress, Wall Street, the Supreme Court, the Military-Industrial-Media-Prison Complex and homegrown religious or atheist fundamentalists on his list of the global enemies of humanity. America is exceptional, after all. Do as we say, goes his message to Muslim youth tempted to wage jihad -- not as we do. Obama railed,
As we speak, ISIL is terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq and engaging in unspeakable cruelty. The wanton murder of children, the enslavement and rape of women, threatening religious minorities with genocide, beheading hostages. ISIL-linked terrorists murdered Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula, and their slaughter of Egyptian Christians in Libya has shocked the world. Beyond the region, we’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris, and now Copenhagen.
Elsewhere, Israelis have endured the tragedy of terrorism for decades. Pakistan’s Taliban has mounted a long campaign of violence against the Pakistani people that now tragically includes the massacre of more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers. From Somalia, al-Shabaab terrorists have launched attacks across East Africa. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.Oops. He forgot to mention the wanton deaths of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of innocent women and children from American hellfire missiles launched from Predator and Reaper drones. He forgot to mention the thousands of Palestinian civilians killed and maimed by Israeli extremists in their Gaza concentration camp. He forgot to mention the hundreds of people kidnapped and renditioned and imprisoned by his own special ops security forces and denied due process as they linger without charge or trial, denied even the right to starve themselves because of the force-feeding torture that Obama himself ordered. He forgot to mention his continual protection of CIA torturers, war criminals and Wall Street financial terrorists. He forgot to mention that last year was the deadliest yet in the Afghanistan War. He forgot to mention that his ending of that war is just a fairy tale told for public relations purposes.
To say that he lied by omission is actually being too kind. He lied by revising history itself. For example, there is this:
Obviously, there is a complicated history between the Middle East, the West. And none of us I think should be immune from criticism in terms of specific policies, but the notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie. And all of us, regardless of our faith, have a responsibility to reject it.But then came the typical, self-neutering Obama pivot which also managed to subtly blame the victims while ignoring the fact that the United States has criminally invaded and colonized vast swaths of their territory:
The reality -- which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to -- is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances -- sometimes that's accurate -- does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it's been polluted by Western values.So Obama is essentially absolving Bush, Cheney and the neocons -- still powerful and still granted publicity and prestige despite their crimes -- of all responsibility for lighting the fuse under the current strife and rampage by ISIS. If you're an Iraqi or an Afghan whose whole family was wiped out by American extremists, then you're a conspiracy theorist. If you're aggrieved that American or European imperialism ruined your life or your livelihood, then you're buying into a "notion". And not only that, if you're an American Muslim who doesn't rant and rave against the violent elements every day of your life, then you too will bear responsibility for all the bad stuff, including the blowback against CIA coups and war crimes by the Pentagon.
It's the same thing as telling Catholics they're to blame for priestly pedophilia if they continue attending Mass without also becoming an anti-child porn activist. Obama's moralizing hypocrisy is not that far removed from the government policy of imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, for the mere fact of their ancestry.
Obama just spat in the face of the very people he is pretending to care about. As he does so very often, he cancelled himself out. In much the same way that he pretends to fight for the middle class by advocating for the brutal and job-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership. The same way he pretends to want peace by selling weaponized drones to any country that wants them and refurbishing the entire US stock of nuclear weapons. The same way he signs a climate agreement with China and then opens up the Atlantic to oil and gas drilling. The list goes on and on and on.
Also in typical Obama fashion, he mawkishly inserted his own wife and children into his platitudinous propaganda to show that he's a hokey-jokey human being, just like you:
Yes, except that Malia and Sasha were never stalked by the CIA-trained NYPD or put on terror watch lists because of what they believe or the clothes that they wear. Obama will neither repudiate nor end these surveillance programs, because they are not considered part of the acceptable "debate."I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart. It was the first Valentine I got. (Laughter.) I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one. (Laughter.) So she’s 11 years old. She’s in the 5th grade. She’s a young Muslim American. And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.” And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer -- or a basketball player. (Laughter.) Which are good choices. (Laughter.) But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.” And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.” (Applause.) Now, those are the words -- and the wisdom -- of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America. “We’re just like everybody else.” And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.
(And just as an aside, perhaps Obama got his valentine late from his daughters because they and Mom were away for the holiday, enjoying another Aspen ski vacation courtesy of the drone-manufacturing Crown family of General Dynamics.)
The Crowns, the Kochs, the banks, the oil companies, the corporate media, the politicians: they all do their part to keep American terrorism perpetual and profitable and themselves safe, secure and rich.
Talk and summits and debates alternately substitute for and mask the de facto bellicose policies of ObamaWorld.
Republican David Brooks, often cited as Obama's favorite columnist, slurps the president's bromides on extremism even as he goes along with the GOP extremists who are now revving up their usual bad-cop racist rhetoric and calling the president a touchy-feely soft-hearted wimp for pretending to care about disaffected Muslim youth. Brooks's solution? The middle Eastern jihadists should turn to nationalism in order to make their world safe for American democracy. I am not kidding. They should make patriotism into their new religion. Brooks is essentially advocating for Nazism to substitute for Islamic jihad.
My published response:
The only extremism we have to fear is that of the predatory ideologues who decided it would be a great idea to plunder and nation-build in Iraq and other middle Eastern regions. These same ideologues continue to roam free and grow rich, attaching themselves like leeches to such corrupt pols as Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. They want to keep the endless wars going, start new ones, and ensure that the most extreme wealth inequality in modern times continues. These extremists would love nothing more than to convert we the people into a billion tiny droplets comprising a geyser of blood, sweat, toil and tears that will gush all the way to the top. And if some of us fall to the bottom in the process, that's just the way the cookie crumbles in GOP Land.
The Republicans and their plutocratic backers in Big Finance and Big Weapons and Big Media thrive on perpetual war and perpetual terror. It's the only thing left propping up the plutonomy -- an economy of, by, and for the obscenely rich.
To sell their extremism to the public, they ratchet up the dread and the fear and the resentment and call it a noble clash of civilizations and a fight for freedom. They broadcast their war and finance porn through the six media conglomerates that now control 90% of everything the American public sees and hears.
The only extremism we have to fear is the extremism of neocons and hypercapitalists who dress up the greed and subterfuge in spiritual and humanistic terms. They're the devil in disguise.