Protest now seems to be divided among many issues and hampered by disillusionment with the insufficient capacity of the Obama presidency to produce change that limits the transnational corporate agenda and by a fatalism about whether the cycle of escalating military responses to provocations by Middle East extremists can ever be stopped.
As I try to understand this, the administration response to the unsuccessful suicide bomber is instructive. Extended wars involving military occupations against dissenting groups in their own country are not popular. Each new one needs a media-assisted depiction of a fearsome and demonized enemy. Given that Vietnam and Iraq are still relatively fresh examples of disastrous military actions and the rather low credibility of governments promoting military escalations, symbols of evil terrorists are needed to lull popular opposition, just as high unemployment is needed to recruit soldiers for escalating the war in Afghanistan.