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War-mongering Obama gets closer to winning hypocrite of the year award

2013-09-09-change-590.jpg [Related Image]
What change? Obama's policies don't sit comfortably with Clare Daly or many of the US electorate wiredbike under a Creative Commons Licence

My son sent me a video clip this morning. In spite of the seriousness of the subject, it made me smile. The speaker, Clare Daly – an Independent MP representing Dublin North – is making a speech to the Irish Parliament. Although she made the speech back in June, it is painfully relevant today, as the US hovers on the brink of going to war with Syria.

She spoke like I often write. The difference being that I edit myself several times to tone down my anger and rage when confronted with unbearable injustice. Clare Daly doesn’t have to deal with editorial censorship. She is obviously a gutsy woman and she speaks, I believe, for ordinary people the world over.

The occasion of her speech was President Obama’s visit to Ireland – and she had obviously had enough. She asked why a section of the Irish press and politicians were fawning sycophantically over the Obamas, focusing on what Michelle had for lunch rather than asking important questions about the critical and explosive political issues.

She hated Obama’s hypocrisy. He had the gall to speak to Irish schoolchildren about how anyone who voted for peace would have US backing. Obama rubbed salt into her wounds. He had the nerve to tell an Irish audience ‘we will be the wind in your back.’

But Clare Daly pointed out that Obama is the peacenik who has increased the use of drones by 200 per cent, killing thousands of innocent people including hundreds of children. She asked ‘is this person [Obama] going for the hypocrite of the century award? Because we have to call things by their proper names, and the reality is that, by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal.’ Daly continued in mode j’accuse. She couldn’t abide Ireland being ‘showcased as a nation of pimps, prostituting ourselves for a pat on the head!’  

Daly quoted Oxfam’s warning against sending more arms into Syria.. Past conflicts show that violence and instability escalates and chaos takes over when intervention is armed. Oxfam makes the following plea: that Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama and the UN and Arab League Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, use their political influence to get all parties involved around the table to find a solution to the crisis. For talks to be a success, they must include representatives of the peaceful majority of Syrians, including women’s groups and refugees who want this nightmare to end. Moreover, the talks should be backed unequivocally by the international community, which must refrain from any acts or statements that risk undermining the process.

Americans have had enough of fighting futile wars. US credibility reached an all-time low when the world discovered that the Bush-Blair duo had lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now when Cameron and Obama talk about conclusive evidence the world laughs bitterly and cynically. The majority of US citizens are sick of war. But will Obama, who went to the polls promising peace and progress, bomb Syria because he has to prove his credibility; because he has to maintain the image of the US as still all-powerful, under his watch?

The chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria was terribly, terribly wrong. But making a bad situation worse will not help Syria. A political process is the only solution. Global grandstanding will only take the US into a deeper mess. It’s the last thing Syrian civilians need. It’s the last thing ordinary US citizens want.

So will Obama, Putin, the UN and other Middle Eastern players put together a plan for peace? We can only wait and watch. And join Pope Francis in his global prayer for peace.

Comments on War-mongering Obama gets closer to winning hypocrite of the year award

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  1. #1 Prabir KC 10 Sep 13

    That is an idea. Maybe some encouragement to Pope Francis to speak up against war would result in him speaking up

  2. #2 Josantony Joseph 10 Sep 13

    While I agree with you Mari on the need for a peaceful solution, I wonder if world politics makes it even possible. In a world where the actual movers and shakers are the arms industry which cannot survive without wars, where many countries (including the Vatican at one time) invest in companies which make arms, then I wonder what I could do if I was the head of a country that depends on such arms industries to survive. In that sense , aren't all heads of countries necessarily hypocritical - by the strict standards of hypocrisy. I have heard the Irish head of overseas aid stating very clearly that 70% of all Irish overseas aid comes back to Ireland in the form of jobs for Irish 'experts' and goods bought to service these other nations from Ireland. And that I think is true of every country that offers aid - though the percentages vary. Or do we have any lack of food or medicine to solve all the millenium development goals? Of course, as a world we have it, but we cannot allow these issues to be solved because we have to keep these companies who produce food and medicine going. And countries live on the income growth that these companies bring. Do we not have the wherewithal to solve all energy problems by harnessing the sun. But companies that invest in other fossil energies etc cannot allow it to happen. And our countries depend on these companies to survive.

    It is also a fact that ONLY those countries that have a huge arms backing have a veto power in the United Nations - or else why did the allies and China get the veto power? Are we all hypocrites?

    History is always written from the side of the victor. If Obama's gamble pays off history will praise him. If it doesn't it won't.

    And yet, in the middle of all of this we have to struggle and hope. In an adapted version of Christopher Fry, I can say: As we stumble and struggle, fall and flee, in the midst of this pilgrimmage, when we look back over space and time, we can see that we human beings have indeed moved in the figure of a dance.

    THAT is the hope. And the enemy - well the enemy is us. And the saviour - the saviour too is us.

  3. #3 mari 10 Sep 13

    Thanks Josantony for such a thoughtful, philosophical response.

    We need hope and reflections like yours. Though its sad and tragic to see
    history repeat itself so relentlessly century after century and innocent people turn into collateral damage while world leaders play their games.

    In spite of it all the human spirit remains resilient even through unbearable suffering and loss.
    Thank you so much

    mari

  4. #4 Josette 10 Sep 13

    I too was disappointed in the way Obama is handling this Syrian question. He cannot rule the world and should be humble enough to admiit that maybe he was a bit too quick in pronouncing his threatening words.
    Josette

  5. #5 Ludwig Pesch 10 Sep 13

    Thanks for providing a sensible overview of (non-) options. Your blog again differs from the usual media hypes that help politicians to grab attention for ulterior motives.
    With big powers involved in an agonizing stalemate over this conflict for reasons best known to their leaders, the citizens concerned are hardly heard by their own government (if there's any left at this stage) or even us readers. How to verify what's really happening there? Whose lives may be sacrificed for whose benefit? Difficult questions!
    Peace seems painfully distant and going by middle eastern standards, will take generations to foster. But someone has to make a beginning.
    Perhaps a courageous figure like former underground fighter turned peace activist Uri Avnery whose 90th birthday is celebrated today (just heard an interview on German radio). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Avnery
    Will ’asymmetrical peacefare’ or ’peace mongering’ of his brand spread wherever needed? Let us hope this can reduce the suffering by the common people and even more importantly, reduce the hatred that causes it all!

  6. #6 chachinois 10 Sep 13

    Interesting point of view that I entirely share. Let see now what result will come out from talk...I am afraid praying will not be enough...

  7. #7 ST 11 Sep 13

    Josie is right... war increasingly seems to be an inevitable part of our global economy.

    Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama - irrespective of being republican or democrat, irrespective of the colour of their skins - as leaders of a self declared ’free world’, they see themselves as self appointed policemen of the world and thus continue to carry on their shoulders what was taught to us in our history class in school as the ’white man's burden’. Obama are you listening?

    Democracy to these leaders of the ’free world’ is great for domestic governance but when it comes to global governance a more dictatorial and unilateral approach seems to be their choice - where even the voices of their own constituencies are ignored.

    Does the American government want war? I suppose yes - we will know once Congress votes. Does American business want war. If Josie is right I suppose yes again. Do the mercenary corporations providing canon fodder in the form of teenagers laying their lives on the line for the corporations to rake in the moola want this war? Most certainly YES.

    But do ordinary Americans, irrespective of whether they votes Bush or Obama want war? I suspect not and certainly hope not. Will the everyday Americans depicted in Rick Smollan's epic coffee table book AMERICA 24/7 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_24/7) please stand up and speak out, or better still stand up and hold your government accountable to YOU since they are not to the rest of the world. Act so that all of us in the rest of the world will know that Americans and America is with what I believe to be the global majority - a majority who wants a world of peace not war.

  8. #8 Raju Charles 16 Sep 13

    Where was USA when the Tribal Christians of Orissa was killed and raped by the Hindu Taliban? Your silence hurt! I will oppose with tooth and nails President's war on Aramaic Christians of Syria!
    Christian right is human right! Just as Hindu and Jewish!

  9. #9 david cohen 23 Sep 13

    Mari,


    I write as a USA citizen who has been deeply involved in anti-war efforts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I know something about Chemical Weapons because people I admire and work with played a significant role in achieving US Senate ratification of the Chemical Weapons Treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons in internal conflicts including civil wars or opposing revolts or guerrilla activities.

    I believed that the intervention in Bosnia against the Serbian murder, arguably a genocide in specific locations, was fully merited.

    I want people to know that the push back from USA people in not wanting US forces involved in Syria, and believing air attacks, would lead to that has had a profound effect on many in Washington.

    Whatever your belief on the mistake or value of the threat of military action, the Putin/Russian intervention with Syria had been moving along, probably at a too leisurely pace. Be that as it may, diplomacy has begun. Diplomacy is rarely a 100 yard dash but the
    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov deserves our thanks for responding quickly to Secretary of Stae Kerry's suggestion--a suggestion that was neither new or undiscussed. Lavrov seized an opportunity and put all of us on a different course. That course was made possible by the opposition to military action around the world including the US.

    David Cohen
    Washington DC,
    September 23, 2013

    --
    Davi

  10. #10 david cohen 23 Sep 13

    Mari,


    I write as a USA citizen who has been deeply involved in anti-war efforts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I know something about Chemical Weapons because people I admire and work with played a significant role in achieving US Senate ratification of the Chemical Weapons Treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons in internal conflicts including civil wars or opposing revolts or guerrilla activities.

    I believed that the intervention in Bosnia against the Serbian murder, arguably a genocide in specific locations, was fully merited.

    I want people to know that the push back from USA people in not wanting US forces involved in Syria, and believing air attacks, would lead to that has had a profound effect on many in Washington.

    Whatever your belief on the mistake or value of the threat of military action, the Putin/Russian intervention with Syria had been moving along, probably at a too leisurely pace. Be that as it may, diplomacy has begun. Diplomacy is rarely a 100 yard dash but the
    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov deserves our thanks for responding quickly to Secretary of Stae Kerry's suggestion--a suggestion that was neither new or undiscussed. Lavrov seized an opportunity and put all of us on a different course. That course was made possible by the opposition to military action around the world including the US.

    David Cohen
    Washington DC,
    September 23, 2013

    --
    David Cohen,
    Senior Advisor, Civic Ventures
    Senior Congressional Fellow,
    Council for a Livable World
    E-mail address:[email protected]

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About the author

Mari Marcel Thekaekara a New Internationalist contributor

Mari is a writer based in Gudalur, in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. She writes on human rights issues with a focus on dalits, adivasis, women, children, the environment, and poverty. Mari's book Endless Filth, published in 1999, on balmikis, is to be followed by a second book on campaigns within India to abolish manual scavenging work. She co-founded Accord in 1985 to work with Adivasi people. Mari has been a contributor to New Internationalist since 1991.

About the blog I travel around India a lot, covering dalit and adivasi issues. I often find myself really moved by stories that never make it to the mainstream media. My son Tarsh suggested I start blogging. And the New Internationalist collective are the nicest bunch of editors I’ve worked with. So here goes.

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