Friday, May 24, 2013

President Obama Calls for an End to War and Closure of Guantanamo

How long is it since a US president openly promoted peace instead of war? War has become part of the American psyche, almost. The right wing political machine, with its super-powerful media, has long stirred up paranoia and terror so that false premises would be overlooked when used as justification for war.  

The military industrial complex has achieved its object, and Eisenhower’s prediction has come to pass. The whole world is drunk on war and America has heavily contributed to feeding the addiction.
But on Thursday President Obama, speaking at the National Defense University, said the terrorist threat no longer requires America to be at war. He acknowledged that torture has been used on prisoners, that Guantanamo flouts international law, and expressed regret that civilians have been killed by drones.  

“This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. It’s what our democracy demands.” He spoke rationally, as he always does, about how the terror threat has been reduced so that it is now where it was pre 9/11. There’s no more rationale for war.

President Obama has worked so solidly and tirelessly to restore America to a country that has a chance of surviving and flourishing again, and to one that the world can respect. He's been trashed from every direction and on trumped up, irrational charges. Everything he does is cast in an evil light. Right wing politicians and media prey on paranoia in the electorate. Dust storms of irrational fear and mindless hostility are stirred up.  

He’s come up against obstacle after obstacle in a Congress whose only aim is to destroy him in the eyes of the electorate and unseat him and the Democratic Party. And maintain the current status quo that is strangling the middle class. 

But he's never let it thrust him off course. He’s kept his head even though he’s been in the eye of the storm that’s been driven to a large degree, I suspect, by racism, for 5 years. It’s nothing short of heroic. 

That he speaks out now about the need to stop war in the face of the military industrial complex's power is incredible. It shows what a courageous man he is. When America stops creating wars on false premises for the aggrandizement of that shadowy group, and leads the way with policies that promote a healthy middle class it affects the whole world. World peace becomes a possibility not a dumb dream.  

All the money spent on war can be used for furthering the prosperity of the American middle class, helping the poor out of the gutter, renovating infrastructure that's falling apart all over the place. Creating a renaissance. Instead of a war machine that justifies maiming, torturing and killing foreigners and Americans and puts fortunes in the pockets of those who profit from manufacturing weapons of destruction.  

Imagine if Obama had everybody working with him? This country could truly be a shining light in the world. All that beautiful creativity and entitlement could be put to good use. If any country could change the world on its own, it’s America. 

That Obama has continued along his path to this point and with such clear and rational purpose, is the greatest inspiration in my life and I’m sure of the lives of many. Whether he achieves his objective this time isn’t what makes him a hero. It’s that he works towards it unfailingly despite obstacles. He teaches all of us in the world how not to give up. How not to let those who try to bring you down get the better of you. How not to give in to despair. 

In a lot of ways, he remains an unsung hero. He ought to get the next Nobel Peace Prize. I can’t think of anybody else in the world who deserves it more than he does. He doesn't only lead America, he leads the world. Not because the US is a super-power but because he's a great man.