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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Celebrating Slaughter

Not A Peep About The President’s Praise of Military

by LAURA FLANDERS

The grades for the president’s State of the Union are in and the critics have been kind. In fact, it’s chilling to see just how few hits the President takes for couching his entire address in unqualified celebration of the US military.

Speaking of the troops, Obama began: “At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.”

Post-show pundits on cable news praised the president’s comfort with his Commander in Chief role but none saw fit to mention recent news of marines urinating on Afghan corpses, say, or Staff Sgt Wuterich walking free after participating in the killing of 24 unarmed men women and children in Haditha. Accompanying Obama’s next phrase, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” no one thus far has played the vile video. The critics have been kind.

The President chose to celebrate the military; the press chose not to raise a peep about the spread of militarism, yet US targets proliferate — abroad – with unmanned drones assassinating unconvicted suspects in innumerable undeclared wars. And militarism spreads at home. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act makes indefinite military detention without charge or trial a permanent feature of the American legal system.  It’s kind of the critics not to mention that – or his four-year-old pledge to close Guantanamo, and to restore the “rule of law.”

“They’re not consumed with personal ambition… They work together,” continued the president (again, speaking of the troops.) There are surely plenty of troops who would disagree. The tally is long of commanders and pigeon hawk commanders-of-commanders who’ve dodged responsibility, fingered underlings and permitted rank-and-file “bad-apples” to take the heat for US war crimes.

“Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops,” the President concluded.

There are indeed things we can learn; things that many US troops have begged us to learn in fact. Namely, that war dehumanizes the killer and the killed, and that war tactics have a habit of spreading from the war zone to the home. Successive generations have told us that military recruiters lie, and that “rules of war” exist only in legal minds. (Ninety percent of casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were civilians.) Troops have begged us to learn just what we are celebrating when we celebrate “winning” and war.

Clearly we have yet to learn.

LAURA FLANDERS is the host of The Laura Flanders Show coming to public television stations later this year. She was the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.