Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy

August 18, 2013

The MIT professor lays out how the majority of U.S. policies are opposed to what wide swaths of the public want

Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracyNoam Chomsky (Credit: AP/Nader Daoud)
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The following is a transcript of a recent speech delivered Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum, Bonn, Germany. It was previously published at Alternet.

I’d like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not — and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they’re framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.

In these comments I’ll focus primarily on the United States for several reasons: One, it’s the most important country in terms of its power and influence. Second, it’s the most advanced – not in its inherent character, but in the sense that because of its power, other societies tend to move in that direction. The third reason is just that I know it better. But I think what I say generalizes much more widely – at least to my knowledge, obviously there are some variations. So I’ll be concerned then with tendencies in American society and what they portend for the world, given American power.

American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. Those who harbor any doubts on that should read the report issued by Stanford University and New York University, and actually I’ll return to even more serious examples than international terrorism.

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Nasir Khan: Will Obama help Kashmiri struggle against Indian rule?

October 30, 2010

Response to Shahid Siddiqi’s analysis of India’s occupation of Kashmir

By Nasir Khan,  Axis of Logic, Oct 30, 2010

Response by Axis of Logic reader, Nasir Khan on Obama’s November Vist to India: Help Kashmiris gain their right to self-determination.

Mr Siddiqi, I am sure you know what Obama stands for. Please let me add a bit on this score. The whole world knows him as a staunch defender of the policies of Israel who is flanked by and pushed around by Zionists. He has also earned himself the distinction of being a true successor to George W. Bush since stepping in the White House because he has not only followed the war policies of Bush but also extended the war of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is responsible for the almost daily killings of the Pakistanis by drone missile attacks. Let us keep in view the fact that his hands are sullied with the blood of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis and there is no end in sight to such savagery. Obama does not stand for: kill first and explain later. He has a freehand in killing by his advanced technological devices and as far as he is concerned that is the end of the matter. Why? Because he represents the power of American imperialism, military-industrial complex and the corporate interests. That also means there is no inhibition or restraint on what he does. The determining factor in all this is the global military power and influence of the United States.

Will Obama do anything to stop India from its inhuman atrocities and oppression in Kashmir and seek a solution to the Kashmir Issue? I think, we should come out of such make-believe world of illusions. He wouldn’t do anything of the sort. There are many reasons for that. At present American imperialism, India’s Hindutva leadership and the Zionist rulers of Israel are close strategic and military partners. The last thing on their agenda can be solving the Kashmir Issue. They have other considerations for the region and the Middle East!

As far as the present Pakistani rulers are concerned, they are pawns in the hands of the Washington rulers. They dance to the tunes of or the crack of the whip of the Pentagon and the State Department obediently. They have allowed the United States military to use Pakistani airport Shamsi and other military facilities to launch drone attacks on Pakistanis. In return for American money and to appease the Washington rulers, Pakistani army in Waziristan has been acting  as a mercenary force killing and destroying its own people. So American drones and Pakistan army supplement each other. They are making the world safe for democracy and advancing ‘American’ values!

Source: Axis of Logic

The Following  photos are reproduced from Shahid R. Siddiqi’s article ‘Obama’s November Vist to India: Help Kashmiris gain their right to self-determination.

INDIAN BRUTALITY IN KASHMIR

Two Wars Don’t Make a Right

September 1, 2010

By Robert Scheer, truthdig.com, Sept 1, 2010

AP Photo/Karim Kadim
An Iraqi man and his wife watch U.S. President Barack Obama’s televised speech in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday.

The carnage is not yet complete, and President Barack Obama’s attempt to put the best face on the ignominious U.S. occupation of Iraq will not hide what he and the rest of the world well know. The lies that empowered George W. Bush to invade Iraq represent an enduring stain on the reputation of American democracy. Our much-vaunted system of checks and balances failed to temper the mendacity of the president who acted like a king and got away with it.

It is utter nonsense for Obama, who in the past has made clear his belief that the Bush administration’s case for this war was a tissue of lies, to now state: “The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people.” We paid a huge price simply to assuage the arrogance of a president that was unfettered by the restraints of common sense expected in a functioning democracy. Particularly shameful was the betrayal by the Congress and the mass media of the obligations to challenge a president who exploited post-9/11 fears to go to war with a nation that had nothing whatsoever to do with that attack.

With hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans dead and maimed and at a cost of $3 trillion to American taxpayers, the U.S. imperial adventure in Iraq has left that country in a horrible mess, controlled by a corrupt and deeply divided elite that shows no serious inclination to effectively govern. Nor can there be a claim of enhanced U.S. security when the real victors are the ayatollahs of Iran, whose influence in once bitterly hostile Iraq is now immense. The price in shattered lives and dollars will continue, as Iraq remains haunted by ethnic and religious conflict that we did so much to provoke.

Remember when most of the once respected mass media, and not just the obvious lunatics on cable, bought the Bush propaganda that democracy in Iraq, a harbinger of a new Middle East, was just around the corner? They based that absurd expectation on the fact that an Iraqi ayatollah disciple of the ones ruining Iran could order millions of his followers to hold up purple fingers. What a joke we have made of the ideal of representative democracy when Iraq is operating under an incomprehensible constitution, which our proconsul ordered, and is still without a functioning government six months after an election that our media once again dutifully celebrated.

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It’s Obama’s Empire Now

July 16, 2010

Karzai and Obama
White House / Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meet in an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on March 28.

By Stanley Kutler, truthdig.com, July 13, 2010

The American Empire is alive and well—and as expansive as ever. We have established more than 700 military bases across the world, largely encircling the peripheries of Russia and China, which are now central to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The Cold War in the aftermath of World War II drove the expansion as we searched for security—and markets, to be sure.

Perhaps we now are the largest imperial power the world ever has known. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan trivializes the once-massive naval and air facility at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, and we have developed “permanent” mega-bases in Iraq. We engage in denial, and euphemisms abound. Stumping for the colonial takeover of the Philippines in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, so fashionable today, insisted that “there is not an imperialist in the country. … Expansion? Yes. … Expansion has been the law of our national growth.” Chalmers Johnson reminds us of Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s liberal “idealist imperialism,” which would make the world safe for democracy. (See Johnson’s “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic” and other works.) Deceit comes from the top.

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Neocons Have Disturbing Amounts of Influence Over Obama

June 13, 2010

For those who thought the end of the Bush Administration spelled doomsday for the neoconservative movement, think again.

By Allen McDuffee, AlterNet, June 10, 2010

For those who thought the end of the Bush Administration spelled doomsday for the neoconservative movement, think again.

According to a May report (pdf) from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC think tank, neoconservatives associated with prominent figures like former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and pundit Richard Perle are still broadly active, despite policy failures associated with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Israel, the US and Propaganda’s Power

April 16, 2010

Consortiumnews.org, April 14, 2010

By Robert Parry

Sometimes, it seems like there are only two groups on earth that don’t grasp the importance of media – the American Left and some tribe in Borneo, though the word is that the tribe may have just bought a radio transmitter, leaving only one group that doesn’t get it.

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Indeed, part of the reason for the dangerous media imbalance in the United States – tilted heavily to the Right, especially in cable TV and talk radio – is that the American Left has made media a very low priority, underfunding or closing down its own outlets even as the Right poured billions and billions of dollars into a vast media infrastructure.

Yet, even as the Left has undervalued media, two other groups may be overestimating its power to control public perceptions and thus may be failing to adjust to new realities. Those two groups are the U.S. Republican Party and Israel’s Likud government.

Both appear to be holding onto past recipes for success, relying on the ability of friendly media to manipulate public opinion even as the ground shifts under them. But perhaps no one should blame them, since it makes sense to keep doing what works at least until it doesn’t work anymore.

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Seven Years of War in Iraq: Still Based on Cheney’s Torture and Lies

March 22, 2010

Andy Worthington, The Huffington Post, March 21, 2010

Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, but by now, it seems, the American people have become used to living in a state of perpetual war, even though that war was based on torture and lies. Protestors rallied across the country on Saturday, but the anti-war impetus of the Bush years has not been regained, as I discovered to my sorrow during a brief U.S. tour in November, when I showed the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself) in New York, Washington D.C., and the Bay Area.

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America’s 30 Year War On Afghanistan

March 3, 2010

James A. Lucas, Information Clearing House,  March 02, 2010

Interference by the U.S. in the internal affairs of Afghanistan has been a tragic chapter in our nation’s history.

Over three decades ago, there were social movements in Afghanistan to improve the standard of living of its people, to provide greater equality for women, and there was a functioning, if imperfect, democracy. However the U.S., using subversion, weapons and money was able, as the leader of coalition of nations, to stop progress in these areas of human welfare.

In fact, the gains that had already been made were actually reversed. By 2010 the economic and social status of Afghans has been set back generations; women’s status has deteriorated to such an extent that the prevalence of self-immolation has increased among discouraged women, and there is no democracy now, with the U.S. making major decisions as an occupying power.

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The Indefatigable Cindy Sheehan

March 1, 2010

By Missy Beattie, Counterpunch, Feb. 26 – 28, 2010

A  little more than a year after her son Casey was murdered in Iraq by the US Military Industrial Complex, Cindy Sheehan took a stand in Crawford to challenge the cowering George Bush who hid behind security at his ranch. The Peace Mom sat in a ditch under the searing Texas sun and asked the question heard round the world, “For what noble cause?” I remember this well. My nephew Chase was also murdered by war that same weekend.

George Bush never answered Sheehan. If he’d had the balls, he’d have faced Sheehan and said, “For power, empower, Empire.”

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The Iraq Withdrawal: Obama vs. the Pentagon

February 26, 2010

by Raed Jarrar, CommonDreams.org, Feb 25, 2010

This Monday, Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, asked officials in DC to approve contingency plans to delay the withdrawal of US combat forces. The next day, the New York times published an op-ed asking president Obama to delay the US withdrawal and keep some tens of thousands of troops in Iraq indefinitely. Both the Pentagon and NY times article argue that prolonging the occupation is for Iraq’s own good. According to these latest attempts to prolong the occupation, if the US were to leave Iraqis alone the sky would fall, a genocidal civil war will erupt, and Iran will takeover their nation and rip it apart.

Excuses to prolong the military intervention in Iraq have been changing since 1990. Whether is was liberating Kuwait, protecting the region from Iraq, protecting the world from Iraq’s WMDs, punishing Iraq for its role in the 9/11 attacks, finding Saddam Hussien and his sons, fighting the Baathists and Al-Qaeda, or the other dozens of stories the U.S. government never ran out of reasons to justify a continuous intervention in Iraq. Under President Bush, the withdrawal plan was linked to conditions on the ground, and had no fixed deadlines. Bush only promise what that “as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down”. But Iraqis never managed to stand up, and the US never had to stand down.

Obama came with a completely different doctrine that thankfully makes prolonging the occupation harder than just making up a new lame excuse. He has promised on the campaign trail to withdraw all combat troops by August 31st of this year bringing the total number of US troops down to less than 50,000. Obama has also announced repeatedly that he will abide by the binding bi-lateral agreement between the two governments that requires all the US troops and contractors to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 without leaving any military bases behind. Both these promises are time-based, and not linked to the conditions on the ground. In addition, President Obama announced last week his intention to call an end to Operation Iraqi Freedom by August 31st, and to start the new non-combat mission as of September 1st this. The new mission, renamed “Operation New Dawn”, should end by December 31st 2011 with the last US soldier and contractor out of Iraq.

Conditions on the ground in Iraq are horrible. After seven years under the US occupation, Iraqis are still without water, electricity, education, or health care. Iran’s intervention and control of the Iraqi government stays at unprecedented levels. Iraq’s armed forces are still infiltrated by the militias and controlled by political parties. But so far, the Obama administration has not attempted to use any of these facts as a reason to change the combat forces withdrawal plan, or to ask the Iraqi government to renegotiate the bi-lateral security agreement. This week’s calls to prolong the occupation are surprising because they expose a conflict between the Pentagon on the one hand and the White House and Congress on the other hand. In fact, the executive and legislative branches in both the US and Iraq seem to be in agreement about implementing the time-based withdrawal, but the Pentagon is disagreeing with them all.

Obama should not forget that he is the Commander-in-Chief, and should stand up to the Pentagon. Iraq is broken, but the US military occupation is not a part of the solution. We cannot fix what the military occupation has damaged by prolonging it, neither can we help Iraqis build a democratic system by occupying them. We cannot protect Iraqis from other interventions by continuing our own. The first step in helping Iraqis work for a better future is sticking to the time-based withdrawal plan that Obama has promised and the two governments have agreed upon. President Obama should send a clear message to the Iraqi people to confirm that he is going to fulfill his promises and abide by the binding security agreement with Iraq, and this message must also be clear to the American people in this pivotal elections year.

Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-born political analyst, and a Senior Fellow with Peace Action based in Washington, DC.

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