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Obama's Middle East Imperialism

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The velvet gloves are off and the reality of Obama’s Middle East plans are being revealed: a bare-fisted pummeling of Afghanistan and Pakistan — with Iraq’s fate yet to be determined.

The media have been preparing this for months, with incessant talk about the alleged “troop drawdown” in Iraq, the “surge” in Afghanistan and the “immediate threat” that supposedly is represented by Pakistan.

It’s now crystal clear that zero “change” will be forthcoming when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, minus a strategic shifting of troops.  This fact was highlighted recently when Obama asked for an additional $83.4 billion in “emergency spending” to fight the Iraq/Afghan/Pakistan wars. It must be noted that so-called “emergency funds” were precisely the avenue Bush chose to fight his wars, enabling him to skirt the already-gigantic military budget.

The 2010 military budget is now set at $534 billion (!), not counting emergency spending; a 4 percent increase from the previous year.  At a time when jobs, education, health, and public services are being slashed all over the country, calling such a budget “highly immoral” would be an understatement.

Also morally questionable is the extension of the Afghanistan war into Pakistan, a bitter pill to swallow for those who once sincerely believed in Obama’s antiwar rhetoric.  The house appropriations committee recently approved $2.3 billion in “emergency spending” for “assistance” to Pakistan, most of it for the purpose of making war: training Pakistani “counterinsurgency” forces and police and building a fortified U.S. super embassy.

In an attempt to fool the American public about Pakistan, Obama has substituted the always-unpopular ground troops with unmanned drones, stepping up the use of this highly inaccurate form of combat since becoming President and consequently killing hundreds of civilians.  Obama has also laid down the law for his puppet presidents in Afghanistan and Pakistan: they will fight his war to the end or be replaced.  The recent scene in Washington of these two Presidents declaring “unity and cooperation” with Obama’s war plans was perhaps the most farcical imperialist media show in recent history.



The “historic” meeting took place after weeks of U.S. government and military officials denouncing the two Presidents, along with open suggestions that a “better” leader should lead either country, i.e., wage Obama’s wars.  In the Washington Post we read:

"On all fronts," said a senior U.S. official, "Hamid Karzai has plateaued as a leader."

And:

“Obama intends to maintain an arm's-length relationship with Karzai in the hope that it will lead him to address issues of concern to the United States, according to senior U.S. government officials.”  (May 5, 2009)

What are these “issues of concern”? The Post explains:

“Obama wanted a renewed commitment by Karzai to better coordinate operations with Pakistan and the U.S., which will expand its military presence in Afghanistan under the president's revised war strategy against the Taliban.”

Karzai got the message, and so did Zardari in Pakistan, who received similar messages from both the media and politicians (the Post article states that Obama has only spoken to Karzai twice since becoming President!).  Above all, Obama wanted completely pliable puppets, as opposed to the anti-American rhetoric both Presidents had used on multiple occasions so as not to appear complicit in having their own people massacred. 

The meeting of the Presidents quelled this.  Both Presidents sounded as if they were reading scripts as they talked about their “unwavering” fight against the Taliban.  Ironically, a convenient test of loyalty occurred during the summit: it was discovered that American fighter jets had massacred at least 147 people in Afghanistan.  Both Obama and the Afghani President were utterly stoic about the news. Instead of addressing the immense human suffering of the slaughter, they renewed their commitment to the war, while blandly adding: “Every effort is made to reduce civilian casualties.”

Although the latest bombing resembles in every way the horrors depicted in Picasso’s painting Guernica, it is not especially unique.  Using fighter jets against the Afghani people has now become common place, with the number of bombing raids increasing month to month.  The Washington Post article explains:

“As Taliban activity has increased in recent years, overwhelmed soldiers have increasingly resorted to calling in air strikes, resulting in numerous civilian casualties.”

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Shamus Cooke is a social service worker and activist living in Portland Oregon.

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 Entirely predictable behaior by Obama. ... by B York on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 1:27:54 PM
This is exactly what I (and a few others) have tri... by comncents on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 4:15:33 PM
Obama...it is , and has been clear to many of us, ... by William Whitten on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 5:40:35 PM
    Meanwhile they are leaving alot... by mary sunshine on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9:10:42 PM
Obama has fooled most of the Middle-Left for far t... by Papawhale on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 5:50:13 AM

 

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