FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How Giulani’s Slurs Feed the New War Fever

By doubling down on his vile slur on President Obama’s love for his country, ex New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani created the media frenzy that he craved.  He also set up an easy test of decency for Republican presidential contenders:  who has the sense to disavow Giuliani’s poison?  Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio passed the admittedly low bar; Governors Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal failed ignominiously: Governor Rick Perry pretzeled his way through it.

If Republicans wonder why 95% of African Americans and 70% of Latinos will likely end up voting for Democrats in 2016, they should look in the mirror.  Virtually every African American will see this attack on President Obama as racist, something that would not be occur were Obama white.  Silence in the face of the attack will be seen as proof that the Republican race-based politics of division remains in force.  In his decision to weaken the Voting Rights Act Shelby v. Holder, Justice Roberts wrote that “this country has changed.”  Giuliani’s insult ratifies the wisdom of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s ringing dissent, that while progress has been made, the Congress surely was right in deciding we still have far to go.

Giuliani’s rant echoes the new hysteria that Republicans are trying to stoke:  that Obama is “withdrawing” from the world, and thereby weakening America.  A parade of horrors – Russia in Ukraine, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, negotiations over nukes with Iran, terrorist violence in Paris – is summoned up and blamed on the president.

Recently, Obama made the simple and common sense observation that we are not at war with Islam, but with terrorist extremists who want to hijack the religion for their own ends.  His statement was similar to that repeated frequently by George W. Bush when he was president.  Any future president from either party will make similar statements – both to reflect reality and to keep the fear-mongers from fanning hatred here at home.    Yet the president’s comments sparked hysterical comments from across the right-wing noise machine as if common sense were somehow heresy.

This clamor is feeding a mindless war fever.  Do we want to have an armed confrontation with Russia over Ukraine?  Not really, the macho hawks basically want to fight to the last Ukrainian.  Do we want to put troops back into Iraq?  Not really, although as President Obama has escalated the US response to ISIS, the armchair hawks have moved to more muscular positions, now even mumbling about “boots on the ground.”  We are fighting wars in Afghanistan, providing troops and arms and bombs against ISIS, running drone attacks in nearly a dozen countries, dispatching special forces to 120 countries.  And somehow this is scorned as withdrawal from the world.

Missing in the hysteria and the vile attacks on patriotism is a sensible policy debate – and a sensible reckoning of how we got to where we are.  The reality is that excessive belief in military force has done more than anything to cause this mess.  The catastrophic invasion of Iraq is the worst foreign policy debacle since Vietnam.  The decision not simply to go after Bin Laden and al Qaeda, but to wage a counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan and “rebuild” that nation has led to the longest war in our history that shows no sign of ending.  The “humanitarian intervention” in Libya has left chaos and violence in its wake.  The US invasion of Iraq turned the country over to Shiite rule, ironically empowering Iran.  ISIS comes out of the Sunni reaction to that reality.  Meanwhile we’ve only begun to pay the $3 trillion tab for Bush’s Iraq War, even as our own roads, rail, sewage and water systems grow ever more dangerous for lack of investment.

Those who mindlessly call the president weak, impugn his patriotism, and accuse him of withdrawing from the world ought to be called to account.  Enough with the rhetoric, the posturing, and the poison.  What is the policy that they want?  Let us hear them explain how they will drive a confrontation with Russia in Ukraine, while fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

The only way Americans will accept this nonsense is if they are scared out of their wits.  Sadly, that seems to be the intent of the fear mongers, who need to be challenged before they frighten us into yet another costly debacle.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
Tracey Aikman
President Trump, I’m One of the Workers You Lied To
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail