Friday, August 30, 2013

Obama the Anti-War Candidate and War Hawk President

Seth Mason Charleston SC blog 15The following is my first attempt at making an impactful political video. In the video, you can see the stark contrast between President Obama's anti-war stances as a presidential candidate and pro-war stances as Commander-in-Chief. If it makes you angry, I've done my job.

 

Only 9%-20% of Americans support U.S. military intervention in Syria. It's the antithesis of politically expedient to send troops there. Not to mention a contradiction of Obama's firm anti-war stance as a senator and presidential candidate. The anti-war stance that won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

It's clear that our Commander-In-Chief defers to military brass. 

It's unfortunate that, now that he's been elected to the federal government's highest office, Obama has ascribed to the disastrous post-Cold War neoconservative, interventionist foreign policy that has needlessly killed or maimed thousands of Americans in the Middle East. It's also unfortunate, if not ironic, that the first black president has eschewed civil liberties in the name of the nebulous "War on Terror". 

The following is a timeline of Bush-era civil liberty-eroding federal programs, most of which Obama administration has adopted:

Obama the Anti-War Candidate and War Hawk President - Civil Liberties Erosion Timeline

As you can see, the Obama Administration has either continued or grown most of the Bush-era programs, with the notable exceptions of so-called CIA "black sites" and "enhanced interrogation techniques". (Which, given the history of the CIA, may continue in secret.) Yet, the Left, which took a firm stance against the Bush Administration's overreach in the name of the "War on Terror", has had little to say about Obama's. Andrew Kirell penned an excellent op-ed on the subject for Mediaite:
The news that the Obama administration’s National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of US Verizon customers via a top secret court order is astonishing and appalling on many levels. But there is one thing it is not: Surprising.
In the post-9/11 world, the US government has increasingly found ways to expand its surveillance capabilities through secretive court orders, malleable standards, and blanket laws — seemingly without restraint. This latest NSA news, as broken by the venerable Glenn Greenwald, only serves to confirm what civil libertarians have long suspected: the NSA has repeatedly engaged in massive surveillance of domestic communications of millions of Americans, regardless of whether they are suspected of a crime.

Libertarians who struggled through the Bush years will recall how the NSA had been secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Americans, with the help of telecommunications giants like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. “The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime,” USA Today reported in 2006, several years after Bush initiated the secretive program.

Given Greenwald’s report, this all sounds eerily familiar. We now have confirmation that Obama has continued, if not expanded, that exact sort of egregious surveillance program. In fact, as Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez told Greenwald, this Obama incident perhaps goes further with an “extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion.”

This latest example of Obama overreach is sure to rankle the feathers of conservatives already rightfully disturbed by the DOJ’s extensive snooping on journalists and the IRS’s intentional targeting of tea party organizations. While many of these same conservatives were rah-rah’ing the expansion of the NSA and United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court during the Bush years, it is a pleasant change to see them finally care about FISA. Welcome aboard.

Now it’s up to the liberals who lauded Obama as the “anti-Bush” civil liberties champion in 2008 to swallow their pride as well and take a stand against this administration’s overreach, despite what they might see as partisan opportunism coming from the right.
As the last 13 years have proven, regardless of who is in the White House the security state will continue to expand. And it will take some hypocrisy on both sides to finally end it.
"Now it’s up to the liberals who lauded Obama as the 'anti-Bush' civil liberties champion in 2008 to swallow their pride as well and take a stand against this administration’s overreach." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Seth Mason, Charleston SC

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