Recollecting Professor Obama 

RECOLLECTING PROFESSOR OBAMA Waging War to Make Peace Series By David Arthur Walters The statement that we must wage war for peace is antithetically incongruous hence oxymoronic; in fine, logically absurd. The fact that Black Church member and purported pacifist President Barrack Obama waged war and won the Nobel Peace Prize seems hypocritical of the idealistic president. The Black Church is as pink inside as the Catholic Church inasmuch as it emphasizes Jesus the Christ’s love for poor and oppressed people, the very people who suffer the most from war. Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s 1895 will specified that the peace prize shall go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The Norwegians were perhaps too hopeful when the Prize was awarded to President Obama: pacifists hoped the Norwegians were prophets. As a matter of fact, President Obama is making good on his campaign promise to back our military forces out of Iraq; he is drawing down troops and equipment standing in Iraq. “I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended,” the President declared on August 31, 2010. “We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq,” stated the former professor of Constitutional Law. Still, “a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting
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Recollecting Professor Obama 

Iraq's Security Forces; supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our civilians.” However, while reducing the military forces standing in Iraq, the military forces standing in Afghanistan will be increased: “Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops….” Although “these forces will be in place for a limited time… the pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground.” We should know why the United States persisted with the long and costly war in Iraq: according to Professor Obama, who lectured the people at extraordinary length since campaigning for the presidency, war was waged to make peace, to bring Western Democracy to the East, traditionally ruled by despots, and to open up new markets. “Today, old adversaries are at peace, and emerging democracies are potential partners. New markets for our goods stretch from Asia to the Americas. A new push for peace in the Middle East will begin here tomorrow. Billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. As the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction — we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people.” Moreover, “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.” We are comforted to know that he is president, “we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known….” We praise our troops because they follow orders and fight faithfully no matter where they are sent and for what reason. “A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home was tested. These are the rough waters encountered during the course of one of America's longest wars. Yet there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides. At every turn, America's men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve.” Finally, “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”

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Recollecting Professor Obama 

Painting by Darwin Leon

Professor and Preacher and President Obama took the lectern again on September 11, 2010 to preach the true faith, faith in the United States of America regardless of one’s subsidiary religion or creed. Let us confess that the federal state is idolized in the United States – the United States is the holy of holies – and it is that unity that makes America great. The overarching political religion is “democracy.” The state religion which strives to be the dominant world religion is tolerant of all religions including atheism provided that the forms of worship do not incite or perpetrate violence against the faithful of any flock because of their respective religion. The leader must not let his followers destroy themselves along with his rule. Nothing should stand between the rulers and the ruled, between the one-god and the faithful. Woe unto those who attack the great leader mounted on the hill, the very beacon of liberty; may all ships be forewarned by the enlightened house lest they run aground on the shoals. “The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself – all that we stand for and represent in the world…. They may seek to strike fear in us, but they do not match our resilience. We do not succumb to fear, nor do we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people…. We will not give in to their hatred and prejudice. For Scripture teaches us to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Wherefore let us wage war not for revenge but for peace, seems to be the sermon preached; a motivation antithetical to the actual mood of free floating anger, the popular rage displaced by the administration at the time: the preemptive attack on a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on American, nor did that nation have weapons of mass destruction; it had embarrassed the
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Recollecting Professor Obama 

administration in the previous war, and revenge and oil was wanted in the name of permanent world peace, which can apparently only be achieved via Western democracy, whether the world wants it or not. The United States of America has always been a warring nation, and its progress and prosperity is correctly attributed to the fighting spirit that has made it the sole superpower in the world. It must be right or it would not have such might. The significance of each equal individual pales in comparison to the Total even though the Total is the identity of individuals as the Category of One. Do great men really alter the course of history or merely represent the common spirit of their time? Does the President really preside over his warring country, or does the “American Way” forged by war rule him? Shall small bands of terrorists or anarchists induce the terrifying dragon to wage more wars to make peace in foreign lands? More generally, can reason tame the beast once and for all? Can ideas win out over base instincts? Do what rational liberal professors say and think really make a difference when it comes to romantic conservative deeds? Can a Platonic philosopher rule a nation short of instantiating totalitarian imperialism? Barrack Obama is a peculiar President in many respects, and he was a peculiar professor as well, teaching at one of the most conservative schools in the country. Instead of professing the customary economic determinism that condones unregulated greed, he lectured on human rights. Instead of writing books on constitutional law, he sharpened his debating skills in academic and political forums. The classroom for him was the testing ground for his political career; in that classroom were forged the leading ideas for his presidential campaign. He used the Socratic Method, drawing his students out gently with questions and answers, exciting them with provocative remarks, probing deeply into the legal issues, examining all sides of the questions, often arriving at the conclusion that there is no one answer to every question or one result to every rule laid down, that everything has to be taken in its own context. It is hardly surprising that his intellectual honesty and depth and his evenhandedness tended to result in the classical Socratic attitude of suspended judgment, a profession of ignorance in response to ultimate questions – he simply would not oversimplify complicated subjects and take a definite stand. What Professor Karl Popper said of Socrates in Chapter 10 of The Open Society, that “He was mistaken when he considered himself a politician; he was a teacher,” may hold true of Obama. Socrates, like Professor Obama, said Sir Popper, wanted to attract the brilliant young men of his day, including anti-democrats, and convert them to the moral belief that man is not only an economic creature, not body alone: “There is more in man, a divine spark, reason; and a love of truth, of kindness, humaneness, a love of beauty and goodness. It is these that make a man’s life worthwhile.” That is,
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Recollecting Professor Obama 

the individual, or the “soul” Socrates allegedly created for the Western world, was socially responsible; therefore, Socrates criticized the democracy of his day for inattention to what really matters. If Socrates believed in the individual, why would he attack democracy? Socrates criticized democrats for their “lack of intellectual honesty and their obsession with power-politics.” Moreover, “Socrates’ attack upon the democratic politicians was carried out partly for the purpose of exposing the selfishness and lust for power of the hypocritical flatterers of the people, more particularly of the young aristocrats who posed as democrats, but looked upon the people as mere instruments of their lust for power.” Thus Professor Popper cast Socrates as a moralist or true conservative, in marked contrast to the political opportunist or neo-conservative who espouses democracy and will say anything necessary to rally people to support the political-economic causes of his privileged class and the preservation and augmentation of his own power. The American neo-conservative follows in the footsteps of the New Conservatives of German – explicit references to Germanic origins were dropped with the discovery of the Holocaust. Professor Karl Schmitt’s teachings had a profound influence on American neo-conservatism; for instance, that a democracy has such diverse and conflicting interests that the people must be lied to in order to get anything done; that civil rights must be suspended in times of emergency – he justified Hitler’s indefinite suspension of the Weimar Constitution. Professor Schmitt is blamed for creating the concept of the Total although he did not explicitly advocate totalitarianism. Professor Popper laid the blame for totalitarian thinking on Plato’s doorstep. Now Professor Obama, ideologically a true conservative due to his moral predilections – Cato comes to mind here – is often cast as an anti-libertarian socialist on the verge of communism. But every order is social, and everyone wants liberty from something or the other. Italian and German fascism had its socialist underpinnings yet was violently opposed to communism. Bread, wine and circus sustain the holiest empire. President Obama may be pink inside, but he is hardly Red; he might better be described as an unlikely leader of American fascism, a welfare capitalist who would conserve corporatism and private property in principle while attending to the welfare of the people the best he can. Welfare capitalism: the better the freed slaves are treated, the more profitable shall be the enterprise. However that may be, war is war and it is waged by every political persuasion, and not necessarily as a last resort. Barrack Obama the professor promised to end President Bush’s wars. The Oath of Office is bound to make of every idealist and ideologue somewhat of a hypocrite; but that is no good reason to say whatever elevates one’s standing in the polls. We worry that the Bush wars may continue indefinitely under one guise and pretext or another, and that the Commander-in-Chief and his patriotic
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Recollecting Professor Obama 

Congress may be provoked by a few violent people to wage new wars abroad, “offensive defensive” wars in the name of American interests, to make peace.
September 18, 2010 Miami Beach, Florida

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