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Published: 29 July 2011
During the 2008 presidential election, voters headed to their polling places in droves, ready to cast their vote for Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator, who had been billed by the media as the only hope to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rode into the White House on a wave of anti-war fervor and unprecedented support amongst American youth.
It is no surprise that voters viewed Obama as representing the last chance to bring peace to the United States. After-all, on the campaign trail the Democratic contender appealed to those who sought to bring about an expedient end to the United States’ military involvement abroad. The Democratic Party’s leadership boasted that he was the “peace” candidate while his opponent, John McCain, was a bloodthirsty GOP contender who wanted to add new fronts to our already macabre “War on Terror.”
Voters were assured that Obama’s promises of “hope” and “change” would signal an end to the failed Bush Doctrine and the return of US troops to American soil. Anxious to avert further carnage, many American youth viewed Barack Obama as a political messiah, the individual who would single-handedly undo the damage that had been done during Bush’s eight years in the White House.
Now, three years into the presidency of Barack Obama, it has become apparent that the American voters were duped yet again. The Democratic Party tricked thousands of well meaning (yet wholly naïve) Americans into believing a false message and promises they never intended to deliver. And now even more troops are going to die because of it.
One would assume that after eight years of neo-conservative wars of aggression and failed attempts to export democratic ideals to uninterested regions of the world, Barack Obama would recognize the importance of scaling back our involvement overseas. However, rather than ending the wars and restoring America’s reputation abroad, the President has taken the exact opposite approach.
Under the Obama Administration, the United States has added a new country, Muammar al-Gaddafi’s Libya, to their growing list of active military campaigns. Nobody seems to be sure exactly why America is involved in this conflict, and even fewer are certain as to what our ultimate end goal really is. That hasn’t stopped the United States from spending taxpayer money to wage battle in Northern Africa.
While it is true that the current Commander and Chief has moved to drastically downsize the United States’ role within Iraq, one must remember that he has upped the ante in Afghanistan. And with this increased involvement came escalated casualties: nearly two-thirds of Americans killed in Afghanistan lost their lives under Obama’s watch. That certainly is a change over the previous statistics, but it doesn’t exactly give Americans hope that peace is any closer.
Given the increased calls for additional war, one would assume that the once-mighty anti-war movement, which was so quick to condemn President George W. Bush for his involvement in Iraq, would once again rise and attack Obama’s military crusades. In reality, the large-scale protests, peace vigils, and letter writing campaigns that had characterized the opposition to the Republican wars have yet to materialize.
And it doesn’t seem like they are ever going to.
Apparently, despite the current president’s tenacity for waging war, the once thriving anti-war left is uninterested in opposing him. Why? Were the peace-seeking activists of the past decade motivated more by a hatred of George W. Bush than they were a love of human life? Perhaps they believe that, unlike his predecessor’s wars, the current president’s are somehow morally justified?
Whatever the case, opposition to American interventionism seems to have gone the way of the Furby or the Pet Rock, meaning President Obama can wage as many wars as he likes with minimal criticism. That is a truly frightening realization. Who will the United States wage war with next? Iran and Syria seem likely contenders for that dubious honor.
One must wonder how much blood must be shed before the American public demands a revamping of the “War on Terror?” How many Americans have to die before voters turn their backs on both the neo-conservative Republican and Progressive Democratic war machines?
Given the neutralization of anti-war sentiment in the United States, coupled with the lack of viable Republican presidential contenders, the probability that the United States will remain engulfed in war until at least 2016 is becoming increasingly likely. The sad moral of this entire affair, however, is that by casting their ballots for a pro-war candidate the American public got exactly what they asked for. And they don’t even seem to realize it.