by Raymond Lady
Barack Obama ran as the candidate of change in 2008. He promised if elected the eight years of madness that had made up the Bush administration would be ended. The aggression against foreign nations would be halted and turned back. The over-seas prison camps and torturing would come to an end. Our government would no longer be as secretive and would stop the phone tapping, email reading, and spying of innocent civilians that had become typical of the country under the Republican Bush.
But since taking office, President Obama has consistently continued many of the same policies as his predecessor, especially in foreign policy, and in many cases has surpassed even the Bush administration in it’s aggressive pursuance of the ‘War on Terror’. In his first two years in office President Obama ordered more CIA drone strikes in Pakistan than President Bush did in his entire eight years. Roughly a third of those strikes that continue today are civilians. He has dramatically increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, adding 30,000 more soldiers to the fight in 2009. There have been over 1,000 troop deaths in Afghanistan since Obama has been president, compared to 575 under Bush.
Barack Obama while promising to end the Iraq War, has left 10,000 troops in the country indefinitely to defend the new US embassy there. This new embassy will be bigger than Vatican City, making it the largest embassy in the entire world. This building declares to the Iraqi people America’s intend to remain an occupying power for a very long time. The president has even authorized the torture of American soldier Bradley Manning for the so-called ‘crime’ of revealing the government’s criminal behavior in Iraq.
As president, Mister Obama has authorized attacks on Yemen that have resulted in dozens of deaths of women and children. His inauguration of a new war in Libya has contributed to a conflict that has killed thousands of innocents. This new war too does not seem to have an end in sight. And while promising to shut down Guantanamo Bay, he has apparently revoked that promise. Plans to keep the detention camp open have been made through the foreseeable future.
On the home front, the President has supported the extension of the Patriot act claiming it was absolutely necessary to fight terrorism. The President’s Democratic leader of the Senate Harry Reid has questioned the patriotic resolve of Senators who refused to vote for the bill. Obama has given trillions of dollars to Wall Street and in bailouts and near-zero interest loans to corporate America from the Federal Reserve. He protected oil companies like BP from legal liability for the environmental harm they cause, like the Gulf spill and climate change. He mandated that all Americans buy the product of the insurance industry which has sent their stock prices soaring.
Barack Obama will face no primary challenger from the left despite his many broken promises and failure to hold up to basic progressive and humanitarian values. Only one candidate would seem to be better, at least promising to bring about an end to the Bush-Obama foreign policy madness. This candidate has never supported any of these destructive and utterly unnecessary wars. This candidate has always opposed the corporatist crony-capitalism and fought against the Wall Street bailouts from day one.
As strange as it might sound someone with such important progressive views is running in a Republican primary. While Ron Paul, a twelve term congressman from Texas and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Monetary Policy, resembles fellow Republican George Bush much less on nearly every issue than President Obama does, it is doubtful many progressives will support Paul over Obama.
As one commentator put it, the state of affairs on the left is so horrid that most care more about getting their PBS tote bags and liberal-soundbite filled speeches than worrying that our Democratic president daily is ordering the deaths of Pakistani tribesman and Libyan children. Politics is nothing but a game for most, you vote for the fellow with the ‘D’ next to his name and you get to feel good about yourself. Most honestly are as naive to think, “Democrats support old people and the poor, I don’t have to act on my humanitarian values because the government will just do it for me.”
I don’t possibly understand how any self-styled ‘humanitarian’ or ‘progressive’ could ever support such a man as Barack Obama. On the issues that matter- a President Obama is no different than a President Bush, but the childish left does not care. They must have their Democratic Party ‘flag-waving’ because blind partisanship has always been more interesting to them than actually doing something to improve the condition of the world. The left is left without a champion.