Action Man Obama Protects?

Having hyped hope to gain the presidency during 2008, which emotions are to be used to secure brand Obama a second term?

This is tricky because much of what his followers hoped for has crumbled to dust. Hope transubstantiated into fear and anger. The Occupy Wall Street movement—which is now calling for world revolution—is but one form of that. They’re not going to fall for ‘hope’ again.

It is difficult for him to ride that wave of fear and anger without hypocrisy because much of his campaign funds, his advice and staff come from Wall Street.(See ‘AFF Launches TV Ad “Obama’s Wall Street”‘ and ‘Wall Street Is Still Giving to President‘)

So he’s trying on various emotional personas to see which best suits his circumstances and has traction.

Over the past month or so, it’s been Obama-the-Action Hero, the Commander-in-Chief.

This narrative has been fed by a series of leaks from his White House staff to sympathetic journalists, designed to make him appear tough on national security. For example:

  • Leaked revelations that Obama personally approved a joint US-Israel assault on Iran’s nuclear program using a computer virus known as Stuxnet. (See David Sanger, ‘Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran‘, New York Times, June 1, 2012). Stuxnet has since escaped into the ‘wild’. [This is the nuclear program which all signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are allowed. Iran is a signatory. Israel is not.]
  • Leaked revelations that Obama is personally involved in deciding a kill-list of targets for drone strikes.(See Jo Becker and Scott Shane. ‘Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will‘. New York Times, May 29, 2012.) [This is illegal.]
  • Leaked revelations about Obama’s role in a supposed CIA sting operation in Yemen which is said to have thwarted a plot to blow up a transatlantic flight. (Story here.)

Obama vigorously protested that these stories emanated from the White House, but it’s hard to find any commentator who believes him. Certainly the heads of congressional intelligence committees didn’t. New laws to prevent this happening again are in the works.

The concern of Congress, predictably, is with the possibility that American lives could be imperilled by leaks of this kind. To consider only the ‘kill-list’, Congress cares not one wit about the legality or morality of this ‘right-to-kill’, nor about the innocent victims of these drone strikes. Their families do though and their anger is mounting, and so does the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Others point to the rank hypocrisy of the White House in facilitating leaks on national security when it suits its interests, while persecuting leakers of information on national security when it does not. For example:

  • Bradley Manning has been held without trial for almost two years accused of leaking classified files to Wikileaks.
  • Julian Assange, the recipient of those files, has been detained without charge in the UK for almost as long. Afraid of being extradited to the United States, he is currently holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London.
  • Independent-minded investigative journalists with the temerity to unearth information critical of the White House can look forward to being relentlessly pursued by the justice department. (See Glen Greenwald, ‘Climate of Fear: Jim Risen v. the Obama administration‘).

Obama promised to ‘root out’ those responsible for the leaks. We shall see.

Perhaps the more damning revelation was that by Judicial Watch. After nine months of asking and a federal lawsuit, it secured documents from the Pentagon and the C.I.A. that reveal both organizations were assisting director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal in the making of a movie on the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2011.

Having won the war for them in Iraq with The Hurt Locker, perhaps they thought she’d oblige with something similar on the war-on-terror.

Bigelow and Boal were granted access to a ‘planner, Operator and Commander of SEAL Team Six’ which supposedly killed OBL. They were even granted access to the CIA bunker (‘the vault’) that is said to be the site of some crucial tactical planning for the raid. (See ‘Judicial Watch Obtains DOD and CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Raid Filmmakers‘).

All this, of course, is supposed to be top secret, ‘classified’.

Not quite everyone, of course, believes everything the Pentagon tells them—especially on OBL. It is said that there are photos and videos of the raid, and their release would presumably help in putting the matter to rest. No luck for Judicial Watch on this—National Security.

The movie is to be released in September-October, just in time for the election in November. If it follows the official narrative of that night, Obama will have a starring role. It will amount to a multi-million dollar campaign commercial. Another victory for the Hollywood-Pentagon partnership.

All this suggests to me that to sell its brand the Obama campaign has decided to use ‘security’ to tap into some of that American fear, so as to rally the electoral troops around the flag.

One thought on “Action Man Obama Protects?

  1. Pingback: Brand Obama seeks emotional traction « The Business of Emotions

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