The Atrocity of Hope, Part 10: Selective Grief

Congratulations, Pakistani children!  You too can sacrifice.

Obama’s remarks about the nine-year-old girl who was murdered in Tucson were very moving.*

I look forward to his equally moving encomium to the Afghan and Pakistani children murdered by his air strikes and drone attacks.


* Well, actually they were somewhat insulting, inasmuch as he suggested that her future, had she lived, would or should have been devoted to organised crime. But apart from that they were nice.


18 Responses to The Atrocity of Hope, Part 10: Selective Grief

  1. MBH January 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m tired of seeming like an Obama apologist. So, while I have no doubt it will come off that I’m still striking the same note, I don’t think that I am.

    You noted earlier that if you were elected president, you would either be impeached or assassinated. So, if you were president, and the Pentagon said “we’re going to do X,” how much power do you think you’d have to say “No.”?

    • Roderick January 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      I think Obama would face a hell of a lot less resistance (and less danger) if he tried to pull out of Afghanistan/Iraq than if he tried to dismantle the entire state apparatus.

      • MBH January 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

        Obviously, but just because it would be less, doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t still face a significant amount of resistance (and danger) if he tried to pull out of Afghanistan/Iraq. If you actually mean it when you say ‘the state is war’, then the state would perceive war-endings as a threat to its roots.

      • MBH January 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

        Comic relief.

    • Jeff G. January 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Just a thought: If you don’t want to seem like an Obama apologist, you really should, at least on as simple a matter as personally ordering death sentences via drone attacks, just resort to saying something like: “Ugh! You know what? This is disgusting. I can’t support Obama on this one.”

      It would go a long way toward creating some credibility.

      • MBH January 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

        I kind of thought that went without saying. The entire warfare framework should have been immediately supplanted with (at most) the criminal justice paradigm the minute Obama took office.

    • Brandon January 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

      The head of the u.s. military establishment, the pentagon, the entire u.s. military, if you will, is the secdef. That is a service secretary appointed by the president. If you go through enough layers of bureaucracy, any military program or office could be terminated by the president though the secdef. Also, I’m certain that the president can fire any military commander directly (without going through any layers of bureaucracy first) who fails to follow orders.

      That having been said, if you read The Best and the Brightest it becomes clear that there are ways of not complying with orders even while complying with them. That book is very important to the task of properly understanding how the massive u.s. military establishment works. But I reiterate that the president has direct authority over all u.s. combat forces.

      • MBH January 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

        the president has direct authority over all u.s. combat forces.

        But not private military companies.

      • MBH January 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

        I haven’t read enough in this area, and I’ll certainly check out that book, but I do suspect that a large percentage of armed forces are private mercenaries (I saw somewhere 250,000 in Iraq). They also have contracts with the Pentagon so that, say, if a 10 year deal is signed in 2007, a new commander-in-chief in 2008 would have less decision-making power than the previous chief.

  2. Matt Flipago January 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    So what HAS Obama done that wouldn’t be expected of an outright statist, to even give hope that he is a good person to have in office?

    • MBH January 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

      This list is by no means exhaustive, but it only includes non-statist, non-corporatist, actions.

      Cut taxes by over $1/2 trillion.

      Begins nuclear draw-down.

      The combat mission in Iraq is over (even though 50,000 are left to train Iraqis).

      Repeals DADT.

      Cut the missile defense program by $1.4 billion.

      Eliminated F-22 fighter jet program after lobbying Senate vote to strip financing for more jets from a defense funding authorization bill.

      Cancels contract for new Presidential helicopter fleet (28 helicopters, $11.2 billion).

      Bans lobbyist gifts to executive employees.

      Jail population declines for the first time in decades.

      His campaign staffers use Ubuntu.

      Ends the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date.

      Brings greater alignment to sentencing guidelines for powdered versus crack cocaine.

      Orders review of mandatory minimum sentences.

      Establishes, a web portal for determining and comparing all consumer health insurance and health care options.

      Enacts largest reform of student aid in 40 years.

      Creates task force to fight deficit.

      Establishes partnerships to share environmental technology with other countries.

      Champions the importance of arts education.

      Promotes cultural diplomacy.

      I save this for last because it could be argued that it is corporatist. I think that — in sum — it’s anti-corporatist policy: The health care reform law will create 10,000 new community health centers by 2016. That opens the door for Open Source Ventures to supply universal non-corporatist care.

      It might be argued that this is statist; I happen to think it’s a positive step: Open Government

      You might argue that this is statist, but I actually think it’s the most anti-statist thing Obama has done: Financial reform will let sunlight in on derivatives trading so that companies cannot short-sell their own success and then tank on purpose. If I remember correctly, Ron Paul gave John McCain hell over the lack of sunlight in the Republican Primary debates. This policy is hardly statist.

      • Jayson Virissimo January 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

        I think you are making an error by giving the Obama Administration credit for lowering taxes. Unless spending is reduced, taxes can’t really be “cut”, but merely deferred. Am I right?

        • MBH January 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

          You’re welcome to throw that one out then. Have any problems with the other 21 accomplishments?

      • Brandon January 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

        Creates task force to fight deficit.

        Good one. If your bank account is overdrafted, should you hire a task force to find ways to stop spending money?

        • MBH January 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

          You’re welcome to throw that one out then. Have any problems with the other 21 accomplishments?

  3. MBH January 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Roderick, I would love to know if you can rebut this

  4. vaguelyhumanoid January 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Where’d he imply that she’d be a criminal?


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