Is President Obama trying to copy the failed notions of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, with his policies of “guns and butter,” as he pursued social progress on the domestic front and imperialism abroad (wars on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). By the time President Johnson was driven from office in the presidential primary elections in early 1968, his record and his legacy were left in shambles.
President Obama is showing early signs of this same sort of moral failure abroad with his remote drone murders of Pakistanis (war crimes), his escalation of our illegal, brutal, ongoing seven-year-old military occupation of Afghanistan (war crimes) and his notion of indefinitely keeping some 50,000 American soldiers in Iraq to “protect American interests” (war crimes). Will they just happen to be hanging around Iraqi oil wells? Hmm...
President Obama is also following the Bush gangster regime’s medieval tyrant viewpoint that Afghans being held in the U.S. Air Force Base in Bagram, Afghanistan have absolutely no human rights at all; that they have no rights to protest and appeal their endless indefinite imprisonment without charge to any American court of law. This is turning the human rights clock back some eight hundred years, to before the signing of the Magna Carta, by the English King John in 1215. As a constitutional scholar, President Obama should know that this is a bankrupt and evil policy that has no place in America today, and especially not in his administration with its mantra of “change.”
Does President Obama believe that human rights end at water’s edge? He has made stirring speeches in defense of civil rights and human rights in his campaign to become president. Does he not feel in his heart of hearts that the Afghan people and the Iraqi people have the right to live free of brutal, hostile military foreign occupations? Maybe President Obama should try rereading our Declaration of Independence and thinking about it from the viewpoint of an Afghan or an Iraqi.
On a small bookcase near my desk and computer, I have a tall newspaper clipping with a picture of then presidential candidate Barack Obama walking with several other officials through some ancient ruins in Amman, Jordan last July. It was an inspiring scene, especially so in the widely held public view that as president, Obama would put an end to the arrogant, brutal imperialistic foreign policies of the Bush gangster regime.
In recent days, this newspaper clipping has sagged and then finally folded over on itself. Is this a premonition of a coming failure of President Obama to seek a new humanistic foreign policy, and instead, to fall back on continuing the failed Bush imperial aggression and criminal foreign occupations in the Middle East?
James K. Sayre is an Oakland resident.