Critical reading on why Progressives can’t vote for Barack Obama:
- Uzma Aslam Khan explains how American hegemony proceeds apace under an Obama presidency
- Don Santina on how the Democrats maintain the illegal and unethical Iraqi occupation
Tony Yarusso says Barack Obama (D-IL) “spoke out against the war from the beginning, and continues to consistently do so (while still providing the necessary support to the personnel on the ground to keep them relatively safe until they are allowed to come home)”. This is more commonly known as paying for the continued occupation of Iraq. What the US should be doing instead is paying to bring US military and mercenaries home immediately (with war crime trials and paying for Iraqi ruination to follow, of course). So if Obama is such an anti-war hero why isn’t he telling Nancy Pelosi to stop bringing funding bills to the floor? The Democrats control the Congressional calendar. Obama’s rhetoric indicates that to the degree he opposes Iraqi occupation he’s likely to simply shift the war from Iraq to Afghanistan (or “AFPAK,” as Richard Holbrooke says).
Obama’s “well-considered response” amounts to saying he is willing to send rockets into Iran, welcome Iranian sanctions and he doesn’t mind that 300-to-1 death rate of Palestinians over Israelis or the recent Gaza raids (and the deaths and injuries resulting from them). In fact, he wrote to the US Ambassador to the UN while Israel was killing more than a hundred Gazans to urge that the Security Council not interfere.
“Now the gravest threat … to Israel today, I believe, is from Iran. There the radical regime continues to pursue its capacity to build a nuclear weapon and continues to support terrorism across the region” … “Threats of Israel’s destruction can not be dismissed as rhetoric. The threat from Iran is real and my goal as president would be to eliminate that threat.”Barack Obama 25 February 2008 (transcript)
This despite the IAEA telling us that Iran isn’t the threat Obama claims: there is no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Obama praises Israel’s recent Lebanon invasion and says that Palestinians have much to give up under an Obama presidency: “[Any] negotiated peace between Israelis and the Palestinians is going to have to involve the Palestinians relinquishing the right of return as it has been understood in the past,” he averred. “And that doesn’t mean that that there may not be conversations about compensation issues.” (see Joshua Frank’s article for more on Obama and the Middle East).
When one considers the recent history of US-Iranian relations one can’t ignore American mistreatment (coup, the Shah puppet leader, President Carter helping the Shah after Iranians chased the Shah out, America helping the British exploit Iranian oil resources—Anglo-Iranian Petroleum later to become British Petroleum or “BP”) Stephen Kinzer concludes that history tells us Americans will feel the aftershocks of treating Iran so badly (transcript, video, high-quality audio, lesser-quality audio). Obama’s threats and hopes against Iran represent no substantive change in policy. Obama’s views highlight why he’s being taken seriously: Obama promises to keep American hegemony going.
Mosaddeq’s policies aren’t the issue here. There’s a big difference between being able to control your own government and having another government choose your leaders for you. Americans would not tolerate an “Operation Ajax” (the American and British coup d’Ã©tat that removed Mosaddeq from power) letting someone else choose the next American president. Americans would certainly rather replace Bush through their own mechanisms and impeach Bush and Cheney, thus insuring that the American people’s needs are being addressed. Speaking of impeachment, this brings me to another reason not to support the Democrats (including Obama): they are following through with their promise to keep impeachment “off the table“. The Democrats will probably later say impeachment, if pursued in earnest, would come too late.
Obama can’t be trusted to punish offenses against the Constitution. He, like his Democratic party leadership, said he won’t pursue impeachment of President Bush or Vice President Chaney. Obama would “reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority”. Meanwhile others have long assembled lists detailing why impeachment is necessary now (which directly implicates the national Democrats in Bush/Chaney’s dealings). While the national Democrats don’t pursue impeachment, Ralph Nader tells us that New York State Assembly “Speaker Sheldon Silver told [Eliot] Spitzer that many Democrats in the Assembly would abandon him in any impeachment vote.“.
The war is the critical issue of our time because of its moral and financial weight. Let’s not repeat the same immoral and unjust policy with Iran that we’ve pursued with Iraq and Afghanistan. As I’ve said before: Democrats will pay attention to anti-war views when anti-war proponents stop giving them money and votes. The US needs a real anti-war movement and that movement will only come from the people giving orders to politicians.