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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/8/09

After January 20th

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On Wednesday, another reporter made a valiant attempt to convince Obama to break his silence on the horror and terror unfolding in Gaza.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. The situation in Gaza is getting worse. Fighting has resumed (INAUDIBLE) this morning. I understand your response has been, one president at a time. You can't say anything that is not the way you have handled the economic situation.

And with it getting worse, is it important for you to send a message to the Arab world right now that you are involved in the cease-fire talks, that your national security team is working with the Bush administration national security team, rather than just getting updates?

OBAMA: Yes, look. I will repeat what I've said before. We can't have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time. We simply can't do it. And so, as a consequence, what I am doing is I am being briefed consistently. My national security team is fully up to speed on it.

But the situation of domestic policymaking and foreign policymaking are two different things. We cannot be sending a message to the world that there are two different administrations conducting foreign policy. That is not safe for the American people.

Obviously, I am deeply concerned about the status of what's going to be taking place, what's been taking place in Gaza. And as I said yesterday, I am doing everything that we have to do to make sure that the day that I take office, we are prepared to engage immediately in trying to deal with the situation there.

And not only the short-term situation, but building a process whereby we can achieve a more lasting peace in the region. But until I take office, it would be imprudent of me to start sending out signals that somehow we are running foreign policy when I am not legally authorized to do so.

TODD: Do you think the Palestinians, though, are interpreting your silence in a certain way?

OBAMA: Chuck, the -- there are -- I can't control how people interpret what I'm saying, other than to repeat what I've said, and hope that they hear what I'm -- hear my message.

The silence is not as a consequence of a lack of concern. In fact, it's not silence. I've explained very clearly exactly what institutional constraints I'm under when it comes to this issue. OK?

No, it's not OK. And, contrary to what you believe, yes you CAN control how people interpret what you are saying. You can do this by breaking your shrewd silence.

I think that each time Obama utters the words "there's only one president at a time" he is in effect committing a crime, a crime not prosecutable in a court of law but prosecutable in the court of public opinion.

And because of that thought, I have written a poem that draws from a comment Obama made on Tuesday where he vowed that he would have plenty to say after January 20th.


After January 20th

I’ll have plenty to say after more women and children are killed by overwhelming power from tanks indiscriminately.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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