Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Here's the obvious difference for me between President Obama and our last president. After the invasion of Iraq toppled Saddam Hussein's government, Bush Junior made a speech declaring the "end of combat operations in Iraq" standing on the deck of a Navy aircraft carrier under a sign saying "MISSON ACCOMPLISHED."

It was great propaganda, but it was a complete and total lie.

However, according to the latest studies on how people respond to imagery and slogans and written and spoken language, it was very well designed to be a lasting image and message in the minds of most people who, it turns out, often don't use logic and reason to assess situations and people but rather respond to the instant emotional impact for which simple slogans and simply digested images work best.

Now that "combat operations" have come to an end in Iraq, and it's been quite a while since "American troops" have suffered major casualties or caused them in that country, and the mess that the previous president and his team caused has been at least tidied up if not cleaned up, President Obama is going to make a speech tonight in which he will most likely tell the truth in accessing the situation in Iraq and what he and his administration have done and are doing there, but it will probably be too nuanced and too well-reasoned for most people to get an instant emotional response.

Many, instead, won't even watch the speech but will respond to his critics' or supporters' reaction to it, most likely reinforcing their beliefs. The president's critics will score points with the undecided by casting the moment in simple and easy to understand terms that play on peoples' emotions even though their criticisms will bend the truth if not be based on outright lies.

Whereas, when it became apparent that the previous administration had not prepared for the events that unfolded in Iraq and were doing a terrible job of coping with them, anyone who pointed that out was called "unpatriotic" if not an outright "traitor"—President Obama will probably go out of his way tonight to avoid criticizing the previous president and his screw up(s). A humane and reasonable, but not very politically savvy, response.

What the Dems should be doing is using some of the right's tactics, like deriding the right's incredible record of failure when given the chance to govern (the financial collapse, the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, the third-world-ization of "America" where fewer and fewer people control more and more of the wealth, etc.) and have Obama, standing before a backdrop of a rising sun (Reagan's "it's morning in America" as the gap between rich and poor was expanding, homelessness was becoming common even for families with children, etc.) greeting the returning combat troops from Iraq with the emotional homecomings with families etc. declaring "I have kept my promise to end the war in Iraq."

(And yes I know there's still fifty thousand troops left in an advisory capacity, and I too wish they were all gone, but 50,000 and not actively fighting is still better than 140,000 and many of them being killed or killing others, often innocent bystanders.)


Butch in Waukegan said...

Rest easy, don’t get too emotional. After all, Iraq is being tidied up! Liberals love their empires tidy.

Another plus: focus groups show that in the crucial 30 to 50 year old white male demographic, Operation New Dawn tracks two-to-one better than the old Operation Iraqi Freedom slogan. Not too bad going into November. Priorities. It’s not for nothing Obama was named Marketer of the Year.

And the amazing thing is that our wise and beneficent O has staffed this whole war thing with people who voted for, and/or supported, and/or managed Bush’s Iraq invasion and occupation: Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Joe Biden, David Petraes, Rham Emanuel, among others.

So we all can celebrate less troops in Iraq, with more contractors and no withdrawal in site. And of course we'll ignore that there are more troops in uniform, higher war budgets, 700+ overseas bases, death and destruction for innocents, and that other 9 year-old mess .

Our motto now is This Is The Best We Can Expect .™

Lally said...

Actually Butch, if the polls are to be believed, the critics on the left are winning the day and we will soon have a Republican Congress and if the right's propaganda continues to fire their base and disillusion Independents and Democrats from voting, a Republican president. And then they can dismantle the healthcare reform and financial reform and cut back veterans benefits again and start dismantling Social Security and Medicare and reinstitute even bigger tax breaks for the rich and more extensive tax breaks for corporations and appoint even more rightwing judges so that the country can look like Bush/Cheney on steroids. What a great solution to real world problems. Let's throw the baby out with the bathwater because we don't like the water's temperature.

Butch in Waukegan said...

Actually Butch, if the polls are to be believed, the critics on the left are winning the day and we will soon have a Republican Congress and if the right's propaganda continues to fire their base and disillusion Independents and Democrats from voting, a Republican president.

You say Obama’s problem is the critics “on the left”. It’s obvious the “left” in this country wouldn’t fill the Rose Bowl. That’s why Obama has gotten away with things that Bush never could.

For example, here’s what Obama promised on the first day of his presidency :
"Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former president wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the white house counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so; it will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well-grounded in the Constitution. Let me say it as simply as I can: transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

So what’s Obama’s record? Worse than Bush’s! The move-on liberals would have screamed bloody murder if Bush tried this. Obama gets a pass. Rule of law? If Bush had claimed the right to assassinate US citizens (on his say so only!), as Obama does now, all you good Democrats would call it what it is — a crime. Total silence now because Obama does it.

Obama and the Democrats are 100% responsible for the trouble they are in now.

Montana said...

Honestly, the surge was a battle for improving a War, not winning it. Thank God we are getting out, what a waste of our Youth and Treasury set on a bed of lies.

Anonymous said...

wh is going to defend those 50,000 troops left there ... left there to do WHAT?

it's like those first VN USA 'advisors/observers"... they weren't even issued rifles with which to defend themselves when they were attacked by

were are all of thiose military folks now going? into the current US "job market"? to Detroit to build Ford-Fantasy-Cars?

the new "health care" laws/rules!
just wait until you get your next insurance bill and your next deduction from Social Security Check for your Medicare share..

let us now look forward to and contribute to that Jerry Lewis ......Extravaganza... another boon-doogle

Butch in Waukegan said...

A nod to Groucho, goodbye, I must be staying.