America’s Words of Peace and Acts of War

David Bromwich in the Huffington Post:

ProfessorbromwichIn Obama's case, too, as in Nixon's, the exorbitant love of secrecy springs from a desire not to be judged. It has its source in an almost antinomian assurance that there is no one in the world who knows enough to judge him. There is, however, a respect in which Obama has become a stranger president than Nixon. What after all are we to make of the bizarre alternation of the commands to kill and the journeys to comfort the killed? As this president has lengthened the shadow of American power in Arab lands and made it hard for someone like Farea Al-Muslimi to persuade his countrymen that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, he has made serial visits to comfort Americans mourning the dead after the mass murders in Tucson, in Aurora, in Newtown, and in Boston. None of these speeches has carried a hint of the perception that there could be a link between American violence at home and abroad. The role of this president — a president of safety and protection rather than a president of liberty and the rule of law — is dismaying in itself. But there is something actively morbid in the dramatic assumption of grief counseling as his major public function, even as he continues in secret his wars against people about whom he will not speak to Americans except in platitude.

More here.