What is actually “disgusting” here is that the State Department is exploiting the grief of Chris Stevens’ family in an attempt to suppress and delegitimize reporting that reflects quite poorly on them. As Michael Hastings documented yesterday, the State Department views the revelations from Stevens’ journal as threatening to Hillary Clinton’s reputation, the legacy of the war in Libya, and possibly Obama’s political prospects in an election year.
But the more relevant impact is how this reflects on the war in Libya, flamboyantly celebrated as a grand success by Washington consensus and then all but forgotten. Stevens’ journal is but the latest in a long line of evidence demonstrating how much extreme instability, lawlessness and violence is plaguing that country in the aftermath of the intervention. Wrote Hastings: “As one senior U.S. government official who’d visited Libya told me earlier this summer: ‘It’s not Iraq, but it’s not good, either.'”
With so much media focused on Mitt Romney’s incompetence, stories like this get overlooked. It’s hard to feel enthusiastic about voting for Obama when stories like this one pop up, and it’s not even the scariest one. Most people probably won’t care about how bin Laden was killed, but the Obama administration lied about that to keep up appearances, and his “drone campaign” is much bloodier and less precise than he wants anyone to believe. Innocent people are dying as a result. But, that’s not a narrative we frequently hear. Greenwald fills in some of the blanks:
…the people in the areas targeted by Obama’s drone campaign are being systematically terrorized. There’s just no other word for it. It is a campaign of terror – highly effective terror – regardless of what noble progressive sentiments one wishes to believe reside in the heart of the leader ordering it. And that’s precisely why the report, to its great credit, uses that term to describe the Obama policy: the drone campaign “terrorizes men, women, and children”.
Along the same lines, note that the report confirms what had already been previously documented: the Obama campaign’s despicable (and likely criminal) targeting of rescuers who arrive to provide aid to the victims of the original strike. Noting that even funerals of drone victims have been targeted under Obama, the report documents that the US has “made family members afraid to attend funerals”
On the home front, Obama’s position on whistle blowers, Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning exemplifies his policy of secrecy abroad, but with the added menace of being closer to home. Greenwald again:
More remarkable is that a Democratic presidential candidate is sticking his chest out and proudly touting that he has tried to imprison more whistleblowers on espionage charges than all previous presidents in history combined: more than the secrecy-loving Bush/Cheney White House, more than the paranoid, leak-hating Nixon administration, more than anyone in American history.
Persecuting and abusing whistleblowers. Indefinitely imprisoning peoplewith no charges. Due process-free assassinations of citizens, even teenagers. Continuous killings of innocent people in multiple Muslim countries.
This isn’t just what Democrats do. It’s what they now boast about, what they campaign on, what they celebrate. That, as much as anything, is the Obama legacy.
That last bit bites the hardest. I remember sitting on my couch and watching Obama win the 2008 elections, and I remember having some naive sense of hope; hope about intelligent foreign policy and transparency in the White House after eight years of dealing with George Bush and company. Now, I’m left wondering who to vote for, because Romney is an even worse choice. The quote I used in the header for this article is in reference to Libya, but it could as easily be about America.