It was a coincidence but an enlightening one. As I heard of Sarah Palin’s cartoon crosshairs trained on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other politicians along with Barack Obama’s condemnation of violence, I happened to be tuning into a TV documentary on Wikileaks.
There, 30 minutes into the video, I found myself staring into real crosshairs – not the cartoon version on Palin’s Facebook page. These were from the videos of the helicopter gunship, mowing down civilians in cold blood, including reporters from Reuters in the Wikileaks release “Collateral Murder.” Those who have seen this, far too few since it did not get saturation coverage of the type reserved for the murders in Tucson, remember the cold-blooded killings of innocents who received no warning and no request to surrender. They were gunned down in cold blood along with the good Samaritan Iraqis who tried to rescue one of the wounded lying in a giant pool of his own blood and take him to a hospital. These would be rescuers were also gunned down ? along with their children who happened to be with them in their van. [See Alexander Cockburn’s CounterPunch report here last April.]
So let us compare the real-life cross hairs trained on these innocents to the cartoon crosshairs of the dimwit Sarah Palin, puppet of the neocons. One set of crosshairs is figurative hyperbole equivalent to the cry of Obama in his campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” But the other in the Wikileaks video is cold blooded, calculated murder. And although that murder occurred on Bush’s “watch,” the same murders continue today under Obama’s direction? not just in Iraq but in Afghanistan and Pakistan – and not just with helicopter gunships but with drones and bombers killing hundreds, if not thousands by now two years into the peace presidency of the Messiah. These are the forces of mass murder which Obama dispatches to the Central Asian killing fields each day. Is this man no less a war criminal than Bush/Cheney?
I wonder what goes through the minds of the Democrat Party activists as they avert their gaze from the real crosshairs about which they say so little to the cartoon ones. The Dems seem to be a latter day version of The Fantastiks’s Luisa. Not to defend the dimwit Sarah Palin who has parlayed her looks and pzazz into a useful tool for the neocons. But who is worse ? the phony peace president Obama or the silly, powerless Palin? Or are the deaths of defenseless civilians at Obama’s hands to be overlooked because they are poor Asians and helpless Muslims, instead of a Congresswoman?
Obama fits neatly into the central theme of Andrew Bacevich’s book “Washington Rules.” The book’s most important message is that the foreign policy of the U.S. Empire is marked by continuity. A new beginning is not heralded by each presidency as the “progressives,” who can see no farther than the next election, would argue. Rather as Bacevich shows and Chomsky and others, among them Libertarians and consitent Paleocons, have argued for decades, the policy and imperatives of U.S. foreign policy endure from one President to the next. Those who seek refuge in the next savior to win the peace, at least as long as he is readily anointed without strife by one of the major parties, are bound to be sorely disappointed.
Sarah Palin and her dismal cartoons are the outpourings of an idiot useful to the champions of Empire. But the real gold dirt for them is Obama, a pol who can co-opt the forces for peace and lead us ever deeper into killing fields where the dead, maimed and displaced can scarcely be counted. Which is worse?
JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org