Enmptywheel on cancer and malaise
Marcy Wheeler, usually known for her dissection of dense bureaucratic documents and finding the real meaning behind them wrote a polemic today. And it's really good:
The right wingers who insist on calling any attack by a Muslim “terrorism” — who insist on tying the San Bernardino attack to ISIS, even in the absence of evidence — do it to prioritize the fight against terrorists over all the other ills facing America: over other gun violence, over climate change, over the persistent economic struggles of most Americans. Theirs is a profoundly unpatriotic effort to put war over every other policy priority, even far more pressing ones. That stance has led to a disinvestment in America, with real consequences for everyone not getting rich off of arms sales.
Last week, President Obama capitulated to these forces, giving a speech designed to give the attack in San Bernardino precedence over all the other mass killings of late, to give its 14 dead victims more importance over all the other dead victims. Most strikingly, Obama called attacks that aren’t, legally, terrorism, something his critics have long been demanding.
She critiques the speech line by line in Wheeler-esque fashion and then:
...why should we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris, rather than in the faces of the young people killed in the Umpqua Community College shooting or the over 60 people under the age of 25 shot in Chicago between the Paris attack and Obama’s speech? If we were to think of a cancer with no immediate cure, why wouldn’t we be thinking of the 20 6-year olds killed in Newtown?
She goes on to evoke an interesting parallel: Jimmy Carter's famous malaise speech from 36 years ago noting that "just 12 days before Carter delivered what would be dubbed the malaise speech, he authorized covert support for what would become the mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Our entanglement with the Saudis — and with it our refusal to ditch our oil addiction — has disastrously governed much of our foreign policy since, even while the dollar exchange delayed the recognition that our economy isn’t working anymore, not for average Americans."
We have a cancer, but it’s not terrorism. And it’s not just exhibited in all our shootings. It is equally exhibited in our growing addiction rates, in the increasing mortality in some groups. Obama gave the speech, surely, to quiet the calls who demand he address terrorism more aggressively than he address the underlying cancer.
Read the whole thing. It's a very interesting and, in my view, necessary, perspective.