Barack Obama is a war criminal. This is true for essentially the same reasons as George W. Bush is one. In fact, a number of intelligent commentators such as Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky have pointed out that the two administration’s foreign policy differ in only one significant way. The Bush administration would capture people and torture them in an unapologetic and highly publicized fashion. The more PR savvy Obama administration has cleverly avoided the whole torture issue by declining to capture people at all and simply murder them from the sky with sophisticated armed flying robots. This is not to say that the Obama administration does not torture but the job itself has been sub-contracted out to various CIA surrogates. Jeremy Scahill has reported on this phenomenon better than anyone else, interviewing survivors while exposing secret torture chambers in Somalia. He says in a number of different North African and Middle Eastern countries there is a building somewhere which the secret police take people to that the locals call “Guantanamo”. This should give everyone a clear picture of how the United States is viewed throughout the rest of the world.
Obama has nearly tripled the amount of Drone attacks conducted by the United States, expanding their scope and frequency. Drones are now obliterating villages in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is estimated that as much as half the people killed are civilians. NATO forces leaves 30,000 corpses littered across Libya while Hilary Clinton makes crude jokes about Kaddafi.
“We came, we saw, he died!”
The current US president has legitimized the practice of targeted assassinations, going as far as to murder an American citizen abroad for what amounts to speech crime. (Anwar al Alaki) He also signed the National Defense Reauthorization Act into law. A bill which declares that “the entire world is a battlefield” and eviscerates whatever remnants of constitutional protections and rights were left unscathed by Bush’s Patriot Act. He has prosecuted more whistle blowers than any other President in American History.
Obama has continued to provide unconditional military and diplomatic support for Israeli aggression in the West Bank and Gaza, and stands idly by while his press secretary makes ridiculous denials about all those Iranian scientists who are mysteriously being murdered. He fence sat during the Arab Spring and nervously watched while all of his favourite puppet Dictators were toppled by popular revolutions.
It was bad enough watching the President’s “base” (Michael Moore, Moveon.org) act all shocked and miffed when one of his first acts as President was to increase the amount of troops in Afghanistan. It is absolutely nauseating to hear him launch his re-elect on the “buffet tax” while he channels Teddy Roosevelt in his sad little speeches about fairness and everybody paying their fair share. The Democrats and Republicans are increasingly polarized yet the Washington Consensus has never been more unilaterally accepted. The two agree on all the central issues. When it comes to the above, the legal status of wall street, the need to project US power globally, the denial of Palestinian rights, deficit spending being more important than joblessness, the two parties might as well be one. The narrow spectrum of policy differentials is shrinking substantially while the gap between public opinion and public policy grows exponentially.
The Obama Administration is content to sit back while investment bankers and speculators big up the prices of Commodities, literally driving people to starvation in large parts of the Third World. I think Chris Hedges had it right when he described the bankers and hedge funds doing this as “murderers”. Yet Obama will still go on The View and casually talk about how Jamie Dimon is one of the “best bankers we have” the same week that JP Morgan loses 2 Billion dollars in a risky, financial bet that criminologists like Bill Black have said was probably illegal to begin with. Jon Corzine, former CEO of MF Global and key democratic fundraiser, stole 1.2 billion dollars from his client’s segregated accounts but like Jamie Dimon, he will never be prosecuted. Both men are Obama economic advisers.
Democratic party operatives like Van Jones, Moveon.org and a pathetic spin-off group called The 99% Spring made every attempt to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement and turn it into the Obama re-election campaign. When these attempts failed 18 different Occupy encampments were raided by law enforcement in a coordinated federal take down. As this election cycle gears up, people need to remember all of this. Just because Obama is attacked unfairly by racist right-wing news organizations like FOX does not mean he is actually worth defending.
The two-party system of auctioning off elections to the highest bidder is a distraction and should be denounced as such. As the system hurls out of control the only hope for systemic change will come from popular movements like Occupy. Financial deregulation will lead to more crises, the supremacy of corporate interests over environmental regulation may leave the planet uninhabitable within a few generations and the continued existence of weapons large enough to kill everyone make human survival a precarious variable.
Barack Obama is a war criminal, not a reformer. He has done a lot of damage. The fact that some people still like him or feel the need to defend him because they are uncomfortable with attacking the first Black President is a dangerous phenomenon. The facts speak for themselves.