FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Massacres at Home and Abroad

Photograph Source: Lance Corporal Kevin C. Quihuis Jr. (USMC) – Public Domain

On August 5, former President Obama released a powerful statement in response to the latest gun massacres in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton that left scores dead and wounded—including children who were shopping for school supplies at Walmart with their mothers, and with their families at the wonderful Gilroy Garlic Festival. He decried the madness of violence that has been fueled by Trump’s vile pronouncements and policies that help spread anti-immigrant and racist poison across the nation.

Obama asserted that “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people….” He concluded, “It’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much—clearly and unequivocally.” His statement, clearly aimed at the vile Trump whose name was not mentioned, linked racism and white nationalism as key contributing factors creating the climate and context for recent gun massacres.

Obama’s statement brought a flood of support from his liberal and celebrity admirers who are nostalgic for the “good old days” under his presidency; people who are outraged at the Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton murderers—as they should be—but were virtually silent when their hero killed untold thousands across the Greater Middle East.

There are other factors contributing to gun massacres that Obama and the corporate media erase from consideration; foremost among these is the violence that is fostered by America’s commitment to a permanent warfare state that he deepened during his years in the White House. This included his role in continuing and expanding the so-called “War on Terror” that is now in its eighteenth year, nearly five times longer than the Second World War. When will we connect the dots between massacres at home and those abroad that are ordered by the President of the United States—in flagrant violation of the Constitution and international law—and carried out by the U.S. military?

Obama’s statement on the Gilroy-El Paso-Dayton killings revisits his emotional response following the December 2012 gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut—where 20 children between 6-7 years of age and 6 staff members were slaughtered. At that time, he “grew emotional … as he made a passionate call for a national ‘sense of urgency’ to limit gun violence. Obama circled back to that shooting in the final moments of his speech. ‘Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,’ Obama said, pausing to wipe away tears” (CNN, Jan. 5, 2013).

Obama, then the greatest arms dealer in the world, expressed no similar anguish and sense of urgency on international gun control. As Democracy Now later reported, most of the “weapons exports under [his administration] have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia tops the list at $46 billion in new agreements.” The brutal Saudi monarchy that has been bombing and producing a famine for millions in Yemen, obtained billions in advanced weapons from Obama, who was teary-eyed about the massacre of children here at home yet shed no tears over the death and destruction he facilitated in the Middle East. The slaughter continues under Trump.

Political analyst William Hartung pointed out that “even after adjusting for inflation, the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion.” Our Nobel Peace Laureate thus “approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II” (Democracy Now, April 2015).

I would be moved by Obama’s words about gun massacres and hatred were it not for the fact that during his presidency he presided over wars and violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Palestine that have left millions of people—virtually all of color and many of them black—dead, maimed, and displaced. He inherited some of these wars from G.W. Bush and began U.S. involvement in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Aren’t these victims as worthy of our sympathy as those who lost their lives in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton? When will we extend our anguish and outrage about massacres at home to embrace the lives and deaths of others outside our borders?

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail