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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/4/09

Time to Look Past Obama's Words and Face-up to His Actions

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U.S. Foreign Policy Continues Rapidly in the Wrong Direction

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.


President Obama 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. 


The U.S. passed the 5,000th 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 “an exodus 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 redrawing city boundaries. General 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, General 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 250,000 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 Rep. John 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 General McChrystal to head the rapidly expanding Afghanistan-Pakistan War – a general whose commands have been tied to torture and abuse of prisoners as well as the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death and even assassination squads. In Afghanistan Obama has put forward no exit strategy, in fact the U.S. seems to be putting down deep roots.

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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
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