Four More Wars! Four More Wars!

2012 November 11
by Turk Studzel

Post-racial politics in America -- is this Bush or Obama?

During the 2004 presidential race, the activist group “Billionaires for Bush” earned a reputation for acid irony with, among other things, their fake Bush re-election slogan, “Four More Wars.” In fact, as we now know, these words would have been prophetic had not the fierce Iraqi insurgency against U.S. occupation forced the Bush administration to lower its ambitions; as retired General Wesley Clark revealed in 2007, the neo-con Bush Mob had already, mere days after 9/11, developed plans to “regime-change” the governments of not four, but seven nations in the region: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. And the neo-cons thought they would accomplish this in five years.

Of course, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned; Iraq sank into a bloody quagmire and George W. grew so despised that Republican candidates in the 2008 election avoided him like the plague. Then, Barack Obama won the presidency, and many around the world imagined a transformation was underway — Obama was gonna rein in U.S. militarism, scale back imperial hubris, and usher in a millennium of peace! Why, they even gave him the Nobel Peace Prize, pre-emptively! “Yes We Can!”

But even before he took office, the absurdity of such a belief was clear to anyone who cared to look; Obama’s choices for staff and cabinet promised nothing if not preservation of the status quo. In fact, what we’ve seen has been in many ways a continuation and expansion of the Bush/Cheney/PNAC agenda for full spectrum global dominance under the mantle of the War on Terror — now add Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Mali to Wesley Clark’s hit-list. What Obama’s election signified was merely a re-branding of war under a more likeable and putatively “progressive” Democrat, one whose charisma and oratory could make the costs acceptable in a way that Bush never could. As Professor Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School (guess whose alma mater!) writes:

One important consequence of President Obama’s re-election will be the further entrenchment, and legitimation, of the basic counterterrorism policies [read: imperialist expansion] that Obama continued, with tweaks, from the late Bush administration.  We will have four more years of a Democratic president presiding over military detention without trial, military commission trials (at least for the 9/11 conspirators, if not for more), broad warrantless surveillance, drone strikes around the globe, and covert war more generally…. Not only does the public generally trust the former constitutional law professor and civil liberties champion more than a republican president to carry out these policies (this is the Nixon going to China phenomenon).  But in addition, many on the left (in Congress and the NGO community, and perhaps the press) who might otherwise be uncomfortable with these policies will give President Obama a freer hand than they would a republican president.

Not only is the Permanent State of Emergency launched by Bush and Cheney still raging, but all signs point to an imminent flare-up of hostilities, drawing Russia and China into another global holocaust, WWIII.

We have a situation in which the so-called “will of the People,” as expressed in the 2008 presidential election, has almost zero impact on policymakers — except, maybe, to force the public relations specialists to better tweak their “messaging.” And so the breathtaking naïveté of the American people — perhaps the most brainwashed people on the planet — will allow the great masses to maintain their belief that the U.S. is the greatest force for peace, liberty, and democracy the world has ever seen: that the Pentagon and CIA’s Predator drones have only the best intentions when they slaughter innocents, that our Special Forces are messengers of peace and light when they raid houses in the middle of the night, that our every military intervention, however bloody, is essentially humanitarian at root. And most of all, that our Commander-in-Chief, our glorious President, is wise, benevolent, and judicious. USA! USA!

Taught from early childhood to view our political system as a hybrid of family sit-com and Steven Spielberg blockbuster — to chuckle obediently with the laugh-track and weep when the director tugs the heartstrings — many Americans invest so much childlike faith in our heads of state that they simply cannot accept that our so-called “leaders” regularly lie through their teeth. Nor can they accept that the entire apparatus of the mainstream mass media exists primarily to validate and celebrate our leaders’ lies. To believe this would be just too threatening to their Hollywood-generated worldview, the virtual reality that’s all they’ve ever known.

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