[eDebate] zizek's obama praise
Mon Apr 13 23:34:03 CDT 2009
praised obama for rejecting the call to postpone the debate.
regardless of mccain's sincerity to actually postpone the debate, obama, after the election, replicated the call for immediate action which zizek questioned:
Faced with a disaster over which we have no real influence, people will often say, stupidly, ?Don?t just talk, do something!? Perhaps, lately, we have been doing too much. Maybe it is time to step back, think and say the right thing. True, we often talk about doing something instead of actually doing it ? but sometimes we do things in order to avoid talking and thinking about them. Like quickly throwing $700 billion at a problem instead of reflecting on how it came about. endquote
for me, the discrepancy in the presidential debate over the bailout was not sufficient to claim that vigorous debate had taken place. upon taking office, obama did not ask for serious challenges to his plan. he steamrolled it through with crisis rhetoric. obama said over and over: "we must do something now. this is not a time to talk". the posture effectively squashed the debate over the bailout. fear tactics projecting immanent economic collapse were distasteful. quickly throwing more than $700 billion to stimulate the economy didn't stimulate debate about solutions to the economic crisis. hiding behind the timing of the evidence, it's authorship before the stimulus bill could fall prey to the same argument, does not preclude cross-applying the blame on paulson's tactics to obama. the presidential debates can be mostly symbolic actions if the president does not become a force for public policy debate. it's difficult to find central areas of obama's policy where public policy debate is happening though you can find it in the less significant areas by design.
i invite any one looking for praises of obama's more than symbolic debate postures to show me where the afghan war debate is happening inside the administration.
the tactic of sending crafted propaganda to the base in favor of the bailout instead of requesting feedback from the base is a bad sign. if the video stands for a future trend of top-down policy discussion, obama will continue to be a debate failure. if the crisis rhetoric mimicking the bush administration's patriot act approach continues, we can expect more presidential demands for action at the expense of public policy debate, i.e. blackmail. "debate is not a good idea because inaction will cause your worst nightmare". remember the faux pas when challenged, "I won!" that was a public policy debate slogan if i ever heard one. war on terror rhetoric is being diffused to all levels of policymaking FDR style. the worst of bush extends to dominate socio-economic policy.
i can imagine how debate-oriented the obama team's afghan war video will be answering all the good arguments against troop redeployments. the video will probably not distract to common sense notions about al-qaeda's centralized command center on the pakistan border. the video will probably detail all the likely costs of the commitment. no terror crisis rhetoric will be used to deflect away from the obvious unheeded criticisms. the question won't be how to bypass the criticism to pursue a predetermined course of action because serious public debate over afghanistan will be the white house objective. i'm sure all of this will be mentioned in the afghan video package: 100,000 troops, over 10 years, etc. if this does not fall prey to part of the zizek criticism from october 10, 2008 quoted above, then you're smoking crack in obamaland.
On the evening of March 19, 2009, Lawrence Korb spoke at the University of Pittsburgh (video at the end of this article).Korb was the Vice President of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) from 1998-2002. He was also the CFR?s director of National Security Studies during that same period. From 1985-1986 he was Vice President of Corporate Operations at Raytheon. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1981-1985 during the Reagan Administration. He was an advisor to Barack Obama when Obama was campaigning for president. He currently is a Senior Fellow at American Progress and a Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information....Korb discussed Obama?s plans for Afghansistan at length. He said, ?The indications are that, you know, he?s gonna be going big in Afghanistan.?He acknowledged that this is a betrayal of what his supporters ? many of whom are anti-war ? were led to believe about Obama?s agenda during his campaign.?A lot of people say, ?Well, no. We voted for him because we didn?t want [to go] to any wars!?? Korb said with an amused smirk.In a mocking tone, he continued: ?And? you know on the ?BLOGOSPHERE? you should see the stuff. I mean, these people are mobilizing to stop going to Afghanistan.?But Korb did not seem to think that this pervasive, adamant grassroots opposition to ?going big? in Afghanistan should give Obama a moment?s pause, despite the fact that, according to Korb, ?seeing it through? will require America to pay a high price, in both money and lives.?I think what the president has to say if he wants to do it is be honest with the American people and say, ?Look, if you want to do this, and you want to do it right, you?re going to be there for another ten years.?? Korb said.Later, Korb indicated that ten years may not even be long enough. He said, ?Within ten years it should be okay if you do everything right. But there?s no guarantee.? (emphasis added)This is especially noteworthy considering that he also acknowledged that so far ?we haven?t done it very well?Korb went on to say (possibly still in presidential ventriloquist mode), ?You?re gonna have to have at least 100,000 troops? and what we?re gonna do is we?re gonna put the troops in the areas to protect the population [inaud] where the Taliban is. That?s gonna be more casualities, okay? And you?re gonna have to do that, and it?s gonna be expensive.?He also acknowledged that the Afghan people have become increasingly unsupportive of the U.S. occupation, and admitted that, in fact, the U.S. may never be able to regain widespread support from the Afghan people.According to a poll conducted in late December through mid-January by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research in Kabul for ABC News, the BBC and ARD German television, only 47 percent of Afghans hold a favorable view of the United States. This number has fallen 36 percent since 2005, and the steepest drop has occured in the past year. This may be due to the fact that, as the Guardian reported last month, ?The number of civilians killed in the war in Afghanistan increased by 40% last year to a record 2,118 people?.More than 420 U.S. troops have already been killed in combat in Afghanistan since the war began, according to USA Today.Despite all of this, the former Council on Foreign Relations Vice President and Obama Advisor said that the president has ?got to see it through? in Afghanistan, and that Afghanistan is a ?real threat to the United States.??It?s gonna be a very, very difficult sell.?
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