President Obama has engaged in military actions around the world as much as any other president. Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after entering office, he has proven himself as aggressive as the most hawkish Republican president in history. This comes as no surprise in hindsight; when Obama was first running for president, he indicated he would bomb Pakistan, which even most Republicans opposed.
By April 2012, The New York Times was calling Obama “warrior in chief,” saying he “has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.” Law professor Jonathan Turley, considered one of the top left-leaning constitutional experts in the country, told MSNBC that Obama is worse than Bush or Nixon at launching unilateral, unconstitutional wars. Jack Goldsmith, who led the Office of Legal Counsel for part of the George W. Bush administration, says Obama has expanded war powers beyond any previous president.
The New York Times listed Obama’s military accomplishments as of April 2012,
Mr. Obama decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership. He overthrew the Libyan dictator. He ramped up drone attacks in Pakistan, waged effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia and authorized a threefold increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan. He became the first president to authorize the assassination of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and played an operational role in Al Qaeda, and was killed in an American drone strike in Yemen. And, of course, Mr. Obama ordered and oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Since then, Obama has embarked on military action against ISIS, without bothering to obtain congressional approval. Even George W. Bush sought and received congressional authorization for military action against al Qaeda and Iraq.
In 2011, a bipartisan group of congressmen filed a lawsuit against Obama for taking military action in Libya without congressional approval. Obama continued the hostilities longer than 60 days, likely violating the War Powers Resolution. Obama contradicted his own position earlier, when the pre-president 2007 version of himself told The Boston Globe, “History has shown us time and again … that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”
But there has been little outcry from the left. With the exception of a few nutty far left groups like Code Pink, there is mostly silence in regards to Obama’s drone strikes and Middle East bombings. In contrast, George W. Bush was loudly denounced throughout much of his administration for Guantanamo and waterboarding, and accused of running the country like the world’s policeman. The strongest criticism of Obama’s warmongering is coming from Senator Rand Paul, a Republican.
About the only difference in military policy from the Bush era is the phrase “war on terror” has disappeared. Meanwhile, Obama on the surface seems to continue rooting out terrorism. Drone strikes have increased under his administration, and the U.S. is now engaged in six Muslim countries. Many innocent civilians have died in the drone strikes. Obama intervened militarily in Libya so fast that even the right criticized him, correctly believing that toppling Qaddafi would backfire and destabilize the region.
Ironically, all his military interventions seem to be having the opposite effect of stamping out terrorism, perhaps because he views ISIS as “junior varsity.” Instead of beating the Islamic terrorists back, ISIS is increasing in power, size, territory and ruthlessness. Obama is woefully over his head, no doubt in part because his vice president Joe Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” according to Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under both Bush and Obama.
Why has this far left Alinsky disciple taken such a reckless, aggressive military approach? The answer is simple. Obama wants a legacy. Most of the presidents considered the greatest achieved the biggest military and foreign policy victories. Obama wants to join the ranks of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. But it is strange considering a hawkish military position goes contrary to his leftist views.
It was obvious at the time, and even more so now, that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize prematurely. Virtually no one thought he deserved it only nine months into office. He deserves it even less after seeing how he has actually handled multiple foreign policy situations. He can’t have it both ways: he can’t be both the most peaceful president and the most warmongering. The honest thing to do would be give the award back. Otherwise, he looks like a complete hypocrite.