On Obama: a brief reply to my cynical friends

Why is it important to be angry and protest against Obama’s lies after the revelations concerning the NSA? Here’s a pre-emptive reply to cynical friends.

Obviously I am very angry at Obama. The revelations of his lies, and the way he has kept a secret cold war going even against European “allies” is unacceptable. It signifies the fall of the high and mighty. But it’s not only the surveillance. It’s even more than that. One by one his administration practices concerning foreign affairs are being proven to be the same as his predecessor’s. He just switched from “Texan pistol mentality” to a more intelligent one: drones and surveillance.

Many of my friends think: But why are you so angry? Are you surprised? Were you so naive to trust him in the first place? Have you expected that the US intelligence service, like any other national intelligence service, would “follow constitutional or deontological rules”? This is no news, this just confirms what we already knew.

I object to this reaction though. My response is simple and straightforward: I never trust any politician that much, no. I am not particularly surprised no. However: there is a difference between what I know now and what we suspected before. Now we have proof and it makes a big difference. It should make a difference.

There is an epistemic difference between “a priori speculative suspicion”, and “concrete proof”. And this is what we have now: concrete proof. This difference must be reflected in our behaviour, otherwise we fail to keep the epistemic distinction and hierarchy between the various kinds and qualities of knowledge: It is one thing to suspect and to speculate, and another to have concrete proof. Thus: I am particularly angry now.

P. S. This concerns especially some Europeans and especially the Germans. Suddenly Europeans realize: Obama? It was “business as usual”, all along, after all. The ones who participated in the Obama craze 6 years ago, when Obama visited Europe in the context of his first election campaign, and fell for him. Now they must be feeling very stupid. Germans especially must really feel like fools. It was Germans who had primarily fell for Obama. And yesterday Germans woke up to find out that US intelligence had them under their “category 3”. That is: not just “not allies”, but even beyond that. Legitimate targets of surveillance. Good Morning Germany.

Two weeks ago Obama was defending surveillance, justifying it as necessary for protection. And when he visited Berlin last week and Merkel publicly complained about the NSA surveillance, Obama effectively responded to her by pointing out how many terrorist attacks were averted in Germany due to information given to Germany by the USA. And that was the end of the discussion. But now, this argument is shown to be largely irrelevant: the Spiegel reveals that even the EU and German offices were legitimate TARGETS [sic] of surveillance. Why Obama? Are the EU offices a…possible source of terrorism?

P.S. 2: Here is a video of Obama lying to the American people in 2007, saying the exact opposite things of what he said two weeks ago to justify surveillance on US citizens: The disgraceful fall of the high and mighty.

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About Christos Hadjioannou

http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/philosophy/drchristoshadjioannou/
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