President Obama has the audacity to start another war while offering the same hopelessness as his predecessor G.W. Bush.
Bush was a crass frat boy from Texas. Obama is an intelligent, sophisticated constitutional lawyer from Illinois. But their policy difference is almost nil.
It must be the air in the White House. Obama’s warmongering is couched in less bellicose terms than Bush used but it is still warmongering: “the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Now America is raining bombs and missiles on Libya. Tomorrow Syria? It too has a tyrant denying the democratic fervor of the Arab uprisings. Yemen next?
Or how about the Ivory Coast? Things are so bad there under its tyrant that 700,000 people have fled their homes. Then there is the monster Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Obama’s humane America ought to consider an invasion to oust him.
Budget deficit? What deficit? Just two weeks of war in Libya has cost $400 million.
And how about the consummate cynicism of attacking Libya. Earlier this year the Obama administration was working on a $77 million arms deal with Qaddafi.
The war against Libya was launched without discussion by Congress let alone a declaration of war as required by the Constitution. But that is an old-fashioned notion. Congress no longer declares war. Presidents do.
Obama says the war in Libya is in the national interest. What national interest? Libya did not attack America. Is the war in Iraq in the national interest? The war in Afghanistan? The clandestine drone war in Pakistan? The questions answer themselves.
The president insists the war in Libya will be short. Sure. But there is always “mission creep.” Three days after Obama addressed the nation about Libya the New York Times revealed that the CIA already has clandestine operatives in Libya.
This is hardly a brief for Qaddafi. But it is absurd for the United States to try to eradicate all the evils in the world.
And, oh, the Obama boilerplate on Libya: He declares: “Thanks to our brave men and women in uniform we’ve made important success in our mission.”
Is it brave to shoot fish in a barrel from the air without the opposition of fighter planes and anti-aircraft? And what mission? To interrupt the “Arab spring” that toppled dictators?
The new war is just one of Obama’s terrible disappointments.
Where is his denunciation of the anti-unionism gripping the land? Where is his excoriation of the destruction of collective bargaining?
Where is his outrage that GE paid no taxes on $5.1 billion profits in 2010?
Instead, Obama cozies up to the Chamber of Commerce. As Robert Reich points out: “The chamber has an abiding belief in cutting taxes on the wealthy, eroding regulations that constrain Wall Street, cutting back on rules that promote worker health and safety, getting rid of the minimum wage, repealing the new health care law, fighting unions, cutting back Medicare and Social Security and reducing or eliminating corporate taxes.”
Just as Obama never learns the folly of endless wars, he never learns the folly of making-nice with the C of C and their ilk in the Republican Party.
Where is his outrage over a pitiful minimum wage of $7.50 which inflation makes worth less than it was 30 years ago?
Instead of closing Guantánamo as he promised, Obama resumes military trials at Gitmo and retains the indefinite retention that Bush did.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, facing court-martial for giving diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico under degrading nudity.
Obama’s response? “I actually asked the Pentagon whether the procedures are appropriate,” he said. “It assured me they are.” His answer is the equivalent of asking the Pentagon to investigate itself.
Obama has abandoned the government’s longtime effort to help Americans achieve the goal of home ownership. Columnist Robert Scheer’s angry reaction: “Instead of punishing the banks that sabotaged the American ideal of a nation of stakeholders …Obama proposes to turn over the mortgage industry to those same banks.”
Obama’s cure for rampant ownership of automatic guns? Fixing laxity in background checks. Continued Israeli building of illegal settlements on Palestinian land? Obama admonishes but never punishes. Widespread rape in the military? Vast silence from Obama.
Oh, for a fighting champion like FDR rather than the feckless and reckless Obama. FDR! The FDR who gave the nation Social Security, unemployment insurance, the right of workers to unionize, the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.