Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let the Killing Begin

I was among the crush of humanity in Washington on Tuesday, January 20th. It was a strange place to be for an opponent of Barack Obama, the Democratic party, the Republican party, the military and prison industrial complexes, the Israeli lobby, and the Wall Street banksters, to name but a few.

Just when I wondered if anyone else knew they were witnessing dumbed down mass hysteria I turned and saw a brave/foolish soul protesting among the mostly zombified hordes. Adam Kokesh is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a committed activist who I once heard speak at a peace forum here in New York. Adam stood atop a barricade and displayed a sign which read "Occupation is Still a Crime" on one side and "Obama: Future War Criminal" on the other.

Of course, American presidents always end up being war criminals at some point in their terms of office, but Obama was especially speedy. On Friday, just 72 hours after assuming the presidency, American attack drones killed 22 people in Pakistan. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs wouldn't respond to questions regarding the first pile of dead bodies created by the Obama administration.

"But Gibbs refused to answer the question by NBC News' Chuck Todd, saying, 'I'm not going to get into this matter.'

After Fox News' Major Garrett joined the slight fray that erupted over the non-answer, asking if he considered whether there was 'justifiable curiosity about the president's first military actions.'

'There are many things that you should be justifiably curious about,' Gibbs responded, perhaps taking a knock at Fox News in general, 'but I'm not gonna get into talking about this.'

'If other members of the US government are confirming this, why is it that you can't?' Todd wanted to know. 'I'm not going to get into these matters,' Gibbs said with a smile.

Afterward, other reporters went back to the economy and didn't press Gibbs for more details about what could be the first military operation conducted during the Obama Administration."

In less than one week, the Obama administration continues the Bush administration policy of carrying out military actions in Pakistan against the wishes of the Pakistani government, and the press can't be bothered to ask more than two or three questions about it. At least they are being consistent with the new president, showing the same degree of deference to him as they did to his predecessor.

I should point out that Adam received a mixed reaction from the crowd around him. Some looked on curiously, some took pictures. He was greeted by people who appeared to know him. There were surprised and angry reactions too.

One woman said, "That is an ugly sign." I felt compelled to speak up and said that the sign was beautiful. The woman responded that I should look at the other side, the "war criminal" side. I replied that it was indeed beautiful. Obama had publicly stated many times that he would continue warfare in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, which would result in deaths, which was certainly criminal.

I got into similar verbal scuffles on Adam's behalf. Actually I should say on democracy's behalf. There will be precious little of that when we have a president who is sitting in the cat bird seat with an idol worshipping population prostrate at his feet.

Let the war crimes continue.