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The malady, common among political leaders who commit heartless crimes while craving popular adulation as heroes and misunderstood saints, is ‘Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ (PMSP).

PMSP best explains the pathologic drive of politicians and policy makers who inflict relentless, systematic mass destruction and then intervene in a most theatrical manner to save a few victims – thus drawing gratitude from the victim and public support for their ‘humanitarian intervention’ – ignorant of their fundamental role in creating the mayhem in the first place.

The actions of the outgoing President Barack Obama in the last three days of his administration present an example of PMSP on the domestic front.

Throughout his eight years as President of the United States, Obama exhibited many symptoms of PMSP – both abroad and in the US. For his cynical crimes, he was awarded the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ among other honors.

PMSP – The Abuser as Savior

Each of Obama’s relentless military interventions, including Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and especially Syria, were characterized by the deliberate and total destruction of the means of normal civilized social existence for defenseless civilians – the bombing of homes, factories, markets, weddings, funerals, schools, hospitals – leading to the deaths of many thousands and the uprooting of millions into desperate flight. In each case, Obama would proclaim that he was saving the victims from imminent genocide by an abusive ruler or ethnic group. He would rush in to provide a few baskets of relief and a few blankets to some bedraggled survivors of his own bombing campaigns and bask in the glowing praise of mass media propagandists and fellow imperialists. Choreographed applause and adulation would seem to follow America’s First Black President 到处。

Obama’s bombs, arms and mercenaries drove hundreds of thousands of families into the streets, into the mountains and most horrifically onto rickety, overloaded boats on the seas. In each series of destruction and chaos, he would calculate the point at which his ‘humanitarian intervention’ would most effectively reflect on his heroism.

He destroyed the entire nation of Libya, shredded its institutions and infrastructure, bombed its cities and villages, even deliberately sending a deadly missile into the home sheltering a half dozen of President Muammar Gadaffi’s small grandchildren and finally ended up with the public death by torture of the wounded Libyan president sodomized by stakes documented in a imperial-pornographic snuff film that should have revolted the entire world. That the main victims of Obama’s ‘liberation of Libya’ were hundreds of thousands of black Libyan citizens and sub-Saharan African workers did little to detract from his public persona as the first ‘African American’ world hero. The capsized boatloads of fleeing black Libyans and the bloated bodies washing ashore on the beaches of Spain and Italy were never linked to the criminal policies of our Nobel Prize recipient! He even urged Europe to accept the miserable refugees fleeing his war – in a gesture of supreme PMSP. He could do no wrong. This serial political killer had an unquenchable thirst for sympathy and admiration – and a wholly corrupt propaganda machine to polish his halo.

Obama’s PMSP and Chelsea Manning

In his last few days in power, Obama turned his ‘heroic and humanitarian’ attention to individual American victims of grotesque injustice in our bloated and racist prison system – just to prove that the great man could ‘set up’ and then save individuals as well as nations.

The cold, calculus of the Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy President finally focused on the fragile form of the imprisoned and tortured Chelsea Manning – hero to millions and condemned traitor to the empire’s ruling elite. For eight years, Barack Obama pursued the arrest, torture, kangaroo court-martial, virtual life sentencing and prison mistreatment of the US soldier who had dared to expose large-scale war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and release thousands of damning documents of systematic political war crime hidden from her compatriots. She released videos of US pilots playing ‘execution games’ against a crowd of defenseless Iraqi civilians, including children, as well as equally egregious war crimes elsewhere.

Obama and his fellow war criminals were furious at Manning’s revelations – and approved of her sentence of 35 years, some of which had been served before her conviction in solitary confinement, often stripped naked – in a condition described by the United Nations as torture and inhumane treatment. After her conviction, she was harassed and driven to multiple attempts to take her life.

After seven years of brutal and degrading treatment, spanning almost the entire Obama Administration, the condition of the frail transgender soldier-hero, almost a martyr to truth and justice, her supporters and the world community were desperate with concern for her safety, survival and sanity. At this point, and in the last three days of her administration on January 17, 2017, Obama ‘commuted Manning’s sentence’ but left it to the incoming Trump Administration to free her five months later in May.

Instead of celebrating the liberation and vindication of the hero Chelsea Manning in May, the media drowned out the plight of the frail tortured whistleblower with its loud tributes to the mercy and heroism of the serial abuser – Barack Obama.


In his last days, Obama played the ‘Merciful Pasha’ commuting Manning’s virtual life sentence – which he still justified. Obama did so in a way that literally begged the incoming rabidly reactionary regime of Donald Trump to rescind the commutation or at least impose such levels of torture and pressure on Manning that her very survival and sanity in prison up to her scheduled release in May will be in grave jeopardy.


The most virulent militarists in the US Congress, including the war criminal John McCain, are howling for Manning’s head. While they will torture Manning during the next 5 months behind thick prison walls, the press will compare the vindictive Trump with the benevolent Obama. This is a cynical ‘set-up’ for our hero, Chelsea Manning to be driven to suicide by Trump while her ultimate persecutor, the ‘saintly’ Barack Obama will ‘shine’ for having issue the belated commutation. Obama could easily have released Manning earlier and spared her this mortal danger – but he chose to tie the poor prisoner to a stake – under the blood-lusting noses of our most sadistic militarists – and invite their public display of savagery.

In one very self-glorifying pronouncement, three days before leaving office, Obama has sanctified himself at Manning’s expense and insured Chelsea’s destruction. This is virtuosic Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy by a true master!

(从重新发布 James Petras网站 经作者或代表的许可)
• 类别: 对外政策 •标签: 美国军事, 美国总统奥巴马 
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  1. Another possible explanation would be that a typical US president is a mere figurehead who has no real power, especially in the imperial, geopolitical affairs. And during their last days in the office they are allowed to perform some minor benevolent acts (a-la pardoning Manning), to demonstrate their human side.

  2. Even the commutation, leaving the victim as a permanent convict, was driven by politically correct gesturing. Manning’s still a he, after all, only ever a pretend she, even with mutilation, which the military no longer will be paying for. But in Obama’s final year, Transgender Bathroomism became his signature policy, that progressive value that washes away the sins of perpetual warmaking and elite looting. And it does nothing for the plight of the many normal whistleblowers still persecuted by an administration that invoked the archaic Espionage Act of 1917 to silence dissent, more than all others combined in U.S. history.

  3. I hope that Manning will be released. He/She is a patriot and Obama is a traitor.

    • 不同意: iffen
  4. Another good column. I agree with Working Class on Manning, who is a hero. Trump should have brought up the Obama sponsored mass murder of sub-Saharan Africans in Libya which was spearheaded by the Harpy. It was totally ignored by the lamestream media and its complete exposure, which could not be denied even though I’m sure the power structure would have denied it as a “conspiracy theory” might have eliminated the Black vote firewall which almost enabled the Harpy’s victory.

  5. Anon • 免责声明 说:

    As a member of the north american lgbt “community” myself, the utter contempt I feel towards our political leaders is infinite. That contempt extends to those mainstream leaders of the aforementioned “community”, who slavishly supported the candidacy of Secretary Clinton – a latecomer to the equality struggle. Lateness is forgivable, but being a supporter, enabler, and leading strategist of an imperial foreign policy that has caused an actual genocide of gay men and m2f transgender people in Iraq, Libya and Syria is not forgivable.

    This was not a “mistake” with unforseen disastrous consequences, as apologists for the Bush invasion of 2003 – including Hillary – would have it. Rather, it was the logical continuation of a strategy of undermining Arab governments and movements with progressive/secular tendencies pursued by the CIA and its global andregional allies for decades, at the cost of millions of lives and untold social disruption. Those who consider themselves progressive or of the Left need to learn that you can’t support politicians who are progressive at home but reactionary abroad. The Lindsey Graham-Barney Frank fforeign policy marriage is not a good match for the rest of us.

    Private Manning happened to be working for the US occupation forces in Iraq at the very time when the sectarian cleansing by Shi-i death squads of Baghdad, Basra and most of southern and central Iraq – the “Salvador option” under the supervision of John Negroponte and Michael Steele – was at its worst. One aspect of this religious campaign was the genocide of those perceived as gay, a campaign blessed by the office of the saintly Iraqi-resident Iranian Grand Ayatollah Sistani. Although I have not read of her exact motivation for doing whatever she could to expose the atrocities and deceptions of the occupation, I suspect that the gay genocide was a big factor. Brava ragazza!

  6. Kyle a 说:

    Did Manning compromise positions of personal that led to death? If so, he’s hardly a hero.

  7. alexander 说:

    Dear Mr, Petras,

    Thanks for the amusing and apt “political diagnosis” .

    Our governments addiction to unrelenting belligerent war making is the greatest tragedy of our time.

    In a more “sane” world, the video footage, released through Chelsea Manning’s leak, of our helicopter gunship mowing down in cold blood (and in broad daylight) seven civilian reporters,would have led to prosecutions and life sentences for the perpetrators, not a 35 year conviction for the person who pointed it out.

    I recall how deeply the video footage affected me when it first came out. Surely this grotesque behavior, by members of our own military, would be meet with the firmest hand of justice in our military courts. After all, we were there to save these people from a brutal dictator who was gunning them down in cold blood, not gun them down in cold blood, ourselves.

    Weren’t we ?

    As this narrative unfolded, and our government sought swift prosecution for the leaking, Not the murderous acts themselves, it became clear , perhaps for the first time, that the motives and actions of our war state were not synonymous with American values.

    But something else. Something strange. Something evil.

    If Chelsea Manning committed a crime, it was in pulling back the curtain on this “something evil” by showing Americans the truth of what we were doing to the Iraqi people we were supposed to be saving.

    The “Establishments ” response to this leak, by not condemning in the strongest of terms, the behavior it exposed, showed all Americans something was painfully rotten in Denmark.

    As I pondered this, it began to underscore the creeping realization of the criminality of the entirety of the Iraq war enterprise. That nothing about it , from its inception, was intended for a greater good.

    It has proven, with time, to have been one of the most fraudulent, malevolent,and costly, criminal acts our nation has ever undertaken.

  8. A clear-cut condemnation of the Obama legacy, from his latest report on ICH by John Pilger [1]:

    The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.


    Barry Soetoro (Obama), the great deceiver of himself, for a few dollars more…

    Also James Corbett made a nice compilation of Obama fails: a legacy of ashes:



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