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Obama at West Point 5-22-10: “Killing Fields -- not strawberry -- Forever” (Part 1)

If you think the new world order Obama alluded to in his 5-22-10 9th-crop-of-cadets-as-MidEast-cannon fodder-for-the-new-world-order-(hegemony)-killing-fields speech at West Point this past Saturday has any remote benefits for those of us not in the top 1% of global income holders, there is an oil well in the Gulf I’d like to sell you.

By the way, there was a group of about 100 protesters up at West Point organized by Debra Sweet's The World Can't Wait organization. A respectable number, and I am grateful for their commitment. But a very tiny number when you consider that most of the 80 million Americans who voted in Barack Obama made it abundantly clear their number one priority was for him to end the illegal and ferocious wars in the Middle East. Within his first year he has earnestly escalated the troop numbers, the scope of the wars, the use of ultra-violent weaponry, the casualty counts and the Pentagon's mind-numbing budgets in this time of economic crisis. There is something seriously -- terrifyingly -- wrong with our profound passivity as citizens. The passivity of all but a relatively small handful of continually committed resisters. We are, like it or not, the proverbial "good Germans." I always wondered how the Holocaust could have occurred. I have my answer in these United States.

As for Obama's speech, in literary terms it seemed of very poor quality. Maybe Barack's selling his soul for career, power, control, approval of those corporate and military daddies, etc. is drying up his creativity. On the other hand, maybe the speech's shallow, cliché-ridden rhetoric was deliberate and manipulative. Maybe sending those trustingly naive and/or desperate for money and/or an education kids -- young officers -- into certain, unfathomable hell to become definitely psychologically -- maybe physically -- maimed or even killed while at the same time using them to definitely psychologically – maybe physically – maim or even kill fellow human beings -- deserves a really “drone-numbing” (pun intended) level cadence for the jingoistic hypocrisy of evil. Leave it to Obama to find the perfect, tone deaf notes. (I guess that isn’t really fair of me. I didn’t listen to him give the speech. I read the transcript. I find I am just as repelled now watching Obama lie to America with his faux-amiability and stylish rhetoric as I was watching Bush’s smirky, I’m-every-bit-the-idiot-most-of-you-are crony routine.)

Maybe in delivering a global “new world order” message, it is best to keep it vague so those in desperate denial on behalf of this new president will do serious positive spinning for him, lay out justifications or noble intentions, or at least abort any dialogues with his non-believers to the left with the ever popular “at least he is not as bad as Bush” declaration. (When we all know you can clear that bar without moving.)

One of the few statements that I did find metaphorically and conceptually compelling in the speech was: “Al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history.” I cite this only because it inspired me to remark to myself how amazing is the compulsion of many people, and in this case Appearance-Is-Everything Obama, to project his own position of pathos and condition of dysfunction onto others, even others most worthy of the charge. With every passing day I am convinced Obama has chosen to be spiritually small on the wrong side of history.

Forgive my bitterness. The gloves are off. I figure I – we -- don’t have much time and bluntness is called for. If you’ve been reading Glenn Greenwald at Salon among others our constitutional rights are circling the bowl and disappearing VERY fast. The acreage of killing fields is spreading exponentially. International law, habeas corpus, the Geneva convention, Miranda rights seem to be as quaint and outmoded to Obama’s crew as they were to Bush’s. Obama's cherry-picking relativism regarding the law -- sometimes he respects it, other times not so much – is stunning. Executive hubris gone amok. Obama's astonishing assumption of the right to assassinate an American citizen without due process. Again, the profound lack of outrage and attention among Congress, the media and the citizenry over this. And of course, the continuation of the military killing machine. As Chris Hedges has said, our main way of communication as a nation is through violence, though our leaders give occasional lip service only to winning “hearts and minds.”

The Wikileaks’ video of the Iraq 'copter troops in 2007 cavalierly “shooting fish [Iraqi civilians] in a video-screen barrel” showed the degree of how morally and psychologically broken some of our soldiers are as well as a military system that tolerates, ignores and/or even encourages such war crimes. This is one more reason why there is such intense revenge radicalization among the citizenry of the countries we have illegally invaded. Debra Sweet declares that one can access hundreds of such recorded atrocities on the internet, proving it is not a case of a "few bad apples." There seems no longer any serious rules of engagement. Ray McGovern recently pointed out a desensitizing training mantra used at boot camps is "Shoot 'em all, let God sort 'em out!"

The desensitizing indoctrination training, hyper-macho military group think, cult-like demands for obedience, trauma of eye-witness violence and devastation, sustained survival paranoia, along with multiple deployments are all contributing factors to a massive number of war atrocities perpetrated by many of the troops on civilians.

Another disturbing revelation from Frontline in its recent documentary, The Wounded Platoon, was the large scale, clearly inappropriate "official" use in combat of anti-PTSD medication. These along with the troops resorting to self-medications -- illegal drugs or alcohol -- were contributing to further violent amoral behaviors against civilians as well as suicides and extreme mental stress and breakdowns among the troops. Feeding soldiers all sorts of psychotropic drugs and sleeping pills to keep them even more dysfunctional “functional” war machines seems a war crime in itself.

Frontline also reveals that the trigger-happy, video gaming atrocities perpetrated by some, apparently many, of our troops in the victim states of Iraq and Afghanistan mean and will mean more crime and violence when these troops return home permanently or temporarily. Frontline focused on the horrifying crime wave and addiction statistics from Colorado Springs near Ft. Carson. This tragic phenomenon is predictable, that some troops would behave with the same reckless, life-is-cheap, killer abandon state side. In fact, in the documentary some troops discovered that their homecoming repetitions of crazed amorality -- excused and minimized amidst their heralded bold “battlefield” behaviors -- had them facing down decades’ long prison sentences. WTF??? They had just so recently “enjoyed” a free range, license to kill (especially “rag heads”, “sand n*ggers", "hodgies", so nick-named by many in the military) back in the Middle East. Clearly from Frontline's attempts at interviews with the brass, the army pretty much disavows responsibility for this post-combat phenomenon. What a surprise. What bullshit.

Frontline also reveals cases when PTSD releases from combat were denied, when recruits with criminal backgrounds and/or pending charges were allowed to join up because the military was so desperate to add boots on the ground.

Ends justifies the means. America’s terrifying and terrorizing Bushco, now Obamaco, mantra.

As for Obama’s new world order, the imperialism that I found so strongly resonating as I read the speech, and that unmistakable, bullying warning at one point to countries that don’t abide the "currents of progress" as judged by Obama and the U.S. power elite, Israel, and other crony nations. I have finally figured out why the neocons of the US and the neocons who demonize the Palestinians in Israel are so chillingly palsy-walsy. The political and militaristic leadership of both these countries are questing after a global apartheid domination of ALL countries with them, this "might makes right" elite, as the ruling minority class. They are pretty far along, too. Look at the massive number of bases sucking profound amounts of taxpayer money and alienating the you-can-bet-unhappy host countries who must endure US military presence, especially in this age of extrajudicial non-accountability. Also, in terms of the propaganda unleashed by the cabal of main stream media corporatists, the drum beat for war and the manufacturing of its justification has proven heartbreakingly easy. Again, just look at the national passivity regarding the war-mongering of this President and our terrified of being found soft on terror, massively lobby-bribed Congress.

I have been bewildered quite often as to why we as a faux-strong and faux-righteous nation have allowed, as one example, mass numbers of women to be brutally raped in Africa. That kind of military or even diplomatic intervention seen as apparently unwarranted by the power patriarchies in this and other "civilized" countries? Such little attention by the mainstream media as well. Human rights so not a priority in this “pragmatically” amoral dark age. I wonder, too, about Mexico and the insane number of violent deaths there since the War on Drugs was ramped up by Calderon, with the questionable "assistance" of the United. States. I wonder about our involvement with Afghanistan in terms of many things, but particularly the opium trade. So little information about that impoverished nation, thanks to us, that nevertheless supplies 90% of the global market. Corruption and incompetence abound. Evil prevails.

US military and corporate imperialism have destroyed massive numbers of human lives along with the quality of massive numbers of lives. They are devastating the planet, itself. Making it uninhabitable. We all watch and wait over the massive hemorrhaging of oil currently in the Gulf of Mexico. What more evidence do we need that the "world order" and definitely its ramping up by Obama's administration into a "new world order" would be an insane path to follow.

And yet, there is Obama enabling the ferocious inertia of the corporate-agenda, killing machine military to stay in motion. And we oblige, with our ferocious inertia to stay at rest. Our inertia from what? Are we so traumatized, we the incrementally boiled frog citizenry? So many fresh hells daily it makes us stay politically inert? Are we so narcissistic? Amoral? Where is our G-D will to resist? Fascism rising!!!

In one article on information clearing house a commentator speculated that the neocons in Israel and the US are girding up for an Iran war maybe as soon as late summer. This year!!! Dear God. A recent CNN survey revealed that 59% of America believed military action against Iran would be justified due to its nuclear weapons program. Meet the Press, and such programs, and the warmongering political and military guests have outdone themselves.

Net neutrality, internet access? How soon will “they” – the oligarchs -- figure out how to legally and technically yank that cord to our access to truth and to each other? There are now supposedly 5 corporation-persons controlling all global mainstream media. Doesn’t that make you stop and take a deep gulp? And we wonder why we get crap shallowness, drum-beat militarist talking points, a blackout of liberal activists, and schadenfreude titillation on the tube? Maybe Barack and the covert, ever-militarizing police state that used to be America have only “two words” or something equally nefariously silencing for the likes of people like me, too. And you, if you have found and are reading this.

I am bitter about Barack. I am bitter about Congress. I am bitter about our impotent and ostrich and/or morally imbecilic and/or ideologically moronic citizenry. Only 29% I read a while back are TOTALLY against torture. (God, “24” must be one helluva tv show! Keep me from ever watching it.)

I am most bitter about myself. About my own slowness to fully acknowledge , experientially, what a war criminal nation I am a citizen of. Yes, I may be politically disenfranchised, but nevertheless, I am one of the 80 million who turned to Obama to, among other humane things, end these illegal atrocity-ridden wars. Who hoped Obama could help America find “redemption.” Lead her back to some semblance of a values-possessing, humanitarian, freedom-respecting society. We got punked, royally. But I watch so many of my progressive brothers and sisters opt to plunge their heads back into the sand, with feeble “Obama as the lesser of two evils” or "he's got a lot on his plate" apologies.

This started out to be a first paragraph introduction to an analysis of Obama's 5-22-10 West Point speech. Instead, I guess it will be my Part 1 introduction. I will be back with a Part II.

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Submitted by Elliott Lake on

It isn't so scary being awake, really. It's kind of bracing, freeing actually. It is rather sad to know (that Obama et alles) don't give a flying fig about anyone but themselves, but trust me, they never did. The longer you're awake the more you will see that he was never that great at speeches, either, it was the warm glow in your own heart.

The thing to focus on now is I think helping others figure it out, stopping the things we can stop, and organizing so we can stop more as we continue. We're going to have to clear a large swath to make room for fixing things, and I for one would be happy to see all incumbents (except maybe Jim McDermott of Washington state) out on their ears, for a full re-set. Not that I think we can get it right away, but working towards real campaign finance reform (solely public funding, no private or corporate money allowed, no gifts, etc.) seems like the only thing that will really change what needs changing.

The alternative, and one that I am increasingly nervous about, is that some morning we wake up to find push has come to shove and there has been a riot which has been quelled by lethal means and we do a pivot/flip and become China at the point of Tien An Min square.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I appreciate your feedback on wakefulness and on the Obama hopium. Love the word bracing. I will conjure that word up when I need it. :)

It is a matter of honoring one's own soul at this point and following the wisdom of the serenity prayer. Courage to change what one can and accepting what can't be changed. COMMITTING TO CHANGE. I need to live in the solution and not offer more deadweight at the minimum to the problem.

Responsibility = the ability to respond. Which seems to be an inability in most of our leadership. Corrupt cronyism has become a social cancer in our political class. I agree re Congress. Hard for all of us to do the moral work of responsibility. Scott Peck said evil is laziness to the nth degree.

In NYC Jonathan Tasini is going after Rangel's seat. I think he has the right stuff.

I am glad Feingold pops up still and confronts. Cantwell has been brave it seems. Kucinich I am sure got something behind the scenes for the national hit he and liberalism took re hcr. It was still sad.

I am listening to the radio about how an entire new generation of sea life is about to be or is being devastated and traumatized in its delicate first stages by this oil crisis. Kind of like what this country is doing with its own young. Also re oil. Obama is still pro-drilling, re the BP situation. The ability to respond? Don't think so.

Horror of China with T. square. Power and control, intention to protect snuffs out partnership, cooperation, intention to explore. I flashed on the quote "Hope was the last temptation of Christ" when I read that reference. Amazing the anti-humanitarian, anti-spiritual will out there.

But to continue on, wakefulness and our will for the good fight. We continue to build a spiritual counterculture.

Elliot, so grateful you responded. Please continue to advise! :)