Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Time to Look Past Obama's Words and Face-up to
By By Kevin Zeese
ccun.org, June 9, 2009
U.S. Foreign Policy Continues Rapidly in the Wrong
The Peace Movement Needs to Escalate Anti-War Actions
There is long-time saying about politicians: you cannot trust
their words, but must judge them by their actions.
is very good with words, perhaps the best communicator we have seen in the
White House in a generation. But now he has been in office long
enough that he should be judged on his actions.
The direction of
U.S. foreign policy is moving rapidly in the wrong direction on many
fronts. It is time for the peace movement to step up its activities
throughout the country and demand a change in course.
U.S. passed the
death of a U.S. service member in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This death seemed to be barely noticed by a peace movement that during the
Bush years highlighted every major milestone. This sad body count is
the tip of the iceberg of the dire effects of these wars – mass deaths and
maiming of civilians, millions forced to flee their homes described as
that is beyond biblical.”
Wars are raging. Indeed, the
deadline for U.S. troops to leave Iraqi cities is being met, not by U.S.
troops actually leaving the cities but by Iraq
Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the Pentagon must plan for
extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two wars – up to ten more
years in Iraq. And,
McChrystal testified before the Congress this week that Afghanistan is
likely to cost American taxpayers and NATO member nations billions of
dollars for many years.
And, a new report from the Pentagon
indicated that there were now
private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is fair to call
these people mercenaries since they do the jobs that service members did
in Vietnam and other wars. Some of these contractors carry weapons
others provide support for combat troops; some are American, some are not.
When the mercenaries are added to the active duty troops it totals nearly
450,000 military personnel in the Iraq and Af/Pak wars at a cost of $12
billion per month.
On June 1, President Obama appointed
McHugh, who has been in Congress since 1993, is the senior Republican
on the House Armed Services Committee where he served for 14 years. McHugh
is an advocate for more military spending and a supporter of both wars.
His appointment comes on top of the appointment of
McChrystal to head the
expanding Afghanistan-Pakistan War – a general whose commands have
to torture and abuse of prisoners as well as the cover-up of
Tillman’s death and even
assassination squads. In Afghanistan Obama has put forward
strategy, in fact the U.S. seems to be putting down
Petraeus, in a stunning admission, acknowledged that the U.S. has
violated the Geneva Conventions and international law.
Sanchez, the former top coalition commander in Iraq, has called for a
truth commission to investigate abusive interrogation practices.
Carter disagreed with Obama’s decision not to release the photos and
failure to fully investigate torture and abuse to determine whether
prosecution is necessary. Unfortunately, President
doing all he can to block release of the photos, supporting a
bill co-sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham that will
re-write the Freedom of Information Act so prevent release of the torture
and abuse photos.
And, Obama is even going further than Bush when
it comes to the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Not only is he
the military tribunals, which he said he opposed, but perhaps the
worst aspect of his policy is long term imprisonment without trial which
preventive detention. Why is Obama doing this? Because
some prisoners have been abused and tortured and as a result if they are
brought to trial the truth will come out and the evidence not be allowed
in court. So, Obama’s solution – keep those who were tortured
incarcerated without trial.
On Israel, Obama has created a
divide with “our unsinkable battleship in the Middle East” as
Alexander Haig called Israel. He is urging Israel to stop expanding
the settlements, something that is not a breakthrough in new policy.
refusing, as they always have. But, Obama is saying nothing
about the illegal security wall, the ongoing abuse of the people of Gaza,
the continued demolition of homes in the West Bank and
nor is he threatening to do anything if Israel continues on its
land-stealing path. Indeed, he promises to continue to provide all
the funding Israel has sought as well as provide all the weapons they
need. Thus, Obama’s actions continue to make the U.S. a facilitator
of Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people.
When it comes to the
military budget, the Obama administration is
more funds – not less. And, the budget submitted by the administration
continues the practice of falsity with the
understating military and homeland security costs. He is,
so far, continuing the practice of seeking supplemental funding for wars.
The Congress is about to approve nearly
$100 billion for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama has said nothing about reducing the massive network of nearly 1,000
military bases around the world that are the foundation of U.S.
Is the news bad enough yet?
worst news is the relative silence of the peace movement. Yes,
criticizing, but some are still holding out hope that Obama is
different. Others of us
that buried beneath the peace-friendly rhetoric during the campaign were
promises of escalation. Now, more and more are seeing he meant what
he said when it came to his support for a
hawkish U.S. foreign policy.
Can you imagine the uproar if
President Bush had taken these actions? It is time for the peace
movement to wake up to the reality that President Obama is no ally.
He has a militaristic national security team that Republicans have
praised. His policies in some ways are more militaristic than George
W. Bush’s were. It is time for the peace movement to re-awaken and
challenge Obama on all of these wrongheaded war policies.
peace movement needs to consistently let its representatives know that we
oppose these actions and organize events to push them to end the ongoing
wars and apply the rule of law to torture. It is time for a return
to civil disobedience but now the focus of the peace movement must be
Democrats who control the Presidency, House and Senate and are
If you don’t like the direction the country is going
it will not
change without action by you and others. It is time step up
efforts to end the wars.
Kevin Zeese is Executive Director
of Voters for Peace. You can visit
easily take action through the Internet. In addition, if you are
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