Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's"

The More They Promise Change&
Daniel Luban

CHICAGO, 22 Jun (IPS) - A year and a half into the presidency of Barack Obama, any hopes that he would usher in a dramatic rethinking of U.S. foreign policy have been more or less definitively dashed.

Notwithstanding the wild-eyed warnings of right-wing hawks who see Obama as "the first post-American president", with a covert agenda that is part Saul Alinsky and part Frantz Fanon, the president has so far proven himself to be have little inclination to break with the past when it comes to foreign policy.

If the George W. Bush administration introduced the U.S. public to names like Guantanamo, Fallujah, and Blackwater, it is in the Obama administration that counterparts like Bagram, Waziristan and Predator have become ubiquitous.

To be sure, this does not mean, as some disillusioned Obama supporters have suggested, that Obama is "no different" from Bush - particularly if it is the assertive and unchastened Bush of the first term that they have in mind - or from the likely alternatives.

While Obama's diplomacy with Iran, for instance, has been largely uninspired - witness the great amount of energy devoted to passing sanctions that are simultaneously provocative and toothless - his administration has by all indications been working actively to avoid an outright war. This is more than one could say about the likely course under a President McCain or Palin.

Similarly, Obama has thus far caved in his confrontations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he has at the very least demonstrated an awareness that Bush-style blank-cheque support for Israel is untenable - as opposed to his Republican opponents, many of whom seem to fully endorse the Greater Israel ideology of the Israeli settler movement.

But if Obama has refrained from the most egregious excesses of his predecessor, he has nonetheless remained solidly within the mainstream of what Andrew Bacevich has termed the U.S. "ideology of national security" that has reigned since World War II. Whether this sort of caution has been the result of heartfelt belief or political constraints is largely beside the point.

The real question, however, is: should anyone be surprised? Was there any cause to believe that an Obama presidency would signal a major shift in U.S. foreign policy, or did Obama's progressive supporters simply pin hopes upon the candidate that were unjustified by the evidence?

On some issues, like detainee policy, President Obama has certainly backpedaled on Candidate Obama's promises, but on many others - most notably the escalation of the war in Afghanistan - he has simply followed through on his stated intentions.

In "The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's" (Haymarket Books, 2010), Tom Engelhardt provides a clear- eyed examination of U.S. foreign policy in the Bush and Obama years, and details unsparingly how Obama has inherited - and in many cases exacerbated - the ills of the Bush era.

While Engelhardt does not address explicitly the question of whether things had to be this way, he refuses throughout to fall into the satisfying simplifications of personalised analysis - to contrast Obama the Crusader riding into Washington to change everything with Obama the Cynic sacrificing principle for political expediency.

In doing so, he forces the reader to confront the likelihood that the forces that have made U.S. foreign policy what it is run far deeper than mere personalities, and conversely that changing the U.S.'s stance in the world will require far more than simply voting the "good guys" into power.

Engelhardt is best known as the man behind, the site that since the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks has hosted some of the most trenchant criticism of U.S. foreign policy by analysts ranging from Bacevich on the right to Noam Chomsky on the left. His book collects some of his own essays written for TomDispatch from 2004 to 2010.

The truth about Obama is slowly seeping out.
When will the American people realize that they are all one in the same.
Obama is not a democrat.
All the spineless dems had better step up to the plate and hold his puppet strings to the fire.


TONY said...

You really like that GI Obama pic, RZ. What's your take on McChrystal being carpeted? I think McChrystal will be cashiered, and rightly so. Obama, having hired him because he thought that "counterinsurgency" sounded cool and McCrystal was the highest recommended COIN guy available, won't make a similar mistake again. He'll hire a bobblehead who will do what he's told and not request more troops, ask for meetings longer than 20 minutes, or make waves in any way. He'll begin the drawdown on schedule, regardless of the facts on the ground.Force protection will be the primary objective of the field grade officers from here on IMO.

Tao Dao Man said...

Ya I really do. It is so Viet Namesque. LOL
Obama has to let him go. Even if it is only for show. Mc Chrystal can always go get a gig with XE, or some other mercenary group.

Patreus will have something to say about this.

Kandahar is still the pivot point.
They will either back pedal, or full speed ahead.
The Warlord, Inc. report will also be a factor. A draw down perhaps, But a 50,000 troop presence none the less. Just like Iraq.
They could also use this an an excuse for one more surge.

James Gundun said...

You know that I disagree - withdrawing is simply not an option no matter how sensible. The Washington establishment would rather endlessly and futilely occupy Kandahar than withdraw from Afghanistan.

"He forces the reader to confront the likelihood that the forces that have made U.S. foreign policy what it is run far deeper than mere personalities, and conversely that changing the U.S.'s stance in the world will require far more than simply voting the "good guys" into power."

An excellent and still-overlooked truth.

Tao Dao Man said...

Glad you noticed that.

Mc Chrystal is a mere tool inside the tool box.
The tools are interchangeable. The people using the tools are the deciders.

TONY @oakroyd said...

Sadly I think JG is right. I also think McChrystal will end up with his own chat show.

TONY @oakroyd said...

By the last post I mean that they will retain a futile and symbolic presence IMO. The fake drawdown will feed the spin in the interim. The troops withdrawn will in all likelihood end up back there (or Somalia or Yemen? - whoever presents a 'soft' target, not Iran and certainly not N.Korea, for some gesture politics and election -synchronised gunboating.