6/05/2012

back to where it started

(P) One of the reasons I did not support then Senator Obama in the Democratic primaries was his embrace of the Establishment way of thinking with regard to using American power to force sovereign nations to obey edicts from Washington. This kind of power projection not only makes us less safe as it incentivizes the very foes we are supposedly fighting to oppose us more directly, but moreover, it undermines our position of leadership by wounding the most important levers of our credibility. The true greatness of the American century was in our persuasion of nations to voluntarily join us, aligning economic, legal, environment, and human rights policies with our own, sometimes literally rebuilding countries in our own image.

In particular, the Senator spelled out his obeisance in a Foreign Affairs article in the summer of 2007. [Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall - funny that you have to pay for the privilege of accessing Conventional Wisdom. It's like they don't really want you to know what the DC crowd are thinking. But you can go to your local Elite University and find publications like Foreign Affairs easily enough, assuming the University Police don't taze you out of the library first.]

While broadly embracing that fun phrase The American Way of War (such as, for example, never actually using that little three letter word), Obama's article singled out one country in particular for action - Iran.

Five years later, we basically have confirmation that President Obama personally authorized war against Iran. Specifically, he instructed the development and release of a malicious computer program that targeted uranium enrichment equipment in the country. This worm, Stuxnet*, accidentally became public a few years ago - apparently the Obama Administration originally thought they could do this and keep it secret forever - and so the guess was that the Israelis and/or Americans were involved. This weekend, the Corporate Media paid homage to what Glenn Greenwald brilliantly calls Obama the Warrior as that guess became more like a sure thing.

So here we are. We can have legitimate policy disputes about the drug war or financial bailouts or warrantless spying or Race to the Top or many of the other Administration policies that I adamantly oppose. But we now have The Paper of Record openly explaining that the President of the United States committed an act of war against a sovereign country. How can anyone who opposed the major policies of the Bush Administration support the reelection of President Obama? How about anyone who believes in basic principles like the Constitution or national sovereignty?

That's going to be a sticky line of thought the next few months.

* Incidentally, Stuxnet in particular demonstrates the law of unintended consequences and how this type of behavior is a direct threat to our national security. Of course there are going to be computer programming errors in a project that complex. That's how this stuff works. Furthermore, Stuxnet is an extremely dangerous worm because it actually destroys the hardware it operates. That hardware isn't some Iranian bomb - it's equipment manufactured by Siemens that is used all over the world for producing nuclear power. We have now proven to every foreign government, organized crime operation, and terrorist group the possibility and effectiveness of damaging control equipment. It's a good thing our own country doesn't depend on any computer systems to keep our infrastructure running!

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