Who is in the White House?

Chet Nagle Former CIA Agent
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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.

How time flies. In 2007 all these campaign promises resonated with voters, and so they were extremely important for victory. Naturally, Candidate Obama made the promises, knowing President Obama would get a pass on delivery. Even his party’s left-wingers knew the Bush policies had helped to keep the homeland safe since 9/11, and could not be simply abandoned. And if the Bush legacy might indeed be modified, they soon learned the new administration was not capable enough to do it.

Add cynicism to their hypocrisy. After he took the oath of office, President Obama and the other liberal Democrats had no serious objection to adopting existing policies, besides their connection to the name George W. Bush. They knew as soon as President Obama’s name and stamp was on those Bush policies, university demonstrations and incoherent TV statements by folks like Cindy Sheehan would suddenly end. Hollywood would also get in line, and there would be no more movies like “Syriana,” “Redacted” and “Rendition.” Studio moguls would understand the CIA had been tamed and soldiers of the new administration would never commit crimes, real or imagined. There would be no more docu-drama films or novels about killing an American president. And so it has happened. As David Victor Hansen observed, “It was quite brilliant, this cynical appraisal that the outraged Left was merely partisan, not principled.”

Finally we come to Iran, that strange nation ruled by Islamic fanatics busy building nuclear weapons to use on Israel, the United States, or anyone who dares not to believe as they do. Despite words of appeasement from the Obama administration, despite endless efforts to impose sanctions, despite myriads of think tank studies, we know there is only one nonviolent way to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program—to encourage and help the young demonstrators in the streets of Tehran. President Obama barely paid lip-service to the valiant effort the Iranian people made to govern themselves. As a result, we watch an accelerating arms race in the Middle East, we know a regional war is coming, and we wait for Israel to do our work by using the military option to end Iran’s dreadful ambitions.

As for the fulfillment of campaign promises, the current occupant of the White House is not interested. He knows the media and congress will allow him to make signature teleprompter speeches and then act like someone else is in the White House.

Someone like George W. Bush.

Chet Nagle is the author of “IRAN COVENANT.”