Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saint Barack of Hiroshima

Not only is Barack Obama one of the most ironic Nobel Peace laureates in history, he also takes the prize for being the most cynically arrogant. Nobody with even a fraction of his obvious intelligence, nobody with even the mere rotting vestige of a moral compass, would have dared to set foot in Hiroshima otherwise.

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.  


Pearl said...


Was Hiroshima Necessary?

Why the Atomic Bombings Could Have Been Avoided

By Mark Weber

annenigma said...

Oh, so he went for the TPP. I knew it had nothing to do with the victims.

I actually thought it was a part of his Global Farewell Tour to take flattering photos of himself to adorn his Presidential Shrine/Library.

Another great one, Karen. Cathartic actually.

Robert Sadin said...


The question of why Hiroshima was bombed is supremely important.

But Mark Weber should not be part of the conversation.

"The Institute for Historical Review" is his own organization. Dedicated to Holocaust denial and allied with the worst white supremacists.

There was a clear fingerprint in the article when he mentions the "holocaust" of the bombing of Dresden.
(that is to say...."that was the real holocaust"...)


Mark Edward Weber (born October 9, 1951) is the director of the Institute for Historical Review,[1] an American Holocaust denial[2] organization based in Newport Beach, California.
Weber has been associated with the IHR since the 1980s. In 1992 he became editor-in-chief of the IHR's Journal of Historical Review. Weber was subsequently named the institute's Director in 1995.[3]
Weber was born in Portland, Oregon in 1951. After graduating from Jesuit High School in 1969, he studied history in Chicago at the University of Illinois.[1] He continued his studies for two semesters at the University of Munich, and, returning to Oregon, took a B.A. degree in history with high honors from Portland State University. In graduate school, he continued his study of history at Indiana University, receiving an M.A. degree in modern European history in 1977.[4] Beginning in 1978 Weber became involved with the National Alliance, a far-right white supremacist organization. In 1979 Weber served as the editor of the group's magazine, the National Vanguard. Throughout the 1980s Weber functioned as the treasurer of the National Alliance's Cosmotheist Community Church, a pseudoreligious entity founded by William Luther Pierce. During this period Weber became more heavily involved with the IHR as well as collaborating with Bradley Smith and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH).[5]

voice-in-wilderness said...

I'm glad you wrote what I've been thinking. The media coverage, as you note, is extremely frustrating in its willful blindness to drone strikes with President Obama's offer of a few thousand dollars to the victims in the Kunduz war crime.

I'm going to dig out my copy of John Hersey's "Hiroshima" (though I believe The New Yorker has it online).

Jay–Ottawa said...

I do hope Saint Barack makes it back home by Monday, Memorial Day, to bless our own fallen heroes. One more way to support those of our troops who have given their all. Surely the dead of Valhalla hear the silken words of our leaders and are thereby cheered.

A schoolboy 'splained to me recently that the US has won more wars than there are states in the union. The little patriot began to reel them all off without hesitation, with dates, until I pretended to get a call on my old flip top. Not sure whether he learned such a lesson in school or by following his dad around on Weekend Warrior Paintball treks through the woods. He must therefore be at least ten years old, the usual cutoff age for paintball games. From lessons to games to war itself, a nice way to bring the young along to an acceptance of a hard duty.

No one but the Father knows how many more innocent and not-so-innocent must be thrown on the pyre of war for humanity to reach the magic number that guarantees peace. Until that day, brave leaders beat their breasts in public, then courageously bite the bullet, so to speak, and do what has to be done, from initiating the necessary killings to laying wreaths upon the graves of the fallen––or broken, or burned, or blasted beyond recognition. The Lord encourages our continued participation in ugly wars by slipping great profit into the business, at least for some of those inolved.

God bless our refurbished nukes. God bless our drones. God bless our Commander-in-Chief. God bless the United States of America on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Nasreen Iqbal said...

I did a paper on Just War Theory a few years back when I was getting a degree in theology. Of course, the Church started off pacificst, but as Christianity spread to the top of empires, that wouldn't do at all. Just War Theory was a compromise, and not a very good one, in my opinion.

But there was a lot of talk about it and how it could possibly apply in a preemptive war context in the early century. It couldn't, of course, and the Cahtolic Church and the Mormons, at least agreed on this.

But Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Conference, among other groups, went hard after the Just War Theory, calling it inapplicable and outdated in a modern war context, where we have to be able to kill people who are looking at us funny, just because you never know.

In the same way, President Obama's words last week sent the internet into a tizzy, and millions of people on social media who apparently hadn't read past article headlines declared that he had apologized for dropping the bombs on Japan.

He didn't, of course.

Because he's smart but tough. I could go back and read the exact language used to describe him by his campaign guys, but I'm pretty sure that's the gist.

Pearl said...

Robert: I knew nothing about Mark Weber or his organization when I picked up his article. However, his views about the holocaust and other beliefs do not rule out the detailed information about the behavior of the U.S.involving the Hiroshima bombing which is similar to other reports I have read in recent years. Also his comments could be checked out which might be interesting.

At any rate, Karen did a fine job of showing us the hypocrisy of Obama and others who do not follow what they say for public consumption. That is why Hillary is in trouble mostly because she is not as adept as others in hiding her real feelings and says things that she doesn't comprehend surprises others (like her friendship with Henry Kissinger being taken for granted as acceptable).

But too many people are becoming more and more aware these days and are speaking up.

And thank you Jay for your heartfelt reactions to the spoils of war which continue on and on. I remember writing a letter to a newspaper about the women's movement fighting to be allowed to be part of the battlefield horrors some years ago. I spared no words on this so called step upward for women and now we are facing a leader who may continue to believe that as a female president she has broken a glass ceiling. I hope there will be someone around later to sweep up the pieces.

Jamie said...

Great article! Obama plans to modernize our nuclear weapons for one trillion. He is "preaching temperance from a bar stool", according to senator Ed Markey:

Pearl said...


On Memorial Day, we honor the memory of millions who have died due to war. The civilians and soldiers who have been bombed, or shot, or stepped on cluster bombs and landmines. All the families and friends who have lost people they love because of war, violence and aggression.

One of those who lost someone is Wade Fulmer. A U.S. soldier in Vietnam, he lost his best friend, Glenn Alan Lovett, to a war of aggression. He wrote this in a letter to his fallen friend that he left just days ago at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Those who return home always know the guilt of not being able to bring our buddies back. You gave again, as you had all your life, this time giving your life for that wounded soldier in front of you. Wars, needless wars, another war we now know as lies by those who sent us, wars which continue to kill through these many years. We have Nams still, in the Middle East, subversive political war mongers of killings, torture, war crimes, suicides, sufferings that take innocent children and loved ones of sovereign nations, as you were taken. The peoples, the many more taken by the betrayals of our abused power policymakers of violence, of no conscience, of political and special interests' atrocities.

On this day, when the United States honors fallen soldiers, use your voice to share your commitment to peace and engage people in joining the peace movement. Invite them to join us by following us on Facebook, Twitter, on the Growing the Local Peace Economy daily inspiration list and signing up for our action emails.

Today, we invite you to have at least one conversation with someone in your life about your commitment to peace. Share with them what you value, what you’re standing for and who you are as a warrior for peace. Then let us know how it went.

In memory of the fallen and with hope for a peaceful future,
Alice, Alli, Ariel, Chelsea, Janet, Jodie, Marwa, Medea, Michaela, Nancy,

Clueless It Seems said...

Naturally you put a cover of the New York Philharmonic doing one of the many revisions of Firebird (a chestnut if there ever was one - breasts are great! Zappa said so so it's got to be true, right?). The Cleveland Orchestra one (not Boulez) is better...

Robert Sadin said...


You may be seriously deluded about Holocaust deniers. Weber is not a historian; his life work is devoted to denying and falsifying history. And yes, what you oddly refer to as his "views" on the Holocaust very much relate to everything he writes.

Of course some of the material he uses may be seen elsewhere. He is not a researcher. He is grabbing things that will promote his despicable world-view. Of course he is critical of the US. He is dedicated to painting Germany and Japan as victims. This colors every document he uses, every word he writes.

There are thousands of dedicated historians and social critics who have studied and written about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are leftists who view the bombings in a super critical way.

Why in the world would you cling to the idea that a fascist, white supremacist, would be a good source of information.

And why would you want to spend your time "checking out" his writing...why would that be "interesting.'

Try Gar Alperovitz, or check out the Hampton Institute, or the excellent articles in Wikipedia, or the conservative defender, Robert Maddox.

But to persist that a Holocaust denier could be a good place to go to for historical information is disturbing.

Incidentally, there is significant misuse of documents even in his short piece.

On the brighter side...your comment about sweeping up the pieces of broken glass is a classic.

But not good enough to excuse legitimizing a Nazi!

Peaceful Pearl said...

Robert: I never intended to legitimize a Nazi and if you knew me you would understand why. Hopefully, there are other excellent reports about the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings which inform us and that you mentioned and I promise to never read or refer to Weber again if that helps.

Speaking of the destruction of war today alongside Hiroshima fall into a similar category and that is the beliefs that people hold about events that are inaccurate. I find the celebration of Memorial Day and/or Veteran's day a painful sham of what we should be honoring and all the photos of cemeteries and headstones are a grim reminder of how many of those young people lost their lives because we were propelled into endless senseless wars by the military and political establishment for their own purposes. See Code Pink's comment above and we have to speak out about the misrepresentation of so many major conflicts that seem to become acceptable on Memorial days.

Robert Sadin said...

Dear Pearl,

Good to hear from you!!

I have no doubt where your sympathies lie!!

I totally agree about these sanctimonious holidays which have become such a sham. When Chris Hayes first started at MSNBC (does that reach Canada)... he made a mention that he was disturbed to hear every American soldier described as a "hero." ("our heoes" etc)

It was not at all provocative....pretty simply stated.

Within a day he made a video of an "apology" obviously under duress, which looked and sounded like the ones made by prisoners of war.
And the next week, his show (he was only on weekends then) was wall to wall generals speaking about "our heroic young men and women."
I don't think there has ever been a pacifist on a major network!

I marvel at your energy and dedication, holding up a hope for a better tomorrow.

It's not always easy!!!

Best wishes,

Jay–Ottawa said...

I rarely open up a story of the digital NY Times in my mailbox every morning. I order only the headlines, thank you, merely to keep my spleen in good form. The headline and tease are usually sufficient to put my teeth on edge until the next day––on edge not so much about the sad events being reported, but at the hypocrisy or, to be more charitable, the blindness, of the writers and editors of that paper.

For example, at the end of the tease for story one under the "Top News" (it's about the trickle of Syrians being allowed in and the volume of Central Americans being shown out of the USA: "… allies and advocacy groups say the president's actions do not match his words." Wow! Should my mood be turned to gratitude now that the Times is beginning to see a hallmark pattern of hypocrisy in Obama's Administration, or at least to recognize that other groups, if not the Times itself, see a pattern that should have made headlines back in 2009, not 2016?

Next story: "The emergence of an older homeless population is creating daunting challenges for social service agencies and governments already struggling to fight poverty." Social service workers on the front lines may be struggling to fight poverty, but not their governments. For perspective on the homelessness event, take a look at Chris Hedges's Monday Morning Essay of May 30 about the eviction racket, whereby slumlords are made richer and the poor hopelessly poorer thanks to the unrelenting muscle of local governments on behalf said slumlords.

Third and last story in the "Top News": "I beat China all the time," Mr. Trump said last year, citing one Manhattan investment. But documents and interviews tell a very different story of that deal." Hey, I get it: Mr. Trump is a bad man. A day shall not pass between now and election day when the Times fails to post yet another story proving, beyond any doubt, that Trump is the anti-Christ––or at least the greater of two evils.

And here I stand, long whispy beard caught in the wind, dressed in the sackcloth demanded of our age, leaning on my staff high on the mountain of righteousness, not too far from Marie Burns higher up on the mountain, we two proclaiming the damnably obvious about the New York Times, but still you stiff-necked people in the valley persist in treating the Times like an idol, a golden bull if ever there was one.