Liberty Forged

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Obama, antiwar?, critical?, or just plain clever.

Posted by Jesse on December 5, 2007

O-bomb-a and the War Party
Barack Obama: He’s more of the same…

“After the December 15 elections and during the course of next year, we need to focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq. Notice that I say ‘reduce,’ and not ‘fully withdraw.'”

Well, yes, I did notice that, but I’m afraid the Kossacks and the “antiwar” wing of the Democratic Party are averting their eyes. Obama continues:

“This course of action will help to focus our efforts on a more effective counter-insurgency strategy and take steam out of the insurgency. … I believe that U.S. forces are still a part of the solution in Iraq. The strategic goals should be to allow for a limited drawdown of U.S. troops, coupled with a shift to a more effective counter-insurgency strategy that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead and intensifies our efforts to train Iraqi forces. At the same time, sufficient numbers of U.S. troops should be left in place to prevent Iraq from exploding into civil war, ethnic cleansing, and a haven for terrorism.”

So, when are we getting out of Iraq? If you can tease any clear meaning out of the above, more power to you. Later on in his peroration, he avers that the Bush administration had best narrow the “timeframe” down to more than between one and 10 years, though he conspicuously fails to do this himself.
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Obama’s Anti-War Beat
“Part of the reason people are coming out in record numbers,” Obama said, “and part of the reason that you are here tonight is, let’s face it, you are sick and tired of George W. Bush.” The crowd roared its approval.

“You are tired of an administration that treats our Constitution as a nuisance to be avoided,” Obama continued. “You are tired of administration policies that seem to widen the gulf between rich and poor, that seem to always favor the rich and the powerful while ordinary people are struggling. You are tired of lack of progress on critical issues like health care and energy and education.”

But most of all, you are tired of a war that should have never been authorized,” Obama said.
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[Democratic Debate]
“Q: Will you pledge that by January 2013, the end of your first term, there will be no US troops in Iraq?
A: I think it’s hard to project four years from now, and I think it would be irresponsible. We don’t know what contingency will be out there. I believe that we should have all our troops out by 2013, but I don’t want to make promises, not knowing what the situation’s going to be three or four years out.”
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Meet Barack Obama by Eric Ruder
…Like Kerry, he only quibbled over the hows. The day before his speech, Obama told reporters, “On Iraq, on paper, there’s not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago.” He added,There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute.”

The speech itself took Bush to task for lying about the reasons for war and for invading and occupying “without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.” In other words, Obama, the great liberal hope, thinks that Bush should have sent more troops–and that the Democrats are more capable of seeing the war on Iraq through to victory.
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The Election & the Antiwar Movement
by Mike Harris
Democrats like left-leaning Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama, who ran in the state’s primary boasting of his antiwar credentials, are selling something even more insidious than the rank Republican rhetoric. These are the “antiwar” Democrats whose opposition in the build-up to the war melted into air the moment U.S. troops crossed the border into Iraq.

Now they attempt to paint an increasingly brutal military occupation with the veneer of hopes for resuscitated U.S. good intentions. As if it’s possible for the U.S. presence in Iraq to transform into a benevolent mission. As if the United States (or the United Nations) has a track record of supporting democratic revolutions in the Middle East.

Of course, the wild card in the western debates over the fate of Iraq is the Iraqi people themselves. When asked in the New York Times/CBS poll if they saw the U.S. military as “liberators” or “occupiers,” 71 percent of Iraqis said occupiers.”
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Embracing Imperial Criminality
by Paul Street (Jan 2007)

…. Obama’s handlers and supporters place considerable emphasis on the claim that the junior senator from Illinois has voiced a “consistent position against the war” and (by extension) the Middle East. The assertion has some technical accuracy; Obama has publicly questioned the Bush administration’s case for war since the fall of 2002. But serious scrutiny of his “antiwar position” shows that the supposedly “pragmatic” and “non-ideological” Obama speaks in deferential accord with the doctrine of empire. In Obama’s carefully crafted rhetoric, Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) has been a “strategic blunder” on the part of an essentially benevolent nation state. Given his presidential ambitions, it is unthinkable for him to acknowledge the invasion’s status as a great international transgression that is consistent with the United States’ long record of imperial criminality. It is equally unimaginable for him to acknowledge that the war expressed Washington’s drive to deepen its control of strategic petroleum resources—an ambition in direct opposition to the alleged U.S. goals of encouraging Iraqi freedom and exporting democracy.

….Obama has refused to join genuinely antiwar forces in calling for a rapid and thorough withdrawal of troops and an end to the occupation of Iraq.…..repeated references to the need to “defeat” the “insurgency”—a goal that means continuation of the war.…… As commentators Ford and Gamble noted in a critical analysis of Obama’s CFR address: “In essence all Obama wants from the Bush regime is that it fess up to having launched the war based on false information…… Obama and many of his colleagues are more interested in consulting the Bush men on the best way to ‘win’ the war than in effecting an American withdrawal at any foreseeable time.”

…. Never mind that the recent mid-term elections and a mountain of polling data show that the majority of Americans support rapid U.S. withdrawal, as do the vast majority of the Iraqi people…..

……Fallujah is a leading symbol of U.S. imperialism in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is a deeply provocative and insulting place for Obama to choose to highlight American sacrifice and “resolve” in the occupation of Iraq.

….Obama’s blindness (intentional or not) to the important and welcome fact that many troops do in fact strongly question the war…..

….It is because of Obama’s “rare ability to mix charisma and deference to the establishment,” Sirota finds (in an overly respectful assessment), that “Beltway publications and think tanks have heaped praise on Obama and want him to run for President.”

….concentrated economic and imperial power open and close doors in ways that preemptively suffocate populist potential. Big money is not in the business of promoting genuine social justice or democracy activists….….not just lobbyists themselves but the entire interconnected world of campaign consultants, public relations agencies, pollsters, and media strategists”—without whose favor and assistance serious presidential bids are next to unthinkable.

…… What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?” (Silverstein, 2006).

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One Response to “Obama, antiwar?, critical?, or just plain clever.”

  1. […] ed notes online wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt“All of this,” Silverstein notes, “has forged a political culture that is intrinsically hostile to reform” (Ken Silverstein, “Barack Obama Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine,” Harpers’ Magazine, November 2006). … Read the rest of this great post here Posted by admin […]

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