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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the fightback begins « Previous | |Next »
January 25, 2009

Republicans in the US---both congressional and media---are saying that Obama's closing of Guantanamo Bay and bringing Terrorism suspects into the U.S. for real trials presents a clear and present danger to all Americans. Obama is not keeping America safe.

Guantanamo.jpg Peter Brookes

In the Washington Post Marc A. Thiessen says:

As the new president receives his intelligence briefings, certain facts must now be apparent: Al-Qaeda is actively working to attack our country again. And the policies and institutions that George W. Bush put in place to stop this are succeeding. During the campaign, Obama pledged to dismantle many of these policies. He follows through on those pledges at America's peril -- and his own. If Obama weakens any of the defenses Bush put in place and terrorists strike our country again, Americans will hold Obama responsible -- and the Democratic Party could find itself unelectable for a generation.

It's fear mongering disguised as commentary by a voice from the darker, more authoritarian strain of conservatism.

Thiessen is a former Bush aide and chief speechwriter. That's why he reckons "Obama is already proving to be the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office." The Republican campaign is designed to frighten Americans into believing that they must vest the Government with extensive surveillance powers to prevent themselves from being slaughtered by the Terrorists. As Andrew Sullivan observes this darker, more authoritarian strain of conservatism that is rooted in the cultural and racial conservatism of the South is:

partial to a near-dictatorial war-presidency, believing in American exceptionalism to the extent that it exempts America from the moral norms of the rest of the world, and rooting the legitimacy of the American constitution in only one religious tradition (narrowly defined).

It is a conservative that opposes "liberalism" which it defines as unholy marriage of big government and fornication, not withstanding that liberalism basically stands for liberty under law, limited and accountable government, markets, tolerance, some version of individualism and universalism, and some notion of human equality, reason and progress.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:42 PM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

Gary said "It's fear mongering disguised as commentary".

Less damaging hopefully, because more clearly partisan, than fear-mongering disguised as patriotism and excuse for policy.

Yet the strong indications that America is more disliked today than it was 8 years ago does not deserve a mention? If something horrible happens in the US during Obama's term, it will be despite his actions, not because of them.

Mars08----I accept that America is more disliked today than it was 8 years ago due to the actions of the theocratic, authoritarian Republicans Hence the importance of Obama --to restore America's tattered reputation. America's reputation may well depend on how it deals with Iran. That includes Afghanistan where the situation is dire:

The Taliban have reorganized, advanced out of their borderland safe havens, and are now massing at the gates of Kabul, threatening to surround and throttle the capital, much as the US-backed Mujahideen once did to the Soviet-installed regime in the late Eighties. Like the rerun of an old movie, all journeys out of the Afghan capital are once again confined to tanks, armored cars, and helicopters. Members of the Taliban already control over 70 percent of the country, up from just over 50 percent in November 2007, where they collect taxes, enforce Sharia law, and dispense their usual rough justice; but they do succeed, to some extent, in containing the wave of crime and corruption that has marked Hamid Karzai's rule. This has become one of the principal reasons for their growing popularity, and every month their sphere of influence increases.

The blowback from the Afghan conflict in Pakistan is more serious still. In less than eight months, Asif Ali Zardari's new government has effectively lost control of much of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) to the Taliban's Pakistani counterparts, a loose confederation of nationalists, Islamists, and angry Pashtun tribesmen under the nominal command of Baitullah Mehsud.

Dave,
I agree. The Washington neocon crowd now have to step into the public sphere and argue their case for torture and surveillance. Their Hollywood horror movie rhetoric about a terrorist coming to a prison next n door to you and could escape is not very persuasive, now that patriotism as love of country is more liberal.

Obama has a lot to do to restore America's credability and moral standing. Look at what William Dalrymple says in Pakistan in Peril in the New York Review of Books:

the Bush administration sought to silence real scrutiny of what was actually causing so many people in South and Central Asia violently to resist American influence. Serious analysis was swept under the carpet, making impossible any discussion or understanding of the "root causes" of terrorism—the growing poverty, repression, and sense of injustice that many Muslims felt at the hands of their US-backed governments, which in turn boosted anti-Americanism and Islamic extremism.... Instead, terrorism was presented by the administration as a result of a "sudden worldwide anti-Americanism rather than a result of past American policy failures."

Bush's speech to Congress, claiming that the world hated America because "they hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote," ignored the political elephant standing in the middle of the living room—US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, with its long history of unpopular interventions in the Islamic world and its uncritical support for Israel's steady colonization of the West Bank and violent repression of the Palestinians.

The good and evil Bushy conservatives did believe that America was engaged in a civilizational war against Islam. They presented a vision of an Islamic world eaten up with irrational hatred of America. So Americans should hate back and destroy the evil doers.