On Sunday a Man Appeared on Our Televisions. This is What He Said.

Barack Obama

On Sunday night, television broadcasts designed to shape the spending habits of Americans were interrupted for a short message from Barack Obama, the oligarchy’s chief administrator and commander of its armed forces. In his address, President Obama offered his assurances that ongoing warfare, surveillance, and new restrictions upon our civil liberties would eventually quell the threat of violence from Muslim terrorists.

Framing the shootings in San Bernardino, Ft. Hood and Chattanooga as part of an ongoing “War on Terror” — a global military campaign that proposes to stamp out one form of warfare by means of another — the President was careful not to mention the recent attacks upon the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, or similar instances of white Christian terrorism. Mass-murders in which the killers professed a radical Islamic ideology, it was understood, are to be treated as a separate class from the other “mass shootings that are all too common in our society” — which may number more 350 this year. At this time, we are not at war with those.

The President cited ongoing bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria as his first step in curbing the spread of mass-violence fueled by a suicidal hatred of the West. Exporting more weapons into the region, and training its fighters, was next. This conflict, he later emphasized, must not involve ground troops, lest we repeat the mistakes we made during our last two wars — fought against our former allies in Iraq and Afghanistan,  whom we also armed and trained.

The end results are to be “cease fires and a political resolution to the Syrian war,” which would free up the “Syrian people,” “our allies” and “also countries like Russia,” to unite in the “common goal of destroying ISIL.” The implication is that Russia, which is currently intervening in favor of the Assad regime, is not our ally, and that in order to enlist them in our war against ISIL, the United States may be willing to leave Syria’s dictatorship in place. The proposed ceasefire would be between the West and Russia/Assad, rather than with ISIL, whom we would then proceed to “destroy.”

In order to facilitate ISIL’s destruction, Mr. Obama urged the collaboration of “high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape justice.” In the past high-tech leaders have assisted the government by freely sharing user data and opening backdoors in their products that facilitate spying by law enforcement (and anyone else who might discover them). However, the security apparatus remains concerned about our ability to safeguard communications using encryption.

The President then called upon Congress to restrict the gun ownership rights of those who appear on a secret “No-Fly List,” which, as of an August 2013 leak, was purported to contain some 47,000 names. Mr. Obama, who commands a fleet of airborne murderbots which target both foreigners and American citizens for extra-judicial killings, did not address how his proposal might undermine the state’s customary guarantees of due process under law.

Significantly, he framed gun control as an important measure in the “War on Terror,” banking that his political adversaries — who traditionally oppose any and all restrictions upon gun ownership, however sensible — may accept new laws if they understood that these were needed to protect us from dark-skinned worshipers of strange gods, and not just the maniacs and fanatics with whom we culturally identify.

However, after calling upon Congress to authorize the war he is already waging, Mr. Obama emphasized that America should not blame all Muslims for that which only Muslims are held accountable. We would do better, he argued, to enlist Muslims as our allies in this war. Making a sensible plea for social tolerance against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s proto-fascist rhetoric, Mr. Obama nonetheless cited “the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out the ideas that lead to radicalization;” a problem that they “must confront without excuse.” That Christian Zionists hoping to bring about the Rapture are among the most avid proponents of total war in the Middle East was left unsaid. Rather, the President’s speech served to reinforce otherness of Islam by virtue of the fact that only Muslims were treated as open to this type of criticism, while more wholesomely Murican religious groups were not.

Thus, where he might have been expected to make comparable demands upon the American Christian population to address their own radicalization, Mr. Obama instead spoke the sacred mantras by which all presidents are required to conclude a major address: “God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.” Televisions then resumed their usual, ad-sponsored programming.

Violence was offered as a solution to violence, military intervention as a way to clear the wreckage of prior interventions. We were asked to surrender our liberties in order to preserve them; not to set aside our fears, but to express them in a more nuanced way. In an alien culture whose assumptions are now more distant from me than ever, it was what passes as an appeal for sanity.