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The Sad Spectacle of the Whining Don: the Thug-in-Chief Throws His Vassals Under the Bus

He has given himself the right to kill his own citizens, to record all we do on-line and on the phone, and of course, spy on the most intimate deliberations of each and every one of his counterparts (and their most important advisors) around the world.

He is known for serially ordering murderous shoot-‘em-ups at wedding parties and humble homes all across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, as well as actively supporting coups by hand-picked oligarchs in Honduras and Paraguay and Egypt.

He counts among his closest daily advisors men who have purposely lied to, and spied upon, the US Congress.

He has regular referred to the murder of an unarmed man sitting in his bedroom with his wife in Pakistan as a supreme and laudable act of “justice”.

He has ensconced torture as a durable part of US state policy (in clear contravention to standing US law) by refusing to prosecute those who have proudly boasted in public about ordering it and engaging in it.

He has, despite what you might have been told by the mainstream media, quite knowingly initiated and/or prolonged conflicts in Ukraine and Syria which have cost the lives of hundreds and thousands of people and which have absolutely destroyed the physical infrastructure and the cultural patrimony of these two ancient cultural spaces.

And the conflicts he has fomented in these places are leading quite directly to the destruction of the European Union, a project that, for all its many flaws, witnessed, at least for a few years, the highest quality of life for the largest percentage of a given population that the world has ever seen.

Bloodthirsty and psychopathic thugs like him have always been a part of the human condition. And, sad to say, a good portion of the population has always felt a certain attraction to them.

But the adoration of this segment of society has always hinged an implied condition: that the thug adhere rigidly to an honor-bound code of silence, something the southern Italian mafias refer to as omertà.

Which brings us to Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview of the Barack Obama in the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

The piece is notable, and in a certain sense refreshing, for the candor with which the executor of all of the outrages listed above publicly acknowledges the failure of his administration’s approach to Libya.

But any points he might have gained for that forthrightness are erased when he begins whining about the all the failings of his underlings in these efforts.

He throws Cameron and Sarkozy, his loyal French and British vassals, completely under the bus. He refers to the other US client states in Europe and the Gulf as “free riders”.

In short, he basically suggests quite publicly that “his” failures in Libya were really the result of others’ malfeasance.

I read recently that the Mafia is rapidly diversifying into new areas of business. Perhaps they could send someone from their newly opened consulting division in Brooklyn down to Washington to teach little Barry how what George Bush Sr. might have called “the honor thing” is carried off among the pros.

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Thomas S. Harrington is a professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the author of the recently released  Livin’ la Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies.

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