Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's Obama's War Now

On March 20, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. I was part of a panel that night on a local cable TV station, where we were talking about the imminent war, and talking about peace. As soon as we were off the air, someone came in to tell us that President Bush had just announced the invasion. Irony stuck her head in the oven that night.

I feel much the same way tonight. President Obama is going to announce an escalation of the war in Afghanistan. This comes as no surprise to anyone who actually listened to him during the campaign. He said he intended to do this. Obama is a canvas that a lot of people painted pretty progressive hopes upon. Listening to him, and looking at his voting record showed he was no progressive - just another triangulating Clintonesque centrist. I'm not disappointed - I had very low expectations of him.

I had hoped that given the incredibly high numbers of people unemployed in this country, that he might think twice about spending trillions more of our tax dollars on war, while the social safety nets in this country continue to break. The official numbers are 10% unemployed, but I believe it's more like 20%. No one counts the people that have been out of work so long they can't collect unemployment benefits, or the folks who weren't eligible for them to begin with. I guess that's the new jobs plan: join the military, so we can continue to fight endless undeclared wars.

That is the future, unless we take radical action. Endless undeclared wars, that make big money for defense and weapons contractors. The corporate military industrial complex is running our country, make no mistake. We have over 1000 military bases around the world - not including the secret ones where we take people to torture them. We spend at least 54% of the discretionary budget (plus all of the special war funding bills) on defense. We spend more than every other nation on the world combined, on defense, and we can't win these wars? We aren't supposed to. If we weren't always at war, we might start thinking about spending that money on something else. We might start thinking about making the Pentagon pass an audit, and account for the nearly $3 trillion that it cannot account for.

One solution, of course, is to reinstitute the draft. If more families were involved, involuntarily, and on the receiving end of the "collateral damage", there would be loud, focused, antiwar protesting. If the sons of the GOP Congresscritters (notorious chickenhawks) were in line to get their asses shot off, we'd see some changes made.

It's disheartening to see so many people who were against the war when it belonged to Bush suddenly embrace it because they like the salesman. This will haunt them in 2010 and 2012. The GOP will rightly claim hypocrisy. This action seals Obama's fate as a one termer - and may well be the undoing of the Democratic Party.

The US needs to rethink foreign policy. We cannot support this kind of unnecessary military spending. We're borrowing the money to fight these wars, a legacy that our grandchildren will bear. We hear all manner of whimpering and accusation about the deficit - yet not a one of the big outspoken deficit hawks opposes military spending. Our very own Senator Judd Gregg is supporting this escalation - Judd Gregg who failed to be concerned about the deficit when he voted for every military spending bill that Bush suggested.

According to what I heard on NHPR yesterday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen is also supporting Obama's war. I'm sorry, Senator - I won't be voting for you next time. I won't vote for any incumbent or candidate who supports this war - or any other. I'm all finished supporting folks just because they have a D next to their name. I'm not going to waste another minute of my time on a candidate (on any level) who is not a progressive. No more centrists. No more NH tax pledge supporters. No more holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two evils. Doing that is what keeps the cycle going. As long as we support any old Democrat, no matter how right leaning, we'll continue to be told by the party that that's what we must do, that only centrist/right candidates can win in NH.

It's time for a third party. Obama is a huge disappointment to progressives. The Democratic majority we've all been waiting for can't even pass a useful health care plan - the best they can come up with is a valentine for insurance and drug companies. Now more than ever we need bold, creative leadership - and all we've got is a guy who is too afraid of upsetting the GOP and his bipartisan legacy to actually do anything.

It's time. I'm leaving the Democratic Party. It's time for a whole new direction.

War Resisters Pie Chart and budget info for 2009

© 2009 sbruce

1 comment:

Irregardless NH said...

As usual, Susan Bruce has succinctly and accurately summed up the ramifications of President Obama's "Afghan surge" announcement. For those of us truly in the progressive community, this was the last nail in his political coffin. As he and Rahm triangulate themselves right out of the Oval Office, we watch in (non-surprised) horror as we see the same old wine in a brand new bottle.

Change we can believe in?

Not so much.