Thursday, November 06, 2008

Entertaining badly at the US Embassy

The U.S. embassy used the elections as the reason to have its first official function at the new embassy in Baghdad. Security was tight around the compound and dozens of private security personnel stood outside the embassy area. Inside, a projector displayed the latest elections news from CNN on a wall, and information sheets on the two presidential candidates and other information about the American electoral process lined a table. In the back of the room was a gigantic cake.
U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told the crowd of Iraqi officials, journalists and others that the elections marked the historic occasion of the first African-American elected to the U.S. presidency. But Mr. Crocker also emphasized the democratic traditions that were represented in the U.S. race. Mr. Obama's win marked the 44th peaceful transition of power in the U.S. and the 22nd time a new political party was taking over the presidency through democratic means, Mr. Crocker said.
Mr. Crocker then cited an excerpt from Mr. Obama's victory speech: "To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope."
The ambassador said he couldn't think of a place where Mr. Obama's words were more important than in Iraq, where two elections are scheduled to take place next year.

The above is from Gina Chon's "Obama’s Victory Came as a Surprise to Many Iraqis" (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal) and it's not at all surprising that Barack's threat was used as such in Iraq. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Gary Leupp's "" (Dissident Voice) offered a decoding of Barack's bullying:

"To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you."

In other words: Under my administration we Americans will continue to simplistically conceptualize the existence of an enemy that is pure evil and wants to destroy the world, and imagine we can "defeat" it through the War on Terror.

"To those who seek peace and security: We support you."

In other words: You Georgians facing Russia. You Afghans facing Pakistan-based attacks. You Israelis facing what you imagine to be the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. You can trust an Obama administration to behave just like other recent U.S. administrations have behaved: with threats and sanctions, illegal cross-border raids and more war. Have no fear. As the world's greatest imperialist country, with bases in over half the countries on the planet, we can seek peace and security and support whoever we want. Yes we can!

Yesterday's snapshot also noted Corey Flintoff (NPR's All Things Considered) report on Crocker entertaining at the embassy for those needing or preferring audio. Suada al-Salhy and Katherine Zoepf cover it in this morning's New York Times with "U.S. Envoy Hosts First Event at New Embassy in Baghdad" which explains the US embassy/fortress hosted approximately "250 Iraqi officials, diplomats and dignitaries . . . Wednesday morning" for a beyond tacky meet up that served up bad sheet cake (I'm calling it bad based on reports beyond NYT, they merely mention how large it was) and "green-tinted fruit punch." As a general rule, serving any green colored liquid should be done on St. Patrick's Day and, even then, done in moderation. Maybe it was to symbolize the Green Zone? It certainly wasn't to appear appetizing. Crocker stressed that nothing's changed and, of course, nothing has. The reporters note:

Yet the embassy, built like a fortress, suggested a degree of permanence to the American presence here that at least some of the Iraqi guests seemed to find comforting.
"The size of this embassy and the number of employees who will occupy it are a sign of the American government’s commitment to democracy in Iraq," said Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister. He did not remember the details of the original lease agreement for the land, he said, "but it was a very long lease."

Amazing that Americans can't be informed how long the lease is, isn't it? They are the ones footing the bill. No doubt it's a 'national security' issue that must be kept classified.

A visitor e-mailed the public account asking that we note Sam Smith's "The real Obama" and a few points. Smith is a bad reporter, a really bad one. You don't need to know his work during the Clinton administration to know that but it does show you how truly bad he is. In this article, he brags about being "a good boy" (he's over 65, grow the hell up) and sitting on issues relating to Barack. That goes to the fact that he's not a reporter. A reporter does not try to influence the outcome and certainly doesn't keep facts hidden. We'll note his late to the party piece but via Green Change and not via Sam Smith's bad website:

There is one story from Chicago, however, that remains relevant. A citizen walks into his alderman's office looking for a job. "Who sent you?" he asks. "Nobody," he replies. Says the staffer: "We don't want nobody nobody sent."
Who sent Barack Obama remains a mystery. He has risen from an unknown state senator to president in exactly four years and that only happens when somebody sends for you.
The black liberal image falters on a number of other scores including Obama's affection for extreme right wingers like Chuck Hagel and an obvious indifference to anybody who votes like, say, a state senator from Hyde Park. Think back over the campaign and try to recall a single instance when Obama reached out to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or to the better angels of the Congressional Black Caucus. Instead his ads attacked as 'extreme' the single payer health insurance backed by many of his own supporters, he dissed ACORN and Colin Powell was as radical a black as he wanted to be seen palling around with.
The key issue that has driven Obama throughout his career has been Obama. He has achieved virtually nothing for any other cause. His politics reflects whatever elite consensus he gathers around himself. This is why his "post partisanship" needs to be watched so carefully. If Bernie Sanders and John Conyers don't get to White House meetings as often as Chuck Hagel, Obama will glide easily to the right, as every president has done over the past thirty years. If liberals, as they did with Clinton, watch without a murmur as their president redesigns their party to fit his personal ambitions, then the whole country will continue to move to the right as well.
Since the real Obama doesn't exist yet, it is impossible to predict with any precision what he will do. But here is some of the evidence gathered over the past months that should serve both as a warning and as a prod to progressives not to take today's dreams as a reasonable facsimile of reality [. . .]

Late to the party. Expect to see a lot more come crawling out over the coming months. And for those who don't grasp how bad a 'reporter' Sam Smith is, please note, he's one of those "They killed Vince Foster!" nutcakes. And, to be clear, he didn't just sit on Barack concerns while savaging the Republicans, he refused to cover Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. He's a bag boy for Barack. He is not a journalist. He never was. During the 90s spectacle, you could find him and the drunken Chris Hitchens blathering on with their crazed conspiracy talk.

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