Friday, December 11, 2009


by Philip J. Cunningham

It’s official. US President Barack Obama, long suspected of being the type of person who wanted to have his cake and eat it too, wine and dine with Wall Street while tossing rhetorical crumbs to the poor, dispossessed and hungry, all the while hobnobbing with the rich and famous and amassing draconic executive privilege, has, in his Nobel speech, just proved himself to be the world’s biggest phony.

The two-faced master of the mellow sound-bite has just outdone himself in trying to convince a jaded world that war is peace, that imperialism is liberation, that down is up and two plus two equals five. Even at this most international of events, in a world that desperately needs some leaders willing to look beyond their own narrow self-interests of the nation state, he preaches America the good, America the beautiful, America the just. Music to the ears of a stateside schoolchild or your died-in-the-wool Yankee xenophobe, perhaps, but hardly cosmopolitan in spirit.

Rather, his speech is mean-spirited. He goes out of his way, and beyond the bounds of decency, in his effort to show that war is necessary and American warfare is especially just. His argument is lame and conflicted. He says war’s been around for a long time so, hey, get used to it. If he was making a speech in favor of legalization prostitution or opium, there might be some point in making the “oldest profession” kind of argument, but surely that flimsy line of thinking has no place coming from a man who has unique and unparalleled access to the world’s most deadly nuclear arsenal. Surely that pale logic doesn’t justify a war, any war, the war of the moment, the Af-Pak War of Obama’s design, just because there have been wars in the past.

Obama gets shockingly narrow and parochial at times, saying in effect that America is good and anyone who opposes America is bad. He pins war crimes on the other guys, but doesn’t begin to address war crimes of his own nation. Suspicion of American is not justified, it’s “reflexive.”