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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thoughts on O'bummer

American politics is a "strange breed". With a voting public that does NOT vote in masse combined with their ignorance of foreign issues, the combination makes for a disaster.

Historically, the US has wanted to be treated as a "nation untouchable" due to it's relative isolation, a country that spans shore to shore, hemmed in on two sides by ocean and to the north and south by only two countries to call our direct "neighbors". This has lead to a mentality in much of the American public that since Canada seems to be our "friend" and Mexico must be "dealt with", what happens within our own nation is what matters most. Thus, much of the voting public votes primarily on domestic issues, those things they DEEM are affecting their daily lives.

This mentality has made the US particularly vulnerable to "outside influence". If an interested party is powerful enough to convince the American public that their interests somehow coincide with American interests, that party has been able to influence our foreign policy measures. This is VERY much the case with Israel and it's representative in the US, AIPAC. No other foreign interest lobby in the US has more power over our decision making than AIPAC. This is NOT a conspiracy theory, all one needs to do is do very minor digging to discover the power this lobby has over US foreign policy. Yet AIPAC is NOT registered as a foreign interest, it is allowed to act freely within US law to manipulate OUR foreign policy at will.

When Barak Obama first came on the scene as a potential Democratic presidential candidate I was highly intriqued. Here was a candidate who was SMART and personable. When he speaks he is the antithesis of what we have had in office for the last six years. He seemed to be a coalition builder and "umbrella" maker, someone who would listen and thoughtfully take into consideration all viewpoints offered him to reach compromise.

Well, then the disappointment set in. There is a saying, "A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece." Ludwig Erhard-German economist (1897-1977). But what if one party "wants his cake and eat it too" OR one party says to the other, "let them eat cake"? This is the case with Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.
As Israel has continued an illegal occupation of Palestine for the last 40 years and appropriated land for illegal settlements, the possibility of a viable Palestinian state has become less likely as the "facts on the ground of the settlements" have turned the Palestinian territories into a "SWISS cheese"walled off ghetto. The US has done NOTHING to dicipline Israel whatsoever (by withdrawing aid or support) as it has continued forward with building an illegal wall and grabbed more land. Now we have Obama on one hand stating, ""Nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people." and then having to backtrack on that statement because HE was confronted by the zealous US supporters of Israel.
His reaction?

"Last week, NBC News anchor and moderator Brian Williams asked Obama during the first debate of the 2008 Democratic presidential nominating campaign if he stood by the quote about the suffering Palestinians.

Obama replied: "Well, keep in mind what the remark actually, if you have the whole thing, said - what I said is - nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region." (Source from May 3, 2007)

Sorry O'bummer, that is NOT what you said, but you want people to get the IDEA that you said that by taking bits and pieces of other statements and coming up with their own "theory" of what you said. So while those supporting the cause of freedom of the Palestinian people from the HORRENDOUS policies of Israel get a "dog biscuit" you try to appease those who took your statement at face value and were offended by it (pro-Israel interests). Is this "compromise"?
Is he doing a good job of "cutting up the cake" to make everyone think they got the biggest piece, OR is he PANDERING, INCONSISTANT, and OPPORTUNISTIC? God forbid that you refer to the policy of ILLEGAL OCCUPATION as being even a SLIGHT culprit impeding peace less you REALLY provoke the "powers that be".

I'm sorry folks, but I want to know where my candidate stands on issues. I do NOT want to "buy a cake" and have only crumbs in the box. That is simply false advertising, Give me your ingredients O'bummer, LAY THEM ON THE TABLE, because I am NOT going to vote for ANY candidate who kowtows to AIPAC.

As an American I do NOT want a mere pretty-faced well-spoken politician. I want a LEADER, one who stands up for the values we PROCLAIM as a nation yet do NOT follow in our blind support of Israel. O'bummer, until you grow a spine and say it like you REALLY mean it giving me a chance to judge you accordingly, I am NOT supporting the slippery eel politician that you are.

Be sure to go to the SOURCE and read the comments. They are quite interesting.

And America, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE when it comes to automatically supporting Israel NO MATTER what they do. Since they are the direct recipients of more aid per capita than ALL OTHER NATIONS COMBINED, maybe you need to find out what your money is being spent on. If Americans Only Knew

My Lingering Doubts about Obama's Foreign Policy

By Bill Fletcher, Jr., The Black Commentator. Posted May 12, 2007.

From his uncritical stance of Israel's treatment of Palestinians to his statements about Iran, Barack Obama seems to be trying to prove his hawkish credentials.

Senator Barack Obama has become a major celebrity, a truth that is now almost a cliché. His campaign has raised massive amounts of funding. He draws large and enthusiastic crowds when he appears. Often described as charismatic, he is more importantly smart and well spoken.

Yet before I jump into his campaign, I have a few questions that I first want to share with you and which I hope he will address in the not-too-distant future.

There is a way in which I cannot tell who is the real Senator Obama. For one, he has not carved out -- at least as of this writing -- any cutting edge issues where he is taking the lead and defining the terrain. Second, and to some extent more troubling, he permits people to see and assume in him what they want to see and assume. I have said to many of my friends that this situation reminds me of an episode from the original Star Trek series where there was a creature that appears to the viewer the way the viewer would like to see it.

I am, to add to this, very uneasy about some of the Senator's foreign policy pronouncements, particularly with regard to the Middle East. To his credit, he opposed the Iraq invasion and had the courage to say so. Yet over the last year, he has displayed a peculiarly uncritical stance when it comes to Israel and has all-but-ignored the plight of the Palestinians. This past summer, when Israel launched its massive and deadly assault on Lebanon, the Senator was quite vocal in his support. He seemed to miss the Israeli use of illegal cluster bombs and the lies the Israelis offered for their unapologetic destruction of entire Lebanese civilian communities.

Further, the Senator seems to ignore the atrocious conditions being faced by the Palestinians who, after all, are occupied by the Israelis in violation of United Nations' resolutions. This occupation is worsening with the creation of what some people describe as the "apartheid wall", and what I simply call the "wall of death," that the Israelis are building as they carve out the land they wish to control in perpetuity.

Compounding this odd situation, the Senator seems to want to be a "hawk" when it comes to Iran, describing that country as a threat to Israel and the USA. Here again I remain perplexed. Iran does not have the military capability to hit the USA. There is absolutely no proof of Iran advancing military nuclear ambitions. It is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Everything else is speculation. Israel, on the other hand, has not signed the treaty, possesses nuclear weapons but will not acknowledge that fact, and has assisted apartheid South Africa in developing weapons of mass destruction. India, to use another example, has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has nuclear weapons, has those weapons pointed at Pakistan (which has its own weapons pointed at India), has fought several wars with Pakistan, and yet received nuclear support from President Bush and the US Congress. I cannot find any record of Senator Obama suggesting a tough stand against either of these countries, irrespective of his particular concerns with the Indian nuclear deal. Perhaps I did not Google long enough?

So, I think we need to understand the Senator's thinking. After having what many observers described as a friendly relationship with Arab Americans over the years, the Senator appears to have yelled, "abandon ship" and jumped into an anti-Palestinian and anti-Iranian lifeboat.

The uncritical support for Israel displayed by most US administrations since, at least, the June 1967 Arab/Israeli War has not only cost the USA global credibility but undermined most prospects for peace in the Middle East. The hope for many of us has been the rise of a Presidential candidate committed to seeing the world as it is, and transforming the relationship of the USA from being a global bully into being a global partner.

I am not ready to write off the inspiring Senator from the great State of Illinois, but no matter how hard I try, I keep thinking about that creature from Star Trek.


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BC Editorial Board member Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a long-time labor and international activist and writer. He is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.

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