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Forum Post: Obama and Romney: Brothers of the Same Imperial Lodge

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 24, 2012, 2:16 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
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By Glen Ford

Debate? What debate? What we witnessed Monday night was the total hegemony of imperial corporate ideology, served up in chocolate and vanilla flavors. On every point of substance, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are indistinguishable – not just equally evil, but identically so. On foreign policy, there is not one ray of daylight between the two. In 2011, Obama was simultaneously waging drone and bomb wars against five countries: Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan (he’s currently down to four, plus a proxy terror war in Syria). Romney applauds all of these aggressions, with the caveat that he would bring superior “leadership” to the carnage. Given these facts, how shall we rate the contenders?

If you believe that Romney – who has never caused a cruise missile to be fired in anger – is a dangerous warmonger, then what about the guy whose five actual wars Romney fully endorses? Do you prefer Obama’s martial leadership qualities to Romney’s? If leadership in war involves building foreign and domestic support for war-making, then Obama is your man. After all, he’s neutralized most domestic anti-war sentiment while leading (and definitely not from behind) his NATO and royal Persian Gulf allies in the nine-month pulverization of Libya – great feats of imperial stewardship!

But, of course, that raises the question: should peace-loving voters, given a choice, prefer politicians who are very good at global aggression – who make war palatable to domestic and foreign audiences, as Obama does – or should peaceful folk opt for the less gifted warmonger, one so poorly endowed in leadership skills that he brings discredit to the imperial project, as did George Bush (and as seems likely under a President Romney)? Such is the nature of the choice facing those who cannot resist voting for one or the other of Monday’s contenders: the wannabe destroyer of worlds, or the guy with all the bloody hash marks on his arm.

One can also choose one’s favorite liar. Romney lies about what he has said in the past, while Obama lies about what he has done. Often, they share the same lies. The two got indignant with each over whether Romney, in Obama’s words, “recently gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more” troops in Iraq, today, rather than pulling out last December. No doubt, Romney said it. But, throughout the summer of last year, Obama’s civilian and military officials were negotiating with the Iraqi government to allow up to 10,000 U.S. troops to remain. A July 5, 2011, Associated Press story, for example, reported that “the White House has worked out options to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 active-duty troops to continue training Iraqi security forces during 2012, according to senior Obama administration and U.S. military officials.” The talks continued deep into the fall. In the end, Obama had no choice but to honor the withdrawal agreement signed by George Bush, or put the U.S. in a state of war with the Iraqi government and people. But he begged and pleaded to stay. His whole narrative of having always intended a total pullout is a lie – with Romney now chiming in “me too.”

Both candidates tell the same lie about Afghanistan. There are no plans, and no agreement with the Afghan government, for anything remotely resembling a total pullout in 2014. It’s a game of “name change,” with the remaining U.S. troops to be designated as “trainers” rather than “combat” soldiers. How many? The U.S. military is planning for 25,000 troops, including many thousands of Special Forces. When President Obama took the oath of office, there were 34,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan – so we are mainly discussing undoing Obama’s own “surge” of 66,000 in additional troops. Romney endorsed the fake “pullout” – so, at least the two are lying in synch.

Obama’s most noxious statement of Monday evening, on the death of Moammar Gaddafi, revealed the president’s core rottenness as a human being:

“And to the governor's credit, you supported us going into Libya and the coalition that we organized. But when it came time to making sure that Gaddafi did not stay in power, that he was captured, Governor, your suggestion was that this was mission creep, that this was mission muddle.”

Gaddafi was not “captured,” he was murdered, a knife stuck up his rectum by U.S.-backed thugs after his convoy was disabled by what appear to have been U.S. bombers. The world saw the Libyan leader’s torture on video, and heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brag, “We came, we saw, he died.”

For Obama, it seems that a momentary interval between being seized by an enemy and executed, constitutes a “capture” – for which he takes credit, but not the murder. Although his choice of words may not constitute a lie, it speaks volumes to his character.

Romney’s “mission creep” comment may have been a symptom of inner caution in foreign policy. But it seems that was a passing moment, and he is now gung ho on Obama’s Libya adventure.

Obama failed to revel, at the debate, in having used the Libya operation to invent a new definition of war. Since no Americans were killed, there was no reason for Congress to invoke the War Powers Act, said Obama. Although thousands might be slaughtered by U.S. and allied firepower, Obama has declared that, henceforth, no state of war or even “conflict” may exist unless Americans are also harmed.

Mitt Romney seems to have no problem with the Obama war/non-war doctrine. He agrees that Syria’s “Assad must go,” presumably in the same manner as Gaddafi. Romney’s spin on the arming of jihadis is that the U.S. should avoid it, while Obama’s lie is that Washington isn’t doing it. Romney wants the U.S. to draw even closer to Israel. Obama says, truthfully, that he already has “created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history.” Mitt said amen to that.

Presumably, the Republican and Democratic standard bearers covered every important area of potential disagreement during the 90 minutes allotted – and found none. So, which warmongering, imperialist mad dog are you going to vote for? The one who is actually waging multiple wars and savaging international order, or the rookie?

Ain’t imperial hegemony a bitch?




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[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

Don't forget about the private mercs for hire.

That increased in Afghanistan too and they still remain.

And they're still in iraq

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

Great post. My thoughts exactly.

I wrote an analysis on the debate and provided quote after quote for issues they agree on.

From bragging up Military Spending going up every year under his administration to Romney saying "I support the drone strikes"


[-] 2 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

And let us not forget how them two were falling all over each other for that darling State of Israel.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

no matter what

I'm guessing 2013

"In fact, this week we'll be carrying out the largest military exercise with Israel in history, this very week." - Obama on monday.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

I Might Be Disillusioned About Election 2012, But the Stakes for the Country Are Still Huge

Take a look at the two big agendas of the candidates, and it's impossible to ignore that we'd get two very different outcomes.

October 18, 2012 |

As the presidential campaign reaches fever pitch—with Super Pac attacks appearing constantly on TV and both candidates sharpening their debate zingers—I feel guilty about my growing obsession with it all.

I realize the political and economic progress we desperately need won’t come directly from the ballot box. 2008 taught us that. Even with a former community organizer in the White House and a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate, many urgent reforms were stalled, watered-down or completely MIA. I wish today I could take back at least half of my campaign contributions four years ago, redistributing them to grassroots fighting for the common good.

But I can’t say elections don’t matter. 2010 taught us that. Whatever my disappointments with the Obama on economics and foreign policy, his administration has engineered some significant shifts in commons-related fields like health care, public works, student loans, sustainable transportation and smart growth that affect the lives of millions. Plus, even a sideways glance at Tea Party zealots in Congress makes me terrified about the prospects of Romney taking the Oval Office.

Electing leaders (ideally from both parties) who care about sustaining the commons is clearly part of the strategy for delivering economic opportunity and ecological sanity for the world. But at this point in history, our energy needs to be focused more on igniting citizens outside the usual political circle to demand change in language and accents not usually heard in the corridor of powers—something like Occupy times twenty.

Then why I am so intrigued by the political race? First, there’s the gaudy drama that captures my imagination like a hard-fought pennant race in baseball. And I will confess to some lingering hope that Obama in his second term will be able to slow the widespread looting of America’s public assets—schools, social services, the environment, transit, parks, libraries etc.—and get us started on the long path to fulfilling our national mission statement: liberty and justice for all.

But I’ll also admit a fascination with the Republicans. Can they actually mean what they say? What do they really want? And why are they are so angry even when the libertarian right wing has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams of 30 years ago. They mystify, not to mortify, me. The overarching theme of their campaign this year is challenging the legitimacy of a liberal—even a mild one—to be president. And for many, that’s compounded by incredulity that their fellow Americans elevated a black man to the White House.

No less troubling is the party’s near-unanimous acceptance that government should not do much of anything beyond fielding an army, policing sexual conduct and subsidizing corporations. It’s clear the GOP agenda—which the once moderate Mitt Romney has wholeheartedly endorsed—serves the interests of the very wealthy, who more than ever are influencing this elections with Super Pac contributions.

But cold, calculating self-interest is not the whole story. That doesn’t explain the fury we hear from Fox News, talk radio and Republicans on the stump. The right wing, after all, draws votes from beyond the one-percent, or even the ten-percent that their economic policies conspicuously favor.

A more sweeping reason for Republican rage became more clear when I recently stumbled across an essay noting of Mitt Romney’s book No Apologies in an old copy of the New Yorker. Writer Louis Menand pinpointed anxiety about America’s decline as the centerpiece of the candidate’s campaign. The no-end-in-sight economic downturn and no-victory wars in the Middle East has set off a panic about American powerlessness. (Never mind that Obama’s predecessor in the White House shoulders much of the blame on both fronts.) Among some of the Republican base, fear that blacks, immigrants, gays and women are taking away the America they once knew intensifies this panic.

The widespread consensus on the right is that Obama and his backers believe this decline is inevitable, and are too gutless to do what’s necessary to keep America #1. Romney’s remedy for getting America back on top is a large, expensive buildup of our military might coupled with lavish tax cuts for the rich. This spells disaster for the commons across the board as everything from the National Park Service to unemployment benefits to early childhood education is slashed.

Jay Walljasper is a writer and speaker who explores how new ideas in urban planning, tourism, community development, sustainability, politics and culture can improve our lives as well as the world.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

Of course Romney agrees with Obama. Would you not totally agree with somebody who keeps a kill list, and executes by it? Maybe the election is about who gets to keep the kill list, or more like who's kill list do you want to be on?

As a side; actually Obama is correct about the definition of war. The dictionary defines war as a confrontation between two parties. Now, if only one party is out slaughtering another, that technically speaking is not a war. Its simply a slaughter. (Leave it to a Harvard lawyer to figure that out.)

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 5 years ago

Great post Pete :) Kudos

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Im sure the troops we are putting in Turkey right now have no intention of going south into Syria. They are probably just sight seeing!!