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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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Obama's War


Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to war we go! Pound the drums loudly, stand with your country proudly!

Wait, wait, wait — hold it right there. Cut the music, slow the rush, and let's all ponder what Barack Obama, Roberts Gates, Stanley McChrystal and Co. are getting us into ... and whether we really want to go there. After all, just because the White House and the Pentagon brass are waving the flag and insisting that a major escalation of America's military mission in Afghanistan is a "necessity" doesn't mean it is ... or that We the People must accept it.

Remember the wisdom of Mark Twain about war-whooping generals and politicians: "Loyalty to the country, always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

How many more dead and mangled American soldiers does the government's "new" Afghan policy deserve? How many more tens of billions of dollars should we let them siphon from our public treasury to fuel their war policy? How much more of our country's good name will they squander on what is essentially a civil war?

We've been lied to for nearly a decade about "success" in Iraq and Afghanistan — why do the hawks deserve our trust that this time will be different?

Their rationales for escalation are hardly confidence boosters. The goal, we're told, is to defeat the al-Qaida terrorist network that threatens our national security. Yes, but al-Qaida is not in Afghanistan! Nor is it one network. It has metastasized, with strongholds now in Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Yemen and Somalia, plus even having enclaves in England and France.

Well, claims Obama himself, we must protect the democratic process in Afghanistan. Does he think we have suckerwrappers around our heads? America's chosen leader over there is President Hamid Karzai — a preening incompetent who was "elected" this year only through flagrant fraud and whose government is controlled by warlords, rife with corruption and opposed by the great majority of Afghans.

During the election campaign from July through October, 195 Americans were killed and more than 1,000 wounded to protect this guy's "democratic process." Why should even one more American die for Karzai?

Finally, Washington's war establishment asserts that adding some 30,000 more troops will let us greatly expand and train the Afghan army and police force during the next couple of years so they can secure their own country and we can leave.

Mission accomplished!

Nearly every independent military analyst, however, says this assertion is not just fantasy, it's delusional — it'll take at least 10 years to raise Afghanistan's largely illiterate and corrupt security forces to a level of barely adequate, costing us taxpayers more than $4 billion a year to train and support them.

Obama has been taken over by the military industrial hawks and national security theorists who play war games with other people's lives and money. I had hoped Obama might be a more forceful leader who would reject the same old interventionist mindset of those who profit from permanent war. But his newly announced Afghan policy shows he is not that leader.

So, we must look elsewhere, starting with ourselves. The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open. Obama is wrong on his policy — deadly wrong — and those of you who see this have both a moral and patriotic duty to reach out to others to inform, organize and mobilize our grassroots objections, taking common sense to high places.

Also, look to leaders in Congress who are standing up against Obama's war and finally beginning to reassert the legislative branch's constitutional responsibility to oversee and direct military policy. For example, Rep. Jim McGovern is pushing for a specific, congressionally mandated exit strategy; Rep. Barbara Lee wants to use Congress' control of the public purse strings to stop Obama's escalation; and Rep. David Obey is calling for a war tax on the richest Americans to put any escalation on-budget, rather than on a credit card for China to finance and future generations to pay.

This is no time to be deferential to executive authority. Stand up. Speak out. It's our country, not theirs. We are America — ultimately, we have the power and the responsibility.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




6 Comments | Post Comment
Sir; in short, Mr. Obama has not thought through any of the situation in Iraq. Unlike our current president, he will be the victim of events, and not their master. Now that he is stuck he is stuck, and if he can get us out, it will be no less than three years and six months after taking office. You must understand the ethic at work here, and it is one illustrated by new Mccain adds. It does not matter what the truth is, so the truth must be dodged like every other piece of garbage that is thrown. Kennedy got us into Vietnam big time, and wanted out, as his best General advised. He could not get out without being tarred as soft on communism, so many more thousands had to die, over an idea. Let me tell you what the problem is, short, sweet, and simple. Normally, we use ideas to think, with. But we are so manipulated by ideas, that we let our ideas do our thinking for us. It is not just ideologies that we follow, but ideologues; people captured by their ideals, and no longer able to weigh objective benfits against costs. No matter what Mr. Obama does, he will be called soft of terrorism the way Kennedy did not want to labeled Soft on Communism. They are just people on the other end of that hate. From my perspective, they are all republicans. All they need is a gas station or a quicky mart, and they could be GOP. But so long as our ideas get us into situations we cannot get out of, people will die, and the world will be more unstable.
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:07 AM
Obama stands for imperial war, power and deception

By Nasir Khan

What President Obama decided was no surprise. The Bushite high officials and generals in his administration had made it all possible. Bush and  Cheney may have already sent their congratulations to their worthy successor, who knows?
With the limited resources we have at our disposal, an existential reality, we who believe in human values and respect for human life should stand up, and say loudly and clearly: No to imperialist war in Afghanistan, No to fascism, No to warmongers.

Can we do that? Yes, we can. The people can.

We can defeat the warmongers and their criminal plans. I believe, the vast majority of ordinary Americans will be with us when they become aware of what crimes are being perpetrated in their name for the wars of aggression under the cover of false pretexts and misleading propaganda. A big task though, but we should do what we can because we love peace and hold humanity in respect. The war criminals have to use the rhetoric of ‘good wars' though, to deceive their people to gain support for their criminal wars and human bloodshed.

If we can inform the people by our continuous struggle about the reality of war, the motives of war and the profiteers of war, then and only then the ordinary man and woman will stop supporting genocidal wars.
The military-industrial complex in the United States has economic interests to carry on such criminal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

What Obama is doing now is part of the same game.

For the warmongers, weapon manufacturers, war contractors and the rest of the war profiteers war is a very lucrative business. The loss of human life, either of the invading soldiers or their victims has no significance. It is part of the game.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Nasir Khan
Thu Dec 3, 2009 10:14 AM
Obama's turnaround is nothing new. Every single president finds himself doing the bidding of the Pentagon and Wall Street. And that, Mr. Hightower, is exactly what we've seen.
Comment: #3
Posted by: ron
Fri Dec 4, 2009 4:52 AM
I don't think Obama has any choice to make as to whether he continues along the path of perpetual war. I suspect he is often reminded of what happened to JFK following his defiance of the Military Industial Complex.
Comment: #4
Posted by: minemule
Fri Dec 4, 2009 8:20 AM
Re: minemule
Minemute is right on target. The author of this article doesn't seem to realize that it is not a Democratic or Republican issue: it is an Israeli issue, which means that the great majority of the money, power, and influence of the American Jewish community will ensure that the pres. and congress salute and take their orders.
Comment: #5
Posted by: William Fuller
Fri Dec 4, 2009 2:21 PM
As asked... How many more tens of billions of dollars should we let them siphon from our public treasury to fuel their war policy? How much more of our country's good name will they squander on what is essentially a civil war?

This war need not have taken more Americans. This war need only the experts, a handful, to follow and take into custody the leader of the terrorists without blowing up cities, countries, and ruining lives. If our country does not have, or has not had the ability to do this, alone, without War... something is wrong. We need NOT place men and women into harms way, but we need the strength to pull out, stay out, regardless of threats. How many more deaths do we have to add to the 911 tragedy? How many Americans are doing without because we can't handle our own business, and let big business do its thing. From War to Market! And today, they report that women, the underprivledged in CA. no longer can have mammograms??? And today, they report that women under the new health care bill will get everything they need. Tell me, in this country who do we believe?
Comment: #6
Posted by: nancydenofio
Mon Dec 7, 2009 11:57 AM
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