Cornel West: Obama 'Not MLK' for Cozying to Wall Street, Drone 'War Crimes'

Dr. Cornel West argued that President Obama’s use of drone strikes in the Middle East is a war crime.

Honoring late Palestinian activist Edward Said in Washington, West said that Said had to deal with “tremendous antagonism” during his life.

“I said to myself, ‘my God if he can do that, I can try to keep the president accountable,’ be it drones dropping bombs on precious folk in Yemen or Pakistan and Afghanistan -- what is it, 231 children killed by bombs dropped by U.S. drones? Where’s the voices? That’s a war crime to me. Those are war crimes. I don’t care what color that leader is, that’s a war crime across the board,” West said at the Palestine Center event. “Let’s just tell it the way it is, you know what I mean?”

West lamented Obama’s “friendly relations” with Wall Street as the opposite of what Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders advocated. He referenced the president’s meeting with the heads of the largest financial institutions at the White House in 2009.

“What does it mean to go into a meeting in March of 2009 and tell the top 13 CEOs, you bring a cake and say, ‘I stand between you and the pitchfork and the masses but I am on your side, I will protect you.’ No, that’s not Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, you go to the poor children and the working people and say, ‘I will protect you. I will serve you.’ You don’t go to Wall Street and tell them that,” he said.

West also criticized the electoral process in America and endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“Let’s just be honest. The electoral arena for the most part is a site of legalized bribery and normalized corruption, that’s really what it is,” he said. “You’re so tied to big money. You’re so tied to fundraising. You’re so tied to resources that allow you to reproduce yourself, to find some splice of integrity like Bernie Sanders, you know, it makes you want to breakdance.”

West said Sanders’ supporters should put “strong pressure” on him.