In April 2003 following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this of looting and lawlessness in Baghdad –
“While no one condones looting, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime. And I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.” – https://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/04/11/sprj.irq.pentagon/
Another time, place, defense secretary and president in U.S. history. Words spoken by a man who orchestrated invasion of Iraq, the man who authorized waterboarding, deprivation and torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. A man who said “stuff happens” when asked about unrest in Iraq. The same man who said he didn’t think anyone wouldn’t accept looting and lawlessness as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.
Ponder Rumsfeld’s words in the context of what’s happening in America tonight.
July 2016, responding to police involved killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, President Obama said –
“All of us as Americans should be troubled. These are not isolated incidents. They are systematic of a broader set of disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels like because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same and that hurts. That should trouble all of us. This is not a black issue. This is not a Hispanic issue. It’s an American issue.”
This link illuminates Obama sentiment, acknowledges racial inequality, asserts imperative for law enforcement reform and collective social responsibility for racism in America – https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/barack-obama-police-brutality_n_577ed1ede4b0c590f7e8af19?ri18n=true
Ponder Trump response to George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” death in Minnesota. As a 4th day of protest intensifies across America, I find myself asking – What would Obama say? How would he diffuse tension? Would Obama blame “radical left Mayor Jacob Frey”? Tweet “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a direct quote from Alabama segregationist George Wallace, infamous four term Alabama Governor whose 1963 inauguration speech declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”? Would Obama quote Wallace, a man MLK called the most dangerous racist in America? Absolutely not!
Tonight I evoke fresh consideration of America’s plight – what would Obama say?