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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/13/09

Black Agenda Radio commentary - The Sham Debate Over Obama's Af-Pak War

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"Obama has not altered the Bush war on terror paradigm, he has reinforced it."
With the help of cooperative corporate media, President Obama attempts to create the impression of a vigorous internal debate within his administration over how much bigger the so-called Af-Pak theater of war is going to get. The charade is designed to demonstrate that, unlike the "dumb wars" that Obama opposes, this one is being transformed into a smart war, intelligently escalated. That U.S. troop levels will increase, even as reluctant European allies move towards downsizing their commitments, is a foregone conclusion, since the president has already characterized the conflict as a "war of necessity." If a war is necessary, then by definition, the national commitment must be open-ended and beyond question.
So what is there to debate? The president has framed the issue as one of inevitability. Last month Obama told a veterans group that, "If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans." That's the same rationale that George Bush deployed to justify not only the Afghanistan invasion, eight years ago, but the Iraq invasion, the war against Somalia and, indeed, the whole concept of global American wars without end. Barack Obama has not altered the Bush war on terror paradigm, he has reinforced it.
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Once one accepts the Bush-Cheney and now Obama-Biden logic of necessary war, peace becomes impossible. To the extent that those who claim to be part of the U.S. peace movement remain ambivalent on Obama's war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they become accomplices in the aggression.
"Much of what passes for a U.S. peace movement has no more respect for international law than the administrations they protest against."
The U.S. anti-war movement fails to institutionalize itself, acting only in fits and starts when it acts at all, because much of its leadership refuses to recognize the United States as an imperial power. They allow themselves to become enmeshed in phony debates about how U.S. forces should comport themselves in other people's countries, rather than question America's right to inflict itself on other peoples. They agonize over levels of U.S. military force deployed and monies spent; whether the frequency of U.S. atrocities is up or down; and embroil themselves in discussions of the relative merits of American-imposed puppet regimes. Shamefully, much of what passes for a U.S. peace movement has no more respect for international law than the administrations they protest against. They seek only a more benign imperialism, in which they can see themselves as the good guys.
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To the extent that a purported peace movement accepts that the United States has any rights that smaller nations do not possess, it is not simply a shallow movement: it is a fraud just as fraudulent as Barack Obama was as a "peace" candidate. Such a movement is helpless against the logic of imperial war, because it accepts the underlying premise, that the United States has a right to intervene in the affairs of others. If that is true, then U.S. General Stanley McChrystal should be commended and supported when he claims that all he wants to do is "protect" the Afghan people, whether they like it or not. At any rate, it's necessary. Obama says so.


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Glen Ford is aveteran of Black radio, television, print and Internet news and commentary. He is executive editor of and was co-founder of

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