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Show Us There Was Some Sincerity in Your Words
by Sudhama Ranganathan
Email: uconnharassment (nospam) gmail.com
22 Oct 2011
We can't expect politicians to be nice clean folk that don't lie, stretch the truth or change direction at the drop of a hat. It's unfortunate, yet often enough anticipated. It's no less that way here in America than anywhere else in the world. We see and hear about political corruption and duplicity everywhere and nobody's surprised when we see it here. But sometimes even we can get caught off guard at the level our politicians can stoop to.</
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With the last administration many people weren't surprised at the fact they were pretty ruthless as they seemed that way early on. But the level they stooped to and the many revelations just seemed non-stop. It was one after another and a dark time in our history.
There was the underhandedness like changing the definition of torture - actually not the definition, but the name. They still stuck to the basic definition, but suddenly there was this new thing between torture and harsh interrogation Vice President Cheney came up with called "enhanced interrogation." Well, when you have harsh interrogation and enhance that - you've pretty much crossed into the land on the other side of that dividing line haven't you? Was there some kind of redistricting the rest of us were unaware of in terms of dealing with POW's?
There was the absolute lack of weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq meaning we invaded with no pretense, as "the fact there's a bad guy somewhere" is not reason enough to send our military. Certain politicians then started saying we needed to stay to win the war. What war? We made a mistake. Who were we fighting? It was a mistake to begin with. How do you win a mistake? It made no sense.
If you're driving down the street then pull over because you think you have a flat, get out and realize the tire's fine, you don't change it anyway saying "it's because it is flat" unless you've lost a couple of marbles. I guess if companies you get money from in terms of campaign contributions might benefit substantially if you change that tire - well if you're that kind of person - you may feel you have a reason. You're lie with the tire of course would be innocuous at least compared with the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Iraq and all the American tax payer money spent so far on that "mistake."
There was Scooter Libby and Valarie Plame. Not only did administration officials out an innocent member of US intelligence, they did it after ignoring that agency's warnings about 911. They let down the nation in very public ways regarding that agency at least twice. Then they forced their subordinate to take the rap without the guts to stand up and say they gave the order.
Those are just a fraction of possible examples from the administration previous to the current Obama administration. President Obama himself came into power on the heels of the scandal laden Bush regime saying he would be a change. He painted himself as being wholly apart from the nasty tricks and tactics of the Bush/Cheney administration. He vowed those day were over and a new age was coming. It was hope and change for America and a new beginning. He was thwarted vigorously by the other side politically no doubt and the amount of racist emails exposed from the offices of elected officials from the opposite party was disheartening.
No racial group is immune to being the brunt of nor using racism, racist humor etc. But coming from actual members of one of the two major political parties over and over aimed at the President of the United States after he had just been elected, was surely something new. We knew it would be coming, however most folks expected it from a certain major news channel (which it did) and non elected leaders. Yet racism does tend to override the senses.
All that aside the majority of the nation voted him into office without race being the primary issue, though it was momentous and for many earth shattering in the best way possible to have an African American president. Regardless of his race, we expected a man that lived up to is words. Hope and change. He promised much, and though most of us didn't expect heaven on earth we did think he would at least be the man he portrayed himself to be.
He said he would end the wars and said that was his priority. He said he would not get us into wars of convenience. Yet though his predecessor got us into one, President Obama has thus far gotten us into two. I was all for short term aid to help the protesters in Libya as they were about to be slaughtered wholesale by Gaddafi; a tyrant that promised to do as much and did. Americans that supported it initially were not in it for a long term deal, just to cripple his air defenses and to allow the rebels to advance. Under pressure from Americans the Obama administration was led from behind by the American public to do so.
But it seemed greed crept into the picture and infected the good intentions. Suddenly our leaders were talking sending in ground forces to train, equip and even to a limited extent, aid the rebels. Not only was this more involvement than necessary, but we were no longer a nation that could afford as much. We needed jobs back home. We had schools crumbling, the majority of Americans were suffering from an economic recession and they decided to extend the involvement beyond what they said was necessary. In the end they spent $2 billion on Libya and probably could have spent half to a quarter of that figure.
It's not like we had a surplus of money. It's not like we were doing just fine economically. Why didn't he put that money to something else? When the Obama Administration first came into office Gaddafi was someone they were happy to do business with and Hillary Clinton posed happily with his son in the State Department. (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/2009a/04/122021.htm) They were no less oppressive a regime then. When the man whose son she posed with was killed Secretary of State Clinton exclaimed "Wow!" in excitement. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRRVzVE4v3A)
President Obama claimed that there was a victory for the Libyan people when Gaddafi was killed and surely it was. But let's not forget when in July of 2009 President Obama happily met with and shook hands with Gaddafi himself at a G8 Summit. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/07/09/obama_shakes_hands_with_g) Did they really think he was that bad or was there something else they were rubbin their hands about?
What Libya does have is the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. (http://www.eurasiareview.com/23022011-libya-energy-profile-holds-africas/) Senator John McCain was giddy with delight when discussing how he hoped they would be kind to us in return for our kindness. Obviously he meant oil as really Libya has nothing else to offer us. But why would a politician be so happy? We invested $2 billion in tax dollars at least in aiding the rebels. As obviously according to Senator "no pork barrel" McCain's inference it was for oil, how was that a good use of $2 billion in tax dollars? How was that not pork especially in the middle when so much of the 99% are hurting so badly? Senator John McCain of course is not one of the 99%.
Oil companies overseas don't hire Americans to do the vast majority of the work, it's cheap foreign labor they use. They skip out on taxes they owe here and most if not all are now incorporated in offshore tax havens, so technically they aren't even American companies. How do Americans benefit exactly? We know how wealthy oil corporations that donate millions to campaign coffers benefit, but how do the 99%? That was our money they stole. They did the same in Iraq. That was our money too and still is. How much more "aid" money will be sent to Libya?
Another place where there hasn't been much change but tons of hypocrisy is with Iraq. Just after Gaddafi was killed in Libya, the president said he was ending the war in Iraq and had decided to pull out all troops by end of December 2012. What does he mean? Why announce that now? It really makes no sense. Was it political opportunity? Was it perfect timing?
Well perhaps it was, but there may have been something else. President Obama said when he was campaigning in 2008 he would promise to continue the Bush/Cheney timetable for a drawdown in Iraq. That put an end to the troop presence when December of 2011. That wasn't his timetable he just followed someone else's. Don't get me wrong I'm ecstatic we're leaving and the troops can come home. We need to do that in Afghanistan too, but this is different. He's taking credit for Bush and Cheney's schedule here.
But it doesn't end there. In fact the hypocrisy just begins. See, what he failed to mention as he made this announcement in addition to the fact that it was not his timetable, was that just this past Monday his administration was still attempting to negotiate with the Iraqi government to stay in Iraq past the Bush/Cheney deadline. According to CNN on Monday Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, "'We're still in negotiations with the Iraqis. General Austin, the ambassador, continues discussions with the Iraqi leaders and we're hoping ultimately that they'll be able to find an agreement here.
'So... you know, I think our hope is that the negotiators can ultimately find a way to resolve this issue in terms of what are the Iraqi needs and how can we best meet them once we've concluded our combat operations.'"
Anderson Cooper continued, "That's what the president did not mention today. Had a deal been reaches, the administration reportedly wanted to keep as many as 5,000 troops in Iraq mostly as trainers because some leaders are concerned Iraq can't control its own borders and air space.
"[...] Jessica Yellin first alerted us on the different between the president's words today and the administration's action regarding troops at Iraq. She's been talking to her sources about what really led to today's announcement and she joins us now.
"So, even though total withdrawal is not what the administration would have wanted politically, it does probably plays well for the president.
"JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Politically, yes, Anderson. Look, there's no question that the Pentagon wanted to keep some forces in Iraq beyond the new year. As you say mostly for training and advising and the breakdown was that the U.S. and Iraq could not reach agreement on immunity, getting U.S. troops immunity from the Iraqi laws into the new year. Anyone who stayed.
"So as you heard the president say, they're all coming home now. But you asked about the politics of it. Well, the bottom line is, go back to 2008. President then candidate Obama ran against the Iraq war. That's what distinguished him from Hillary Clinton. And he promised to bring all the troops home. He said today his first words when he stood behind the podium were I have made good on a campaign promise." (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1110/21/acd.01.html) Surely Occupy Wall Street forced him not to continue pursuing the negotiations and so along with the rest of American taxpayers OWS scored a small victory there, but had it not been for them forcing his arm behind his back, who knows?
Once again the President has not really been about hope and change at all. Actually, there are billions in the pipeline slated for 2012 to train Iraqi police. (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=cost%20of%20global%20war%20on%20t) (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-buren/obama-to-create-thousands_)
Those billions are the money of US taxpayers. What more could we do with that? Could we institute jobs programs like they had during the great depression? Could we put it towards education which is falling in standards nationwide while the rest of the world is racing ahead of us? What about large rebates? What about shoring up Medicare and Social Security which he has been making cuts in? We know Iraq has huge amounts of oil, but how would American taxpayers benefit from it? We don't own the companies already there pumping out the oil. They are privately owned and the money goes to the companies, not to the majority of us.
Now he is taking our tax dollars to Uganda saying there's a bad guy there that needs killing. But there are bad guys everywhere. More of this "murder people we say are bad" stuff. Are we going to use tax dollars to kill bad guys everywhere? Why there and not the other places? Could it be the huge crude oil and natural gas reserves as yet untapped? Is President Obama again sending our tax dollars towards that, and if so who benefits? Not us. Election campaigns will benefit as those companies will donate large money to them in return, but once again, how do we benefit from that? Where is the change in that? It's just, more lies, hypocrisy and disingenuousness. That's not change that's Barack H. Bush. In fact as of this date he has dropped the hope and change from his 2012 campaign. What's the next slogan going to be, "Now For the Real Barack?"
Somebody, anybody find that guy named Barack Obama from 2008 and bring him back. Wherever he went, he is sorely missed.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.
This work is in the public domain