Cornel West, black intellectual and social critic, laments: “He is a shell of a man. There is no deep conviction. There is no connection to anything bigger than he is.”
Historian Norman Pollack is bitter, describing Obama as “the reformer manqué, blithely dealing out death. The ‘humanitarian’ Obama personally oversees a worldwide terror network of drones that ‘bugsplat’ people, their rescuers and mourners.”
All Obama’s soaring rhetoric masks a man without intelligence, heart and courage.
Courage? It would have taken courage to say “no” immediately to a strike against Syria. Instead, Obama agonized, brow wrinkled, mien deadly serious and hair salting. Oh, the terrible burden of the presidency!
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes that even “Joe Six Pack is now a peacenik.” William Greider, writing for The Nation, adds:
•“The American people are fed up with intervening in other people’s wars. Iraq and Afghanistan taught bitter lessons.”
•“Militarism and the military–industrial-congressional complex are losing their iron grip on U.S. politics.”
In 2002 an Illinois legislator decried the Iraq War, “a rash war, a war based not on reason but passion, a war distracting the country from its own problems.” The speechmaker? Obama.
The saber rattling, warmongering and imperialist Obama should have heeded what he said himself. He should have listened to critics opposing the sending of cruise missiles into Syria. Even planning a deadly strike destroys Obama’s credibility.
America continues to play the world’s moral cop yet its hypocrisy is gross. For a century it has intervened, invaded and bombed other nations. Fighting in Vietnam, America used napalm. It sprayed huge amounts of Agent Orange that is still harming people decades later.
America hammered Fallujah in Iraq with depleted uranium and used white phosphorus against combatants. People in Fallujah still suffer from cancer, birth defects and child deformities.
Gary Younge, UK Guardian columnist, writes: clearly this sorrowful record “stands squarely at odds with its pretensions of moral authority.”
Yet Obama insisted an attack was the only moral response after Syrian President al-Bashar Assad gassed his own people. In other words, tit for tat: America would kill innocent Syrian civilians to compensate for Assad’s evil deed.
Although bombing Syria would be illegal under international law, Obama sounded determined to strike even if Congress were to disapprove. He claims presidential “authority to carry out this action without congressional approval.”
Super hawk Secretary of State Kerry egged on the president, mounting an international full-court press demanding military intervention.
Even Congress, a historic war lover, balks at giving the president authority to start still another war. However, one powerful senator, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid never learns.
Reid, a contemptible third-rater, urged war. As the Reno News & Review editorialized: “Neither in the House nor Senate did Reid ever oppose the use of force by presidents in a dozen different international disputes.”
In any case, Russia may have saved Obama from a historic blunder. It proposed and the United States agreed that Syria destroy its arsenal of chemical weapons.
Britain, long a U.S. poodle, has finally come to its senses with a ringing “no.” Yet in America we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner pleading for war.
Obama has forgotten everything and learned nothing from history.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.