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The Morphing of ObamaDr. William T. Hathaway Salem-News.com
"They have healed the brokenness of my people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace.' But there is no peace." - Jeremiah 8:11
(OLDENBURG, Germany) - When the prophet Jeremiah wrote those words, he could have been describing the public-relations strategy of the current US government. Barack Obama won the presidency and the hearts of billions around the world by pledging to bring peace.
His humanitarian rhetoric promised a new era in American foreign policy, away from armed confrontation and towards cooperation. But since taking office he has increased combat forces in Afghanistan, expanded our air strikes in Pakistan, shifted the fighting in Iraq onto hired mercenaries and local soldiers, and pledged his "full support" to the "heroic" CIA.
Obama doesn't want to end the war, he wants to fight it smarter, cutting our losses in some areas while stepping up attacks in others, aiming to salvage a partial victory. The new commander in chief has scaled down the grandiose goals that launched the war, replacing them with a fallback battle plan for maintaining some control over the Iraqi and Afghan governments, oil supplies, and pipeline routes. So the war continues, now with less press coverage because when mercenaries and local soldiers die, it barely makes the news. The war continues because millions of Iraqis and Afghans refuse to accept US hegemony and are willing to die to defeat it. The war continues with no end in sight because Obama refuses to abandon this drive for hegemony. He refuses not because he's evil but because too much is at stake. A defeat in this strategic area would be devastating. Many of the privileged leases that US petroleum companies own on Mideast oil would be canceled. These favorable leases help keep fuel and petro-chemical prices comparatively low in the USA. Without them, prices would soar, eliminating much of our economic advantage.
The loss of this competitive edge would mark the decline of American dominance. It would be particularly disastrous for the US military, which is the world's largest consumer of oil. We would become one player among several, no more powerful than the European Union, Russia, China, or India. Obama knows that any US president who moved in such an egalitarian direction would be out of office very soon. The corporate elite backed him because he could calm the waters of discontent and create superficial changes that would allow them to maintain their power. His eloquence and charisma revived hope in America. We want so much to believe him that we overlook that he's still killing thousands of our fellow human beings. Obama is proving to be the ultimate cosmetic change. His performance is another American triumph of image over actuality.
A similar swindle occurred in the 2006 election campaign. The Democrats won control of the Senate and House of Representatives by promising to end the war. Instead, a few months later they voted a huge increase in military spending and supported US troop surges. These betrayals of democracy show that our government doesn't really represent us but rather the business interests. If they need cheap oil, the president and congress will make war to get it for them, with time-out every few years for some campaign rhetoric about peace. It's obvious now that their rhetoric is lies. Obama's morphing into a war president makes it clear that expecting "change you can believe in" from the Democratic Party is a delusion.
The Morphing of Obama" is the introduction to the book RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War, which presents the first-person experiences of war resisters, deserters, and peace activists in the USA, Europe, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Recently released by Trine Day, it's a journey along diverse paths of nonviolence, the true stories of people working for peace in unconventional ways.
Other chapters are posted on Salem-News.com and on a page of the publisher's website at http://media.trineday.com/
William T. Hathaway is author of the novels A World of Hurt, CD-Ring,, Summer Snow and a nonfiction book, Radical Peace: People Refusing War. He also wrote the screenplay for Socrates, an educational film starring Ed Asner that was broadcast on PBS.
Hathaway began his writing career as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco, then joined the Special Forces to research a book about war. Based on his experiences on a combat team in Vietnam, A World of Hurt won a Rinehart Foundation Award for its portrayal of the psychological roots of war.
After the war Hathaway became a peace activist. In his latest book, Radical Peace, he wrote, "Since then my books and articles have centered on this theme, as do many of my nonwriting activities. It's become my beat, as they say in the newspaper business." A selection of his writing is available at http://www.peacewriter.org. You can drop William an amail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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