Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remember when the GOP tried to convince us that Barack Obama was The Joker? A chilling new report shows that they may have been right...

Remember this picture?  It popped up in the summer of 2008 as a piece of political propaganda, usually with a caption along the lines of 'Socialism!' or 'Audacity!'.  Alas, it turns out that the juxposition may be more accurate than anyone would have guessed four years ago.  There is a lengthy and seemingly well-researched article over at the London-based Bureau Of Investigative Journalism that states that, along with the widespread use of unmanned drones as a weapon to unilaterally target would-be terrorist targets, the Pentagon, under Obama's orders, has apparently been targeting not just the primary targets but those who first arrived on the scene, be they first responders or mourners.  The paragraph in question -

"But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children.  A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts."

Not only is this apparently a sanctioned form of 'defense', there is even a name for it, 'the double-tap'.  It got this name because Hamas has occasionally used this form of terror tactic.  You know who else used this tactic?  The Joker.  Obviously I'm referring to the fictional adventures of a fictional comic book villain, but the Gotham Central arc "Soft Targets" was the first thing that came to mind.  As you'll seen in the panels below, The Joker has been terrorizing Gotham by picking off city officials with a sniper rifle.  As a 'just for fun' attack, he unleashes a hail of bullets on the cops and emergency personal responding to the scene, killing a paramedic and blowing the hand off of a coroner.  There are any number of movies and television shows where master criminals and/or terrorists target those who arrive at the scene for a second round of fatal attacks (the third season finale of Criminal Minds, the 2007 terrorism thriller The Kingdom, etc.).  There is no question that this kind of tactic is the sort of thing that is supposed to be practiced by 'the bad guys', not 'the good guys'. Presuming that the article linked to above is accurate, and that can only give us serious pause.  Regardless of your politics, targeting emergency personal and/or civilian mourners is immoral at best, and an out-and-out terrorist act/war crime at worst.  The sad thing is that if this were George W. Bush carrying out (or at least implicitly approving) these sort of tactics, the Left would be apocalyptic.  But since the Commander-In-Chief is a Democrat, Obama gets a pass from both the authoritarian Right and the allegedly progressive Left.  

And that, as I (and others) have mentioned before, is the real long-term tragedy of a seemingly peace-minded President whose 'terror-fighting' policies have surpassed President Bush in terms of their unilateral and unchecked natures.  We have a president who has declared that he has the power to order a US citizen killed without due process and recently signed into law a bill that can theoretically allow the President to detain a US citizen indefinitely without charges.  When unchecked executive power, especially in the realm of war and peace, becomes bipartisan consensus, than what was once unthinkable becomes barely worthy of commentary.  So it would seem, for those who hoped that the election of President Barack Obama would usher in a new era of (to ironically paraphrase George W. Bush way back in 2000) a more humble foreign policy, the joke is on us.  I for one am not laughing.

Scott Mendelson 


Rick said...

Glenn Greenwald as been all over this, and has made much the same point as you are. I'm not knocking you for being derivative, this is something more people need to be confronted with and know about.

On another note, it's too bad that Obama belongs with other "Peace" Prize winners like Kissinger and Arafat instead of King

Maxwell H said...

I come to your blog to read your thoughts about film and the box office. Seeing this article was jarring and perhaps your political discussion is best left for another forum.

Scott Mendelson said...

In my first year of blogging (2008), I had just as many political pieces as movie pieces. After the first year, I realized that many of the political essays (most of it speculation regarding the 2008 election) had little-to-no 're-read value'. So I generally dropped the political bent unless it could be tied into film/television, as I believe this piece does. The point of the piece is that President Barack Obama, seemingly on the side of right and representing a more moral America, is actually engaging in tactics that are generally used by comic book super-villains and cinematic terrorists. Jarring indeed, but a point worth making.

Scott Mendelson said...

One of the reasons I stopped doing political pieces (which were quite frequent in Year One - 2008 ) is that others such as Greenwald already voiced 'my opinions' in an often far-more elequent manner than myself. Still, I felt it was worth tying the story into the Joker iconagraphy above, especially considering how The Dark Knight was (falsely) held up as some kind of pro-GOP propoganda back in 2008.


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