(COMMON DREAMS) — On 27 January CBS aired an interview with the newly inaugurated President Barack Obama and his outgoing secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, during which the president faced accusations that under his watch America had retreated from its key role in world affairs. “The biggest criticism of this team,” said the interviewer,” has been [that there is] an abdication of the United States on the world stage, sort of reluctance to become involved in another entanglement.”
Obama interrupted. “Well, Muammar Gaddafi probably does not agree with that assessment,” he said. “Or at least if he was around, he wouldn’t agree with that assessment.” Quite. Gaddafi, to whom the U.S. authorized $15m worth of arms sales in 2009, is not around because he was murdered by a mob shortly after being sodomized by a bayonet following his ousting by U.S.-led NATO bombardment. In the minutes between the sodomizing and the summary execution there just wasn’t time to reflect on U.S. foreign policy.
The day after the interview was screened, Obama met with the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and the Major County Sheriffs’ Association. The president, fresh from boasting about having Gaddafi “smoked,” wanted to discuss how to stop guns getting into the wrong hands, bolster the forces of law and order, and stem violence in U.S. cities.
Over the last few weeks there has been a distinct incongruity – to say the least – between the agenda Obama is promoting at home and the one he defends abroad. His justification for targeted killings and drone strikes in foreign parts, prompted by his nomination of a CIA director, has coincided with his advocacy for stiffer gun control and appeals to respect human life following mass shootings. The result is an administration raising life and death issues in its actions and pronouncements but being unable to talk with any moral authority or ethical consistency on either.
In short, the credibility of a president in challenging lawless social violence in U.S. cities is fundamentally undermined when he has his own personal kill list in violation of international law to terminate enemies elsewhere.