Critics of the State of Obama speech say “Not A Peep About The President’s Praise of Military”

by Laura Flanders, on the Counterpunch blog

The grades for the president’s State of the Union are in and the critics have been kind. In fact, it’s chilling to see just how few hits the President takes for couching his entire address in unqualified celebration of the US military.

US Marines' infamous descration of dead Taliban fighters

Speaking of the troops, Obama began: “At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.”

Post-show pundits on cable news praised the president’s comfort with his Commander in Chief role but none saw fit to mention recent news of marines urinating on Afghan corpses, say, or Staff Sgt Wuterich walking free after participating in the killing of 24 unarmed men women and children in Haditha. Accompanying Obama’s next phrase, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” no one thus far has played the vile video. The critics have been kind.

The President chose to celebrate the military; the press chose not to raise a peep about the spread of militarism, yet US targets proliferate — abroad – with unmanned drones assassinating unconvicted suspects in innumerable undeclared wars. And militarism spreads at home. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act makes indefinite military detention without charge or trial a permanent feature of the American legal system.  It’s kind of the critics not to mention that – or his four-year-old pledge to close Guantanamo, and to restore the “rule of law.”

Haditha massacre--These Ishaqi children were among the 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians killed by US Marines

“They’re not consumed with personal ambition… They work together,” continued the president (again, speaking of the troops.)

There are surely plenty of troops who would disagree. The tally is long of commanders and pigeon hawk commanders-of-commanders who’ve dodged responsibility, fingered underlings and permitted rank-and-file “bad-apples” to take the heat for US war crimes.

“Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops,” the President concluded.

There are indeed things we can learn; things that many US troops have begged us to learn in fact. Namely, that war dehumanizes the killer and the killed, and that war tactics have a habit of spreading from the war zone to the home. Successive generations have told us that military recruiters lie, and that “rules of war” exist only in legal minds. (Ninety percent of casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were civilians.) Troops have begged us to learn just what we are celebrating when we celebrate “winning” and war.

Clearly we have yet to learn.

LAURA FLANDERS is the host of The Laura Flanders Show coming to public television stations later this year. She was the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.

USA: The hollow words and empty claims of “democratic rights”

[The noted Black author James Balwin wrote to Angela Davis in 1970, when she was being unjustly prosecuted during the Nixon era, that “we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”  These words continue to ring true, and loud, today. Those who act like nothing’s wrong, those who do not speak and act against the unjust persecution of people of whatever shape, size, color, and belief, will certainly face such fate themselves, in due time.  The time to resist is now. — Frontlines ed.]

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President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law

Statement from the American Civil Liberties Union–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–December 31, 2011

CONTACT: media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.  While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.  The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.

“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.  The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.” Continue reading