President Obama often speaks out of so many sides of his mouth that it seems that he would have made a great ventriloquist, a phenomenon in sophistry and delusion that William Blum has documented over the years.
By William Blum
Oh what fun we have with the nonsense that flows out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump. The man is suffocatingly banal, racist, dishonest, inarticulate, uninformed, uneducated, narcissistic, a bully, just plain stupid, and an asshole (or in the immortal words of my people — a schmuck!).
I would guess that as the boss of his own enterprises for many years, with the power and the habit of firing people, he eventually became deeply accustomed to not having his thoughts seriously questioned or challenged, to the extent that he really believes the crap that comes out of his mouth and doesn’t really understand what others actually think of him. But if we look at what comes out of the mouth of The Barack is there any reason to castigate The Donald for his supposedly outrageous or weird way of expressing himself?
Here’s a sample: –On numerous occasions, in reply to a question about why his administration has not prosecuted the Bush-Cheney gang for mass murder, torture and other war crimes, former law professor Obama has stated: “I prefer to look forward rather than backwards.”
Picture a defendant before a judge asking to be found innocent of any crime on such grounds. On other occasions, Obama, without apparent embarrassment, has stated that “nobody is above the law.” (A public figure can be labeled stupid not just for saying or doing stupid things, but for not even realizing that the public will SEE his words or actions as stupid.)
–Asked whether he would apologize for Washington’s role in Chile’s 1973 military coup which overthrew the democratically elected government and replaced it with a dictatorship, Obama replied: “I’m interested in going forward, not looking backward. I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world.” (June 23, 2009)
–Question from CNN, 2008: “Do you think the US should apologize for any mistakes that it has made in the past?” Obama’s reply: “I don’t think the US should ever apologize for anything.”
–Obama’s speech to the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2014 where he classified Russia to be one of the three great threats to the world along with the Islamic State and the ebola virus.
–Obama’s declaration that ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam.” This is standard political correctness which ignores the indisputable role played by Islam in inspiring Orlando and Long Beach and Paris and Ankara and many other massacres; it is the religion that teaches the beauty and godliness of jihad and the heavenly rewards of suicide bombings.
–After Turkey’ intentional shoot-down of a Russian warplane along the Turkish-Syrian border, instead of rebuking Turkey, a NATO member, for its absolutely reckless behavior — or expressing sympathy to the Russians — Obama asserted that “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.” (Nov. 24, 2015) Turkey later apologized to Russia, but Obama didn’t.
–In September 2013, Obama stood before the United Nations and declared: “I believe America is exceptional.” –On March 9, 2015, Obama declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
–Obama spoke of “the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country unprovoked” (March 3, 2014) (Do our leaders have no memory or do they think we’ve all lost ours?)
–“I’m good at killing.” (Just imagine Trump saying this.) Obama has claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone. Richard Nixon had an enemies list, but this drone king has a personal kill list. Obama’s use of drones against jihadist leaders, and anyone else who happens to be too close, has essentially rescinded the leading principle that was established in the Magna Carta 800 years ago — the presumption of innocence.
–Imagine also The Donald joking — as Obama did — about using a drone on his daughters’ boyfriends: “They’ll never know what hit them.” –Obama, State of the Union speech, 2012: “This generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.”
–On May 28, 2012, the President declared that Vietnam was “one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of [U.S.] military history.”
–After taking over the White House in 2009, Obama called Afghanistan the “good war.”
–Obama, explaining the U.S./NATO devastation of Libya in 2011, turning it from Africa’s highest standard of living into a desperate failed state, based on made-up reports about Gaddafi carrying out atrocities: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.” (March 28, 2011)
–Said Obama: A U.S. refusal to intervene in Libya would be “a betrayal of who we are.” (How true.)
–In March 2011, as the U.S./NATO bombardment of the people of Libya continued, day after day, the White House insisted that it was “a limited humanitarian intervention, not war.”
–“All the forces that we’re seeing at work in Egypt are forces that naturally should be aligned with us, should be aligned with Israel — if we make good decisions now and we understand sort of the sweep of history.”(March 4, 2011) Egypt quickly became a brutal dictatorship.
–State of the Union address, 2011: “And we’ve sent a message … to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.”
–Obama: “I’m not somebody who discounts the sincerity and worthiness of President Bush’s concerns about democracy and human rights.” (Washington Post, Jan. 19, 2009)
–Obama: “President Bush was right that Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat [to Europe and the U.S.].” (Sept. 30, 2009)
–“I believe that Christ died for my sins and I am redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis.” (Obama, Washington Post, Aug. 17, 2008)
–June 22, 2009: Obama says America is “fully prepared” for any action by North Korea. (Thank god; after the nuclear attacks by China and Russia it was great to not have to worry about North Korea. But there was still Iran.)
–Obama, speaking about Russia: “In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chess board are over.”
–During a visit to Baghdad April 7, 2009, Obama praised the U.S. military for their “extraordinary achievement” in Iraq.
–Obama: “To ensure prosperity here at home and peace abroad, we all share the belief we have to maintain the strongest military on the planet.” (Dec. 1, 2008)
–Speaking to a joint session of Congress: “I can stand here and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture.” (Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2009)
–“There is no spying on Americans. We don’t have a domestic spying program.” (Obama on The Tonight Show, Aug. 7, 2013)
–Just 18 days before the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 Obama said: “It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.” (Washington Post, May 27, 2010)
–Obama’s pep talk December 2010 to U.S. troops in Afghanistan in which he lauded them as “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.” (George W. Bush: the U.S. military is “the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world” and “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known.”) Try and top those lines, Donald.
–As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [who] must be protected from reprisal.” In 2012, the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama boasted on its website that he had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other U.S. presidents combined.
–Obama’s claim that the U.S. has been “For nearly seven decades the anchor of global security”. (Sept. 10, 2013)
–“Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it’s an act of terror.” (April 16, 2013); “I was elected to end wars, not start them. I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power as a means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the American people.” (Sept. 6, 2013); “The bottom line is, nothing of significance, nothing of benefit results from destructive acts.” (Nov. 25, 2014) Thus spoke the man who carried out military attacks against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
–Obama (CBS News, Feb. 13, 2013): “I urge this Congress to come up with a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change.” Sam Smith asked: “Does he also want, for example, a bipartisan market-based solution to cancer?”
–In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
And if you like Barack Obama you’ll love Hillary Clinton.
William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.