August 29, 2008
Obama’s “American Promise” is War.
Barack Obama has embraced the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).
The Obama-Biden campaign has endorsed the very foundations of the Bush administration’s foreign policy agenda: “Go after Osama bin Laden, “take him out”.
The rhetoric is softer but the substance is almost identical:
“For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives. [APPLAUSE]
And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.” (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasis added)
The 9/11 Cover-up
The Democrats have endorsed the “Big Lie”. Bin Laden is upheld as the “outside enemy” who threatens the American Homeland. The fact that bin Laden is US sponsored intelligence asset, created and sustained by the CIA, is never mentioned.
The Obama campaign galvanizes public support for the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT). In the words of Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden:
“The fact of the matter is, al-Qaida and the Taliban – the people who have actually attacked us on 9/11 [note: exactly the same wording as in the Obama speech] — they’ve regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack’s call for more troops and John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right.” (Joe Biden, Democratic Convention, Denver, August 27, 2008, emphasis added)
In contrast to Iraq, the war on Afghanistan is portrayed by the Obama-Biden campaign as a “Just War”, a war of retribution initiated in October 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks.
This concept of the “Just War” in relation to Afghanistan has been echoed by several prominent Liberal and “Progressive” intellectuals: The war on Iraq, on the other hand, is seen as an “illegal war”. In October 2001, the attack on Afghanistan was supported by numerous civil society organizations on humanitarian grounds.
It is by no means coincidental that the prominent “Leftist” scholars and intellectuals, who failed to address the use of the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to wage war, have expressed their support for Barack Obama. The Nation Magazine and Progressive Democrats for America are indelibly behind the Obama-Biden ticket.
The Obama-Biden campaign has endorsed the 9/11 cover-up. Without a shred of evidence, Afghanistan, a nation of 34 million people (the size of Canada) is portrayed as the State sponsor of the 9/11 attacks. This basic premise is accepted by the Democrats.
Obama indelibly upholds 9/11 as an act of war and aggression directed against America, thereby justifying a war of retribution directed against “Islamic terrorists” and their state sponsors.
The “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is the product of a carefully designed military-intelligence agenda, which determines the thrust of US foreign policy.
GWOT is endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats. US intelligence overrides party politics. GWOT is part of the presidential campaign platform of both political parties. Its validity is not questioned, nor are its consequences. The fact that it is predicated on a “Big Lie” is not an issue.
Spiraling Defense Spending
Both Barack Obama and John McCain have signaled that they will increase overall defense spending, while also revamping the system of Pentagon procurement with a view to reducing cost overruns. (See Bloomberg, June 30, 2008 See also Reuters, August 29, 2008).
For FY 2009, the US Defense Department is asking for a $515 billion defense budget plus a separate $70 billion “to cover war costs into the early months of a new administration… Those amounts combined would represent the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II (adjusted for inflation).” (csmonitor.com Febraury 06, 2008)
Obama’s message is crystal clear. He endorses the Bush administration’s proposed surge in military spending. He wants to spend more money on weapons and troops. Going after bin Laden and the “Global War on Terrorism” constitute his main justification for increased defense spending:
“[M]ore resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11…”
But at the same time, Obama promises more resources for education and health.
“Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, … I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. …
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American…. (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasis added)
Will there be a shift in spending priorities?
Under the Bush administration, Defense was favored in relaiton to all other expenditure categories. (See Chart above for FY 2004). Will an Obama administration change the structure of Federal government expenditure?
Will he reduce the absolute size of defense spending which constitutes approximately 47 percent of global defense spending (all countries combined)? The US NATO combined control 70% of global defense spending. (See Chart below)
Guns versus Butter
Visibly Barack Obama does understand the Guns versus Butter dilemma.
He fails to address a fundamental macro-economic relationship, namely the issue of public investment in the war economy versus the funding, through tax dollars, of civilian social programs. More broadly, this also raises the issue of the role of the US Treasury and the US monetary system, in relentlessly financing the military industrial complex and the Middle East war at the expense of most sectors of civilian economic activity.
More resources to war and weapons, as proposed by both Obama and McCain, favors the Big Five Defense Contractors (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grunman, Raytheon, Boeing and General Dynamics), Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, British Aerospace, not to mention Blackwater, MPRI et al, at the expense of the civilian sectors, including national, regional and local level economies.
Military Spending Creates Unemployment
Tax dollars allocated, as promised by Obama, to National Defense and Homeland Security will result in unemployment.
In contrast to World War II, the war economy in the 21st Century does not create jobs.
The costs of creating jobs in the military industrial complex are abysmally high when compared to the civilian sectors. In turn, the financial resources channeled by the US government to the DoD defense contractors dramatically reduces public expenditure in favor of all other spending categories.
Lockeed Martin together with Northrop Grumman have been involved in developing the Joint Fighter program. Based on initial estimates, 5400 direct jobs were created at a unit cost of $37 million per job. (See Michel Chossudovsky, War is Good for Business, Global Research, September 16, 2001). Similarly at Boeing’s assembly plant, each job created in the Joint Strike Fighter program costs US taxpayers $66.7 million. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 7 September 2001).
With regard to the F22 Raptor fighter, assembled at Lockheed Martin Marietta’s plant in Georgia, the F22 Raptor fighters was estimated to have a unit cost of $85 million. Three thousand (3000) direct jobs were to be created at an estimated cost of $20 million a job. (Ibid) The cost of the program once completed in 2005 was of the order of 62 billion dollars. According to 2008 company figures, roughly 2000 jobs remain tied to the production of the F22. (See Free Republic, March 2008). Two Thousand Jobs created at the Lockheed-Marietta’s plant in Georgia at an initial outlay of 31 million dollars per job.
Imagine how many jobs you could create with 31 million dollars invested in small and medium sized enterprises across America.
These post 9/11 defense expenditures by the Bush administration trigger mass unemployment. Moreover, they are funded by downsizing America’s social programs, which in turn contributes to exacerbating the levels of poverty and unemployment.
Obama’s War Economy
The Obama campaign accepts the logic of a war economy which triggers unemployment and poverty at home while creating death and destruction in the Middle East war theater.
This post 9/11 direction of the US economy has lined the pockets of a handful of defense contractors corporations, while contributing very marginally to the rehabilitation of the employment of specialized scientific, technical and professional workers laid-off by the civilian economy.
Not surprisingly, the defense contractors, while favoring John McCain are also firm supporter of Barack Obama.
America’s largest military contractor Lockheed Martin (and business partner of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) was present at the Denver Democratic Party Convention, among a vast array of powerful corporate sponsors and lobby groups. According to a company spokesperson:
“Lockheed Martin strongly supports our nation’s political process and candidates that support in general national defense, homeland security, high technology and educational initiatives,” (quoted by Bill van Auken, Democrats convene in Denver amid police state security and a sea of corporate cash, Global Research, August 2008)
The Big Lie
The Obama lies are perhaps more subtle than those of George W. But again in substance, we are dealing with a continuum.
The “Global War on Terrorism” is an integral part of the Obama campaign. “Islamic terrorists” threaten the American way of life. Al Qaeda and its alleged State sponsors are portrayed as the main threat at home and abroad.
The corporate media applauds.
No shift in direction.
The doctrine of preemptive war directed against “Islamic terrorists” and their State sponsors remains functionally intact.
The same applies to the post 9/11 nuclear weapons doctrine as first formulated in the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Nuclear weapons are on the drawing board of the Pentagon, for use in the Middle East war theater. And the Democrats are fully supportive of preemptive nuclear weapons as a means to protect the American Homeland.
Under the “Global War on Terrorism”, the Homeland Security apparatus, not to mention the anti-terrorist Patriot legislation, the Big Brother surveillance apparatus would, under a Barack Obama administration, remain intact.
9/11 constitutes for Obama the main justification for waging a humanitarian war in the Middle East and Central Asia. In this regard, his position does not differ from that of the Bush Administration.
Withdraw from Iraq, but remain in Afghanistan.
Bring the troops back from Iraq. Move them to Afghanistan.
Confront Iran, challenge Russia:
“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.” (The American Promise, August 28, 2008, Democratic Convention. Denver, emphasis added)
“Finishing the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban” means extending the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) into new frontiers.
Concretely, the GWOT, which is central to the Obama campaign, provides a pretext and justification for waging a war of conquest, for expanding US influence in the Middle East, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.
Obama-Biden and The “New Cold War”
The Obama-Biden campaign is committed to reinforcing US-NATO military presence on the Iran-Afghan border, as well as on Afghanistan’s border with China’s Xinjiang Uigur autonomous region as well as within Pakistan.
Afghanistan is a strategic hub in Central Asia bordering on Iran, the former Soviet Union, China and Pakistan. It is a land bridge and potential oil and gas pipeline corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea. It is also part of the continued process of militarization and encirclement of the People’s Republic of China.
The Obama-Biden campaign has also endorsed the “New Cold War”. Russia is explicitly identified in Obama’s speech as an Aggressor. Iran is identified as nuclear threat, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Joe Biden, who if elected, would take over from Dick Cheney, considers Russia, China and India as the main threat to America’s National Security:
The Bush foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole, with very few friends to help us climb out. And for the last seven years, the administration has failed to face the biggest the biggest forces shaping this century. The emergence of Russia, China and India’s great powers, the spread of lethal weapons, the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water. The challenge of climate change and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front in the war on terror.
Ladies and gentlemen, in recent years and in recent days we once again see the consequences of the neglect, of this neglect, of Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its action and we will help Georgia rebuild. I have been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, this administration’s policy has been an abysmal failure. America cannot afford four more years of this failure. (Democratic Party convention, August 27, 2008, emphasis added)
The militarization of Afghanistan and Pakistan under the GWOT is directed against two overlapping military alliances: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
The SCO is a military alliance between Russia and China and several Central Asian former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has observer status in the SCO.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which plays a key geopolitical role in relation to transport and energy corridors, operates in close liaison with the SCO. The CSTO regroups the following member states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
For Obama-Biden, the war on Iran is still on. The New Cold War is directed against China, Russia and its allies, namely the SCO-CSTO military alliance.
Challenge the alleged threats from Russia in the Caucasus and East Europe. In other words, the Democrats have endorsed the New Cold War
What Prospects under an Obama Presidency?
Apart from the rhetoric of “bringing the troops home” from war torn Iraq, which may or may be carried out, what distinguishes the Democrats from the Republicans?
A more articulate, knowledgeable and charismatic President?
A more dignified and diplomatic approach to US foreign policy?
An opportunity to the US ruling elite “to present a different face to the world that could revive illusions in its democratic pretensions, not only internationally but within the United States as well.” (Patrick Martin, Tensions rise in Democratic contest as Obama nears nomination, Global Research, May 11, 2008)
A spurious and counterfeit “humanitarian” approach to Empire, which serves to mask the truth and gain popular support.
A less reckless Commander in Chief, who has an understanding of geopolitics and is capable of taking foreign policy decisions. A more carefully thought out military agenda than that experienced during the Bush administration? But with no substantive shift in direction.
A means to quelling mounting dissent and opposition to the ruling corporate establishment by providing the illusion that the Democrats constitute a Real Alternative.
A means to sustaining the illusion that African-Americans can move up the social ladder in America and that their fundamental rights are being upheld.
A means to undermining real progressive movements by further embedding civil society organizations, trade unions, grass-roots organizations not to mention “Leftist” intellectuals into the realm of the Democratic Party.
A distraction from the extensive war crimes committed under successive US administrations.
A “human face” to war and globalization?