Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes
seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of
loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk
in which they have been placed.
The original characterizing-incident took place on
August 23, 1973, where bank robbers held bank employees hostage.
victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even
defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.
Barack Obama turned this syndrome around 180° and took it to another
level on December 10, 2009, in Oslo,
he gave his acceptance speech for his Nobel Peace Prize. He was
unable, linguistically and psychologically, to break away from
the deep, historical U.S. identification with the
efficacy of militarism and war. We should call that social psychological
aberration the Oslo
syndrome. How else to explain the contradictory logic and
incoherence of his acceptance speech which gave justification
for war at a celebration meant for the recognition of great peacemakers!
failures of thought, of self-knowledge, of creativity, and to
stay within the realms of a fully inclusive reality cannot be
explained away. Obama is a lawyer, trained in the arts of conceptual
analysis, interpretation, and linguistic manipulation. The absence
of human compassion, the illogic, and the confusion in his presentation
must arise from a fundamental blindness – not unlike the blindness
of an abused wife who is unable to imagine freedom from her abuser.
The dark U.S. history of militant cultural
supremacy and exceptionalism has captured President Obama in a
strangling bubble and it is not just his body that has become
passive and compliant. As armies of minions choreograph his physical
movements, his mind is choreographed by seemingly inescapable
supremacist’s myths. He, obviously, identifies with
the powerful “bankers” who make so much money from violence, war,
environmental pollution, unrepentant colonialism, slavery and
theory to explain the Stockholm syndrome utilizes the concept
of cognitive dissonance. Specifically, people don’t like being
unhappy for long periods of time. To resolve the cognitive dissonance,
the victim may begin to identify with the captors in an attempt
to find surcease and happiness. According to another psychoanalytic view of the syndrome, this tendency might
be the result of employing the strategy evolved by newborn babies
to form an emotional attachment to the nearest powerful adult
in order to maximize the probability that this adult will enable
- at the very least - the survival of the child, if not also prove
to be a good parental figure. This syndrome is considered a prime
example for the defense mechanism of identification. Obama and
too many other residents of this world have fallen into the identification
trap defined by Margaret Thatcher for the global tyranny of our
financial system: TINA (there is no alternative).
truth of their passive submission to humiliating oppression is
more than embarrassing; it can feel shameful - and there is nothing
more painful than shame. When one already feels beaten down and
demoralized, the likely response to the pain of shame is not constructive
action, but more attempts to shut down or divert oneself from
this pain. It is not likely that the truth of one’s humiliating
oppression is going to energize one to constructive actions.
Oslo President Obama exposed his self-identification with the
oppressor aspects of the United
States. He spewed out the morally corrupt
analysis that is the Just War Theory, despite the powerful examples
of denouncement of this analysis by many preceding Peace Prize
winners and its rejection by many patriotic U.S. citizens.
is a long honored tradition in the U.S.
– to which Obama gave “lip service” – that eschews war and imperialism.
Some of the Founders were inspired by the Great Peace Maker of
the Haudenosaunee who established the Iroquois
Confederacy: where Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga,
and Seneca nations set down together to talk together to
end war, rather than to fail again to achieve peace through another
war. The first President
of the United States, George Washington, a military general,
spoke out forcefully against his new nation entering foreign wars.
Joseph, a Nez Perce spiritual genius, spoke profoundly of the
time when the White Men would treat the “Indian” as the “Indians”
treat each other. The
American Friends Service Committee received the Peace Prize in
1947; the prize recognized 300 years of Quaker efforts
to heal rifts and oppose war. Admiral Gene R. La Rocque (Ret.),
who fought in World War II and thus was active contemporaneously
with Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, has stated clearly that there is no such thing as a “good” war.
Malcolm X’s justification for the use of violence in self-defense
was based on his exposure of the hypocrisy of the Just War Theory
that called for the use of violence in Korea
to defend a democracy that was not available to Blacks on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in towns in the U.S.
If violence and fighting for democracy in Korea
was justified, why would it not be justified to violently fight
for it in Cairo, Illinois? Who determines
what is just? Did Barack not hear the words of Phyllis and
Orlando Rodriguez who lost their son on 9-11 yet who speak out
powerfully against violent revenge; “it is not the way…it will
not avenge our son’s death…not in our son’s name.”
easy dismissal of the path of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther
King Jr. was the “crowning” indication of a captured mind. Martin
Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only
light can do that. Hate
cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” and war cannot drive
out war; only peace and justice can do that. Barack Obama and
the purveyors of the Just War Theory have no viable response.
honest historians could have told our President that Hitler was
the product of the injustice visited on the German people after
World War I. Suffering from the economic straitjacket imposed
on the country by other Western European nations and the U.S.,
the German people allowed themselves to be seduced and blinded
by a powerful appearing demagogue. This is the syndrome that can
explain the acquiescence of followers of Osama Bin Laden and the
Taliban to their brutality. Osama’s and the Taliban’s authoritarian
misinterpretation of the Koran and desire to bring prosperity
and freedom from the immorality of global capitalism is classic
demagoguery seducing another people drowning in injustice. We
are all fruit of the same tree. I thought that President Obama
had the intellect and the compassion to understand this. Nonviolent
resistance coupled with the delivery of justice can stop
the rise of “Hitlers.”
us learn our proper lessons from U.S. and world history. Obama’s speech at West
Point is similar to the “surge” speech of Mikhail Gorbachev, called
the “bloody wound” speech, that led to a similar-sized, temporary
Soviet troop surge in Afghanistan
in 1986. Afghanistan,
in too many ways, is Vietnam
all over again. Pakistan’s
reaction to Obama’s speech was to order its top military intelligence
service, the ISI, to immediately begin rebuilding and strengthening
covert ties to the Afghan Taliban in anticipation of their eventual
return to power, according to a highly placed Pakistani official.
It is now Obama’s war; there is no way to make that a morally
said, Mr. President, “For make no mistake: evil does exist in
the world.” Yes, it does; but on whose side does evil exist? President
Lincoln, when told that God was on the side of the North, said,
“I hope we are on God’s side.” Evil is on all sides. Let
us not identify with a Niebuhr who thought that we must acknowledge
that the world will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.
Or with a Niebuhr who said, “Nothing that is worth doing can be
achieved in our lifetime.” Is that like “the poor will be with
us always?” This is a misapplied interpretation of Biblical verse.
True “american” values and true Christian values call on all of
us to make maximal efforts to eliminate violence, war, and injustice.
There are alternatives to war, rapacious capitalism, and oppression,
Obama, you said that “holy wars are not justified.” Like the Christian
colonization of the world which was accompanied with genocide,
murder, theft, enslavement, and subjugation; are we now to engage
in wars of cultural supremacy? What about economic and cultural
wars? What about the enabling-of-democracy wars that are accompanied
by the same three forces that Dr. Martin Luther King warned us
against in his Beyond Vietnam speech given at Riverside Church in New
York in 1967: Materialism, Racism, and Militarism. It is these
that we must fight, Mr. President, nonviolently.
Guest Commentator, Wilson Riles, has been serving the people of
Oakland and the Bay Area for many years. He was the Regional Director
of the American Friends Service Committee for over nine years
and administered a $1.4 million budget supporting programs which
addressed issues of economic justice in the African American community,
non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the plight of
farm workers, homelessness, progressive reform of the criminal
justice system, Native American and Asian Pacific Islander community
concerns, and youth empowerment. Additionally, he is a former
City Council Member. Click here
to contact Mr. Riles.