Like a meteor streaking through the night sky in a sudden and temporary brilliance and then vaporizing into the atmosphere, our new President Obama has streaked across the American scene; and in the span of just over four months, he may be on the verge of flaming out.
Why am I, a strong supporter of Obama during his campaign, so pessimistic after slightly more than four months into his presidency? It’s simply this. Within this relatively short span of time he has seemingly been transformed from an exciting visionary into a pragmatic executor of many of the very DC practices and policies that he disdained and vowed to change.
My candidate Barack Obama sold me and millions of Americans with a seemingly sincere vow that he would bring real change to America and refuse to accept the stagnant thinking that has plagued Washington D.C. for decades. Sure, some of his agenda is happening, but on the most critical issues, he appears to be capitulating to those who have called the shots in the past – Wall St., the Pentagon, Congress and the healthcare giants.
You want to challenge my premise? Well here are some major areas in which many liberal and progressive writers, as well as I, feel that he has refused to follow through on his promises for meaningful change and reform and has, instead, embraced either the establishment’s positions or slightly altered them. You can judge for yourself.
Withdrawal from Iraq – this was one of the cornerstones of his candidacy, a seeming sincere promise to right a wrong; many millions of Americans believed in his promise. What now do we hear? Do we hear any progress report from our president or any one of his representatives as to how we are preparing to remove all military troops from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009? We are told nothing.
But the Iraqi government, on two occasions, has issued statements to the effect that they are not receptive to extending that June 30 timeline and that our troops must leave on schedule. If they are refusing to extend the timeline that clearly means that someone –our ambassador and our military - is putting pressure on them? Sure, because I believe that this was the intention all along. Our military, now spread all over the world, wants to make Iraq just one more piece of this ever-expanding empire.
Need further evidence of these intentions? How about this? The Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, just recently announced that U.S. troops may have to stay in Iraq and, yes, Afghanistan for the next ten years. That announcement is stunning, troubling and alarming. And yet, on this critical issue that Obama was so clear in his message of what he would do, what does he say, what do we hear from him? We hear nothing, he is completely silent and that is also very troubling and extremely alarming to say the least. Just exactly who is the commander-in-chief?
Afghanistan – Where is the mission plan and exit strategy? There isn’t any. Obama inherited this senseless war but, if you think that he is going to announce a real, substantive plan on how we will proceed and at what point we will exit Afghanistan, forget it because it is not going to happen. This is going to be another “stay the course” exercise as made famous under the Bush administration. Yet another war with no end in sight.