Stem Cell Research

Fulfilling another campaign promise, Obama signed another executive order to reverse former president George W. Bush’s policy on stem cell research. The former Republican president signed a directive in 2001 that banned federal funding for research into stem lines created after that date.

“Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident,” Obama said soon after signing the bill adding that rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. “In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly,” he said while speaking to reporters after signing the historic document.

+  Scientists, researchers, and academics welcomed the decision along side a majority of Americans  who support medical research using embryonic stem cells. “We’ve got eight years of science to make up for,” said Dr. Curt Civin, whose research allowed scientists to isolate stem cells and who now serves as the founding director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “Now the silly restrictions are lifted.”

– Meanwhile, conservative Republicans, including supporters of Bush expressed their dismay while insisting that they were defending human life. Family Research Council, which advocates for a “Judeo-Christian worldview” and warns against the reproductive cloning of a human being, opposes the use of embryonic stem cells, instead promoting adult stem cells as being superior.

Score: 8.5/10


President Obama has never kept his contempt for the war in Iraq secret. During his election campaign, the 47-year-old Democrat leader promised to bring back his forces from Iraq as soon as possible. “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end,” Obama declared while he was visiting the troops in Iraq earlier this month.

His stance towards Afghanistan – dubbed the “graveyard of empires” by historians and military analysts – is somewhat stern and aggressive. He pledged to dispatch around 30,000 more troops to the central Asian republic in addition to the already 35,000 troops deployed. Seeking an additional $83.4 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, military analysts assess that both wars have cost the taxpayer nearly $1 trillion since September 2001. Other proposals include an additional $3.6 billion for Afghanistan’s forces and $400 million to help fund counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan.

US President Barack Obama has continued Bush’s controversial cross border raids policy that has seen the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians in the tribal regions of Pakistan that border Afghanistan. Reluctant to acknowledge the fact that such attacks arouse hatred towards the American forces and are detrimental to winning the hearts and minds of the people, Obama has authorized further raids and hot pursuits into Pakistan, which is otherwise an ally in the US coalition on terror.

+  The bulk of the support comes from the military generals, NATO allies, including the UK, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who accuses Pakistan of being complacent with the Taliban. “In Afghanistan, the number of troops, if you combine NATO, American and Afghan troops, is 200,000 forces versus 600,000 in Iraq,” Karin von Hippel, an expert on Afghan affairs said. “Those numbers are so low that an extra 30,000 isn’t going to get you to where you need to be. It’s more of a stop-gap measure.” However, she is of the opinion that “something is better than nothing.”

–   Anti-war activists, economists, and the majority of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are against the deployment of further troops in the region, let alone the whole military invasion and occupation. “There’s clearly a consensus that things are heading in the wrong direction,” Mr. Bacevich, an international relations professor at Boston University exclaimed. According to the American academic, beefing up the troop presence alone cannot change the ground situation in Afghanistan and in the tribal regions of Pakistan. “My understanding of the larger objective of the allied enterprise in Afghanistan is to bring into existence something that looks like a modern cohesive Afghan state. Well, it could be that that’s an unrealistic objective. It could be that sending 30,000 more troops is throwing money and lives down a rat hole,” he wrote in his book titled “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.”

Bottom Line

While some people remain skeptical about the new American president the same way they were before his election, many people solidly rally behind Obama and have their hopes for a change attached with him.

For John Lumea, the New York based journalist, Obama’s mantra of change has just started and won’t stop until he finishes his job. “I’ve been following Obama extremely closely for more than two years — and every single time that everyone, including his own fiercest supporters, has said “no, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong, you can’t do it THAT way” — he has proven them wrong — every time,” the Huffington Post writer explained. He added: “That doesn’t mean one should be Pollyannaish about him. I do think that, based on his record, one underestimates this president at their peril.”

Regardless of the rhetoric, every single person would agree that US President Barack Obama has got the charisma and drive to deliver his promises and time to tackle the challenges facing the most powerful nation on earth. What remains to be seen is the way he carries out his moves and the results they will yield. Few will argue that the US is facing a do or die situation and every step taken by the man in the White House will have far reaching implications on the lives of millions nationwide plus the future of generations to come.