Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Is Obama making the same mistakes in war as Bush?

By Matthew M. Robare

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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, 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 [email protected]


7 Responses to “Is Obama making the same mistakes in war as Bush?”

  1. David Hunt on December 2nd, 2009 2:36 pm

    Let’s lose the war in Afghanistan, by pulling out.

    Every single woman burned by acid, every single woman honor-executed, every woman denied an education, every person beaten or killed because they don’t subscrive to Sharia as the Taliban comes back in means that I get to bitch-slap Mr. Robare for an hour.


  2. Kevin on December 2nd, 2009 4:15 pm

    David, this may come as a surprise to you, but solutions to complex problems (see: the middle east) often go beyond “send in a bunch of guys with guns and bombs”. In fact, that’s pretty much the strategy the taliban went with. I think it’s unreasonable to totally pull out immediately, but I also think it’s unreasonable to condemn Afghanistan as lost to a fanatical movement just because we aren’t shooting at them.

    Neither abandonment nor keeping up the status quo is going to make any progress here.


  3. Spooky Mulder on December 3rd, 2009 10:51 am

    “But you cannot impose democracy by using force. An Afghan has agreed with you today, at gunpoint, that American democracy is the best thing in the world, just as he was once saying that the Soviet system was the best. But as soon as you turn around, he’ll shoot you in the back and immediately forget what he was just saying.” -Former Soviet General Victor Yumakov, commander of Soviet ground forces in Afganistan


  4. Jon on December 3rd, 2009 12:42 pm

    You do realize the brutality of the Soviet operation in Afghanistan made the Nazi occupation of Poland look like wine and cheese hour at the country club.

    Any “You will fail because we did” attempted analogy from them is lamer than FDR’s legs.


  5. Ed on December 4th, 2009 10:30 am

    As to the Soviet occupation of Afganistan, I remember at least one incident where there was a Soviet unit that had been cut off.

    The Soviets sent in a HIND helicopter gunship and machine gunned THEIR OWN TROOPS! That was the level of what the Soviets were doing in Afganistan and to compare it to anything that the US is currently doing is an insult.

    You also neglect to note the differences in why we are there. The Soviets wanted a buffer state around their own Moslem provinces. We want them to stop harboring terrorists. BIG difference….


  6. Valery Publius on December 14th, 2009 7:29 pm

    Dear Editors,

    Matthew Robare says that President Obama has not delivered “hope” or
    “change” in foreign policy, as he promised. Robare is correct: Obama
    has not distinguished himself from Bush on the war.

    Obama repeats Bush’s mistake, not because he is party to some
    imperialist conspiracy, but because he assumes that to stop
    Afghanistan from serving as a staging ground for future terrorist
    attacks, we must build and secure the Afghan nation. He believes that
    to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people, we must offer them
    infrastructure and jobs, security and “democracy.” To achieve this,
    our soldiers must risk their own lives to ensure that Afghan civilians
    are never harmed.

    Obama repeats Bush’s mistake because he assumes that we have an
    obligation to secure prosperity and freedom for Afghans who have never
    sought to earn either for themselves, and that our troops should die
    to deliver this unearned gift.

    The rationalization for this suicidal policy is that by enacting it,
    we maintain our own security. But do we need to build an entire
    distant nation to prevent terrorist attacks that might originate on
    its soil? And since when do we pacify our enemies by paying tribute to them?

    Thomas Jefferson and James Madison knew better. When Barbary Pirates threatened American sailors, Jefferson and Madison were determined not to pay tribute. The alternative was not to perpetually occupy Tripoli and Algiers and “rebuild” their infrastructure. Instead the United States overwhelmingly retaliated against the capitals of the Barbary states, and threatened to do so again if more attacks ever originated from their soil. After 1815, American sailors were safe.

    Both Obama and Bush could learn from the giants who preceded them.


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