NPR's execrable Juan Williams, helped along by sentimentalist Scott Simon, advanced the developing conventional wisdom that Now That He's Sitting Behind The Big Desk, predisdent Obama has come to Understand That Doing Away With Torture Isn't So easy & that, well, really, we all know we will have to keep using torture. What is it with these guys in the media? Sadists much? They then ended by turning Obama into a sentimental symbol of the victory of civil rights, thus turning a policy debate into a feel-good moment for white folks. Ain't we special, now, electing a black man & all. Let's give ourselve a big ole pat on the back. (And by the way, he's gonna have to torture them nasty Muslims no matter what he says.) [See also.]
The war in Iraq was & remains unwinable: "Second, Biden's prophesy is still correct. The trap was always that a new president had to keep a large number of troops in Iraq or risk the place falling apart --- and risk being blamed for what happened if it did. The escalation was pretty much designed for just that purpose. It was politically crafted to create the illusion of "victory" which could only be maintained by maintaining the occupation." [Emphasis added.]
More conventional wisdom: Look, everybody knows you can't have civil liberties & be safe from terrorists--take your choice.
Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.
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