Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Why do we don rose-tinted spectacles for Obama's war?

President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York

If Barack Obama had white skin and a Texan drawl, the tear-gas grenades would already have been handed out to the riot squads and sniping positions selected on the roofs of Dublin to deal with the angry hordes about to descend on the city to voice opposition to the killing of bin Laden.

Not to mention the more egregious matter of the fragmentation of families in Waziristan by drone bombs computer-guided on Obama's instructions to slam into their breeze-block homes just as soon as the kiddies had been tucked into bed.

But all the signals from the South are of sublime confidence that the presidential visit will be marked with no such unpleasantness. No swaggering cowboy this, but a black dude of elegant mien with a cool turn of phrase and a wife ever-ready to support her man with the most stylish displays of booty-shaking ever seen in White House history. Personally, I reckon Laura Bush was the more liberated woman, but that's just me, and me a man.

So instead of howls of protest, Obama will likely be welcomed at the airport with the traditional greeting - Good morning your lordship, and a fine lovely bit of a soft day that's in it to be sure.

And there's more. I gather from the Southern media that down in Offaly a local man identified by a tourism guide as Obama's eighth cousin is spearheading the tidy-up operation in the village of Moneygall whence, it is speculated, an ancestor of the president's may once have lived, possibly.

I hear tell that the Offaly senior bog-trotting team has been attending the Garden of Selective Forgetfulness every evening without fail to practise its 16-hand formation yowling, while the famous Moneygall mixed-voice choir has dedicated long evenings at the Darby O'Gill Disco of Romance to perfecting its harmonies and preparing to lead the entire population of the Three Parishes in a spirited rendition of the national anthem of cute-hoor obeisance, "'Tis a grand oul' country ev'ry time/With our rocks and rivers, lakes and soil and clime/Ah, we're God's own people/And we'll shout from tower and steeple/'Tis a grand oul' country ev'ry time". Arra bejayshus and so we are right enough.

Trestle tables shipped in from Knock by a visionary entrepreneur are already being loaded with paddywack nick-nacks, while members of the gombeen community have leery grins affixed to their faces as if by rawl-plugs as they anticipate a celebration of the sort not seen in the land since now-Independent TD Dinny-Joe Mulrooney returned in triumph from Dublin following his sacking for accepting bribes and embezzlement of public funds.

There must be a doctoral thesis to be written tracing the connections between the history of colonial oppression and the recurring tendency of a sizable swathe of the Irish population to infantilise themselves for the edification of any visiting dignitary who deigns to drop in.

But an eighth cousin? What about that business of everybody in the world being only six steps away from everybody else?

Anybody could be anybody's eighth cousin. I must be more closely related to the famous Mongolian statesman Genghis McKhan, but our family has never made a song and dance about it.

Similarly, if I were positively identified as a close relation of Barack Obama's I'd keep my lip buttoned.

It can be argued - although it's not an argument I'd accept - that bin Laden had it coming and protest is misplaced.

But his family? Gaddafi's son and grandchildren? OK to kill them, too?

Obama seems to think so. Did he explicitly order, "Kill their kids when you're at it"?

Or consider the family in Miranshah in the Pakistan province of North Waziristan whose home was reduced to rubble last January 23, crushing all 13 people present, none of them "legitimate targets" in any sense whatsoever.

Their home had been hit by a missile from a drone guided from Creech airforce base in Nevada by guys sitting before glowing PlayStation screens tip-tapping on a console to spear their bombs onto targets in a dusty region of a distant land. On the orders of Barack Obama.

It's a cowardly way to wage war. Which I suppose makes Obama the coward-in-chief.

What did George W. Bush do which Obama is not continuing to do?

The main differences seem to lie in skin-tone and hypocrisy quotient, with George W. coming out lighter on both counts.

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