Is Obama making the same mistakes in war as Bush?
It only took 11 months. Back in January, everyone experienced a sense of national unity as Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. We all felt it in our hearts, it seemed like the land itself was whispering with excitement: Change, real change, change for the better. It was the same sense of optimism that marks 1950s nostalgia, a belief that faith and hard work will see us through anything. Prosperity, the new president’s advisors, was only a few pieces of legislation away.
Now it is the afternoon of the first of December and once more there is a certain spirit in the air. If it had a form it would be a sneering face, mouth contorted in superior laughter. It is the spirit of mockery, for just a few hours ago the truth was revealed: Nothing important has changed, only the illusion of change has come. Not only that, but far from being a decisive and visionary president, Obama has shown his true colors. He is not the servant of the people, defending the Constitution against the encroachment of tyranny. Instead, Obama, like every other recent president, has shown himself to be the rag-doll of the war lords at the Pentagon and the gang of thieves on Wall Street.
For on Dec. 1, Barack H. Obama, president of the United States and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, announced he was escalating the war in Afghanistan.
How he must be laughing. How many Americans voted for him because they thought he would end the wars? How many people around the world supported him because he was going to be a force for peace and international cooperation? So much for our hope of a Messiah. Does it give him pleasure to order people to their deaths? To kill other people? No honest person could think that increasing the numbers of an occupying force would make the occupied love them. After all, Americans are in Afghanistan to kill every Afghani who refuses to surrender their freedom to Washington’s puppet government. The Taliban is bad, but that does not give Washington the right to determine what form of the government – if any – there is to be in Afghanistan, much less Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Moldova, the Ukraine and North Korea.
Supporters of the public option for health care like to say that current practices put profits ahead of people. So does war. War is nothing but the systematic maiming of hundreds of thousands of people. Think of the American wounded and dead and then remember that the other side, the terrorists, gooks or “collateral damage” have wounded and dead, too. This war has gained absolutely nothing for the United States except casualties. Those men and women signed on to protect this country and instead they’ve been busy dying to occupy a Third World country. But some people have benefitted. The news conglomerates get high ratings from showing missile strikes and pundits debating the war, Republican politicians have benefitted from bamboozling us into believing that the war is as a matter of national defense, Democratic politicians have been able to hoodwink us into believing that they’ll end the war, weapons manufacturers and developers – such as former Vice President Cheney’s company Halliburton and Sen. Feinstein’s husband’s company Perini – have made millions off the bloodshed, to say nothing of their individual and investment bank investors.
Many of the companies making money off the wars contributed millions of dollars to Obama’s presidential campaign and get billions in government contracts and bailouts. The generals, when they retire, become wealthy from lobbying and sitting on the boards of these companies. The American soldiers on the ground have the best weaponry and other technology money can buy. When they are wounded they receive the best medical care possible and while not the best health plan, the Veteran’s Administration is pretty good at caring for them. According to iCasualties.org, there have been 929 American fatalities.
Only the impoverished Afghanis, their fields and roads still mined from the Soviet invasion, their one cash crop – opium poppies – banned in most countries, suffer.
But who cares about them? Bush is out of office and Obama is for “change.” Notice how quiet the Campus Anti-War Network has been? They used to have big rallies and film showings in the Campus Center. Their website was last updated back in October. Apparently war is fine under a Democratic presidency. It makes me glad to know that one anti-war group still table in the campus center every Wednesday and peace activists still assemble on the Amherst town common on Sunday.
In 2008 Vincent Bugliosi, best known as the prosecuting attorney in the trial of Charles Manson, wrote a book entitled “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.” He argued that Bush is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers and Iraqis and should be charged with murder. Well, now Obama has made the war his own. In my view, that makes him an accessory to murder.
But we can all know the truth about Obama and his puppeteers now. The 30,000 more troops are all over the headlines, and soon they’ll be filling up the cemeteries and hospitals.
Stop him, before he kills again.
Matthew M. Robare is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.