The Obama bandwagon is moving fast and furious,
rolling over the few remaining pockets of dissent even as it prepares
to take power. The mainstream media, particularly on television, has lost all
sense of objectivity and proportion, and their reporting of the president-elect's
doings has taken on a distinctly Soviet
Glorious Leader Picks the White House Dog" is the emblematic headline
of a servile fourth estate. The political atmosphere is positively eerie: amid
calls for "unity"
and attacks on "toxic"
language that is "divisive," there is an odd uniformity
of thought similar to the virtual unanimity that gripped
the nation in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Groupthink is all the
rage, and the media has joined in the fun. Due to this love-fest, they're oblivious
to the warning
signs that worry us few and scattered skeptics. They somehow missed the
Dear Leader's call for a civilian "national security force," for
example, one that is "just as well-funded" and "just as powerful"
as the U.S. military.
Media Matters for America, which is shaping up rather
nicely as Obama's semi-official media shill, claims
Obama's remarks were just about expanding the already existing Americorps program
and the president-elect was taken out of context. Yet his words speak for themselves,
as do the words of his recently chosen chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who declared
in his book:
"It's time for a real PATRIOT Act that brings out the patriot in all
of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under
this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will
be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training,
civil defense preparation, and community service."
Some Republicans, Rahm brays, "will squeal about individual freedom."
Well, let's hope that part isn't true. Because if it's only Republicans
who object to this militaristic scheme to solve the unemployment problem by
outfitting the out-of-work with spiffy new uniforms, then we're really in a
lot more trouble than even I imagined.
If George W. Bush and/or John McCain had called for the creation of a domestic
paramilitary force, the liberals and certainly the Left would have seen it as
development, with the more excitable
types raising the specter of fascism. Is it left to good old Joe Farah alone
out the dangers inherent in such a far out proposal?
"If we're going to create some kind of national force as big, powerful,
and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big
deal? I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the
military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind
of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the
Navy, Army, Marines, and Air Force put together? Is Obama serious about creating
some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If
not, why did he say it? What did he mean?"
We'll soon find out what he meant, perhaps a lot sooner than any of us would
like. The pool of unemployed young males is growing
larger by the week – always a dangerous development for our rulers – and
it's a matter of some urgency for the incoming administration. The Obama-Emanuel
plan would, in effect, militarize labor short of actually going to war. How
else to sop up this deepening pool of idleness and inevitable social and political
unrest? Either draft them into the army or jail them, whichever comes first.
Militarism has infected
American life to an enormous degree: that's one of the consequences of 9/11
we're still living with, although in the Age
of Obama it will be given a leftish gloss. The "battle" for economic
recovery will be framed in military
terms, as, amid calls for "national unity," a cult of personality
forms around a charismatic leader. With government even
more bloated with power and self-regard than ever before, this is a dangerous
moment in our history, one that could easily see the country fall prey, once
again, to the hubris of "idealists."
And don't forget we're still engaged in two foreign wars. Obama's battlefields
of choice are Afghanistan
and the wilds of Waziristan, instead of boring
old Iraq – which is, at any rate, just about played out as an effective
narrative in the ongoing story of our eternal
"war on terrorism."
Prepare yourself. From now on we'll be hearing the Obama-ites hailing the "surge"
on the Afghan front, amid renewed
vows to catch the long-gone
Osama bin Laden and support the precarious authority of Afghan President Hamid
Karzai – the best dressed and least powerful ruler in the region. Popularly
known as the
mayor of Kabul, since his domain seems not to extend beyond the boundaries
of his capital city, Karzai is a pathetic and tragic figure, whose task of keeping
order in a country that has never known it is positively Sisyphean.
He has been gaining some political traction and even a degree of credibility
lately by openly
imploring Obama to cut out the NATO bombing that is "mistakenly"
of civilians on what seems
like a daily
basis. Obama's promise to escalate the war on that front is likely to ratchet
up tensions within NATO as well as with our Afghan ally.
If Iraq was and is a quagmire, then Afghanistan is a boneyard
that– if the fate of would-be conquerors over the years is any indication –
we'll soon find ourselves buried in. The British tried and failed, as did the
Russians, who, it could be argued, spent the last
energies of their fading power trying to incorporate the Afghans into the
Soviet empire. I hate to tell the Obama cult this, but no, we can't –
and we shouldn't even try.
Obama hasn't even taken office yet, and already he's announcing
an "international effort" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,
their pursuit of which, according to our
own CIA, has long since been dropped. If this
is the Obama style of diplomacy, then the value of those much-touted "negotiations"
with the Iranians, the Syrians, etc., which we were promised during the campaign
will be questionable at best.
The United States is on the wrong course in so many ways that it will take
a gargantuan effort to turn the ship of state around. Yet it can be done – but
only if the advocates of a new foreign policy for America stay focused. This
means avoiding the trap
of partisan politics and keeping our powder dry, staying ever vigilant against
the schemes of a War Party that never sleeps.
Antiwar.com is your eyes and ears: we sift through rumors of war so that you
don't have to. We keep watch on the enemies of peace, so that you're forewarned
That's why the survival of Antiwar.com is so essential, and, I fear our continued
survival is indeed at stake. It's a combination of two major factors that has
me very worried: the economic downturn and the Obama victory. Complacency and
poverty are the two big reasons why we're well behind in our current
Our usual donors are either broke
– the average donation is $50 – or else convinced that getting rid of Bush/McCain
means the Eternal War is over and done with. As Obama has himself made all
too clear, however, this is very far from the truth. But I am afraid it
will be quite some time before this impresses itself upon many of our regular
That is why I've emphasized the dangers over the opportunities posed by the
new administration. There are opportunities aplenty, but these require a reasonably
well-informed and focused antiwar constituency. Which is precisely what Antiwar.com
has spent the last decade-plus assiduously cultivating and growing. It would
be a shame if it all foundered on the rocks of the Second
Great Depression and sank beneath the frenzied wave of Obama-mania.
Yet that's precisely what will happen unless we make our modest fundraising
goal this winter.
I appeal to my readers, both longtime regulars and occasional visitors, to
consider the value of this Web site and the service it performs. We report
what's happening in the world, and the War Party's connections to most of the
bad news, without fear or partisan favor. I have received a lot of letters
about my recent columns criticizing Obama, one of which went to far as to state:
"Forget the honeymoon? Forget any future donations to Antiwar.com."
Well, then, so be it. Those kinds of people were never the base of our support,
and they aren't now. At any rate, we can't help being what we are – and we're
ready to take the consequences for not toeing some party line. Antiwar.com
will criticize the new administration when and where it merits it, and praise
them when they've earned it – no more, no less.
Sure, we'll give them a chance. But Obama's appointments in the national security
realm are vitally important, and indicative of the general approach this White
House will take to the issue of war and peace. The likely
continuation of the Gates regime at the Pentagon and the Emanuel
appointment do not bode well for the future. (This is not to even mention the
baleful influence of the enthusiastic
interventionist Joe Biden.)
Don't fall for the audacity of hype – and remember that yes we can
dissent in the age of Obama, though to what extent depends entirely on him.
This is not the time to let down our guard. Indeed, it is time to reenergize
a peace movement that has been woefully ineffective, lo these many years, in
large part because it had no hope of swaying the White House and a thoroughly
passive Congress. This time around, however, the situation is quite different:
we can pressure Obama to do the right thing. But that's only if we know what
the right thing is. Information is power, and that's what we have to offer
you here, in abundance. So, please,
make your contribution to Antiwar.com today – because you know you're gonna
need us tomorrow.