Monday, March 5, 2007

A Horse of a Different Color

Obama, the Lobby, and the next war

By Justin Raimondo

"It had to happen sooner or later, and Barack Obama's startling rise to near the top of the Democratic presidential pack made it sooner – I'm talking about his speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It starts out with a riff about his ride in an IDF helicopter and how this made him "truly see how close everything is and why peace through security is the only way for Israel." But of course the Palestinians are just as close to the Israelis as the Israelis are to them – and the Israelis have far more arms (provided by the U.S.) and are surely not averse to using them. So what is "the only way" for the Palestinians? Yet there can be no "peace through security" for the Palestinians, since there is no security from Israeli air strikes and repeated invasions of Palestinian territory.

The maudlin emotionalism of Obama's appeal is nowhere more apparent than in this speech, and nowhere more inappropriately one-sided. But, here, listen to Obama tell it:

"Our helicopter landed in the town of Kiryat Shmona on the border. What struck me first about the village was how familiar it looked. The houses and streets looked like ones you might find in a suburb in America. I could imagine young children riding their bikes down the streets. I could imagine the sounds of their joyful play just like my own daughters. There were cars in the driveway. The shrubs were trimmed. The families were living their lives."

Oh, please spare us! Does Mr. Obama really not know that there are – or were – similar communities in the occupied territories? Does he really not know that countless Palestinian villages – with "houses and streets like you might find in a suburb in America" – have been demolished by Israeli tractors? Can Obama imagine a young Palestinian child riding his bike down the street – can he imagine his joyful play? Can he imagine a car in the driveway, the shrubs trimmed – the families living their lives in the moment before the Israelis wiped it all out in their ruthless campaign of conquest and ethnic cleansing?......

As if that wasn't enough, he went on to endorse yet another prospective war, assuring his audience that he is willing to sign on to both prongs of the renewed Israeli-American aggression in the region. Obama touts his proposal for a "phased redeployment" (never say "withdrawal"!) from Iraq as giving us a chance to focus on the real threat to peace in the region: Iran. Bravely coming out against Holocaust denial – that Obama sure is a risk-taker! – this rising Democratic star delivered a truly Orwellian account of the Lebanese-Israeli war......

Obama quails at the very thought that the Palestinians would have a government that includes Hamas, but nowhere does he mention that Hamas was elected. Nor does the presence of the party of Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli government raise so much as an eyebrow. Israel is praised by Obama for being "the only established democracy," but Palestinian elections and Israeli elections – like Palestinian lives and Israeli lives – are not to be equated......

Obama went before AIPAC, skillfully executed the ritualized gestures of obeisance without too brazenly defying his antiwar constituency, and in this way proved his mettle. The exact meaning of this ceremony was prefigured in "The Israel Lobby," a Harvard University study by Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt:

"The goal is to prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing U.S. support, because a candid discussion of U.S.-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favor a different policy."......

But Obama is a horse of an entirely different color, and, no, I'm not talking about his skin color. He is not an alternative to the still hawkish Democratic Party establishment – hawkish, that is, compared to the average American voter – but only the appearance of one. He's all form and no content – a perfect replica of rebellion for the new millennium: slick, bromidic, and phony as all get-out. He's the Democrats' Wendell Willkie, the man who came out of nowhere, a public relations creation. Obama will disarm the Left on account of his color and overwhelm the Right on the sheer strength of his star power. Or so his strategists dream. In the end, however, our foreign policy will remain pretty much the same: aggressive, arrogant, and the cause of our ultimate undoing. "

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