Obama in fact escalated this policy of military detentions by expanding it to apply to American citizens, who may now be kidnapped on U.S. soil and held in indefinite military detention.
While those on the “left” are fond of claiming that Obama “ended the war in Iraq”, the fact of the matter is that all he did was continue the existing policy, with the status of forces agreement under which all “combat” troops would be withdrawn having been signed by Bush.
Despite somehow managing to be perceived as the “anti-war” candidate, Obama proceeded to escalate the war in Afghanistan.
He also escalated the Bush administration’s policy of using drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, which illegal attacks are responsible for the murder of innocent civilians, which only serves to escalate the threat of terrorism and harm U.S. national security.
Obama in fact escalated the Bush administration’s policy of targeted killings even further by expanding it to apply to U.S. citizens, claiming for the Executive authority to act as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to assassinate even Americans.
He continued Bush’s policy towards Iran of rejecting its “inalienable” right under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to enrich uranium for civilian applications, continued the policy of deceiving Americans into believing that Iran has a nuclear weapons program even though the U.S.’s own intelligence community has continued to assess that it does not. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) actively monitoring and supervising Iran’s program has continued to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material to any military aspect of its program, and there is no credible evidence that any such aspect of its program exists. The administration knows this, but continues to deceive the public about it, anyways, in perfect continuity with the Bush administration’s use of this issue as a pretext to further the government’s ultimate goal of accomplishing regime change—the same way regime change in Iraq was accomplished under a pretext of lies. In fact, Obama not only continued Bush’s policy, but escalated it by increasing the sanctions aimed at collectively punishing the civilian population for their sin of living under a regime that refuses to take its marching orders from Washington.
Although when he was a Senator, Obama correctly observed that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation”, he nevertheless as president launched a war of aggression against Libya in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law (exceeding the U.N. mandate to protect civilians in order to overthrow the Gaddafi regime in violation of the U.N. Charter).
Similarly, Obama escalated U.S. support for Israel’s violations of international law and crimes against the Palestinian people. Despite a delusional perception that he has been “tough” on Israel, in fact, Bush had at least gone through the motions of opposing Israel’s policy of constructing illegal settlements and annexation wall in the occupied West Bank by withholding about $1 billion in loan guarantees from an allocated amount of $9 billion, when Israel had only requested $8 billion in the first place. As meaningless as this gesture was, it was far more than Obama has ever done. During his first campaign, Obama visited Israel, where he told his audience that he would support Israel’s illegal annexation of east Jerusalem. While Israel was raining down death and destruction on the defenseless civilian population of the Gaza Strip from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, after having violated its ceasefire with Hamas, Obama was silent. He proceeded as president to ensure that any implementation of the recommendations of the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission into the Gaza massacre, which sought to achieve justice for the victims, was blocked. He refused to call on Israel to end its siege of Gaza, an illegal policy of collectively punishing the civilian population, and similarly defended Israel against censure and accountability for its murderous attack on the civilian flotilla seeking to break Israel’s blockade in May 2010, in which nine peace activists, including one American, were murdered by Israeli forces. He demanded that the Palestinians return to negotiations with the Netanyahu government in Israel “without preconditions”, meaning without an end to Israel’s illegal settlement activity. Reinforcing this green light for Israeli’s criminal policy, Obama called on Netanyahu to renew a partial and ultimately meaningless “moratorium” on new settlement construction while assuring Israel that there would be no consequences if the request was ignored, that the upwards of $3 billion in annual military aid to Israel would continue, as well as offering additional rewards such as an agreement on the sale of 20 F-35 jets, for Israel to persist in its criminal policies. While Bush had written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressing U.S. support for Israeli annexation of illegally built settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, the Obama administration went much further and vetoed an uncontroversial U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for continuing its illegal colonization.
And thus we now have a situation in which many Americans seek to reelect Obama for another term because he is the “lesser of two evils”. There is a remarkable phenomenon that occurs when one confronts Obama supporters with the fact that he has repeatedly violated his oath of office by violating the U.S. Constitution and international law. What is remarkable is that they typically do not even bother to deny that he has done so. That he has is rather uncontroversial. And yet they say they will vote to reelect him anyway simply because they believe if Romney was president, he would be even more supportive of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, even more aggressive towards Iran, etc.
Thus it is that people on the “left” have come to the point where they are ready to vote in favor of Bush administration policies that have not merely been continued, but escalated and expanded upon—all in the name of stopping the “greater” evil of another Republican president gaining power.
Ponder that for a moment.
The Devil must be grinning ear to ear.
Albert Einstein famously defined “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” The “lesser of evils” argument certainly qualifies. This insanity sometimes manifests itself in an intriguing way; you will sometimes hear people on the “left” telling others that they should vote third-party if they live in a “blue” state, but that if they live in a “swing” state, they should vote for Obama. In other words, the argument is that Obama is a candidate who is at best not worthy of receiving your vote, who is unworthy of the office of the presidency on his own merits, but who is just considered less unworthy than the other guy.
We may agree with liberals that stopping Romney from becoming the president is a worthy cause, and with conservatives about stopping Obama from gaining a second term—but at what cost should this goal be achieved? At the cost of sending the message to Washington that the president is above the law, that he will not be held accountable for violating his oath of office, no matter how abhorrent his violation of the Constitution or international law? The ends do not justify the means. Preventing Romney from becoming president does not justify voting for Obama, and vice versa.
The observation that U.S. foreign policy remains consistent over time regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat is president is relatively uncontroversial. So it is natural for adherents of one or the other party to just completely ignore the government’s consistent criminal foreign policy across administrations and focus on some domestic issue. The two parties are not the same, they insist. There are meaningful differences between them, we are told. But how true is that, even on domestic matters? Sure, there are differences, but just how meaningful are they? How significant are they, really, if we look at them in their larger context?
Let’s take an issue that is sure to be at the top of most Americans’ list in terms of importance: the economy. While there are certainly attempts to make this out to be a partisan issue, with both parties blaming each other for the problems that exist, this is a completely manufactured controversy. The truth is that the causes of the U.S.’s economic woes have nothing whatsoever to do with party politics. The Federal Reserve, through its inflationary policy of artificially low interest rates, along with the bipartisan government policy of encouraging homeownership, created a housing bubble. The illusion of economic growth came to an end when the bubble burst, precipitating the financial crisis and ushering in the “Great Recession”. While liberals and even many conservatives try to blame the crisis on the free market, the fact is that it was caused by government intervention in the market. And this intervention is of a completely bipartisan nature.
Both parties advocated a government policy of encouraging homeownership. Both advocate the Keynesian economic policies that caused the crisis. Bush appointed Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. And while Bernanke couldn’t see the crisis coming—despite the fact that it was predictable and predicted years prior by many, and disproportionately by Austrian economists—Bernanke declared to the world that he knew what was best and how to fix it—by zeroing interest rates and keeping them there for as long as it would take. And what did Obama do when he came into office? He kept Bernanke on at the Fed to keep doing more of the same that caused the trouble in the first place, as though wealth could be created from a printing press. In their first presidential debate, which focused largely on the economy, the role of the Federal Reserve was not once mentioned by either Obama or Romney. That pretty much sums up the situation and how meaningless their supposed “differences” are on the topic of the economy.
Aside from the Fed’s monetary policy, what was the Bush administration’s response to the crisis? To bail out the banks at taxpayer expense, thus preventing the liquidation of malinvestment and further entrenching the already existing implicit promise to major financial institutions that if they engage in excessive risk in pursuit of profit and so get into trouble, then the government will confiscate wealth from the taxpayers to bail them out. Once again, we see the government responded by continuing to do more of the same that caused the crisis in the first place, only on an even greater scale, and once again, we see this is a completely non-partisan issue, with the Obama administration having continued the Bush policy of welfare for the rich, a policy Romney also supported.