Who is in the White House?

Persistent odors of hypocrisy and cynicism waft through the Oval Office. Campaign promises to abandon warmongering policies of President Bush have been conveniently forgotten. Worse, those dreadful and embarrassing strategies have been adopted by President Obama. Why is mainstream media silent? Where is the outrage?

Even after 18 months of disasters, the Obama administration and congress still mumble their mantra, “It’s all Bush’s fault.” Nevertheless, when terrorists develop nuclear weapons, when war looms in the Middle East, when demonstrators for democracy in Tehran are killed and imprisoned, disastrous foreign policies cannot be so simply excused.

In 2002 nobody even knew who Barack Obama was—and in 2008 he became the president of the United States. Unfortunately, before he gained that high office there was nothing in his political career that trained him to formulate good foreign policy. (The same is true about his Secretary of State.) Additionally, nothing in the president’s mysterious past provides anyone with a clue about his worldview. Nothing is known about his time at Columbia or Harvard. He did not do much as a senator. Unsurprisingly, he makes up foreign policy as he goes along. With all this in mind, we should ignore what he says, observe what he does, and start with the recognition that President Obama simply ignores his lofty campaign promises.

Starting as Senator Obama in 2006, then as Candidate Obama, and finally as President Obama he first said, and then did, the following:

  1. —-He promised to curtail the Patriot Act, that terrible restriction of American civil liberties by the Bush administration. But in September 2009 he told congress to renew three provisions of the Act due to expire at year’s end, provisions that make it easier for government to spy inside the United States.
  2. He criticized military tribunals at Guantanamo and promised to end them. But in May 2009 he decided to keep the military commission system President Bush created to try suspected terrorists.
  3. He promised to end extraordinary renditions carried out by the Bush administration. But in February 2009 he issued executive orders granting the CIA continuing authority to carry out secret abductions of terrorists and transfers of those prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.
  4. He criticized Predator drone attacks as President Bush’s violation of the sovereignty of other nations. But there were more Predator drone assassinations during the first months of the Obama administration than in all eight years of the Bush tenure. Condemning “waterboard” interrogations of mass murderers as a horrible policy, President Obama is able to authorize a Predator strike on a suspected terrorist that kills his wife, children, parents, and everyone nearby.
  5. He said the war in Iraq was Bush’s “lost war,” and promised to end it quickly. But after the 2009 inauguration there was no more talk of lost wars, no deadlines to bring troops home, and the Bush-Petraeus plan for gradual withdrawal is still in operation. The war is lost anyway. After a confused election, Iraqi Shia parties supported by Iran coalesced into a ruling power bloc. When American forces do leave, Iran will have control of a satellite nation it could not win in battle. White House policy means Americans died in vain; the administration lost Iraq to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.
  6. He adopted the Bush administration’s war in Afghanistan. President Obama said, even as he sent additional troops and military support into that desert sinkhole, “This is a war of necessity.”
  7. He lambasted Guantanamo Bay prison for captured Islamic terrorists, promising to close it by a date certain. But Guantanamo is still in full operation today, 16 months after the inauguration and four months after the promised closure date.