Obama’s Non-Starter

Courageous Egyptian journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy put it straight in of all places the New York Times, “President Obama should not have decided to come to Egypt. The visit is a clear endorsement of President Hosni Mubarak, the ailing 81-year-old dictator who has ruled with martial law, secret police and torture chambers. No words that Mr. Obama will say can change this perception that Americans are supporting a dictator with their more than $1 billion in annual aid.”

Not only is Mubarak a dictator, he’s an active collaborator in the strangulation of the Gaza Strip. Desperate Palestinians attempted to flee Israel’s Gaza Massacre, but were almost all turned away. Six months later humanitarian missions to bring Gaza supplies only get through if they include world renowned personalities or if they go on hunger strikes.

I suppose going to Cairo was no worse than Obama’s last stop, Saudi Arabia. There he saluted the absolute monarchy, with its head chopping executioners and its police on the lookout for women drivers.

If he really was going to make a new start of things he should have spoken in Lebanon, where popular demonstrations drove out the Syrians, where a guerrilla war expelled the Israelis and where sectors of Christian and Shi’a are working together in the coming elections.

His speech in Cairo was the usual glittering generalities, the dropping of an Arabic word here and there, a sophisticated tone, and the pledge to tell “the truth”.

But look what he said about Iraq: “Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.” Though the war was controversial the Iraqis are “better off”. Over a million dead from sanctions, invasion, and civil war, and Obama had the utter gall to declare the Iraqis “better off”. Our only problem was not recruiting enough flunkies to join the effort. Some on the Left immediately declared that Obama remarks were a “denunciation” of the Iraq war. Keep on dreaming.

He repeatedly denounced “violent extremists”. Fair enough. The al-Qaeda continues to commit terrible crimes. But what about the “violent extremists” that are our allies, principally the government of Israel? Its spokespersons threatened huge massacres of Palestinians all last year and lo and behold that’s just what they did.

Obama did mention the dire situation in Gaza. I suppose we should be endlessly thankful. But what did he say? He said the “continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security”. What’s important here is Israel’s security. The hideous suffering of Ghada Abu Halima who died in March twelve weeks after being burned by white phosphorus or seven month old Zein Ad-Din Mohammed Zu’rob who died June 3rd after Israelis wouldn’t let him go to a Jerusalem hospital to get proper treatment for his lung infection, that isn’t an issue. Anyway what’s going on in Gaza is not a “humanitarian crisis”. Those are caused by tsunamis or hurricanes. The disaster in Gaza is entirely man-made, an Israeli-U.S.-European-Egyptian medieval siege. If Obama really wanted a new start he could have given a Ronald Regan “tear down this wall” speech and demanded the Israeli let goods and people flow freely into and out of Gaza. Of course, he gave nothing of the kind.

He lectured Muslims about Holocaust denial. “Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.” Denial is “baseless, ignorant and hateful.” He reports his next stop is to the remains of Buchenwald death camp. Holocaust denial is idiocy, but what about the idiocy of Nakba denial, denial that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were deliberately driven from their homes in 1948 and 1967 to make it easier to establish a Jewish superiority state? When will he or any U.S. President make a visit to Deir Yassin, the site of one of the 1948 Israeli massacres?

He lectures the Palestinians. “Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.” I wonder if Obama has heard of the U.S. Civil War. It completely abolished slavery and won (for a time) full and equal rights for blacks. But, hey, non-violence is cool. If he wanted to be helpful why not talk about the many Palestinian campaigns of non-violent resistance. Why couldn’t Obama hail the courageous people of Bil’in who go out every Friday peacefully and in return get shot at and tear-gassed and in the case of Bassem abu-Rahme get murdered?

At one point Obama says, “We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children.” That’s a shameless untruth. When did Obama reject the mass murder of 400 Gaza children during the massacre? When did he even remark about the scores of Gaza Palestinians who lost one, two or even three limbs? What was Olmert if not a “violent extremist” Why doesn’t Obama call for Israelis to abandon violence or even to come clean about the greatest fear Muslims have about Israel, that it will attack them with nuclear bombs?

Obama does bring up the nuclear issue, but only in connection with Iran. He piously says he wants to avoid a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but this “truth-teller” cannot admit the race began long ago, with Israel gathering a huge nuclear arsenal and the ability to launch via land, sea and air. He graciously says Iran can have nuclear power when it abides by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which it does), but can’t even mention that Israel has never signed the NPT.

He’s committed to “governments that reflect the will of the people.” within each country’s traditions. “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.” Tell that to the Palestinians who had a completely fair legislative election, gave Hamas a victory and saw their government boycotted and their living standards devastated. Tell it to that the Lebanese people whom Joe Biden threatened that the U.S. would stop their foreign aid if they elected the wrong people.

Face it. It wasn’t a new start. It was just a new style. The sooner the Left realizes it, the better.

STANLEY HELLER is host of “The Struggle” TV news magazine Contact him at mail@TheStruggle.org


More articles by:
Weekend Edition
January 17, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry
Kathleen Wallace
Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style
Robert Hunziker
The Rumbling Methane Enigma
Frank Joyce
Will the Constitution Fail Again?
Pete Dolack
Claims that the ‘NAFTA 2’ Agreement is Better are a Macabre Joke
Andrew Levine
Biden Daze
Vijay Prashad
Not an Inch: Indian Students Stand Against the Far Right
Ramzy Baroud
Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank
Norman Solomon
Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores the Need for Grassroots Wisdom
Ted Rall
America’s Long History of Meddling in Russia
David Rosen
The Irregulators vs. FCC: the Trial Begins
Jennifer Matsui
The Krown
Joseph Natoli
Resolutions and Obstacles/2020
Sarah Anderson
War Profiteering is Real
James McFadden
The Business Party Syndicate
Ajamu Baraka
Trump Prosecutors Make Move to Ensure that Embassy Protectors are Convicted
David Swanson
CNN is Trash
Rev. William Alberts
Finally a Christian Call for Trump’s Removal
Dave Lindorff
The ERA Just Got Ratified by Virginia, the Needed 38th State!
W. T. Whitney
Mexico Takes Action on Coup in Bolivia and on CELAC
Steve Early
How General Strike Rhetoric Became a Reality in Seattle 
Jessicah Pierre
Learning From King’s Last Campaign
Mark Dickman
Saint Greta and the Dragon
Jared Bernstein - Dean Baker
Reducing the Health Care Tax
Clark T. Scott
Uniting “Progressives” Instead of Democrats
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Trump & Johnson: What a Contrast, Image-wise!
Ron Jacobs
Abusing America’s Children—Free Market Policy
George Wuerthner
Mills Are Being Closed by National Economic Trends, Not Environmental Regulations
Basav Sen
Nearly All Americans Want Off of Fossil Fuels
Mark Ashwill
Playing Geopolitical Whack-a-Mole: The Viet Nam Flag Issue Revisited
Jesse Jackson
New Hope for One of America’s Poorest Communities
Binoy Kampmark
Harry and Meghan Exit: The Royal Family Propaganda Machine
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again!
Rob Okun
A Call to Men to join Women’s March
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
We All Need to Be Tree Huggers Now
Tom Stephens
The New York Times’ Delusions of Empire
Julian Rose
Fake-Green Zero Carbon Fraud
Louis Proyect
The Best Films of 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: Into Kosovo
Colin Todhunter
Gone Fishing? No Fish but Plenty of Pesticides and a Public Health Crisis
Julian Vigo
Can New Tech Replace In-Class Learning?
Gaither Stewart
The Bench: the Life of Things
Nicky Reid
Trannies with Guns: Because Enough is Enough!
James Haught
Baby Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark
David Yearsley
Brecht in Berlin