Eamonn McCann - The crassness of Barack Obama

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If there’s a prize for most crass political statement for the year, Barack Obama’s pronouncement on Gaza during his visit to Thailand the week before last would be a shoo-in.

“Israel has a right to defend itself…No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens,” he declared

No mention at all of the missiles, bombs and artillery shells falling in a downpour on the people of Gaza.

Obama went on to explain why he wouldn’t approve of an Israeli ground invasion: “If Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”

You need to ponder that statement for a few moments to savour its cynicism. If George Bush had said the likes, he’d have been hit by a hurricane of protest.

But Obama is lithe, cool, handsome, eloquent and black.