This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
When President Obama walked into the Senate chamber Tuesday night for the State of the Union, the pageantry was on full bore. The remarkable Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who only about a year ago was dicing with death from a bullet through her skull, was there to greet and be sustained in a hug by the President and everyone there. Her entirely pleasant personality and presence was a grace for us all, and amidst all the hypocrisy by virtually everyone, her face was a calibrating necessity. Wednesday, she officially resigned and returned to Arizona.
Obama had a lot to say in the State of the Union - liberal boilerplate, some constructive proposals that could work - but there were some things that he could not, or at least chose not, to chat up. The temptation must have been strong, given the race baiting by Gingrich and others in the Republican primary. As it was, when he saw Defense Secretary Panetta, he pointed at him and said 'Good job today!' Panetta smiled.
Just before the speech, in Somalia, Seal Team Six had just been excavated with a Dane and an American who'd been in captivity since October. They were aid workers. Although Somalis have about 150 captives held for ransom, these two were ill, the Dane seriously so. Their captors are street gang level high on drugs, and sometimes any logic of action succumbs to a sadism awakened by prolonged violence. Those Marines who moronically videoed themselves pissing on Afghani corpses were in the early onset of this syndrome. It's a gift of war, and we civilians ought to be grateful that there is still distinction in their minds between the dead and captives. In 1994, an American mixed arms Somali mission became a disaster, and our soldiers were tortured and the bodies mutilated, immortalized in Black Hawk Down.
Somalia today is much reduced, a geographic entity, not a nation, with no able government. So this was not a military marvel. The Seals parachuted in, and nine of those Somali thugs are dead and three were brought back with the SeALS for milk and cookies. Obama acted using the same Team Six that fixed the world's attention last May when it killed Osama Bin Laden a stone's throw from the Pakistani military academy. I admit: It is difficult not to feel a mild thrill when strutting macho thugs and bullies are revealed as incompetent at the warrior ethos they pretend to embody but merely portray. Truly, it is. If today a few of their kind in Africa with military medals for machine gunning women and children or nothing whatever are uneasy or nervous, good. I hope this signals the start of western attention coming to Mother Africa, which - no offense - could use it.
Such is the advantage of having a black President order this. Let's be honest: if a white president had done the same, it could too easily have been presented as a display of WASP arrogance and US sadism under a gossamer of rescue of two blonds, one male. Not hearing that, are we? No, because Obama is an icon in Africa, and nobody anywhere thinks he enjoys the deaths of blacks, muslims, Christians, or anyone. Not even his most rabid Republican opponents could think that, although at political need they'll suggest it.
And across Africa and around the world, a sizeable portion of women still enthused by the Arab spring and Syrian suspense and often still under their idiotic and misogynistic male counterparts, smile. Maybe only a little, maybe inwardly, but they smile.
The racial idiocy that has been used of late by Newt Gingrich, the Georgian glob of unrisen dough with his past of incompetence, adultery, and with his devotedly Catholic social climbing wife who - sometime during their six year affair apparently awakened his spiritual side - doesn't thrive in such news. Gingrich has explained Obama as a Kenyan anti-colonial something or other who hates the United States. It makes no sense whatever, and just served to remind and ignite his aging racist base that Obama is black and his father was African. In reality, Obama has both reduced and utilized the military with confidence and strict goals and seen them through with far more competence than Bush and Cheney.Worse for his detractors, he's no braggart nor is he a Chickenhawk, and he had enough to discuss he could afford to not mention the SeAL's newest public achievement for adoration Tuesday night. Which of the Republican candidates who never served, if elected, would have the confidence to let that pass unannounced and milked?
Obama is disciplined and focused, and his opposition looks weaker and lesser every day.