Defense Secretary Robert Gates continues to show his true colors as he prepares to resign, this time saying that troop withdrawals from Afghanistan this year will be modest, giving us an inside look at what the Obama administration is thinking as far as the plan for Afghanistan. Of course the last two administrations have been going after leakers, critics and anti-war activists. Legislation like the Patriot Act has given authorities almost unlimited powers, and the terrorism scare has enabled authorities to label almost anyone they want as terrorists. Friend and supporter of Bradley Manning, David House is doing the right thing and “pleading the fifth” and refusing to testify against Manning or WikiLeaks. He may soon go to jail for refusing to do so. Perhaps most shockingly, the Bush administration (as the story is told by an ex-CIA agent) wanted to silence or at least smear blogger and Professor Juan Cole, because of his stance on the Iraq war. What I found most amusing in this story was that it was Juan Cole. Cole is no radical, in fact, he has deservedly taken some heat from the progressive blogosphere for his stance on the Libyan war.
NATO has now admitted that they killed 7 civilians in air-strikes in Libya, while going after Qaddafi which is of course past the UN mandate of “protecting civilians”. NATO also hit the very rebel forces they were supposed to be helping. I don’t think anything conspiratorial should be read into this, just the fact that innocent people always die in war. Everyone knows this, so when a President says we are going to war or doing a “kinetic military action”, he is sentencing innocent people to die. Al-Jazeera has filmed NATO pilots, and shown that the pilots are in quite a bit of danger. Even former Bush aides and other war-mongers like Bill Kristol are writing the president, asking him to get Congressional approval for the Libyan war. Perhaps their actions can be interpreted as pure partisan hackery, but the point remains. Obama also rejected the advice of some of his top lawyers to go to war in Libya and to ignore Congress. For quite a while, some commentators believed that Obama was a well-meaning progressive surrounded by corrupt advisors. It seems that narrative had no basis in reality, Obama is the corrupt war-profiteer. The White House’s defense of the war in Libya doesn’t even convince the New York Times. As predicted by anyone who is familiar with American foreign policy, Obama’s promise of the mission lasting “days not weeks” was an outright lie.
The West has been inventing enemies for quite sometime, whether its the communists or the terrorists, there is always some reason to be scared. So there is always an excuse to bomb, always an excuse to spy. No one ever stops to think that the bombing and the spying was the thing that caused the problems in the first place. It is definitely not making us safer, as Russia and China are now considering making a NATO of the east, to oppose the NATO of the west. Perhaps it is not so hyperbolic to say that American and Western foreign policy may cause another World War. After another drone strike in Pakistan, citizens were found burning a United States flag. Who can blame them, if a foreign country decided to continually shoot random United States citizens and call them “insurgents”, you would be pissed too. Not to mention that these wars are bankrupting the United States. Even if one considers the war money well spent, one can’t ignore the “missing” 18 billion dollars in Iraq. One could easily think of better ways to spend that money.
Polls show that the majority of Republicans and Conservatives believe that the US should pay less attention to problems overseas and should get in less wars. Why don’t Republicans listen to their constituency? Its because public opinion has nothing to do with policy in government, especially when it comes to war. Some democracy we have.