"No Refuge But in Audacity”: Barack Obama and the Democratic Party’s Holocaust Denial
Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity
Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity
DAVID DUKE WEIGHS IN
In February of 2008, Barack Obama received some interesting commentary from a curious source: David Duke. Duke is the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, February 2008. Twenty years before, Duke had said that the election of then presidential candidate Jesse Jackson “would be the greatest tragedy ever to befall this country.”
Why this curious, counter-intuitive lack of Obama hatred on the part of American “white nationalists”?
There was something else behind the odd phenomenon of Klansman seeming okay with a black American president,
True enough. Obama doesn’t sound like Rev. Jesse Jackson (or Rev. Jeremiah Wright). He has been running to the white-soothing center on race, making sure not to offend his many affluent white supporters by daring to notice the continuing power and relevance of white skin privilege in American life. He’s also been getting in the occasional good victim-blaming shot at “cousin Pookie” and other examples of supposed black “underclass” sloth .
“TRYING TO PUT
Among the Democratic Party’s leadership for some time now it’s been commonplace to say that “we’ve” spent enough “blood and treasure”* trying to “help” Iraq and now its time to step back from this great benevolence to focus on putting our own house in order . This was the line of all the Democratic presidential candidates except Kucinich and Gravel in
Never mind that the United States’ brazenly imperialist assault has killed as many as 1.3 million Iraqis and caused the exodus and displacement of many millions more.
That’s just since March of 2003, after more than a decade of U.S.-imposed “economic sanctions” killed a million Iraqis. Before that there was the Desert Storm slaughter, which Obama recently praised  despite such Gulf War highlights as the U.S. murder of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops on the “Highway of Death,” B-52 attacks on teenage conscripts hiding in the sand, the sacrifice of Shiite and Kurdish civilians to Saddam’s guns (in the interest of “stability”), and the poisoning of Iraq (and U.S. soldiers) with depleted uranium munitions.
WORSE THAN THE MONGOLS
While dominant corporate media obsessed about a racialized soap opera conflict between Hillary and Obama, the antiwar writer Tom Engelhardt noted the following in mid January of 2008:
“Whether civilian dead between the invasion of 2003 and mid-2006 (before the worst year of civil-war level violence even hit) was in the range of 600,000 as a study in the British medical journal, The Lancet reported, or 150,000 as a recent World Health Organization study suggests, whether two million or 2.5 million Iraqis have fled the country, whether 1.1 million or more than two million have been displaced internally, whether electricity blackouts and water shortages have marginally increased or decreased, whether the country's health-care system is beyond resuscitation or could still be revived, whether Iraqi oil production has nearly crept back to the low point of the Saddam Hussein-era or not, whether fields of opium poppies are, for the first time, spreading across the country's agricultural lands or still relatively localized, Iraq is a continuing disaster zone on a catastrophic scale hard to match in recent
According to the respected journalist Nir Rosen in the December 2007 edition of the mainstream journal Current History, “
*A NOTE ON “BLOOD AND TREASURE”
Would any of the top Democrats like to observe that the
BENEATH “THE RHETORIC OF WITHDRAWAL”
There is a critical difference, of course, between Duke’s Nazi Holocaust-denial and Obama’s
The current “antiwar” Obama can’t commit to having all
Obama can’t even commit to calling for the banning of the notorious private “security” contractors likes Blackwater Worldwide – a telling fact since these forces are a critical part of the occupation. Their presence may increases as “combat forces” are drawn down .
For what it’s worth, huge majorities of the Iraqi people have long viewed
“THEY HAVE SEEN THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTER KILLED IN THE STREETS OF FALLUJAH”
I’m not sure that Obama’s
This was a spine-chilling selection of locales. Fallujah was the site for appalling
It was a deeply provocative and insulting place for Obama to choose to highlight American sacrifice and “resolve” in criminally occupied
CLINGING TO THE GUNS AND RELIGION OF EMPIRE
Consistent with comments in earlier foreign policy speeches and the
reactionary foreign policy chapter of his deeply conservative book “The Audacity of Hope” (2006), Obama told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last February that the U.S. invaded Iraq because of naïve hopes to impose “Jeffersonian democracy” there .
This is a childish or cynical thing to claim to believe, for reasons that I and other left analysts have explained on numerous occasions . It is consistent with the repeated claims of past imperial conquerors – from the Romans through the Nazis and beyond – that their barbarism was inspired by the best and most noble intentions, including assistance and liberation for the conquered.
Obama has gone overboard in proclaiming his faith in the broader benevolence and good purposes behind
Obamanists, please tell your silver-tongued pseudo-progressive “JFK in sepia”  that the biggest casualty of the American War on Vietnam was Vietnam, which lost more than 2 million people to superpower Uncle Sam’s benevolent “crucifixion of Southeast Asia” (Noam Chomsky’s phrase).
Americans’ distrust of the imperial policies and pronouncements of their elected officials and politicians is a very good thing. Obama is an excellent example of why. Perhaps he would like to enlighten us as to the source of the “bitterness” that leads him to cling to the guns and secular religion of U.S. Empire .
Elite socialization at ruling class educational institutions like
“Crime once exposed,” the historian Tacitus observed, “had no refuge but in audacity” .
1. Michael Crowley, “Post-Racial: Even White Supremacists Don’t Hate Obama,”
2. Paul Street, “Barack Obama’s White Appeal: and the Perverse Racial Politics of the Post-Civil Rights Era,” Black Agenda Report (June 20, 2007), read at http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=34
3. WIFR Television, CBS 23,
4. Paul Street, “Vilsacking
5. Devlin Barrett, “Obama Aligns Foreign Policy With GOP,” Associated Press, 29 March, 2008.
6. Tom Engelhardt, “The Corpse on the Gurney: the Success Mantra in
7. Nir Rosen, “The Death of
8. Juan Gonzales, Amy Goodman, and Jeremy Scahill. “Jeremy Scahill: Despite Antiwar Rhetoric, Clinton-Obama Plans Would Keep US Mercenaries, Troops in Iraq for Years to Come,” Democracy Now (February 28, 2008) read text version at www.democracynow.org/2008/2/28/jeremy_scahill_despite_anti_war_rhetoric; Jeremy Scahill, “Obama’s Mercenary Position,” The Nation (March 16, 2008)
9. Barack Obama, “A Way Forward in
10. Michael Mann, Incoherent Empire (NY: 2005, p. xii); Anthony Arnove,
11. Greg Borowski, “
12. See my article “Largely About Oil: Reflections on Empire, Petroleum, Democracy, and the Occupation of Iraq,” Z Magazine (January 2008): 38-42.
12A. Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope (NY: 2006), p. 317.
13. Paul Street, “Obama’s Good and ‘Proper’ War,” ZNet (March 5, 2008), read at http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16760
14. Barrett, “Obama Aligns Foreign Policy With GOP.”
15. The Audacity of Hope, pp. 287-288
16. Michael Hureaux (February 13, 2008), comment to Juan Santos, “Barack Obama and the End of Racism,” Dissident Voice (February 13, 2008) http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/02/barack-obama-and-the-%e2%80%9cend%e2%80%9d-of-racism/ (second of 22 comments).
17. For more details, see my following essays: “Barack Obama and the Audacity of Deception: The Manufacture of Progressive Illusion,” Black Agenda Report (December 12, 2007), www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=463&Itemid=1“Imperial Temptations: John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Myth of Post-World War II United States Benevolence,” ZNet Magazine (May 28, 2007), read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12928;
“Running Dog Obama” ZNet Magazine (July 29, 2007), available online at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13396; “Obama’s Audacious Deference to Power,” ZNet Magazine (January 24, 2007), read at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11936
18. Noam Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot: JFK,