Obama’s speech yesterday was totally predictable.
He played the usual word games, defining the situation in self-serving terms like Counter-Terrorism.
You know that song by heart: Counter-Terrorism in general, and drone warfare and facilities like Guantanamo in particular, are moral, legal, and necessary to defend America.
Obama can never say that Counter-Terorism is an aggressive form of political warfare that is necessary to expand and police the American Empire, coerce and weaken strategic enemies (Russia and China), and control the American people by expanding government surveillance, reducing civil liberties, and through the type of propaganda he spewed yesterday, shaping the political attitudes of the American people.
By political attitudes, I do not mean Republican and Democratic Party politics. I mean the politics of the State imposing its will on the people, and how much authority the people grant the State in the name of security.
Obama can never explain that the State has been waging political warfare for 65 years, expanding the empire and warping American minds, as the executive branch incrementally increases its extra-legal powers through the member agencies of the National Security Council, primarily the super secret CIA.
Most importantly, Obama will never say that Counter-Terrorism = Terrorism. That it is pure political violence.
His speeches – indeed, all of stated National Security policy regarding Counter-Terrorism – is designed to deflect attention from the fact that America engages in terrorism and imperial aggression on a massive scale.
I’ll give you an example. A few weeks ago I went to the FBI office in Springfield, Massachusetts, about ten minutes from where I live. I asked a Special Agent what constitutes terrorism and support for terrorism. He referred me to Washington, DC. The PR person in DC sent me excerpts from a law book defining terrorism and support for terrorism.
As a follow up question I noted that the Syrian rebels, including associates of Al Qaeda, are engaged in documented acts of terrorism against the Syrian government. I asked the FBI if the CIA, which supports the Syria rebels, is not by definition engaged in support for terrorism?
The FBI said it has no authority over the CIA. It did not dispute that the CIA engages in terrorism.
The only thing that means anything to the FBI is that the United States government claims that the Syrian government terrorizes Syrians. Thus, CIA aid to the rebels constitutes Counter-Terrorism.
And that’s how Counter-Terrorism = Terrorism. Always has, always will.
Drone warfare is the ultimate form of terrorism. It is political warfare designed to terrify foreign enemies and American citizens alike. It demonstrates to foreign enemies that the President can kill them and their supporters like a god hurling a lightning bolt from the sky. He knows each and everyone one of them by name and address, and he knows what they’re thinking. He knows what you’re thinking too. Drone warfare lets Americans know that Obama is omnipotent, remorseless, and above the law.
Despite what Obama says, you know this to be true.
Drone warfare is no longer experimental, either. It’s here to stay, and you have been conditioned to accept it.
Kidnapping people, rendering them, and holding them without due process in torture centers like Guantanamo is also terrorism, designed for all the same psychological reasons as drone warfare. Like drone warfare, administrative detention is not going away.
You know that too, and you know that you are powerless to do anything about it..
Doesn’t matter that you are more likely to be killed by a bee sting than a terrorist attack.
Doesn’t matter that 30,000 Americans die every year in automobile accidents. You will climb into your car and hurtle down the highway at 80 MPH, heedless of the danger. Fearlessly.
But you will fear Obama.
DOUGLAS VALENTINE is the author of five books, including The Phoenix Program and The Strength of the Wolf, which are available at his websites http://www.members.authorsguild.net/valentine/ and http://www.douglasvalentine.com/index.html . Valentine co-authored a detailed essay on US death squads in the Iraq War for the March issue of CounterPunch magazine.