Friday, May 31, 2013

The Real Scandal

Scandal - an offense caused by a fault or misdeed. Or a disgraceful, discreditable action or circumstance.

For the past few weeks here in America, president Obama has been reportedly embroiled in multiple "scandals". Depending on whose lens you see through, these so called scandals appear either grave or innocuous. As there is a mid-term election on the horizon and the opposition has very little to run on, they are latching onto anything damaging they can find on the president. The "scandals" that are in the news or have been thus far are, "The IRS Scandal", "The Benghazi Scandal", "The AP Scandal" and "The Drone Scandal". Of all, the one which should be scrutinized the most, is given the least attention. The killing of US and other civilians from the sky, authorized by the president and engaged by the CIA, is nothing but scandalous no matter the justification. But the other issues have dominated the debate as though the president had committed a crime graver than the Watergate and Iran Contra affair. The right wing media has spared no expense in drumming up a lethal rhetoric around these issues, and the public at large has paid little attention.

While there has been some wrong doing in all of the above mentioned cases, implicating the president directly has been a leap, which many have sought but not succeeded. In the case of Benghazi, Libya where an American ambassador was killed, it seemed like a chaotic situation mishandled due to a lack of accurate intelligence. If it was a deliberate terrorist attack, and there was actionable intelligence, then so was 9/11. There is evidence that the president's staff bungled how they reported the incident to the public. The president's staff chose the talking points to be deliberately vague as it seemed they were not in control of the events taking place. Or even if they did know something they chose to be strategic in their wording for political reasons and ended up being inconsistent. There is nothing new about this. This is routine practice. The job of the president's staff is to sugarcoat anything controversial so as to protect the president in every way. That is what every presidential staff has done since the very beginning.

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is an organization that is largely despised by the public when it taxes their paycheck. Therefore it is required to be apolitical in its functioning. It was found that it became political by scrutinizing conservative groups more than others in giving them special tax exempt status. This is an example of corruption that is ever present in Washington in various arenas, based on which party is in power.

The AP (Associated Press) scandal where the Justice department seized telephone records of journalist's in the name of national security, is another example of a steady erosion of democracy, that has been ongoing since 9/11. Worse things have happened in the name of "national security" since the Patriot Act was egregiously passed by George Bush and his cohorts.

While the national news media and anyone who had a bone to pick with the establishment were making hay, trying to embroil the president deeper than was possible, all they were doing was clamoring an already crowded media space. Therefore there was little traction to be gained. The president was on the offensive, terminating some of the people in charge and distancing himself from the media circus by launching investigations and finding legalities to defend some of his questionable actions. All in all it seemed like with time, his staff was succeeding with their strategy.

Elsewhere in the world, there were scandals of a true nature brewing. Scandal nation India had a new one to add to its long list. This time the cricketing world had sunk to its lowest depths. Large scale match fixing and betting had spread like cancer taking the game revered by a billion people down the gutter. In Bangladesh, the building collapse that claimed more than a thousand lives, revealed the corruption from the prime minister down to the officials who oversaw the licensing and construction. It is only a matter of time before more structures would collapse or burn taking lives that are seen as disposable in the service of the privileged. In Syria a proxy war is in full swing between Russia, Iran and Hezbollah on one side and Qatar, Saudi Arabia, US and its allies on the other. The result, indiscriminate killing and horror, the full extent of which will only be revealed when the dust settles years from now.

The "Real Scandals" that largely went unnoticed are the "Torture Report" which overtly implicated the United States of America in violating the Geneva conventions. For all the democracy America touts, no one has yet been held accountable. And the doomsday fact that the carbon dioxide level in the earth's atmosphere has reached a point of no return. The dreaded 400 parts per billion threshold has been reached and there is no chemotherapy that can reverse this cancer. In the words of the environmentalist ex-president of Maldives, Mohamed Nashid, "there is no Plan B as there is no Planet B". It is what it is.