The unbeatable Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! today (note how a once quasi-libertarian American attorney offers up a plain spoken critique of the Obama Admin that is far more cogent--and arguably more radical--than Zizek's "Leninist" support of Obama)
AMY GOODMAN: You had an interesting piece on the New York Times editorial page and a new position it’s taking on the Obama administration.
GLENN GREENWALD: Right, well, one of the interesting aspects of the New York Times editorial page is that they had been one of the most vociferous critics of the Bush administration, at least for the last few years, when it became easier to do so. But that’s better than nothing. And their particular focal point of their criticism was the Bush administration’s horrific record on the rule of law and civil liberties. And despite that fact, they were very supportive of President Obama, not just during the campaign, when he had vowed repeatedly to overturn the fundamental abuses of the Bush administration, but even for the first several months, when it became clear that not only would Obama be very slow and would take his time in uprooting those abuses, but would do the opposite, that he would actually defend many of those abuses and vigorously attempt to institutionalize them even further than they were during the Bush-Cheney administration. It was very odd watching the editorial page of the New York Times, that had wrapped itself in this civil libertarian flag as a means of bashing the Bush administration, maintain their very solid pro-Obama credentials, even as he affirmed the very policies that they claimed to find so offensive.
I guess they’ve reached a tipping point or a breaking point, because earlier in the week they published a very scathing editorial, finally, that recognized what has been transparently clear for quite some time, which is that it’s not really that the Obama administration is failing to fulfill its promises to undo these abuses, it’s that they have become principal advocates of them and are actually taking extraordinary steps to entrench them further in a way that even Bush and Cheney didn’t manage to accomplish. And as a result, the New York Times editorial page accused the Obama administration, to which they had been extremely friendly for the first nine months, of complicity in the cover-up of the war crimes of the Bush administration, which is an extraordinarily serious charge to make. In fact, it’s one of the most serious charges you can make about a president. The word “cover-up” has lots of rhetorical significance and packs a big punch. And when you combine that with “war crimes,” even in our political discourse, that’s a serious accusation. And to see the New York Times making it so unapologetically and forcefully, I thought, given their pro-Obama sympathies, was something really worth highlighting.
JUAN GONZALEZ: You also weighed in on the editorial pages of the Washington Post and, by extension, I think, many other publications, in terms of how these companies are always calling in the healthcare debate to make sure that any healthcare reform does not increase the federal deficit. Meanwhile, no one ever questions how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are spiraling, are causing the federal deficit to spiral to unimaginable levels.
GLENN GREENWALD: Right. I mean, I think the only reason to discuss things like the New York Times editorial page and the Washington Post editorial page is because they’re so illustrative of the predominant mentality that governs the ruling class in Washington. I mean, what Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, thinks personally isn’t particularly interesting or significant, but to the extent that it reflects how our political class reasons, I think it’s worth examining.
And I thought that editorial was one of the most illustrative and significant that I had read in quite some time, because it really did address this fundamental disparity, which is, the Washington Post editorial page has been insisting the entire year that we cannot do anything to deliver healthcare coverage to our citizens if it means that we’re going to increase the deficit even by a penny or incur any debt in order to do it. And yet, at the same time, they have been the biggest cheerleaders for the endless war in Iraq. They not only supported the initial invasion, but opposed every effort to impose timetables. They supported the surge. They even now are against any efforts to withdraw. They support not just ongoing war in Afghanistan, but the escalation, as well. And, of course, we have no ability whatsoever to pay for all of our various bombing campaigns and efforts to invade and occupy other countries and to fuel and fund Israel, which is doing the same. The money that we use to do that is money that we’re borrowing from China and Japan and Saudi Arabia and the rest and going into enormous debt. And so, the disparity between why are you willing to fund endless wars to destroy other countries and invade other countries, but not provide healthcare to your own citizens, is a very glaring one.
And the way they answered that was by saying, well, healthcare for Americans is not a necessity; that’s something that we can wait to do until we can afford it. Presumably, a couple decades from now maybe we’ll get around to that. Whereas the war in Afghanistan is an urgent necessity that can’t wait. And what I found particularly ironic about it is, if you look at counterinsurgency doctrine, the strategy we’re allegedly going to undertake, the whole purpose of it is to not just continue to bomb Afghanistan, but rebuild it, provide services, basic services of education and the like. So what they’re essentially saying is that it’s an urgent national imperative to provide services to Afghanistan, but it is simply a luxury, a secondary consideration, something that we can wait to provide basic services to Americans who lack healthcare. And obviously, the fact that the Washington Post editors have healthcare is the principal—and the fact that they don’t fight the wars—is a principal reason why they have their priorities that way.
I had a lot of Facebook friends (especially American grad students) who were on the Obama bandwagon bigtime, and had Obama-ized their profile pics leading up to the election. This is my current Facebook profile pic, which I think is quite inspired: