Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009
Letting go of an ideal and a sense of hopefulness came sooner than expected. Resignation set in faster than had been anticipated, leaving no illusions about the nature of the Obama administration’s plans for foreign policy.
Barack Obama promised to escalate both the war in Afghanistan and incursions into Pakistan during the presidential campaign. He appointed advisers who would continue Bush’s foreign policy and bluster in matters of war. Those who thought differently in regard to the violation of international law in Pakistan, and the idea that it is unequivocally and legally wrong to kill civilians indiscriminately didn’t even get the space of one hundred hours to have their hopes dashed. It would have been a break with contemporary U.S. foreign policy to have had at least one hundred days to consider the wrongheadedness of the projection of U.S. power in the Middle East and South Asia.
According to the Guardian (“President orders air strikes on villages in tribal area,” January 24), “Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for his first military action yesterday, missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan which killed at least 18 people.
“Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks. Although Obama has abandoned many of the ‘war on terror’ policies of George Bush while he was president, he is not retreating from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.
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“The US believes they are hiding in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, and made 30 strikes last year in which more than 200 people were killed. In the election, Obama hinted at increased operations in Pakistan, saying he thought Bush had made a mistake in switching to Iraq before completing the job against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The US marine corps commander said yesterday that his 22,000 troops should be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan.”
And, if Obama’s readiness to use force was questioned by anyone in the anti-war movement, the same article in the Guardian guaranteed that this administration will not be of the Bush-Lite variety. “The strikes will help Obama portray himself as a leader who, though ready to shift the balance of American power towards diplomacy, is not afraid of military action.” Also, it appears that Obama will revive efforts to capture the alleged architect of terror, Osama bin Laden, an objective that even the hapless George W. Bush gave up on.
Meanwhile, the people of Afghanistan have taken to the streets. According to Reuters (“Afghans Protest Over Civilian Deaths,” January 25), “Thousands of Afghans protested against President Hamid Karzi and the United States on Sunday over reports of fresh civilian deaths caused by U.S.-led troops during a raid against Taliban militants.
“Nearly 700 civilians were killed in operations by foreign and Afghan forces against the militants until October last year, according to a national human rights body based on a U.N. estimate.”
Vice President Joe Biden reiterated the policy of the new administration saying that “the nation should expect more U.S. military casualties at the Obama administration plans to send additional troops to Afghanistan.
“Pentagon officials say they plan to send up to 30,000 additional troops to the Afghan war, where the Taliban is resurgent and violence has been on the rise. The request for more troops from military commanders was endorsed by the Bush administration and has been favored by the Obama government, too.” (“Biden: U.S. deaths to rise in Afghanistan,” The Palm Beach Post, January 26).
So, if any doubts linger as to the mettle of the new administration in Washington, D.C., the doubters can rest assured that the spirit of George W. Bush and his gang of international criminals has not really gone into retirement. They’re just using code words such as change and hope to catch some of those made weary by eight years of madness and unending war off guard. And the campaign call for diplomacy rather than violence? It didn’t even take one hundred hours to prove that we can be fooled again.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 5:04 am