Opposing Obama

Six years ago, on March 20, 2003, the United States began its invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since that date more than one million Iraqis have died, four million are refugees, and 4,200 American soldiers have lost their lives. America committed a terrible crime against the Iraqi people and against all of humanity, a crime that continues until the present day.

The occupation is ongoing, despite the election and inauguration of a new president. President Barack Obama always made it clear that he would never end the war, instead choosing to draw down the number of troops and always reserving the right to leave a “residual force.”

In spite of his clear declaration of continuing war and occupation, Obama was able to claim the mantle of an anti-war candidate. The anti-war movement was already demoralized by Democratic Party betrayal, and repeated corporate media lies about the true nature of America’s military aggression. The Obama fundraising and marketing juggernaut, in conjunction with hatred of the Bush regime, allowed the damning with faint praise adulation and the making of a phony hero for peace.
“Obama always made it clear that he would never end the war,”

This delusion has made an already failing progressive movement nearly useless. So much so that anti-war activists are loathe to speak Obama’s name, even as they condemn the endless warfare that he advocates. The recent March on the Pentagon, sponsored by the Answer Coalition, is a case in point. Speaker after speaker condemned the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by referring to “the government” or “the United States” without saying the name of the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The march displayed both good news and bad. It is good that appeals to shun Answer by capitulationist factions were ignored. It is always good when citizens openly oppose their government’s aggression. Yet there was an insufficient willingness to name the current war criminal in chief, Barack Obama, as the promoter of state sponsored terrorism.

At the March on the Pentagon, t-shirts and placards urged the impeachment and/or arrest of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The new president, who makes no secret of his intention to continue the previous administration’s war of terror, escaped serious scrutiny and the condemnation he deserves. What should have been pointed attacks on Obama policy were instead mealy-mouthed apologies. Instead of being educated about the rights and obligations of a conscious citizenry, the crowd was told to encourage Obama, to help him make the right decisions. Former attorney Lynne Stewart was a rare exception, excoriating Obama by name for continuing warfare and for withdrawing from the upcoming United Nations conference on racism and dismissing any discussion of reparations for slavery.

Some activists hope against all logic and the lessons of history that Obama will behave in a way that politicians never do. They expect him to defy the dictates of the true rulers who put him and all other politicians in power. They conveniently forget that power concedes nothing without a demand. They forget that meaningful change has come about only when an active and engaged movement makes demands on people who never want to serious consider changing the agendas set by their benefactors.

While not altogether successful, this first mass action of the Obama administration may be an important beginning for peace activists. The numbers of truly conscious people willing to take on Obama may be small now, but continued confrontation will soon be seen as a possibility and then as necessity, not as a departure from misguided notions of political etiquette.

This administration must be taken to task over numerous issues. Obama has already said that he will consider taxing health benefits and make unspecified changes to the entitlement system, our only safety net. Americans should take to the streets because of the prison industrial complex, they should take to the streets to demand single payer health care and they should take to the streets about a military budget that is larger than that of every other nation on earth combined. If they did, they would save themselves as individuals and save their nation too.

The stakes are that high. Being patient, giving the brother a chance, or being seen as racist are poor excuses for silence. Timidity will mean the death of what little good is left in this country.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached at: Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com. Read other articles by Margaret, or visit Margaret's website.

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Eric said on April 1st, 2009 at 8:54am #

    I thank Miss Kimberly for her straight forward article.

    Its time to see Obama for what he really is, a center right pro- globalist corporate democrat.

    He even says that those who are dissappointed on his stance on Iraq did not listen to him during the campaign. Unfortunatley he is right.
    No one asked any real questions of him. Those who tried were shunned. He allowed himself to be all things to all people and the public fell for it.

    Not onlythe left needs to be honest about Obama. The Black community needs to wake up about him as well. Barry is a front man for Wall St.; and does not represent the interest of any part of the Black community. I am already calling his plans for Afganistan and Pakistan Obama’s Folly. Get the articles of impeachment ready.


  2. bozh said on April 1st, 2009 at 11:03am #

    i did expect greater evil from US regardless who wld manage corporate affairs.
    but US is just at the begining of its criminal behavior towards palestinians, syrians, iranians, lebanese, iraqis, p’stanis, and afghanis.
    so expect even greater evil from US than the greater evil under O management.

    the post-20th century warfare by US and nato has a purpose, but you may have to wait a century or so for funni uncle to tell you that.
    so take a guess or guesses; mull over them for days if you like; embed all the guesses in your brain and, voila, one appears to make most sense: is it world’s goodies or not?

    remember, don’t be scared [as priests and politicains are] for using the word “guess” .
    priests use the word “to believe” [since it means to them “to know”] and not the words such as: I think, maybe, i guess. tnx

  3. burro said on April 1st, 2009 at 2:49pm #

    Margaret, the delusion is that we believe the president is calling the shots. The reality is that Obama is the figurehead emperor of the American Empire.

    Emperor Obama, along with the corporate/military representatives we call the Congress, is interested in supporting and maintaining the American Empire. Nothing more; nothing less.

    The words we choose to use say a great deal about our thinking processes. For example, if we replaced “U.S.” with “American Empire” in our language, it would not only be more realistic, it would loosen mental prejudices so that we could all see better. A new pair of eyeglasses will work wonders for our blurred vision.

  4. Jeff said on April 1st, 2009 at 3:59pm #

    An article from March 28/09 made reference to “money oligarchs”. Therefore Obama is a “made” candidate. What happens therefore means nothing will change. Reality or Illusion. Which is preferred. Which do all you prefer? Peel off your mask. Make sure to be prepared.

  5. Thomas Van Oppens said on April 2nd, 2009 at 3:00pm #

    I’ve always seen the US elections as something bizarre: it revolves around the person, and not around the ideas. You get to see the candidates family, how and where he grew up and whether he’s really patriotic, etc.
    Rather than asking the questions that really matter: How will you solve the crisis, what about the war etc.
    And maybe those questions are asked, but in one way or the other, I don’t get to see them. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most people are more interested in the presidents personal live than his stance on ideas.

    Well of course, some questions were asked and very detailed and intelligent answers were given:
    Q: what are you going to do:
    A: I will bring change.

    Q: How will you solve the economic crisis?
    A: I have a plan.(I heard that one many times in the media. But I was unable to find any details.)

    Q: What about Iraq?
    A: I will bring troops home.

    Q: What about the taliban?
    A: we will hunt them down and destroy them/

    Q: What if they flee to Pakistan and Pakistan doesn’t coöporate?
    A: We bomb Pakistan.


    In my country, these questions would be the beginning of a long talk…

    The problem is also: If you don’t like the democrats or the republicans then your f*cked: There is more in life then being for or against. And America calls itself a democracy but it isn’t. Americans could only choose between: Big occupation of Iraq and small occupation of Iraq…
    And then I think: Thats fucked. But when I talk to Americans hey think that their democracy works because a woman or a black person can become president. And they don’t care about the content of their message. And thats the most powerfull nation on earth… 🙁

    ps: I read this and it’s not so well structured, sorry!

  6. Don Hawkins said on April 2nd, 2009 at 7:23pm #

    it revolves around the person, and not around the ideas. It revolves now in the twenty first century around something called an optical delusion of consciousness it’s not real. Is anything being solved come on is anything being solved or is it made to seem like it is. Is most of what we see and hear nothing more than an illusion of knowledge and not even a good attempt at that. Once in a great while someone will say something that is real the truth with a new way of thinking but only once in a great while. If you don’t believe the illusion of knowledge will people listen to you? “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… Just a thought

  7. mary said on April 6th, 2009 at 12:08am #

    As Obama continues to play to the crowds first in London, then Strasbourg and Prague, and today in Turkey, his drones are terrorizing the population on the borders of Pakistan and Adghanistan. One million have left their homes and 81 have been killed since he took office – the equivalent of ten for each week he has been in the White House.

    Thousands flee bomb attacks by US drones

    Daud Khattakin and Christina Lamb, Times

    AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people. The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials…

    Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6036512.ece

    He is a straw man speaking hollow words.

  8. mary said on April 6th, 2009 at 2:52am #

    The Morning Star (the only socialist newspaper in the UK and which carries no advertising) says it better than I can.

    Morning Star comment

    “IT is certainly true that US President Barack Obama’s broad and inclusive public persona is a welcome change from the narrow bigoted fundamentalism of his predecessor George W Bush.

    And it is refreshing, albeit faintly incredible, to hear the commander-in-chief of the largest nuclear power in the world say that the US seeks “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and continue that the US is “ready to lead,” has a “moral responsibility to act” and stands for the right of everybody to live free of fear in the 21st century.

    It is only when one stands back from the dizzy power of Mr Obama’s rhetoric and measures it against the cold realities of world politics that the doubts start to crowd in like the qhost of Christmas past steaming in on Ebenezer Scrooge.

    For someone so vocally committed to nuclear detente and eventual disarmament, President Obama cuts a strange figure on the world stage, mixing mixing peace talk with a cold-warrior reality which would not disgrace the most right-wing of his predecessors.

    On the one hand stands a man who declares that “the world must stand together and prevent the spread of these weapons.”

    But on the other stands a president in control of sufficient nuclear firepower to turn large tracts of the world into nuclear wastelands.

    The man proclaims “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” but the president continues to support Israel, whose illegal nuclear weapons clearly classify it as a rogue state among the nations of the world.

    He shamelessly continues to use nuclear-armed Israel to counterbalance the regional influence of Iran and, to preserve the integrity of that counterweight, argues and threatens against an Iranian nuclear capacity while blithely disregarding the Israeli nuclear crime.

    Mr Obama says that the “most immediate and extreme threat to global security” is terrorists possessing nuclear weapons.

    But he continues to disregard the role of his own massive nuclear arsenal in making that possession into a logical aspiration for any organisation, be it nationally or religiously led, that wishes to become a force in world politics.

    His condemnation of North Korea’s launch of a rocket on Sunday would have carried considerably more authority if it had come from a president who didn’t have a lackey following him around with the nuclear red button always within reach.

    None of this is to say that Mr Obama’s initiative in reopening the issue of nuclear arms reduction should be rejected as phoney. Quite the reverse.

    Substantial bilateral reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenal would be an enormous forward move in any event.

    The world would be much safer for such reductions and they should be pursued with eagerness.

    But the fact remains that US influence to remove the perceived threat of an Iranian nuclear capability should be accompanied by the use of that influence to neutralise the Israeli arsenal.

    And any bilateral talks should be predicated on an acknowledgement that war, whether nuclear or conventional, is not the continuation of politics by other means, but an outrage perpetrated on the weak by the strong and an inappropriate response from a man who wishes to be seen as a peacemaker.

    And US policy on Afghanistan and Iran must reflect just that. ”


  9. Max Shields said on April 6th, 2009 at 6:16am #

    Mary, this is why Obama is particular dangerous as a front-man for the continued violence, he provides the overt cover for American Empire’s war crimes.

    It is plain to see that there is not one iota of difference between Obama and McCain. I think McCain would be following exactly this same path. Much of the Bush policies are fully in tact.

    The crime and the man could not be distinguished with Bush. With Obama, the crimes go on, but the disjoint in message, the smooth hypocricy, and the complete and utter collapse of opposition here in the US, makes this the most dangerous of times.

    In the end, it may not be the “will” of the people so much as the non-negotiable reality of a collapsed, bankrupt empire, with problems so painful that choices are scaled to transformation in one direction or another. Will the plutocrats still hold power at that point?

    But at bottom, Obama soaring rhetoric is an affront to humanity, as it speaks to disarmament on the one hand and bombs the lives out of children and innocents in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The contrasting styles between Obama and Bush, have provided for the continuation of the imperialistic war crimes. Obama is now a criminal; as much so as Bush whose illegalities Obama is covering up, using the executive branch to keep the lid on the crimes of the Bush administration.

    Obama owns these wars. And it is now time to make that clear in every way possible. But he’s a slippery one. He’ll give an executive order allowing stem cell research and gov’t funding, on the one hand, and than throw over a trillion dollars into the whores of finance, and hire on the guns of Wall Street and their banksters.

    Obama is a dangerous leader because unlike Bush he’s a double dealer.

  10. bozh said on April 6th, 2009 at 6:24am #

    voting for O=voting for the uncle. he is one and the same; never changes nor wavers when there is s’mthing to grab.

    he, thru his managers, talks sweetly but excercises ever greater evil.
    only thing that the funni uncle fears is his people, or about 90% of his dear subjects.
    one never knows, these serfs may just awaken one day if there wld be peace in hearts of the ruling class.