Monday, June 28, 2010

Words fail

Orwell lives and newspeak rules. War is peace and loss is profit. Building bombs is disarmament and requesting more for war is never doing so.
Sometimes one just has to shake one’s head in our Brave New Age of Newspeak (to mix my dystopic fictions), a generation past 1984 (and two generations past its publication, when it was meant by Orwell to satirize Soviet propaganda), when Barack Obama wins the Nobel Nuclear Peace Through Strength Prize and gives a speech justifying two wars while dissing nonviolence as not up to the task.
Eloquent as our first African American president is, the facts articulate for themselves cogently.
President Obama turned in a budget that plots a steady increase in spending on nuclear weapons this year and for the foreseeable future, if we can peer all the way to 2020. This is a president who claimed to want to end nuclear weapons on Earth. One has to wonder, then, if he plans to take these weapons to another planet, or if he simply said one thing and did another. His budget for new production of weapons-grade plutonium at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and bombmaking uranium at Oak Ridge in Tennessee is escalating the nuclear arms race with…um…Ghana? The Maldives?
One of the firm promises candidate Barack Obama made was that he would never do one of the reprehensible war supplemental requests so odious during the Bush years. These budget busting porcine additions have simply engorged the privatizing phenomenon beyond anything in US history. He continues to break this promise again and again, the latest another $33 billion, enriching elites, impoverishing everyone else. All this war spending is creating enemies, creating fewer jobs per $billion spent than any other kind of spending, and is therefore robbing our depressed economy of job creation. He is spending more on the Pentagon than any president has since World War II in 2009 dollars, outspending the most furious years of the Vietnam and Korea Wars. Obama’s Pentagon spending is greater than either Bush, greater than Johnson’s or Nixon’s, greater than Truman’s. All this is done as the G20 is pressuring the US to cut deficits, but we are moving at an accelerated pace in exactly the wrong direction. Obama's America ranks 85th in the Global Peace Index and, if anything, is slipping. Indeed, the GPI found that:
"A 25 percent reduction in global violence would free up $1.8 trillion USD annually - enough to pay off Greece’s debt, fund the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and meet the EU’s 20-20-20 climate and energy targets."
Is it any wonder that our people can scarcely imagine a peace society, a peace system, a demilitarized culture? But we continue to try to envision it. We try so hard that candidates must lie to us in order to get elected. It is unpleasant to call Barack Obama a liar. I was amongst the millions who were so happy he was elected. It felt like the maturation of America. Now it feels like the hoary hands of the war gods are gripping the throat of our dreams of peace. We seem unable to loosen that grip and we just pay up and shut up. The world is waiting for us to wake up. I join that prayer for our engagement, our stirring from slumber. The costs (pictured in part in these final photos) are too great and growing impossible to sustain.

1 comment:

SB said...

I've been wondering for quite a few years now if it truly does matter who is in office. I see again and again presidents who say one thing and do another. I see members of political parties as only perceiving that their elected officials are on their side, without considering that Democrat or Republican, conservative or democratic, they really follow the same paths, eerily using the exact same phrasing. There will never be true change as long as we continue in a democratic republic, but would we have it any other way?