“[T]he Obama team never planned to outlaw the policies, despite what some of his supporters on the left may have thought when he took office.”
Eight years ago, people were so over George Bush, and so ready for an end to the Bush regime’s wars, that they began hoping Obama would follow through on early promises to stop them.
Charlie Savage, a New York Times reporter who has covered a lot of the “war on terror,” has a new book out called “Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency.” The Times’ review starts: “[The Obama] administration managed mostly to provide new legal underpinnings for many of the national-security policies (including warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention at Guantánamo Bay and drone strikes) that were first adopted under Mr. Bush. As a result, Mr. Savage decides, President Obama will some day be seen ‘as less a transformative post-9/11 president than a transitional one.’ And indeed, in some areas like surveillance, the Obama team never planned to outlaw the policies, despite what some of his supporters on the left may have thought when he took office.”
World Can’t Wait said more than five years ago, “Crimes Are Crimes No Matter Who Does Them.”
The reality in 2016 is:
- The US has sent a reported 50 troops into Syria to “train, advise and assist” forces against ISIS/ISIL. Reuters reported the White House spokesman as saying, “the new mission in Syria was open ended and did not rule out the possibility of sending additional special forces troops into Iraq.
- The Obama administration is keeping 5,500 troops in Afghanistan, rather than pulling out by the end of last year, under an agreement that allows US presence there until 2024.
- The U.S. is funding, and providing tactical support to the Saudi assault on Yemen, which has killed more than 2,800 civilians, and destroyed much of the infrastructure of the poor country.
- U.S. Special Operations Forces were deployed in 2015 to 147 countries, 75% of the nations on the planet, which represents a jump of 145% since the waning days of the Bush administration. These operations include targeted killings. The Intercept recently released The Drone Papers, a series of classified slides which detail “the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.”
- Indefinite detention remains a key part of terrorizing whole countries, with 93 men left in the torture camp of Guantanamo.
- The wars for empire in the Middle East have driven millions from their homes; many now roam Europe in desperate travel to reach somewhere to live without war and deprivation.
None of this will end without struggle — protest in the streets, arguments in civil society — especially on the part of people living in the most powerful country, with the biggest military ever.
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Debra Sweet is the Director of World Can’t Wait.