viernes, octubre 24, 2008

The Dirty War Against Obama

The Dirty War Against Obama
[Opinion] Opponents undermine Barack with lies and distortions
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)

Published 2008-10-24 12:38 (KST)
Edited by Claire George

Psychological warfare makes use of morality and propaganda instead of bombs and guns. The ancient Macedonians were apparently the first to use it to spread rumors to unnerve their opponents. All these years later it is being deployed against US presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Political practitioners of psychological warfare aim to mislead voters and destroy their enemies. In the absence of weapons they employ all their mental cunning to spread shock, panic and disharmony.

Their purpose is to take votes away from the opposing candidate by turning him or her into a figure of fear. They work to associate the enemy with undesirable characteristics or acts in order to provoke feelings of insecurity, anxiety and frustration in voters, particularly those who have not yet decided who to vote for.

This can have serious consequences for any candidate who is demonized in this way. Often it is the candidate who appears to be gaining in the polls who becomes the main victim of this undeclared war with all its intangible weapons.

Practitioners aim to exploit stereotypes and moral values, such as racial and religious issues. When they succeed they can severely affect any political campaign with a gravity that equals a serious financial crisis.

The Republican campaign took a dangerous turn when John McCain adopted an aggressive strategy against Obama.

At rallies McCain often appeared to relate Obama posters with Bin Laden and terrorism.

Sarah Palin picked up a newspaper article to say that Obama was related to the violent and radical William Ayers. Palin repeated that issue in her speech in Florida and said emphatically that Obama was a danger to America and immediately some followers shouted, "kill him!"

This behavior, in a country which has seen the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, is unacceptable because it is very dangerous.

It is worrying that others have already jumped on the dirty campaign wagon.

According to the Times, the man behind all this is Andy Martin, a lawyer and journalist who has placed a long series of insults on He said, for example, that Obama was a Muslim and that when he lived in Indonesia as a child he received lessons in Wahhabi Islam, the same form of Islam that spawned Osama bin Laden.

According to a report by journalist Chris Hayes for the Nation, Martin issued a press release shortly after Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention saying that he had evidence Obama had "lied to the American people" and had aimed to "misrepresent his own heritage." Martin claimed that Obama was really a Muslim, was possibly hiding this fact "to endanger Israel," and that "[Obama's] Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles."

Martin has been identified as the primary source of the false rumors that Obama is secretly a Muslim. In fact Obama is an actively professing and practicing Christian.

Racism against Obama has also appeared in the form of a monkey puppet. This toy, which is being sold over the Internet by a Utah couple, is causing uproar among his supporters. It's a sock monkey that wears a suit with a lapel pin pledging support for Obama. Supporters of Obama have been filling online forums and blogs with angry words over what they see as the degrading depiction of a black man as a monkey.

America currently teeters between hope and despair. Politicians competing in this campaign should help to boost hopes of favorable change and rescue the country's historic legacy.

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