Barack Obama

Obama's 'Anguish' Makes His Bush-Like Warmaking So Much More Palatable!

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Released in early 2009. |||

As I said yesterday, President Barack Obama's big War on Terror speech will be praised by those "who like words." Sure enough here comes The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who knows all about "the dark side" of the WoT, with an almost perfect encapsulation of the mindset that perpetuates the very conservative warmaking liberals spend so much energy claiming to loathe:

One first impression left by President Obama's much-anticipated speech re-casting U.S. counter-terrorism policy is that of the contrast between Bush's swagger and Obama's anguish over the difficult trade-offs that perpetual war poses to a free society. It could scarcely be starker. While Bush frequently seemed to take action without considering the underlying questions, Obama appears somewhat unsure of exactly what actions to take.

War, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and extrajudicial assassination are just so much better when the president is conflicted about it all!

George W. Bush never droned innocent Americans to death, least as far as we know. Yet marvel here in a passage about drone assassinations as Mayer miraculously absolves the current president while slamming his predecessor:

[H]ere, too, Obama's evident pain over the program, whose civilian deaths he said would "haunt" him and his command "as long as we live," seemed a telling change from the secrecy and winking smugness of the past.

A survivor of Obama's moral nuance. ||| houseofcharity.com
houseofcharity.com

In case the superficial contrast between "swagger" (BAD!) and "anguish" (GOOD!) isn't clear enough, watch Mayer extend Obama all sorts of moral cover while waving aside the little matter of his actual actions as commander in chief:

Obama embraced both constitutional and international legal limits, at least in principle, even as he struggled to define them in practice. In fact, his speech was a paean to the theory of "just war," which requires a balance between means and ends, demanding proportionality whenever the state resorts to the use of force. It's a sophisticated and nuanced moral theory, on which the law of conflict rests. Obama has openly grappled with the most difficult questions posed by the most serious thinkers in this area.

Back when it was Republicans in charge of the warmaking apparatus, I was fond of saying that neo-conservatism is just Wilsonianism with a "Fuck France" T-shirt. I think it's time to assert the corollary: "Just war"ism is just Dick Cheneyism with more crocodile tears.

Mayer, in her conclusion, does finally get to the non-trivial question of bridging the wide chasm between the president's words and deeds. By, of course, blaming Republicans:

Much of the burden of moving forward, however, is not in Obama's hands. Within minutes of his speech, conservatives on Capitol Hill had already begun jumping on him for having a "pre-9/11 mindset"—as if, somehow, the 9/11 mindset should last forever.

Always remember this point, next time we have a Republican president. Democrats are, at best, temporary doves.

NEXT: Glowing Cockroach, Blue Butt Monkey Among Newly Named Species of 2012

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  1. Oh FFS.

  2. TEMPORARY!!!

    In the grand scheme of things they all suck since about Silent Cal. And he wasn’t great. I want Grover Cleveland back.

    1. I want Grover Cleveland back.

      Second

  3. Shorter Mayer: It’s okay when our guy does it!

    1. “YABBUT BUSH — !!!”

  4. George W. Bush never droned innocenet Americans to death, least as far as we know.

    On August 29, Innocenet became self-aware.

    1. Thank God @LucyStag is gone so we don’t have be exposed to the horror of articles with typos.

      1. LucyStag: now with suspenders!

    2. Thanks.

  5. I have long believed that the only difference between alleged “idiots” like Bush and Palin and alleged “intelligent thoughtful” people like Clinton and Obama is that the latter are better at disguising their idiocy and doubletalk with flowery rhetoric that appeals to other alleged “intelligent thoughtful” people.

    1. +1

      Try and get the thoughtful warmongers to differntiate the actions vs rhetoric.

    2. That and houghtful intelligent people’ are actually not as intelligent as ‘idiots’ like Bush & Palin.

  6. Obama’s anguished? He should set some drones to watching the IRS.

  7. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  8. “He only does it because he loves us. He loves us so very very much.”

  9. So basically Bush is the Carpenter and Obama is the Walrus?

    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

    1. Koo koo ka choo!

      1. Have you ever even seen a chicken?

        1. +1 frozen banana

  10. seemed a telling change from the secrecy and winking smugness of the past.

    Wait, what?

    1. Don’t you understand the basics of Christianity, P Brooks? Repent, and all sins will be forgiven. Then dronemurder some more people, with or without winking smugness and secrecy, rinse and repeat.

  11. “Just war”ism is just Dick Cheneyism with more crocodile tears.

    Nice.

  12. “While Bush frequently seemed to take action without considering the underlying questions, Obama appears somewhat unsure of exactly what actions to take.”

    There are two reasons for this:

    Reason 1: The left hates rednecks, and they associate Bush with rednecks.

    Their hostility at Bush for doing the same things they give Obama a free pass for doing is about things like gay marriage more than anything else. It’s about the culture war.

    The issues that used to define the culture war are increasingly fading into irrelevance, but the left’s prime directive has to do with all out culture war–so they now that they can’t really find much of a culture war anymore, they invent it and direct all that animosity at Bush.

    Reason 2: They backed Obama so hard that he just can’t NOT be the messiah. That would mean they were duped, and it isn’t that they can’t admit to their consumers that they were duped–Obama’s cheerleaders can’t even admit to themselves that they were duped.

    1. Obama has almost none of the virtues a president is supposed to have. He’s not a good administrator. He’s not someone that people respect. He’s not good at decision-making. He is a piss-poor judge of character (or all too good and picking people without character). His actions and his word rarely map up, weakening his position domestically and overseas. He appears to be almost totally amoral. His own people don’t seem to take him seriously. Et cetera.

      1. He’s everything that the left falsely accused of Reagan.

        1. I dunno, Reagan was kind of an asshole.

        2. Now we “discover” that like Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama has an administration riddled with crooks and felons. I think that the less-insightful-than-the above-mentioned Obama will resist asking for resignations from his.

          1. This is in part why I was hoping for an Obama second term last Nov.

            Watching the New Camelot collapse in ignominy is quite the marvelous experience, and we still have three and a half years to go. Maybe we’ll get to see Tucker Carlson throw his shoe at Barry before 2017 rolls around.

      2. It’s almost as if he’d spent his life without any training or responsibility–besides being a college professor and a community activist.

        If he’d been nominated to be the CEO of a major corporation, he’d have been laughed out of the room just for his lack of qualifications. But he was qualified to be president?

        You know how there’s two kinds of resumes: the kind where you list all the the responsibilities you had and the kind where you list all of your achievements?

        He had neither on his resume. Before becoming president, Obama never had any responsibilities, and he never had any achievements to speak of, either.

        It’s one thing to be a president like that an delegate because you don’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, like a lot of dangerously incompetent managers, Obama thinks he knows what he’s doing. He thinks he’s smart and right!

        1. He went to Harvard! And he’s black!

          1. “… ish.”

          2. Harvard Law is not Harvard.

            /crimson pedant

        2. !!!!!!!!!!!!ENEMIES LIST, ENEMIES LIST!!!!!!!!

    2. Obama may or may not be the worst president of my lifetime, but he certainly has the worst apologists.

  13. …President Obama’s much-anticipated speech…

    Yeah, much-anticipated because it gives them an excuse to not talk about the endless flood of scandals flowing out of 1600 Penn.

    1. I for one didn’t care if he was making a speech or not.

  14. [H]ere, too, Obama’s evident pain over the program, whose civilian deaths he said would “haunt” him and his command “as long as we live,” seemed a telling change from the secrecy and winking smugness of the past.

    Yet, he will carry on with business as usual, and the progs will lap up this Eric Cartman-esque faux-repentence because they want to believe.

    In fact, his speech was a paean to the theory of “just war,” which requires a balance between means and ends, demanding proportionality whenever the state resorts to the use of force.

    What a load of horseshit. The “just war” theory is a uniquely Roman Catholic moral and legal doctrine. And it’s a little more than proportionality. The official Catechism version (paragraph 2309) of Just War has four criteria:

    the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

    all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

    there must be serious prospects of success;

    the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition

    I bolded the two most obvious Obama violations of the Just War theory.

    1. The last point is a utilitarian argument against the Drug Wars.

    2. I would say number four is an obvious Obama violation as well.

    3. “Haunt”? While he launches another attack from the golf links?

      What!

  15. Obama is like a cathedral. Most people gaze in awe and wonder at the ethereal beauty of the soaring arches and fine architectural filigree, without considering the underlying reality.

    When I was in South America, every time I saw a cathedral, all I could see was a gigantic steaming pile of misallocated resources.

    1. Cathedrals at the least inspire contemplation of the serious variety. How much serious contemplation has Obama ever engaged in, much less inspired?

      Right around the time of his first inauguration, before the attentive world found out what he really is, there was a Speaking of Faith episode in which a journalist who’d interviewed Obama “in depth” revealed that Obama’s favorite theologian was Reinhold Niebuhr, a pro-military, pro-intervention, Roosevelt-defending socialist who debated pacifists re: the United States’ participation in WW2 when he wasn’t preaching the Social Gospel and condemning automotive assembly lines in the most brainless, utopian, and anti-Misesian manner imaginable. Needless to say, Niebuhr is the most academically important theologian of the 20th century.

      Knowing what we know now, it’s unlikely that Obama has read so much as a page of Niebuhr–if ever there were a man who was a mile wide and an inch deep, it’s Human Dog Whistle Obama–but that was a bad sign of what sort of President Obama would be.

  16. …” contrast between Bush’s swagger and Obama’s anguish over the difficult trade-offs”…

    Sleazy bitch. Yeah, he’ll apologize while he’s stabbing you.

  17. Obama’s ‘Anguish’

    Obama got the pear?

  18. Obama has openly grappled with the most difficult questions posed by the most serious thinkers in this area.

    There’s a difference between semi-consciously repeating a question out loud and actually grappling with it. Obama shows no evidence of having done more than the former.

  19. Useful. Idiot.

    That is all.

  20. So, he feels bad when he’s murdering people? That just proves that he knows it’s wrong, and he can’t use the insanity defense when he stands trial for his crimes.

    1. “I know rape and murder and cover-ups are wrong, but I just can’t stop myself, but I’m better than the last secretive murdering rapist, so don’t impeach me, Bro'”

  21. Obama embraced both constitutional and international legal limits, at least in principle, even as he struggled to define them in practice.

    How is embracing a principle in principle but not in practice distinguishable from not embracing a principle at all? As far as I can tell, the last several presidents we have had have all struggled to define Constitutional limits as “whatever I say they are”, kinda like a cop being allowed to write his own warrants and then insisting that due process has been followed because he had a warrant for his actions.

  22. He doesn’t just kill innocent people. He does it *with feeling*.

    1. That’s enough for many supporters of what they believe is his infallible reptile brain.

  23. I blame Dubya Bush, Bill Clinton, Neo-Con Republicans and Progressive Democrats for Barack Obama. They all set the stage….

    Anyone who welcomes govt goodies in return for a blind eye toward govt war and plundering is included in that blame group.

  24. ACLU petition

    President Obama’s recent speech on balancing security and liberty– and his emphasis on closing Guant?namo while repealing his war authority, is a game-changing opportunity to finally prevent our civil liberties and values from being undermined in the global war on terror.

    And although he let through some new rays of truth on the government’s unlawful targeted killing program, we’re stilling waiting to hear more and hoping that he changes his tune on this secretive initiative– responsible for thousands of deaths far from any battlefield and the targeting of a 16 year-old American boy without any judicial oversight.

    We must act now to tell the president: publicly recommit to the rule of law and put an end to the unlawful targeted killing program.

    http://www.aclu.org/secure/new-nation…..ing_130524

  25. But, if you bash Obama you are racist. YOU ARE ALL RACIST TEABAGGERS!!!

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