Remembering President Obama: We Must Never Forget

Jack Kerwick
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Posted: Jun 13, 2017 1:01 PM
Remembering President Obama: We Must Never Forget

Given that Barack Obama is no longer president, it is all too easy to think that he is no longer relevant.

But, considering that Obama and his supporters want for nothing more than to protect his “legacy,” it is indeed critical that Americans of all political stripes never forget the real Obama presidency—as opposed to the fiction that the Fake Newsies will labor indefatigably to ensconce in the American imagination.

Consider foreign policy: Obama’s supporters and opponents alike would have us think that Obama was dovish in this regard.

Recall that, while campaigning for the presidency in 2007, after the Iraq War was recognized for the disaster that it undoubtedly was, Obama billed himself as a “peace” candidate. He assured the electorate that he would have voted against the war, had he been in Congress four years earlier.

And then, shortly after his inauguration in ’09, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Over the span of his eight years in office, however, the “peace” candidate proved himself to be the most pro-war president in American history.

By the end of Obama’s second term, he had ordered 100,000 airstrikes on seven countries. The peace president far exceeded his warmongering predecessor, George W. Bush, who leveled “only” 70,000 bombs and missiles on five countries during his eight years in office.

President Obama presided over a ten-fold increase in drone strikes, killing thousands and thousands. Among this number are included four Americans. For this last, the ACLU (hardly a right-wing organization) charged the president with violating the United States Constitution. Ralph Nader—again, no conservative or reactionary—blasted Obama for being no different than Bush insofar as he self-regarded as “secret prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner” with “the unilateral right…to destroy anybody, anywhere in the world, including American citizens, suspected to be engaged in alleged terrorist activities [.]”

Obama’s Military Budget for FY2017 was larger than that of any other president, and it exceeded that of Bush II’s by nearly $30 million. No post-WWII POTUS had increased the military budget to the extent that Obama had. On average, the 44th POTUS had spent about $653.6 billion annually—an average of 18.7 billion more than what Bush II had authorized.

Nor do these numbers ignore the rate of inflation. Nicolas J.S. Davies writes:

“In historical terms, after adjusting for inflation, Obama’s military spending has been 56 percent higher than Clinton’s, 16 percent higher than Reagan’s, and 42 percent more than the US Cold War average.” The latter point is particularly telling in that, as Davies reminds us, exorbitant military budgets during the Cold War period were justifiable inasmuch as America had “a real peer competitor” in the Soviet Union.

Contemporary Russia, in glaring contrast, spends only ten percent of what America spent on the military during Obama’s tenure.

Davies also reminds us that Obama presided over “a massive expansion of US special operations forces, now deployed to 138 different countries [.]” At the time that he first took office, these forces were in 60 countries. “Kill or capture” raids increased astronomically under Obama, from 90 in November of 2009 to 600 per month by the summer of 2010 and 1,000 in April of 2011.

Obama’s covert forces have claimed the lives of “hundreds of academics and other professionals and community leaders” in Iraq.

Some estimates are that over 2 million lives have been extinguished in America’s post-9/11 wars. Obama, of course, is not responsible for all of them. But given the foregoing truths, it goes without saying that he has the blood of untold thousands on his hands. Some of this blood is that of terrorists and jihadists, for sure. However, much of it is that of those who comprise the “civilian support mechanism,” those who provide supplies for guerillas, and those who simply didn’t want America in their country.

Although Obama dropped fewer bombs and missiles on Afghanistan than did Bush (26,000 and 37,000, respectively), the man who declared victory in Iraq by withdrawing ground troops and creating the vacuum for ISIS to fill, dropped an astronomical 41,000 bombs and missiles on Mesopotamia just between 2014 and 2016 alone. Bush, though, over a five year period, dropped about 8,000 fewer instruments of death.

Davies reminds us that Obama dropped nearly 25,000 bombs and missile upon Syria, “7,700 in NATO and its Arab monarchist allies’ bombing of Libya in 2011, another 496 strikes in Libya in 2016, and at least 547 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”

For his launching of military operations in Libya, members of Congress brought a bipartisan lawsuit against Obama. This effort was led by Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Walter Jones. Kucinich said: “This is not an academic question. This is about stopping a war now.”

In 2010, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Obama gave a no-bid contract to the now infamous defense contractor, Halliburton.

In 2011, Obama extended Bush’s “Patriot Act.” This same year, Obama once again came under fire by the ACLU for having signed a bill that would carry on the Bush administration’s practice of indefinitely detaining American citizens suspected of, but not charged with, having committed any criminal activities.

In 2009, under the pretext of “national security,” Obama resorted to the same legal and moral rationales of which Bush availed himself when seeking to extend the NSA’s practice of conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans.

And let us never forget that Obama, despite having assured his supporters on the campaign trail that, “As president, Barack Obama will close the detention facility at Guantanamo,” failed to do any such thing.

Today, nearly nine years after he was elected to the presidency, Guantanamo remains open. ABC News said that this could be Obama’s “biggest broken promise.”

As this article has shown, and as others will further show, the 44th POTUS left a sea of broken promises.

We must never forget.