Saturday, May 4, 2013

An American President Who Doesn’t Support the Military Industrial Complex



Some months ago President Obama warned the Syrian government that if the US finds evidence of weapons of mass destruction being used on civilians, it would be a game changer. If G.W. Bush had said that it would have meant he was laying the groundwork for a war that had already been decided on.  He’d be in the process of manufacturing evidence if he couldn’t find it.

But Barack Obama is a different sort of man altogether and a very different sort of president. When reports (covered by nytimes.com) surfaced of evidence of the chemical sarin having been used by Assad and the Syrian government, he didn’t pounce into action. He said he needed conclusive evidence. 

The reports were based on tests taken from blood of wounded people and soil samples. Less than that was reason enough to invade Iraq, but Obama refused to act until there isn’t any doubt that sarin was used by the Syrian government. He was immediately accused of having no spine, of going back on his word, which is par for the course with any sane decision he makes. It’s extraordinary; an American president who’s prudent and reluctant to go to war. He’s a David to the Goliath military industrial complex and the politicians who are its puppets. They must be furious. 

Americans love to say "this is the greatest country on earth". In some ways it is, and I think President Obama is one of the greatest American presidents. But the US is also the biggest bully controlled for too long by the worst kind of people and it’s hard not to wonder how much impact any president can make on that. 

Take the CIA. nytimes.com recently reported that it has paid out tens of billions of dollars in cash – sometimes in plastic packets - to Afghanistan officials and politicians who have accepted the bribes and not delivered. Hardly intelligent work by the CIA. This organization is an insult to humanity and an international public menace with its bribery, assassinations, interference in foreign governments and covert operations all over the world. It 'somehow' didn't manage to stop 9/11 and look at the lovely war that ensued, on 100% false premises. 

The CIA is the working tool of the military industrial complex and it always has been since it was conceived of.  It’s gotten so glamorized by Hollywood that the horror of what it does kind of blends into the fantasy scenery.  It’s easy to forget that it’s run by individuals. Real human beings. 

Chalmers Johnson Ph D, Professor Emeritus UCSD and author had this to say of Bush, the CIA and extraordinary renditions: “There’s nothing in the US Constitution that says a president gets to commit felonies, but immediately after 9/11 GW was ordering CIA to engage in this odd euphemism they use to describe the kidnapping of people anywhere and secretly flying them to countries like Syria or Egypt where they certainly will be tortured.  

"We’ve had numerous CIA officials, high ranking officials saying ‘If you want a good interrogation you send them to Jordan. If you want them to disappear you send them to Egypt.’ It violates international law prohibiting torture. But the US has engaged in it.”

This is what happens with superpowers. There's no good reason on earth why one country should dominate another and it can't be done on a giant scale without giant scale corruption and murderous interference. The American way of life. All wrapped up in a pretty package. Disintegrating at the core as all superpowers eventually do.

It seems like the wrong place and the wrong time for a man of Barack Obama’s stature. He’s clearly far more intent on rebuilding America and forging world peace than promoting giant corporate interest and the military industrial complex. Eisenhower’s warning in his 1961 farewell address probably sounded theatrical to most Americans who didn’t have a clue about what was happening behind the scenes. So his warning fell on deaf ears. At least one American president is paying attention.