Friday, June 1, 2012

God's Busy Right Now

"Rabbi David Saperstein, reading from the psalms in English and Hebrew, noticed from the altar that the good men and women of the congregation that day, including the Bidens and other dignitaries, had not yet stood. Finally Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Church asked that everyone rise. At that moment Saperstein saw something from his angle of vision: 'If I had seen it in a movie I would have groaned and said, 'Give me a break. That's so trite'. A beam of morning light shone through the stained-glass windows and illuminated the president-elect's face. Several of the clergy and choir on the altar who also saw it marveled afterward about the presence of the Divine." (The Promise: President Obama, Year One, Jonathan Alter, 2010, p 102)

OK, you may scoff!

Obama may not be God, but he sure knows how to play Him:

"The drafting of the President's kill list begins with a weekly teleconference between more than 100 national security officials, who pore over biographies of suspected terrorists in Yemen and Somalia before recommending targets. Those in Pakistan, where the CIA operates drones, are selected in a separate process and forwarded to the White House. On his own insistence, Mr Obama signs off on every strike, either by the military or CIA, and reserves for himself the ultimate decision on whether or not to give the go-ahead when civilian lives are at risk. That process has often required greater moral and legal trade-off than Mr Obama would have envisioned when he took office - as in the case of Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader.

"Mehsud, whose organisation fought the Pakistani government, primarily, did not meet the Obama administration's criteria for targeted killing, as he did not demonstrate an imminent threat to to the US. But Pakistani officials, on whose approval the covert drone program there depended, wanted him dead. Mr Obama and his advisers ultimately decided he could be regarded as a threat; if not to the homeland, then to US personnel in Pakistan - thus qualifying him for killing. In August 2009, Mehsud came into the CIA's sights while visiting his in-laws' home in Pakistan. John Brennan, Mr Obama's counter-terrorism adviser, relayed the message from the CIA that they were in a position to kill Mehsud - but not without collateral damage. Mr Obama told the CIA to take the shot and Mehsud was killed, with his wife and an unknown number of family members." (Obama gives nod for drone killings, Catherine Philp, The Times/The Australian, 31/5/12)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How easy it is to succumb to the temptation of playing at God.