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Norman Solomon
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 13 February 2013
“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.” Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “pre-emptive war.”

What Obama Said -- and What he Meant -- About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties

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The words in President Obama’s “State of the Union” speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease and emitting dog whistles as they flew.

Let’s decode the president’s smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”

We’ve done so little to combat climate change -- we must do more.

“I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…”

Climate change is an issue that can be very good for Wall Street. Folks who got the hang of  “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” can learn how to handle “cap and trade.” The corporate environmental groups are on board, and maybe we can offer enough goodies to big corporations to make it worth their while to bring enough of Congress along.

“The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.”

Dual memo. To T. Boone Pickens: “Love ya.” To environmentalists who won’t suck up to me: “Frack you.” (And save your breath about methane.)

“That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”

Blow off steam with your demonstrations, you 350.org types. I’ll provide the platitudes. XL Keystone, here we come.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”

How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.

“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate -- unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.

“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”

“We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we’ll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”

We don’t need flag-draped coffins coming home. We’re so civilized that we’re the planetary leaders at killing people with remote control from halfway around the world.

We must enlist our values in the fight. That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

I’m sick of taking flak just because I pick and choose which civil liberties I want to respect. If I need to give a bit more information to a few other pliant members of Congress, I will. The ones who get huffy about the Bill of Rights aren’t going to get the time of day from this White House. I recognize that some of my base is getting a bit upset about this civil-liberties thing, so I’ll ramp up the soothing words and make use of some prominent Democratic members of Congress who are of course afraid to polarize with me. Don’t underestimate this president; I know how to talk reverentially about our great nation’s “checks and balances” as I undermine them.

“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Maybe it’s just about time for another encore of “pre-emptive war.” 



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ABOUT Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is an American journalist, media critic, antiwar activist, and losing candidate in 2012 for the United States House of Representatives. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

He also said that the 'all of

He also said that the 'all of the above' strategy would continue. In other words "Drill Baby Drill!"

NO DIFFERENCE

All this Obama shtick

All this Obama shtick amounts to the same old corporatist agenda we've seen since Reagan. The oligarch seems to know through polling and such just how hard they can press the American people along the road to the inevitable outcomes of financial capitalism and globalization and the guile necessary so as not to awaken that part of the population still largely unaware as to their fate. But what else did we expect other than the state of the people's existence to be squeezed even more by bankers and the financialization of the economy. Along with the rise of authoritarian repressions by the inverted state, to keep the population in line while what remains of their wealth is taken and they basically are forced into what amounts to indenture by all the governmental and personnel debts owed to the banking class the people are to pay for the agendas of the corporatist imperium and the neo feudal world it espouses?

Not to mention the fact that

Not to mention the fact that the only things he REALLY meant to implement were more money and "low level conflicts" to float the bloated war machine...

and another round of NAFTA/GATT with the EU and ASIA...greasing the wheels of corporate profits at the expense of workers...

The rest was just fluff to lull the "base" in their somnolence...

Norm, I live in your area and

Norm, I live in your area and promoted your candidacy in the last election. After reading this piece, I no longer see you as a viable alternative who can provide positive leadership. You no longer have my vote.

What total nonsense. RVGUY

What total nonsense. RVGUY is just the type of deluded Obot most in need of Norman Solomon's translation services in the public interest. It would have been so much better to have him in Congress being paid to provide this public service to the nation.

Another war lover heard

Another war lover heard from?

Or were you just deaf, dumb and blind to what Norman has said and stood for for decades? (And what Obama has shown to NOT stand for)...

Yes, yes and yes. Thanks

Yes, yes and yes. Thanks Norman for conveniently decoding the president's blather so I don't have to listen to the whole disgusting shebang.

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