Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obama should take lessons from Robert Kennedy

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has decried President Barack Obama for not taking a more belligerent tone against terrorism, accusing him of making Americans less safe when he “pretends we aren’t at war with terrorists.” But Obama is not Dick Cheney, and thank goodness.

I think Obama understands that words of war do not inspire fear in the enemy. They often simply create new enemies.

I hope Obama instead heeds the lesson of these words, said by Robert Kennedy in South Africa some 43 years ago:
"Everywhere, new technology and communications bring men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably becoming the concerns of all. And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion of difference which is at the root of injustice and hate and war."

“Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ended at river shore, his common humanity enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town and views and the color of his skin."

“It is your job, the task of the young people of this world, to strip the last remnants of that ancient, cruel belief from the civilization of man.”
Today, the “cause” is “anti-terrorism.” Yesterday, it was “anti-communism.” And always, despite the overt rhetoric, the covert goal has always been resources. Oil in Iran and farmland in Guatemala in the 1950s. Minerals in Cuba, Indonesia and Congo in the 1960s. Oil in Iraq and Somalia. Perhaps a pipeline through Afghanistan.

But there is another path, and Robert Kennedy expressed it in South Africa in 1966.

“Is this all that we believe in? Anti-communism? Is that all that we stand for in our own countries and our own hearts?”

RFK continued: “Is that all that we’re fighting in Vietnam about? Is that what we’re helping and assisting other countries around the globe about – because we don’t want them to be taken over by communism – that is our only philosophy? Anti-communism?

“I think we stand for something.

Read the rest of this piece at Consortium News.


Blogger Jaike said...

You said "I think Obama understands that words of war do not inspire fear in the enemy. They often simply create new enemies."

Every now and then I read something that crystalises a truth for me and allows my thoughts to progress a little further towards understanding. Thankyou - this was one of those times.

7:19 PM  

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