It was a coincidence but an enlightening one. As I heard of Sarah Palin’s cartoon cross hairs 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 cross hairs – 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. Also killed were the children who happened to be in the would-be rescuers’ van.
So let us compare the real-life cross hairs trained on these innocents to the cartoon cross hairs of the dimwit Sarah Palin, puppet of the neocons. One set of cross hairs 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 – in Iraq, 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 that Obama dispatches to the Central Asian killing fields each day. Is this man less a war criminal than Bush/Cheney?
I wonder what goes through the minds of the Democratic Party activists as they avert their gaze from the real cross hairs to the cartoon ones. The Dems seem to be a latter-day version of Luisa from The Fantasticks. Not to defend Sarah Palin, who has parlayed her beauty and personal charm into a useful tool for the neocons. But who is worse – the phony peace president Obama, or the silly, powerless Palin? Or is the death 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 consistent paleocons, have argued for decades, the 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?