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Obama comes to Boston

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Message Bill van Auken

Between the speech Obama delivered in Tucson in January 2011 and the one he gave in Newtown in December 2012, there were -- among the many more mass killings across the country -- the following incidents:

* July 2011 -- A shooting rampage in Grand Rapids, Michigan that claimed eight lives.

* August 2011 -- A gunman killing seven people in Copley, Ohio before being killed himself.

* September 2011 -- A shooting at a Carson City, Nevada IHOP that killed five.

* December 2011 -- Six people shot to death on Christmas morning in Grapevine, Texas by a man dressed as Santa Claus, who then turned his gun on himself.

* April 2012 -- A mass shooting at an Asian school in Oakland California that killed seven.

* May 2012 -- Five people killed in a shooting spree in Seattle, Washington.

* August 2012 -- The shooting deaths of seven at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

* September 2012 -- The killing of six in a workplace shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When "evil" recurs with such numbing regularity, it clearly must have deep roots in American society.

In light of Obama's incessant mouthing of biblical quotations, it is worth considering how another American president employed scripture.

In his second inaugural address in March of 1865, Lincoln, who was not known for quoting from the Bible, invoked Matthew 18:7: "Woe unto the world because of offenses." Citing slavery as such an offense, he stated that the Civil War represented "the woe due to those by whom the offense came." If it were God's judgment, he continued, the war would continue until "all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword."

Lincoln's biblical metaphor cut to the heart of the objective crisis confronting America in the Civil War, while Obama employs scripture to cover up and declare incomprehensible the social and political roots of today's events.

What are the "offenses" from which the violence plaguing present-day American society flows?

The United States has been involved in ceaseless wars of aggression for more two decades. Since 2001, it has been waging its undeclared and endless "war on terror" in which the entire planet, including the US itself, is proclaimed a battlefield. The victims of this war in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere number in the millions.

In one of the more cynical moments of Obama's speech, he invoked a widely circulated image of the youngest of those killed in the Boston bombings, eight-year-old Martin Richard, holding a poster upon which he had written, "No more hurting people. Peace." Obama repeated the phrase twice.

The day before he came to Boston, US drones fired missiles into a Pakistani village leveling a house and killing five people inside. Seven others were wounded. On the same day, a drone strike in Yemen demolished a car, killing its five occupants. As is well known, Obama personally selects assassination victims and has arrogated to himself the power to order the deaths of American citizens without charges or trials. The young boy's plea reads like an indictment of the US president himself.

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Bill Van Auken (born 1950) is a politician and activist for the Socialist Equality Party and was a presidential candidate in the U.S. election of 2004, announcing his candidacy on January 27, 2004. His running mate was Jim Lawrence. He came in 15th (more...)
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