"First Principles ... or Why I Cannot Support Barack Obama
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Let us begin with the fact that George Bush and Dick Cheney were never legitimately elected to the Oval Office: not in 2000, and not in 2004.
In the American system, the authority of our government is based on the consent of the governed. This consent was not earned in either "election".
Therefore, the Bush-Cheney administrations of 2001-2009 were illegitimate, and the policies implemented by these illegitimate administrations are themselves illegitimate. Period.
If somebody steals your credit card and you report the theft, you are not responsible for purchases made on that card after it was stolen. We reported the theft in 2000; we screamed about the theft in 2004; but it did us no good at all.
The most destructive "terrorist attack" that ever took place on American soil occurred during the first Bush-Cheney administration, and it was never legitimately investigated. The story that was told to explain it is not only false; it's impossible.
Therefore the policies implemented as "reactions" to the "terrorist attack of September 11, 2001" would be illegitimate even if they had been enacted by a legitimately elected government. But they weren't.
Furthermore, many of these same policies contravene both national and international law, and for this reason they would be illegal, and indefensible, even if they were enacted by a legitimately elected government in response to a legitimate threat.
But they were not: all these illegal, immoral, and deeply detrimental policies were enacted by an illegitimate government in "response" to a bogus event.
If we had legitimate opposition politics in this country, it would would begin by calling these policies what they are.
And if we had a legitimate successor government, it would begin by repealing every single one of them, holding accountable those responsible for their implementation, and making amends insofar as possible to those who have suffered the most.
In other words, if a legitimate opposition government had taken power in January, American use of torture against "terror suspects" would be history. All the secret prisons would now be closed. There would be no more extraordinary renditions, and no more military tribunals.
Warrantless surveillance would have been stopped. All American troops would have been removed from both Iraq and Afghanistan, including the "defense" and "security" contractors and clandestine special forces. Rather than propping up puppet governments and blackmailing them at the same time, we would now be financing -- but others would be building -- new infrastructure in both countries. We would also be paying reparations on a scale that would make the bank bailouts look like a drop in the ocean.
And the people most responsible for the abomination that America has become would be in prison by now, if they were allowed to remain alive.
But none of this has happened, and none of it is about to happen, soon or ever.
Instead we have a president who has declared that his first priority is the defense of Israel, and a vice president who has declared that during his 36 years in the Senate, no one has been a better friend to Israel than he has.
Why can't we have a president whose first priority is the defense of our own country?
Why can't we have a vice president who is prouder of having befriended his own nation than of having befriended a foreign one?
And why can't we find a single columnist in a single national publication asking questions like these? Because the system is broken.
We know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. We know that the story about the Iraqi WMDs was chosen for "bureaucratic reasons" -- in other words not because it was true but because it was the story we were most likely to believe. We didn't believe it, on the whole. But the war went ahead anyway.
Far more people believed the 9/11 story about Muslim hijackers and Osama bin Laden and skyscrapers "collapsing" due to "impact and fire", but some of us knew it was false on the day, and it has turned out that we were absolutely correct.
And yet the transparently false story about 9/11 has been used to "justify" all manner of abuses, from illegal surveillance to homeland "security", to an endless limitless war against the rest of the world. No matter how obviously false that story is, no matter how many people have learned since then that the story is false, all this has gone ahead anyway.
I cannot support any of it. I cannot support any politician who supports any of it, let alone a president who continues the worst of it. And I cannot support any journalist who supports that president, or who tells those murderous lies.
In my opinion, the people who support Obama now are at least as bad as -- if not much worse than -- the people who supported Bush when he was doing the things that Obama is now continuing, and expanding. It pains me to think of how much time and energy I spent trying to help some of them.
Even George Bush and Dick Cheney never managed to blackmail the Pakistani army into attacking its own people. And the Obama misery is just beginning.
What a poignant and insightful conclusion.
Which means we will need you even more, WP.