Are you coming for peace or war?
For the second time in his two-term presidency, Obama will be visiting India, this time round as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day Parade. He is the first US President to be given this largely ceremonial honor. That’s a sign of how much the Modi government is willing to bend over backwards to please the US.
But the Indian people are asking some questions of Obama: do you bring peace or war? This question has arisen because Obama has masqueraded as a peace warrior while unleashing his war machine all over the planet. Here is a look at his warrior legacy.
In the early days, after Barack Obama became the president of US in 2009, there was a feeling that the deadly violence unleashed by America and her allies across the globe under George W.Bush would come to an end. Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize, just on the basis of his promise to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He went to Cairo and gave a speech. He talked of peace, and a war weary world wanted to believe.
But those illusions of the great peace warrior evaporated soon, as Obama announced that he would be tripling US troops in Afghanistan to 90,000. He authorized drone strikes in Yemen and increased their frequency at the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. Since then he has carried on from strength to strength – revealing himself to be a War President.
In his six years at the helm, Obama has launched or continued seven armed interventions in seven different countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Syria. And he has continued to back the murderous Israeli regime through two Gaza wars and innumerable small, armed attacks as Israel expanded its settlements. And, Obama has also covertly backed armies all over the world, especially in places where it wanted strategic expansion, like in Africa or the Pacific region.
It is true that the US has ‘withdrawn’ from Iraq, as Obama promised. But this is a technicality – the unfortunate country, once one of the most advanced in the region, is in shambles, all but formally partitioned, and with most of its oil secured in production sharing agreements with oil multinationals. Even so, Obama has announced that 3000 US troops will be posted in Iraq afresh to train the Iraqi army in its fight against IS. He’s already hit the rewind button in Iraq. The Iraq war cost $1.7 trillion to the US taxpayers.
Afghanistan is where the US has fought its longest ever war, longer than Vietnam and spent a mind-boggling $1 trillion on it. And, you may not believe this, but Obama has spent 80% of it while GW Bush spent the balance 20% in his eight years. Bush spent about $151 billion while Obama has spent four times as much - $614 billion.
Even as US troops were finally preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan last December, Obama announced that 10,000 troops will continue in that hapless country till 2016. So, it’s not over yet.
Pakistan, although a client state of US and recipient of billions of dollars over the years, too has been facing armed attacks on its borders in the name of targeting Al Qaeda, although hundreds of civilians have been killed in the process. It is estimated that about 350,000 people have been killed in direct acts of war in these three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Many often argue that after all, the US is fighting Islamic terrorists, so what’s wrong? To such credulous people, one can only say: look at recent history and then check out whether Islamic terror is being finished or encouraged by these wars.
After 13 years of war by the mightiest armed force in the world, Afghanistan is at the brink of again going under Taliban rule. And, not because the US troops have left. Even when they were there, the Taliban was rising, taking control of poppy production, ruling almost a third of the country and inflicting heavy damage on the occupation forces.
In Iraq, after 11 years of war, and after installing a puppet regime that incited massive ethnic cleansing, fundamentalists are ruling the roost while half the country is in the hands of the IS.
In Libya, the country is in the throes of an all-out civil war between various fundamentalist factions and tribal warlords, including one faction led by a well-known CIA asset.
In Syria, the US started off by arming fundamentalists opposed to President Assad, and, after over 250,000 dead in three years of fighting, it is now bombing their earlier allies, while arming still others.
All this shows that this so called war on terror is not quelling terrorists. Perhaps, that was never the real agenda. After all, the Pentagon runs a Military Education and Training program which connects to virtually all the countries in the world. Spending on MET has increased under Obama from $93 million in 2009 to about $108 million in 2015 budget request.
Its, not about terrorism or democracy or peace – it’s about natural resources, pliant governments, open markets and super profits.
That is why Obama was never a peacenik. And, that is why welcoming him and putting him on Rajpath on Republic Day is cruel joke.
#IndiaAsksObama : Are you coming for peace or war?