Obama: Agent of Change? Well, Agent of Somethin’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says — and he should know — there is no difference between the policy of “absolute support” for Israel between Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Obama’s own spokesman Robert Gibbs affirmed that, as under Bush, “all options remain on the table” with regard to Iran.

A recent executive order from the new president allows the CIA to continue to operate its “safe houses” — possibly a torture loophole.

Even President Obama’s massive stimulus plan continues the print-and-spend insanity preferred by the former administration.

And depending on whom you ask, Obama might want to ramp up military activity in Afghanistan — one area where Bush’s policy wasn’t quite forceful enough for the new president.

Don’t forget Obama’s new Homeland Security appointment of a “cybercrimes expert” as general counsel. You know, instead of abolishing Bush’s gargantuan Homeland Security bureaucracy altogether.

So aside from closing Guantánamo Bay in an extremely literal sense — after all, many of the detainees will remain such — what “change” have we witnessed thus far?

Deadly Shell Game: Picking Afghanistan’s Casualty Figures

A frenzy over the 500th U.S. servicemember to die in Afghanistan developed in the media this week. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan surpassed 500 GIs recently, or perhaps it will reach that milestone soon…or…did we actually cross that line long ago? While the AP admits that accurate casualty figures are hard to come by thanks to lags in Defense Department reports and the difficulty of independent confirmation in the region, the situation gets a little more complicated than that. Operation Enduring Freedom, often referred to as the Afghan War, actually spans several nations. The South Asian country is simply the main focal point of this “war on terror” that was formulated in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The AP specifically counted deaths in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Elsewhere, the New York Times came up with a slightly different set of numbers themselves, but their handy chart quickly reveals just how spread out the operation really is. U.S. servicemembers were also killed in countries as far from Afghanistan as are the Philippines, Mali, and even Cuba, so while the AP admirably tallied the deaths in and around Afghanistan, the worldwide U.S. toll for this military excursion is almost 15% higher. Perhaps AP cherry-picked these particular numbers because 500 is more of a “newsworthy milestone” than 562 deaths (Pentagon figures) or 569 deaths (Icasualties.org), but whatever the reason behind it, keeping the deadliness of the “Afghan War” in the headlines is of utmost importance, especially during this campaign season.

Liberals Silent on Iraq Atrocities

In New York, you cannot ride a subway without being bombarded with posters about Darfur and now, Tibet. Of course I have sympathy for those killed and displaced in Darfur, though the numbers have been overblown and other specifics of the situation have been exaggerated. And I am a sucker for all plainly legitimate secessionist movements, as in Tibet. But I am quite sick of being guilted into protest and “action” with the purpose of fixing problems my government is in no way (currently) responsible for.

The Tibet march poster I saw yesterday mentioned the “atrocities” perpetrated by the Chinese government. How about the atrocities carried out, abetted, enabled, and inspired by the US Government in Iraq? The death toll in Iraq beats last month’s entire cluster of clashes in Tibet practically every hour. Why, outside of a few stickers on newspaper boxes around town, is no significant mention made of what’s going on non-stop in Iraq? Are mainstream liberals just so cowed by the see-through rhetoric of the now completely debunked War Party that they still refuse to criticize a war their military is currently prosecuting?

Why are they demurely and cowardly “supporting the troops” in Iraq while wasting their rage on bullsh*t like a police crackdown against rioters in Tibet? This goes all the way up to top liberals in the country — the disgusting Nancy Pelosi tells the President he should boycott the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. Who is George Bush to express moral indignation about anything? France’s Sarkozy is just as ridiculous — he rubs his face in Bush’s crack as the Decider bends over to destroy another piece of Iraq, but is contemplating a boycott of the Olympics opening ceremonies over a few scuffles in Lhasa?


How about some priorities reevaluation?

Several Tries Too Far, Mr Miliband

I know that if at first you don’t succeed, you’re supposed to try, try again. But I think that phrase needs an exception: do not keep trying the same thing over and over again, especially after you fail 100 times in as many years.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband should take this to heart, given his country’s embarrassing failure in exporting democracy through colonization and occupation — not to mention the planned starvation of sanctions and the mass murder of war. But no, he stands defiant in the face of reality, insisting that the debacle in Afghanistan and the horror show in Iraq is just another flawless intervention that just went a little wrong because of a few “mistakes.”

He makes a case for endless interventions around the globe for various foreign offenses — and then unwittingly shows himself up by bringing up the miracle of China. Commerce brought wealth and power to the masses of China, not “humanitarian intervention.” The state has done nothing but fight, tooth and nail, the advances of peaceful humanity on every front. The 20th Century was its last great push. It is finally losing, and the tide of prosperity and cooperation is shifting to overtake misery, poverty, and war. If the power-hungry, bloodthirsty, warmongering — or if you prefer, downright stupid — likes of Miliband would just step aside and allow people to decide for themselves what they want, we’d get there a lot faster.