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Obama Violates His Own Criteria for a "Just War"

By       Message Ralph Nader       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   17 comments

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President Obama, the Afghan war escalator, received the Nobel Peace
Prize in Oslo, Norway, and proceeded to deliver his acceptance speech
outlining the three criteria for a just war which he himself is

The criteria are in this words: If it is waged as a last resort or in
self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever
possible, civilians are spared from violence.

After 9/11, warmonger George W. Bush could have used the international
law doctrine of hot pursuit with a multilateral force of commandoes,
linguists and bribers to pursue the backers of the attackers. Instead,
he blew the country of Afghanistan apart and started occupying it,
joined forces with a rump regime and launched a divide-and-rule tribal
strategy that set the stage for a low-tiered civil war.

Eight years later, Obama is expanding the war within a graft-ridden
government in Kabul, fraudulent elections, an Afghan army of northern
tribesmen loathed by the southern and south-eastern tribes of 40
million Pashtuns, an impoverished economy whose largest crop by far is
a narcotic, and a devastated population embittered by foreign occupiers
and non-existent government services.

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President Obama's national security adviser, former Marine General
James Jones, said two months ago: The al-Qaeda presence is very
diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the
country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our

Since Mr. Obama repeats George W. Bush's reason for going into
Afghanistanto destroy al-Qaedawhy is he sending 30,000 soldiers plus
an even greater number of corporate contractors there in the near
future at a cost stated by the White House of one million dollars per
solider per year? Is this proportional force?

Always small in number, al-Qaeda has moved over the border into
Pakistan and anywhere its supporters can in the worldeast Africa,
north Africa, Indonesia. The gang is a migrant traveler.

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Is Obama pouring soldiers into Afghanistan so that they and our
inaccurate, civilian-destroying drones can start fighting across the
border in Pakistan, as indicated by The New York Times? Beyond the
violations of international law and absence of constitutional
authorization involved, this could so roil Pakistanis as to make the
U.S. experience next door look like a modest struggle.

Obama has emphasized weakening the Taliban as the other objective of
our military buildup with its horrible consequence in casualties and
other costs. Who are the Taliban? They include people with different
causes, such as protecting their valleys, drug trafficking to live on,
fighters against foreign occupiers or, being mostly Pashtuns,
protecting their tribal turf against the northern Tajiks and Uzbecks.

How many Taliban fighters are there? The Pentagon estimates around
25,000. Their methods make them unpopular with the villagers. They have
no air force, navy, artillery, tanks, missiles, no bases, no central
command. They have rifles, grenade launchers, bombs and suiciders.
Unlike al-Qaeda, they have only domestic ambitions counteracted by
their adversarial tribesmen who make up most of the Afghan army.

Robert Baer, former CIA officer with experience in that part of Asia,
asserted: The people that want their country liberated from the West
have nothing to do with al-Qaeda. They simply want us gone because
we're foreigners, and they're rallying behind the Taliban because the
Taliban are experienced, effective fighters.

To say as Obama inferred in his Oslo speech that the greater plunge
into Afghanistan is self-defense, with proportional force and sparing
civilians from violence is a scale of self-delusion or political
cowardliness that is dejecting his liberal base.

For as President Eisenhower stated so eloquently in his 1953 cross of
iron speech, every dollar spent on munitions and saber-rattling takes
away from building schools, clinics, roads and other necessities of the
American people.

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The Afghan War and the Iraq war-occupationalready directly costing a
trillion dollarsare costing the American people every time Washington
says there is not enough money for neonatal care, occupational disease
prevention, cleaner drinking water systems, safer hospitals,
prosecution of corporate criminals, cleaner air or upgrading and
repairing key public facilities.

Even the hardiest and earliest supporters of his presidential campaign
in 2008 are speaking out. Senior members of the Congressional Black
Caucus, such as John Conyers (D-MI) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) have
recently criticized the President for not doing enough to help
African-Americans weather the hard times.

In a stinging ironic rebuke to the first African-American President,
Rep. Waters declared We can no longer afford for our public policy to
be defined by the worldview of Wall Street.

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