MAY 2, 2012 8:06PM

Obama’s 'Hit-Man-In-Chief' Bragging Rights! Really?

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Patrick Martin of wsws has posted a provocative article on Barack Obama’s campaign use of the “take out” of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Martin:

There is something particularly degrading about the use of a state killing—in which dozens of heavily armed special ops troops mowed down the fugitive in front of his wives and children—to promote a political campaign. Obama presents himself, not so much even as commander-in-chief, but as “hitman-in-chief,” appealing to the worst social instincts.


In speeches, interviews and a seven-minute web video narrated by former President Bill Clinton, the Obama campaign has hailed his decision to order the commando raid one year ago today on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, while suggesting that Republican Mitt Romney would not have made that choice.

The campaign began last Thursday with a speech by Vice President Joseph Biden at New York University, in which he declared that the bumper sticker slogan for Obama’s re-election could be: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive,” while claiming that for Romney, the opposite would be the case.

On Friday, the Obama campaign released the web video titled “One Chance,” in which former President Clinton praised Obama as the “decider-in-chief” for ordering the raid in which a team of Navy Seals gunned down bin Laden and several members of his family. The ad then asks, “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?”

The public relations blitz culminated Monday night in an interview with Obama broadcast on NBC Nightly News, conducted in the White House Situation Room, where Obama, Biden and other officials gathered on the night of May 1, 2011 (early May 2 in Pakistan) to monitor the progress of the commando attack in Abbottabad.

Martin explains that Biden’s crude bumper sticker message does summarize an administration that employs reckless military violence and a willingness to bail out banks and corporations “at the expense of working people.”


When the operation to kill bin Laden was accomplished a year ago, the Obama administration seized on this “success” as the defining event of his presidency. This act of state killing has become the template for increasingly monstrous and aggressive actions by American imperialism, going well beyond anything attempted by the Bush administration. In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama cited the Navy Seals as a model for the operations of the US government in every sphere.

The raid on Abbottabad came just as the US-NATO bombing of Libya was building up, eventually culminating in the imperialist-backed overthrow and lynch mob murder of Muammar Gaddafi. Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, was incinerated by a drone-fired missile in Yemen. Now the US is fomenting civil war in Syria and deploying warships and bombers to strike against Iran.

So Barack Obama who has assumed the absolute right to target ANYONE HE SEES FIT and is using deadly remote-controlled drone missiles to ensure imperial colonization is pushing for validation of such atrocities from Democrats of questionable conscience who will join ranks with the Republican people of questionable conscience on these issues of executive power illegitimacy and mass cruelty.

Yes sirree, the legacy Dem NEO-LIBS have come through for him! They have enthusiastically embraced Obama’s anti-humane militarism and imperialism. Blood Lust R Us? This jumps the shark even of “situational ethics” in my mind. “Thou shalt not kill” apparently “quaint”. No wonder John Yoo is still bullet proof to his monstrous enabling of torture with a Democratic legacy party that has joined Dick Cheney’s dark side.

Martin calls out the usual faux-liberal media bullshit to celebrate US imperialism:

This finds clear expression in the liberal and left-liberal media. The New York Times devoted the front page of its “Sunday Review” section to a paean to Obama as the “Warrior In Chief,” written by Peter L. Bergen, author of a newly published book taking a behind-the-scenes look at the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, and glorifying the raid by the Navy Seals that was its culmination.

The commentary began, “The president who won the Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months after his inauguration has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.” That is quite a statement, given the record of Obama’s immediate predecessors: Reagan (Lebanon, Grenada, Nicaragua, Libya); Bush senior (Panama, the Gulf War, Somalia); Clinton (Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, bombing Iraq); and Bush junior (Iraq, Afghanistan).

Similar praise of the bin Laden operation rolled in from other pro-Obama media. Rolling Stone magazine devoted its cover to an interview with the president, conducted by publisher Jann Wenner, who wrote that Obama “plans to run on his remarkable record of accomplishments,” one of which is “killing Osama bin Laden.”

Arianna Huffington, multimillionaire editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, criticized Obama’s use of the bin Laden killing for campaign purposes, but referred to the assassination itself as “the great news we had a year ago.”

These layers are rallying to the Obama reelection campaign not despite, but because of, its resort to ever-increasing levels of state violence, against those targeted by American imperialism around the world, and against the working class at home, when it moves into struggles against corporate America and its political representatives like Obama.

How low of the Democratic Party to use jingoism to try to cheerlead on a leadership that has only worsened the economic quicksand Americans are struggling against along with committing international war crimes defying our Constitution and international law and the Geneva conventions! Of course, Obama and the Dem Party can count on the titillators of the corporate media to bang the drums for such AMORALITY! Hey, maybe Will Smith will play "military-cowboy-global-sheriff" Obama in the ultimate historically disinforming movie of it all?

Patrick Martin’s conclusion:

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party are making it abundantly clear that they have absolutely nothing to offer American working people confronting the worst economic disaster in generations. Instead, they put themselves forward as the champions of militarism, assassination and war.

The struggle against imperialist war cannot be waged through any section of the bourgeois political establishment. A genuine antiwar movement is inseparable from the mobilization of the working class as an independent political force, against the profit system and the American ruling class.


[cross-posted on correntewire and sacramento for democracy] 

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Libby, thanks for this important post and also Glenn Greenwald continues to discuss this topic such as in his recent story: 'Celebrating our “Warrior President.”' Due process is becoming more and more a distant memory...
Not to get picky but a commando raid and some drone attacks seems to me a lot more rational than invading the wrong country and pissing away over 4000 KIA, 30,000 wounded and God only knows how many Iraqi lives wasted because Saddam plotted to assassinate your Daddy... lesser of many evils.
designantor, thanks for comment. good for Glenn, once again!!! best, libby
et tu, jmac? it was NOT just one commando raid carried on by Obama post the Bush atrocities, not to be picky back, sir. that is a really creepy rejoinder, a thumb on the scale conflation!!!!! Geeeezzzzz.

do you think the serious bad stuff has ended with Bush regime and pragmatic Obama doing level best for humanity? lesser evilism is EVIL and with Obama to those not myopic it is so not lesser!!!! due process down the toilet! Arbitrary assassinations. Pre-emptive warring without even acknowledging it. Ignoring Geneva conventions. Corporate wars and incarceration for cheap labor, Obamaworld now.

One wronger doesn't make another wrong right, and to tell you the truth I am convinced Obama has surpassed Bush in wrongerness!!!!

nevertheless, thanks for commenting. libby
Surpassed shrub in wrongerness. Heck Libby, don't be so restrained.

obama can't find enough sovereign borders to spread his own brand of "a good and decent man" blood-lust.

Jmac, I like You, but going to the place where empires go to die is insane, but messing with nuclear unstable Pakistan is ultra insane.

Is there a term insane extremis?

He was posed this question by the genie that popped out of the bottle of Moxie he'd rubbed the wrong way: "Mr. O, if you knew you could be re-elected on the condition that one person on the other side of the world would have to die, would you accept that condition?" Presumably Mr. O pondered and pondered and pondered...for three years and finally said, " was the question again?...uh...oh,"
I love the last paragraph.
Neil Boortz is taking bets on how long it will be before it "leaks" that Obama "went under cover" and led the Seal raid that got Osama, actually firing the fatal shots. From "hope and Change" to "Godfather" in 3 years.

I can't tell you how disgusting this is to people who have served in the military and killed other human beings in what they thought to be "just causes" It is not easy to live with the guilt, but at least they could console themselves with the notion that they fought with honor.

The killing of Osama is looked at as a "necessary" "no-brainer" from a tactical military standpoint, but the "honor" of the task is roughly on the order of unloading a manure spreader - somebody's "got to do it", but the Honor to be had is in having faithfully carried out an assigned task, no matter how personally revolted you are by the actual task itself.

Obama is totally tone deaf on this issue.
He's like a little kid who's gotten his great granddaddy's WWII medal of honor ribbon and is wearing it to school as if he had won it, and making up stories about "How he "won" it".

No one in the Military doubts that any president would have ordered that Osama be killed, but that is why we have civilians in charge, to REGRETFULLY, make the "less than honorable" choices that a "man of Honor" would not do without the compulsion of a "Higher Duty".

What Obama doesn't "get" is that he is joining a "vet" group talking about how in the war, they ate dog to survive, and "entertaining" them with stories about how last week he barbecued a neighbor's poodle, just to see what it tasted like

The recent "less than honorable" discharge of a Marine for criticizing Obama on his facebook page, has brought a new level of revulsion for civilian politicians to the military personnel, to those who joined , not to kill, but to serve honorably and if necessary, die for their country.

In associating himself with Seals, Obama would be well to remember that Nero was killed by his praetorian guard, primarily because he dishonored and disgusted them.
At risk of an infraction of Godwin's Law- There is a parallel between Hitlers contrasting relationships with the Wehrmacht on one hand, and his "Special Forces" the SS on the other, ( one pledged to "Honor" the other to "Obedience" ) and Obama's relationship to Our Military and the Alphabet Soup federal enforcers ( CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF, etc, etc )
Please understand that this is not a rant but, after the stinging, if affectionate, comments in rebuke it's apparent that I wasn't clear in my first comment. Thanks to hypocritical Republicans, Obama has a tightrope to walk to a second term. He has to stand tall and at the same time extract American forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. When I said that Bush invaded the wrong country, I wasn't referring in particular to Iraq but to the autonomous tribal provinces of Pakistan... Pakistan's military and intelligence have been actively and openly supporting the Taliban for decades as a counterbalance to Russian and Indian interests in Afghanistan. My intent with my first comment was to point out that there are no good faith players anywhere in Central Asia and both Bushes, Clinton and and Obama were screwed from the get go.

From Syria to Pakistan the whole region is corrupt and run by tribal allegiances as opposed to anything remotely resembling an organized government. Warlords dominate and AK47's dispense justice such as it might be. The rule of law does not and never has existed and everyone lives by the code of vendetta and feud. Opium is king of drug crops and all bow down to the buyers, refiners and smugglers. This is the reality and in that reality things get ugly and everybody ends up with blood on their hands.

I'm not just talking out of my cynical burned out liberal ass. Everything I've written has been personally expressed to me by Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Israeli, Afghan, and Pakistani ex-pats here in California. The reason they live here is because they've completely given up on anything that remotely resembles any rational way of life in their homeland... all of them either are or want to become American citizens.

Almost everything we do in Central Asia is tactically, strategically and morally wrong, unjust and eats away at our integrity in the world and at home, but thanks to the screw up neocons of the last thirty years, none of it can now be avoided. And that's all I can say about that part of the world.
Oh, now we have to go back to the time we appointed ourselves as judge and executioner of the whole world. How many countries have we attacked since WWII? We "actually" use our spy satellites pictures as proof of other nation's guilt at the UN! We own the world and we have the power of life and death over billions of people, and we really don't mind killing people. How many Americans are marching protesting the dead and displaced Iraqi women and children?

I agree with Patrick Martin's conclusion; he is right. R
Jmac, I'm not known as being a gentle, so I would not have prefaced my comment with "I like You, if I didn't know that we WERE on the same side of the fence (few come here, other than the eternal idiot (apisa), who aren't in basic agreement).

Having said that,reading Your second comment, which is more in depth, I like You even more.
It's especially ironic given that the real bin Laden died of kidney failure in 2001, which was duly reported in all the Middle East newspapers. God knows who they shot and dumped into the ocean - or perhaps that's also a fairy tale.
I Love the thought You allege, Dr. Bramhall, as I've often expressed doubt over the comment they made that they buried him at sea out of respect for Islamic ways.

Since when did america develop respect toward ANYTHING Islamic?
toritto, yes, Obama has jumped the shark in terms of honor and social justice re war crimes and illegitimate legislation.

Matt, your comment reminds me of what Jonathan Turley said of Obama early on, "He's Hamlet on the Potomac!"

Kathy, yes, I agree about that comment about an anti-war movement along with the mobilization of the working class. They go hand and hand. That is where bottom line human empathy can be found. thanks for commenting!

Rudy, thanks for your rich comment! Yes, indeed. There is a gangsterism that is happening to that "good boy" Obama. Probably a reaction to having been held to such a tightly reined externally successful persona climbing the political ladder.

The trial of Saddam was also a horrifying out of control travesty, as was the killing of Gaddafi who was so demonized by Hillary Clinton et al. that his death to them was like watching a satisfying action movie, rather than MURDER of a national leader. Yes, a troubling leader. But to be summarily executed by a nation hell bent on regime change for its own dark corporate purposes. Vile.

I agree, Rudy, there is something so CALLOW about Obama with his commander in chief persona as well as his profound lack of empathy especially for the poor in this country. A let em eat cake kind of disdain. He is not even talking the talk so much any more, well, it is picking up again now that it is election season, but nothing concrete or serious. Just thinks he can play Lucy and the football again with vague promises and all non-Republicans must vote for him by default. The strategy of the Dem party to win over the Republicans was to turn Republican it seems. Talk about a Pyrrhic victory of winning.

Personally there seems in Obama a disconnect from the reality of the killing and violence. Disconnect from a spiritual sensibility of it.

Thanks, Thoth, once again. Patrick Martin says it well and pointedly I think, too. Those who are using the bin laden KILL and jingoism for a Dem win in 2012 are lost to gamesmanship and have abandoned ethics.

Stuart, I agree. I remember being convinced by some articles long ago that bin laden had died. You can bet all exceptionally tall, bearded men in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been snuffed out in the quest of him, too, through the years. Intelligence being not all that intelligent it would seem.

All those "strategic drone hits" ... what bullshit when it is said that they don't take out so many many civilians, WRONG, victims mislabeled insurgents deliberately. Brennan just made a speech about how "cautious" they are in killing which should make it all right even if it is extrajudicial. What horrifying crap.

jmac, thank you for elaborating. I have no doubt there is plenty of corruption. I also have no doubt that we have contributed to the corruption with our corporate driven military agendas. their wrongs don't make our wrongs less wrong is my way of thinking. as for the "humanitarian pretense" and the exploitation of the UN -- that is amoral. The myth that ALL of the international community is endorsing noble military regime change efforts by NATO and US for humanitarian reasons is a disgusting lie.

We could have used all that money for wars to promote peace and international prosperity and have plenty to enhance the prosperity at home, but the one percenters will kill and destroy to get theirs instead, enabled by our politicians, especially now Obama.

Agree, Mark, the "respect for Islamic culture" was laying it on rather thick, for sure in the dumping the body at sea!!! Say anything to the citizens is Obama and military's M.O. Now Obama will start talking transparency for election seduction.

best, libby
The whole thing is just a bunch of BS anyway Libby. Who killed the Bogeyman? Who cares? The Bogeyman never even existed. What Americans should really concern themselves about is the price of food and gas has practically quadrupled during the Golden Man's reign and wages remain the same. All the while the grip of a runaway police state has tightened and the reach of that police state has globally overextended itself. I am reminded of a quote from a Nazi soldier in a letter from the eastern front: “Everybody knows what we bring.” Only Americans are clueless (except for a few people such as yourself). In the end the Nazi’s paid the price so will America. You cannot take on the whole world! There are far to many people ready, willing, and able, to shoot back. In the end Justice is self proliferating. That’s why she is blindfolded and welding a sword.
If I remember correctly Barack said something like, "We don't spike the football, (blatantly,) that's not who we are."

No he spikes it subtly or at least in a manner that he considers subtle hoping no one will notice; only those that support him blindly don't notice!
Spelling corrections for peanut gallery: wielding
Thanks, Jack.

Absolutely Obama has been a bogeyman. Demonization is how it is done to scapegoat enuf so the majority of citizens romanticize and sentimentalize what should not be romanticized and sentimentalized. Killing and maiming mass numbers of innocent people trying to live out their lives.

Demonize and then go for the corporate state-aggrandizing kill. And treat any objectors and activists for peace as traitors to the troops the state is using as cannon fodder for craven corporate agendas. Why are so many still clueless to the amorality and manipulation? They seemed to be beginning to get it with Bush. Obama repeats and whole different story. And 80 million went with Obama rather than Hillary because he promised to end the wars. He broke that promise in a NY minute shamelessly without any acknowledgment. One of many. Like closing Gitmo.

Saddam was a US asset in terms of one of "our bastards" until he was no longer useful. Gaddafi was also "our bastard" until he was not. Bin Laden was literally trained as a US "asset". Short term advantage exploiting tribal warring. Situational short term loyalty and then the violence gets turned anywhere and everywhere.

Obama using the Bush playbook. Distract, distract, distract. How can they distract from the anti-humaness of it all? Where are the consciences of Americans? So agree with your saying,

"What Americans should really concern themselves about is the price of food and gas has practically quadrupled during the Golden Man's reign and wages remain the same. All the while the grip of a runaway police state has tightened and the reach of that police state has globally overextended itself."

Yes, Jack, the bubble people don't seem to be inclined to leave the bubble, as the media bubble machine on behalf of the corporate legacy parties are madly churning out more bubbles. And the police state is intensifying. Without a majority of citizens to push back, more and more rights are down the toilet, the ones already gone will stay gone.

I also, agree, karma is going to be profound.

Thanks for commenting!

best, libby
Zachd, well and pointedly said! thank you!!! best, libby
If I were the President, I would be holding a "Anniversary Month" bash in honor of killing Bin Laden complete with celebrities, parades, marches, posters, etc.
Of course, I'm sort of a Kill First, Ask Deep Moral Questions later sort of Jingoist.
Mr. Socks, there are apparently legions of you. deep moral (and legal) questions really that irrelevant to you? libby
To be serious and honest is almost as difficult as sobriety to me. On a nearly real scale however, it scares the toesocks off of me that the Patriot Act hasn't been repealed. I love freedom, hate extremist terrorists and quake silently at night at the crumbling of even our most basic expectations of privacy and civil liberties.
The problem is an old one. People are all too willing to abdicate personal responsiblity and power to those that know better...and down the road we all go to tyranny.

A slip and slide to slavery, if you will.
Doug, well said.

I am not defending bin Laden, or Gadaffi, or Assad or whomever nor do I want to go along with manipulative demonizing of them of a country's leadership I have lost profound faith and trust in. Our government is now behaving like a rogue, extremist terrorist itself, with the biggest weaponry in the world. With every lawless drone strike and terrorism night raid and videogame high weaponry shooting or 360 degree rotational fire non-rules of engagement of a burned out psychologically traumatized troop -- or "sanctions" that sound as innocent-but-not as "no fly zones" in which from economic sanctions people end up literally starving to death or dying slowly from illness -- more backlash terrorism is created, along with horrifying ruination of human lives. But chaos is the friend of the imperialists, easy pickings for colonization from profit.

I have been focused on the atrocities of the war mongering and the constitution gutting. I am now hearing about the prison industrial complex that is truly horrifying. Inhumanity for profit-making, yet again. How many sub-basements of evil is our criminal ruling class traveling to? best, libby
typo -- meant to say "colonization FOR profit" on comment above
Well I see the same group is together again savaging Barack Obama and lamenting the horrible state of America and its experiment in freedom and democracy. Lots of back slapping going on!

The solution you advocate, Libby, is to do things that most likely will help the chances of the Republicans regaining the presidency and taking increasing power in the two chambers of congress.

I cannot see how that can possibly help in the areas that concern you. Honestly, I cannot see how greater power in the hands of the Republicans and conservatives can possibly help in the areas that concern you.

Respectfully as possible, I ask everyone participating in these orgies of disappointment, anger and hatred toward Barack Obama and the Democrats to seriously rethink their positions. As you are now disposed, you are becoming more a part of the problem than of the solution.

Think this through more carefully. You may very well get what you wish for!

Once again you are incapable of even beginning to address the horrors that Obama directly and his regime have participated in. The legacy Dem party is corporate controlled and has betrayed the citizenry as much as the Republican party. There is talk of a lack of bipartisanship, but bottom line there has been extraordinary bipartisanship in betraying the welfare of citizens and the law over to corrupt profits over people sociopathic corporations.

You are like a broken record declaring the Republicans will win if we dare challenge the reality of the Obama administrations horrors. The Democratic strategy for governing (as opposed to the 2008 campaign which was a lie) was to turn into Republicans. With deregulation it was already pretty much there. All groups that the Dems used to watchdog and protect have been thrown under the bus by Obama et al. Now he is spending millions on advertising on the net and for other media and hoping he can con low-information, distracted, non-conscience voters who refuse to connect the dots, to vote him in once again and that he hasn't betrayed as he has. Having most of them use the "lesser evil" default plea.

You call me adding to the deadweight of the problem? It is you and people like you who are so locked into the status quo, even though the present status quo has a shredded constitution and we are all sinking into an economic quicksand.

All gamesmanship and TeamDem winning, Frank, no matter what the reality is? The Republicans are a nightmare and the Democrats are a nightmare. Time to kick them both to the curb cuz they stopped working for the needs of the citizens long ago. I can't believe how shameless and amoral the Dems and Obama are!

Amazingly, after I bashed him, earlier today, I went back to bed with the image of a record spinning on a turntable with the same lyric, perpetually playing.

The more the moron writes, the more convinced I am that his purpose is two-fold.

A. To piss-off people.
B. Some orgasmic thrill he gets in seeing his words in print.

The lowest of the low - chronically misfiring neurons.