President Obama sent for the president of Italy last week. Dressed up as a farewell visit at the end of Napolitano's remit and an expression of esteem, the discussions will have been centred on two obvious matters: the conviction and condemnation to prison terms of 27 Americans who, as members of the CIA arranged and carried out the rendition of a man from the streets of Milan for torture, who are now subject to immediate arrest and imprisonment if they set foot anywhere in Europe; and the status of the Italian peninsula as one of the most important US bases in the world outside of the United States itself.
know President Obama asked President Napolitano to pardon the CIA men
and women. This was a particularly disgusting group of CIA operatives
because they treated the entire 'operation' as an opportunity for taking
their various squeezes at public expense on a holiday to Italy with
delivering-up their victim to torture as a convenient justification for
their free frolics. To our shame Napolitano said he had to think about
it. What does he need to think about? "No." is the only clean reply.
the second subject of discussion a more vivid demonstration of the
centrality of the Italian Peninsula for war in the Middle East, Asia and
North Africa could not be imagined than the ousting of Gadaffi. The
RAF was flying (some of the time) from England and the French flew some
sorties direct, but almost everything was really based in Italy at the
strategic US bases here.
President Obama would be
derelict in his duties if he wasn't putting in place arrangements,
indeed confirming arrangements already in place and prioritising them,
for any electoral outcome. But Obama's duty is not necessarily our
interest. It can be made our interest, of course. Italy has a fine
tourist industry that can accommodate even the armed forces of the
United States. We expect to be paid. And not in the devalued, over
printed dollars of the Obama presidency. The problem is that what
President Napolitano wants and what the people of Italy want are no
longer the same thing.