Obama’s Bombing Legacy

Exclusive: President Obama has joked he still doesn’t know why he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, but his record of waging war was no joke to thousands at the receiving end of U.S. bombs, says Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

As President Obama leaves office, much of his foreign policy record remains shrouded in the symbolism that has been the hallmark of his presidency. The persistence of Obama’s image as a reluctant war-maker and a Nobel Peace Prize winner has allowed Donald Trump and his cabinet nominees to claim that Obama has underfunded the military and been less than aggressive in his use of U.S. military power.

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

Nothing could be further from the truth, and their claims are clearly designed only to justify even more extravagant military spending and more aggressive threats and uses of force than those perpetrated under Mr. Obama’s “disguised, quiet, media-free” war policy.

The reality is that Obama has increased U.S. military spending beyond the post-World War II record set by President George W. Bush. Now that Obama has signed the military budget for FY2017, the final record is that Obama has spent an average of $653.6 billion per year, outstripping Bush by an average of $18.7 billion per year (in 2016 dollars).

In historical terms, after adjusting for inflation, Obama’s military spending has been 56 percent higher than Clinton’s, 16 percent higher than Reagan’s, and 42 percent more than the U.S. Cold War average, when it was justified by a military competition with a real peer competitor in the Soviet Union.  By contrast, Russia now spends one-tenth of what we are pouring into military forces, weapon-building and war.

What all this money has paid for has been the polar opposite of what most of Obama’s supporters thought they were voting for in 2008. Behind the iconic image of a hip, sophisticated celebrity-in-chief with strong roots in modern urban culture, lies a calculated contrast between image and reality that has stretched our country’s neoliberal experiment in “managed democracy” farther than ever before and set us up for the previously unthinkable “post-truth” presidency of Donald Trump.

Obama’s Model

Obama’s doctrine of covert and proxy war was modeled on the Phoenix Program in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s and Ronald Reagan’s proxy wars in Central America in the 1980s. It involved a massive expansion of U.S. special operations forces, now deployed to 138 different countries, compared with only 60 when Obama took office.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

As senior military officers told the Washington Post in June 2010, the Obama administration allowed, “things that the previous administration did not,” and, “They are talking publicly much less but they are acting more. They are willing to get aggressive much more quickly.”

Wherever possible, U.S. forces have recruited and trained proxy forces to do the actual fighting and dying, from the Iraqi government’s Shiite death squads to Al Qaeda splinter groups in Libya and Syria (supporting “regime change” projects in those countries) to mercenaries serving Arab monarchies and seemingly endless cannon fodder for the war in Afghanistan.

Obama’s ten-fold expansion of drone strikes further reduced U.S. casualties relative to numbers of foreigners killed. This fostered an illusion of peace and normality for Americans in the homeland even as the death toll inflicted by America’s post-9/11 wars almost certainly passed the two million mark.

The targets of these covert and proxy wars are not just guerrilla fighters or “terrorists” but also the “infrastructure” or “civilian support mechanism” that supports guerrillas with food and supplies, and the entire shadow government and civil society in areas that resist domination.

As a U.S. officer in Iraq explained to Newsweek in 2005, “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.”

In previous decades, the victims of similar operations in Central America included the grandfather of a young lady I met in Cotzal in Guatemala – he was beheaded by an Army death squad for giving food to the Guerrilla Army of the Poor. The Catholic Church has now named Father Stanley Rother from Oklahoma, who was killed by a Guatemalan Army death squad in Santiago Atitlan in 1981, as a martyr and candidate for sainthood.

Bloody Iraq

In Iraq, the targets of such operations have included hundreds of academics and other professionals and community leaders. Just last week, U.S. air strikes targeted and killed three senior professors and their families in their homes at Mosul University. The victims included Dr. Mohamad Tybee Al-Layla (Ph.D. Texas), the highly respected former Dean of the College of Engineering.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

In 2004, after the assassination of Dr. Abdul-Latif Ali Al-Mayah in Baghdad, a senior police officer explained who killed him and why to British journalist Stephen Grey: “Dr. Abdul-Latif was becoming more and more popular because he spoke for people on the street here. … You can look no further than the Governing Council. They are politicians that are backed by the Americans and who arrived to Iraq from exile with a list of their enemies. I’ve seen these lists. They are killing people one by one.”

As Obama’s murderous proxy wars in Iraq and Syria have spun further out of control, U.S. special operations forces and U.S.-trained death squads on the ground have increasingly been backed up by U.S. and allied air forces. Four years ago, as Obama was inaugurated for a second term, I wrote that the U.S. and its allies dropped 20,000 bombs and missiles in his first term. In his second term, they have dropped four times that number, bringing the total for Obama’s presidency to over 100,000 bombs and missiles striking seven countries, surpassing the 70,000 unleashed on five countries by George W. Bush.

Obama inherited a massive air campaign already under way in Afghanistan, where the U.S. and its allies dropped over 4,000 bombs and missiles every year for six years between 2007 and 2012. Altogether, U.S.-led air forces have dropped 26,000 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan under Obama, compared with 37,000 under Bush, for a total of 63,000 bomb and missile strikes in 15 years.

But the new U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been much heavier, with 65,730 bomb and missile strikes in 2 1/2 years. Iraq has now been struck with 74,000 bombs and missiles, even more than Afghanistan: 29,200 in the “Shock & Awe” assault of 2003; 3,900 more before the invasion and during the U.S. occupation; and now another 41,000 in “Shock & Awe II” since 2014, including the current siege and bombardment of Mosul.

Obama’s total of 100,000 air strikes are rounded out by 24,700 bombs and missiles dropped on Syria, 7,700 in NATO and its Arab monarchist allies’ bombing of Libya in 2011, another 496 strikes in Libya in 2016, and at least 547 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Failed Policy

Donald Trump and his choices for secretaries of State and Defense, Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis, respectively, are right to say that Obama’s war policy has failed. But they are wrong to insist that the answer is to spend even more on weapons and use them even more aggressively.

President Barack Obama at the White House with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Samantha Power (right), his U.N. ambassador. (Photo credit: Pete Souza)

Obama’s failure was the result of his deference to generals, admirals, the CIA and hawkish advisers like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and of his blind faith in U.S. military power. But war was never a legitimate or effective response to terrorism.

The misuse of military force has only spread violence and chaos across the Muslim world and spawned an explosive mix of political disintegration, rule by militias and warlords, a dizzying proliferation of armed groups with different interests and loyalties and, ultimately, more blowback for the West.

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Israel, Qatar and other “allies” have been only too eager to exploit and redirect our aggression against their own enemies: Iran; Syria; Libya; and different ethnic groups, minorities and political movements in what was, for centuries, a diverse, tolerant region of the world.

The U.S. has become a blind giant stumbling through a thick forest of shadows and unseen dangers, striking out with its devastating war machine at the instigation of self-serving allies and the same dark forces in its own “intelligence” bureaucracy who have stirred up trouble, staged coups and unleashed war in country after country for seventy years.

The only consistent beneficiary in all this death, destruction and chaos is the “military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned us against in his farewell address in 1961.

In 2012, I researched and wrote about how General Dynamics CEO Lester Crown and his Chicago family backed and bankrolled the political career of Barack Obama. As manufacturers of Virginia class submarines, Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt destroyers and littoral combat ships (all programs saved, revived or expanded by Obama) as well as other types of munitions, the Crown family’s patronage of Barack Obama has proven to be a profitable investment, from the violence and chaos in the Muslim world to the New Cold War with Russia to the “pivot” to the South China Sea.

Now Mr. Trump has nominated General Dynamics board member, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense, despite his responsibility for illegal rules of engagement and systematic war crimes in Iraq, an obvious conflict of interest with the millions he has earned at General Dynamics and clear laws that require civilian control of the military.

When will we ever learn to tell the difference between corrupt warmongers like Obama and Mattis and progressive leaders who will let us live in peace with our neighbors around the world, even at the expense of General Dynamics’ profits?

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

38 comments for “Obama’s Bombing Legacy

  1. Lou E
    January 20, 2017 at 17:31

    Changing of the prophylactics as I write from aruba 1/20/17. Won’t be boring. Saw a narrative on CNN international on the ship that N Korea might nuke the inauguration. Nice to prompt the hamsters with the narrative for nuclear swamp-draining! If the comms drop we’re steering 180, its been lovely, will write from Patagonia….. Cue the music “long corner turning” Jim Page (Collateral Damage)

  2. Ernest Martinson
    January 20, 2017 at 09:46

    Bomber in Chief Obama has exceed the post World War II record in military spending set by Bomber in Chief George W Bush. Obama has beaten Bush in the bombing of Afghanistan and has been busily complicit in the bombing of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.
    The bombing beat rolls on for goose-stepping companies such as General Dynamics that contribute so much to a dynamic economy in the form of jobs and Gross Domestic Product.
    Will the new Bomber in Chief trump Obama? Based on the trend of preceding presidents, he is bound to trump Obama. But all things must come to an end, especially when the bills start coming due. Trump may need to make a deal to end the bombing even if protested by a warmongering citizenry. As part of the deal, he could say we cannot afford both endless war and welfare. One, maybe both, must go.

  3. exiled off mainstreet
    January 19, 2017 at 18:48

    The Obama Nobel Prize stands out as one of history’s biggest disgraces based on his subsequent record as a war criminal.

  4. Realist
    January 19, 2017 at 02:42

    Did Obama personally originate these bloody policies or did he simply rubber stamp them (which does not exonerate him)? Did he have a choice in the matter? Was the choice between signing on and continuing to breath? Are these perhaps not the “facts of life” being expressed to incoming president Donald Trump directly by James Clapper, John Brennan and James Comey and tangentially by Chuck Schumer? Why, like so many other Americans, do I fear my own government, especially the Deep State behind the facade of the elected figureheads?

    • backwardsevolution
      January 19, 2017 at 04:37

      Realist – I’m pretty sure that Obama did NOT originate these bloody policies. I think they chose him because he really didn’t care one way or the other. Like Sam F suggested – no sense of duty. He wouldn’t fight back, not enough sense of self. I don’t think he sat there and said, “Hey, let’s bomb Iraq some more.” I think they are told exactly what they’re going to do, not much say in the matter. I mean, who are they gonna call if they disagree? The CIA? I think Bush Jr. and Obama were both just puppets, figureheads. Some of them would have been more willing to go along, though (like Slick Willy, for instance, and Bush Sr.). Slick Willy is always looking to profit off something, anything. I think it’s as General Wesley Clark said, “There’s been a policy coup in this country.”

      If the fun and games were too much for Obama during his first term, he could have bowed out, but he didn’t. He ran again. Maybe he had to if he wanted to continue to breathe. Would be interesting to know just what went on. And here’s Trump, out there getting creamed, which would be the perfect opportunity for Obama to step up if he wanted to and back Trump up, but he’s not. He’s letting Trump dangle.

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 19, 2017 at 10:02

        backwardsevolution while reading what you wrote here I could not help but think of how JFK handled himself while in the White House. To the established appointees of the government JFK was an independent rogue, and as we all know JFK paid the altimate price for his having a free spirit to govern. George W Bush probably said it best, ‘you are either with us, or against us’. Why, we even now know that Obama didn’t even pick his own Cabinet, some fat cat on Wall St did it for him. Like Trump, or don’t like Trump, the Donald for better or worst has an image of being an independent executive, so now let’s see just how independent he will be while he’s in the White House.

    • Sam F
      January 19, 2017 at 10:07

      According to Woodward’s The War Within, Obama in considering the “surges” in Afghanistan/Iraq initially demanded proof from the National Security staff that there would be a positive effect of increased military force, while Hillary simply OK’d anything those boys with the medals wanted. The NSC stiffed him with no response, and he went along anyway. Biden objected and was simply disinvited from further NSC meetings. Soon they were all believers without evidence.

      So Obama was surrounded with a military staff that simply made demands and refused cooperation with any rational consideration. But at any time he could have replaced their staff, downsized them, or otherwise forced them to be rational. He chose not to, apparently because he knew nothing about policy and had no courage. To be charitable, perhaps he expected them to be rational and had no other plan. That is far from presidential material. It indicates preselection for capitulation.

      • Abe
        January 19, 2017 at 15:48

        A survey of “presidential material” since 1944 clearly indicates “preselection for capitulation” to the military-industrial complex. A slight deviation in 1963 was summarily discharged from service. The object lesson was heeded thereafter.

      • backwardsevolution
        January 19, 2017 at 18:05

        Sam F – “Preselection for capitulation” is a great term. Obama either knew going in that he was going to have to go along, or he was chosen because they knew he wouldn`t be strong enough to fight them, or couldn`t be bothered enough to fight them (not enough sense of duty).

        If Obama didn`t know going in that he was going to have to do what the intelligence agencies wanted him to do, what does that say about his character? That he felt he was special, that somehow the media just fell in love with him because of his “specialness”? I mean, if the media had been playing me up like they played him up, I would have stopped and wondered: what’s going on here? I’m a one-time senator from Illinois. Why are they playing me up? Perhaps he never wondered at all; just thought he was special somehow. If so, that’s telling about him. A large ego.

  5. backwardsevolution
    January 18, 2017 at 23:15

    From Stephen Lendman’s blog:

    “An earlier article addressed political scientist Laurence W. Britt discussing “Fascism Anyone?” He described its 14 common elements prevalent in America earlier – raging under the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama, responsible for escalating police state viciousness.

    (1) “Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism,” including displaying flags, lapel pins, and other patriotic nationalist expressions, rallying people for a common cause.

    (2) “Disdain for the importance of human rights” and civil liberties, believing they hinder ruling elitist power.

    (3) “Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause,” shifting blame for failures, “channel(ling) frustration in controlled directions,” and vilifying targeted groups for political advantage.

    (4) “The supremacy of the military/avid militarism,” allocating a disproportionate share of national wealth and resources for it.

    (5) “Rampant sexism,” viewing women as second-class citizens.

    (6) “A controlled mass media,” in public or private hands, promoting power elite policies.

    (7) “Obsession with national security,” using it as an instrument of belligerence and oppression.

    (8) “Religion and ruling elite tied together,” portraying themselves as military defenders of the nation’s dominant religion at the expense of one or more others, deemed inferior or threatening.

    (9) “Power of corporations defended,” for economic dominance, military production, and social control.

    (10) “Power of labor suppressed or eliminated,” leaving political and corporate dominance unchallenged.

    (11) “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts,” because they represent intellectual and academic freedom, subversive to national security and political control.

    (12) “Obsession with crime and punishment,” featuring draconian criminal justice measures and practices.

    (13) “Rampant cronyism and corruption,” power elites enriching themselves at the expense of others less fortunate.

    14) “Fraudulent elections,” manipulated for desired results by disenfranchising opposition voters or simply rigging the process.

    These elements largely describe today’s America – before Trump succeeds Obama.

    Where’s the outrage? Why weren’t Americans raging in the streets against earlier administrations, causing so much harm to so many for so long?

    Why is Obama’s approval rating around his highpoint despite ruthlessly betraying the public trust? Why have he, Bush/Cheney and the Clintons remained unaccountable for major crimes of war and against humanity?

    Why is anger addressed at Trump alone? America’s debauched system is to blame, revolutionary change the only way to fix things. Nothing else can work.”

    Yeah, it’s not like it was all roses (more like thorns) before Trump’s arrival. Why the outrage now? Phenomenal propaganda fooling a dupable public.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 18, 2017 at 23:44

      Almost everything you listed here takes me back to a Christmas Mass I had to attend in Navy Boot Camp back in 1968, when we fresh young recruits had to sit in our pews, and listen to a Blessed Navy Chaplain go on, and on about what our real patriotic mission in American life was. That was when a light bulb went on in my head, and I knew that I was now working for a bunch of sick puppy’s. After that, and many a burnt out light bulb, only to be replaced by many more light bulbs going off in my head, that it beats me to how we change this evil current of fascism which continually generates evermore shocks of pain throughout this tired old planet we live on. If only we could find the off switch for what an improvement it would be.

  6. January 18, 2017 at 18:33

    “I believe these “political warriors” in expensive suits, who don’t fight should be, along with NATO, put on trial. I also believe they have literally been getting away with creating monstrous atrocities in a number of countries. They have, in fact, created hell on earth.”…
    [read more at link below]

  7. Bill Bodden
    January 18, 2017 at 15:17

    There are only two solutions to reverse the crimes against humanity committed by the United States. One is to convene a Nuremberg-type trial based on the principles that came from the original after the Second World War. That is a non-starter. There is no force on the planet with the power to cause such a trial to happen. So, that leaves the other solution that is possible, if not probable. Excessive militarism and grotesque disparities in wealth have toppled many other empires throughout recorded history and may, someday, do the same thing to the American empire. Until then, the misery will continue.

    • mike k
      January 18, 2017 at 17:39

      Bill – This empire is different than all previous ones, due to the huge powers to destroy that science and modern industry have put in it’s hands. When (not if) it goes down, it will probably take all of us with it. What will be left will be a poisoned, lethally hot planet unfit for life.

      • Realist
        January 19, 2017 at 02:53

        Indeed, as nature inexorably tries to maximize entropy and minimize free energy in spontaneous reactions. All the negative entropy stored in a thousand years of building infrastructure and all the potential energy poised for sudden release in the form of nuclear warheads, stored chemical fuels, and, again, that good old human infrastructure will suddenly go bye bye when Murphy’s Law inevitably kicks in and someone somewhere does something irrevocably stupid.

  8. Chloe
    January 18, 2017 at 14:26

    Thank you Consortium, for being one of the few excellent, truth exposing sites on the Internet.

    Obama manifests many symptoms of a psychopath, as opposed to the less cunning, more easy to recognize sociopath:

    “Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature…When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue. Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.” (From Psychology Today, 2014)

    Excellent description of President Obama.

    • backwardsevolution
      January 18, 2017 at 18:30

      Chloe – yes, I have often said that Obama struck me as a psychopathic type. I started to wonder about him when what he said never matched with what he did, and then started to research how he got to the position he ended up in. He strikes me as an empty suit, almost too smooth, and very emotionally detached. His childhood appears to have been a perfect environment (the fact that his father abandoned him) for his lack of development. I have read many books on psychopaths, and in my opinion he absolutely fits the bill.

      A moral person would fight back (of course, he and his benefactors knew all along that he would not), would argue against what Obama has done. He did not. That’s because he sees nothing wrong with what he’s done. No reflection, no shame, no nothing.

      • Realist
        January 19, 2017 at 03:16

        So, when was the last time we had a non-psychopath in the presidency? Dubya, aside from being scatter-brained, also fits your pattern–or is there some special “acolyte to master psychopath” (his relationship to Dick Cheney) category? Slick Willie was exceptionally cerebral, articulate and manipulative, to the point of daily treating women like so much meat when not dropping bombs on Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Serbia. Bushdaddy started wars in Panama and Iraq just for fleeting political advantage which he squandered by looking at his watch during the debates. Reagan at the very least rubber stamped the slaughter across Latin America, from Argentina to Central America and armed both Iraq and Iran in that meat grinder. Maybe it was Carter, for what needs to be said about Nixon and LBJ and their proxy wars in Southeast Asia? Everyone of them, except Carter, caused thousands (to millions) to die unless Washington had its every demand met, and Carter was ridden out of Washington on a rail, which probably says a lot about the judgement of the American electorate. They must have hoped there is not an afterlife in spite of all their rhetoric of carrying out their savagery as some manifestation of god’s will by an exceptional people.

        • John
          January 19, 2017 at 03:49

          Remember that Carter upped the shipment of arms to Indonesia with full knowledge that they were being used to carry out genocide in East Timor, and also was behind the creation, funding, and training of the muhajadeen.

          He has been good in his post-Presidential time, but he definately has hid share of blood on his hands…

        • backwardsevolution
          January 19, 2017 at 03:54

          Realist – I agree with your list; they’re all psychos. Carter was the only decent one. The media fried him, made him out to look weak, and he was gone. Too bad.

    • Sam F
      January 19, 2017 at 05:36

      Good points, although I would not give the “psychopath” credit for the “manipulation and mimicry” and planning. This is done by a whole subculture of weaponized rationalization and deception. Talk to the rich, the militarists, the Repubs, and their opportunists in training, and you will see how the clever rationales for selfish acts are learned, tested, improved, and marketed. It is the principal technology of oligarchy, driven only by selfishness, hypocrisy, and malice. It is a weapon used internally against the survivals of moral training in youth, and used externally to help the bully-boy prove his value as a paid co-conspirator, and to train and evaluate others of the faith.

      In the capture of initiates, the rich/MIC/zionist oligarchy uses implicit threats of ostracism/denunciation/attack or disemployment/disempowerment for any divergence from the party line. Always the threat, coupled with the reward prospect for compliance. They do the same thing to themselves and their spouses and friends, religiously reciting the rationales to ensure that the counter-evidence and counter-argument never force them to recant and lose all of their friends, family, position, power, money, reputation, and future.

      Falsehood pays and is safe. H.L. Mencken said (approx.) that “The average man avoids truth as diligently as he avoids arson, regicide, and piracy on the high seas, and for the same reasons: it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.” The Obamas and Clintons merely organize the hypocrisy.

  9. Ol' Hippy
    January 18, 2017 at 13:45

    Oh, the hypocrisy of it all just makes me sick. When is enough, enough? If the average citizen really knew what was going on there would be a revolt for sure. Thanks for the good essays and I’ll continue to support consortiumnews as best I can on my limited budget.

  10. Sam F
    January 18, 2017 at 13:34

    A very well written article. The warmongers could get nowhere without the control of mass media and elections by economic concentrations. In a poorly-regulated economy, it is the greedy bully-boy who rises to dominance of big business, not the hardworking well educated professional who may have some moral education. It is the rise of economic concentrations that has led to world wars and the generations of warmonger tyrants since WWII, and their dominance of media to demand war, their dominance of policy by the executive, and their destruction of freedom of thought and expression. The US has become an empty suit of armor, blundering around the globe, swinging its sword madly.

    Aristotle warned of these tyrants over democracy, causing foreign wars to create fear and to demand power as false protectors, and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. Our Constitutional Convention failed to protect the tools of democracy, mass media and elections, from the economic concentrations that did not then exist. The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances. We cannot get that because we do not have those very tools of democracy.

    The solution is for a third party to align moderate progressives (national health care, no wars of choice, income security) with parts of the traditional right (fundamentalists, flag-wavers, make America great) leaving out only the extreme right (wars, discrimination, big business imperialism), use individual funding, and rely upon broad platform appeal to marginalize the Dems as the third party.

  11. Josh Stern
    January 18, 2017 at 12:20

    Yeah, this is my view too. Another link – an academic micro-study shows a tight link between drone strikes and increases in “terrorist activity” in Pakistan – http://gppreview.com/2016/07/08/exploring-link-drone-strikes-retaliation/ Is that conclusion supposed to come as some kind of a revelatory surprise to US policymakers? The reality is they care nothing for the truth…so long as the public buys nonsense, the media slings it, the arms industry is happy, funds their re-election campaign, and gives them high paying lobbyist jobs after retirement then it’s all good for Washington kleptocrats.

  12. Zachary Smith
    January 18, 2017 at 12:10

    Headline: “Obama’s achievement: Whitewashing permanent warfare with eloquence”

    Judging from how the mainstream media has characterized the legacy of Barack Obama so far, the outgoing president will be most remembered for his many rousing aspirational speeches and well-timed shows of emotion.

    His talent as a persuasive public communicator and the strength of his personal brand, bolstered by years of apple-shining from liberal magazines and newspapers, has been Obama’s most valuable asset.

    This perception of Obama that has been propagated from the top, the view that he is essentially a benevolent figure with deep integrity or the personification of a modern liberal-statesmen, is a stunning smokescreen.

    The contradiction between the high-minded rhetoric of the president in contrast to the actual policies pursued by his administration has been stark and utterly scandalous.

    To hear Obama wax poetic about ‘the politics of hope’ and ‘how ordinary Americans can steer change’ feels deeply perverse coming from a figure that has institutionalized a vast, unaccountable permanent warfare state.

    I was irritated by the two out-of-the-blue quotes of horse-faced Ann Coulter, but otherwise liked this article’s dismantling of Obama..


    • backwardsevolution
      January 18, 2017 at 18:18

      Zachary – great piece. Like the “stunning smokescreen”.

  13. Zachary Smith
    January 18, 2017 at 11:41

    Barack Obama saved his parting gift to terror, his worst crime, for last, the War on the Yemeni People. Obama’s last war has institutionalized a failed state and which will continue to inflict terror and suffering on 25 million Yemenis for generations to come.

    George Bush was a horrible president in every way, but I wonder if Obama won’t beat him out in the “worst” category over the long term.


    • Anon
      January 18, 2017 at 11:47

      Obama is worse. Bush was merely an idiot. Obama is a calculating murderer.

      • backwardsevolution
        January 18, 2017 at 18:15

        Anon – “Bush was merely an idiot.” You’ve got that right. He was actually a very “funny” idiot, bumbling around. Debatable whether he made one decision on his own while President.

        They were both puppets, though, for their masters, and they would have both known that going in. I wonder if the Deep State are just getting bolder with each new President that they back. It almost appears that way. Imagine if Hillary would have gotten elected! They backed her and would have gone to town under her presidency.

        • Realist
          January 19, 2017 at 03:23

          And we could all feel a warm fuzzy sense of smug satisfaction for having helped her break the glass ceiling in spite of the extinction level event that she would soon rein upon the planet. I think Chris Matthews still feels the tingle up his leg over Obama’s election.

  14. Anon
    January 18, 2017 at 11:39

    Oh, the bombing was the least of his crimes.

    Like to see a report on this Consortium News. The facts are all out there now.


    • Bill Bodden
      January 18, 2017 at 20:15

      Excellent link

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 18, 2017 at 23:18

      Anon that audio is Kerry in his own words revealing what many here have thought for a long time. What I would Iike to know, is what are the chances of this audio meeting, where we can hear Kerry exclaiming how very difficult this Syria mission is, will end up on the cable infotainment and network nightly news? Thanks Anon, and I learn a lot from Thierry Meyssan every time I read something of his.

    January 18, 2017 at 11:02

    Nicolas J S Davies,

    Thank you for a remarkably sobering article. Obama’s legacy is bloodsoaked and no amount of “Out Damn Spot” will change that. He is the most murderous president we have ever had—most of his killings, as in Afghanistan and Yemen and Libya—had absolutely nothing to do with our national security. He is and was a blood-thirsty black man killing many other people of color around the globe. He must harbor in whatever counts for a soul in him a great deal of guilt and a sense he will be punished by Our Lord Jesus Christ in hell fires forever. Couldn’t happen to a worse president. He made Bush II look like Goldilocks.

      January 18, 2017 at 11:28

      Mr. Nick Davies,

      What was new to me in your remarkable piece was the following:

      “In 2012, I researched and wrote about how General Dynamics CEO Lester Crown and his Chicago family backed and bankrolled the political career of Barack Obama. As manufacturers of Virginia class submarines, Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt destroyers and littoral combat ships (all programs saved, revived or expanded by Obama) as well as other types of munitions, the Crown family’s patronage of Barack Obama has proven to be a profitable investment, from the violence and chaos in the Muslim world to the New Cold War with Russia to the “pivot” to the South China Sea.”

      I went to your original piece and read these two remarkable paragraphs:

      “””The U.S. system of legalized bribery ensures that candidates pass a rigorous program of ideological tests before they get anywhere near a seat in the U.S. Senate, let alone the White House. These tests take place in conversations over many years, as Lester Crown described to the Chicago Jewish News, and in endless hours of grueling calls and meetings to solicit bribes from wealthy Americans. The thoroughness and the personal nature of this process stands in stark contrast to the slick public relations campaign by which a candidate like Obama is eventually introduced to the American public.

      “””From his first interview with Lester Crown in Newton Minow’s office in 1989 and throughout their 20-year relationship, Obama had to establish his credentials as a true believer in the ideology of American economic and military power. The backing of the Crown family then became an important and recognized signal to other military-industrial power brokers that Obama had passed scrutiny and could be relied on to serve their interests as president.”””

      I was actually thinking that Obama’s campaign rhetoric was sincere but that he was coerced after he was inaugurated and, because of threats to his children and to expose his affair with Beyonce, he capitulated to the Deep State and reversed all his main campaign promises (anti-war, pro-public-option, anti-Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, etc etc). It turns out I was TOTALLY taken in. I voted for him the first time, as did my wife, but his first Cabinet pick was troubling and it went down hill from there. Within four months I had become a “vocal” [in blog writing] critic of him and that never changed.

      To find out that he lied his way through the campaign, that he was so thoroughly vetted as a warmonger even before his Senate run, almost makes me physically sick.

      I run a publishing company called “Wild Pelican Press LCC” out of Lady Lake, FL. I am online on Facebook. Please send me a Facebook message and we can talk over the phone. I would like to publish your book on “The Making and Selling of President Barack Obama.” Please. Let’s make everyone physically sick. (We can do pictures, in fact like to, but you have to own them or at least have permission to publish them so as not to get into problems with copyright law.) To see an example of our product, check out the following book on Amazon: “”Grief Alchemy: a Story of Hospice.”” I set up the cover, did all the layout, proof-read the entire manuscript. For a very different example see my “”The Moral Imperative to Vote for “America First”…etc” for $4.95 on Amazon.

      Your story needs wide telling and we can distribute your book widely by cooperating with the largest book companies in the country. I like the title, do you?

      Please contact me via Facebook (or maybe Robert Parry would be willing to give you my email address—he certainly has my permission to do so which I grant to him, right now, in this parenthetical remark).

      • backwardsevolution
        January 18, 2017 at 18:07

        Bart – “To find out that he lied his way through the campaign, that he was so thoroughly vetted as a warmonger even before his Senate run, almost makes me physically sick.”

        Obama would never – EVER – have been backed like he was (from the media, from donors) if he had not been vetted like he was. He attended a Bilderberg meeting. You don’t get there unless you’re willing to play ball. Just another Clinton, this time in black skin. His skin color was important because it fooled people; they figured that no way would a black man ever back the monied classes. He fooled everyone, except for those who had followed and shaped his thinking.

        Obama was a well-oiled piece of machinery by the time he got to the U.S. presidential election, and he has followed through on what he promised his benefactors: a free-for-all for big money.

        Had he actually stood for what he promised the American people, the media and others would have drove his head into the sand. They would have crushed him. Instead, they fawned over him. And while he was President, he continued to get the kindest treatment by the mainstream media.

        That’s one way you can tell that Trump is not in anyone’s pocket. The media is absolutely frying him, along with his own party. Should be interesting to see what happens.

        • Realist
          January 19, 2017 at 03:30

          Like father, like son, eh? Though his old man was strictly minor leagues in Kenya.

        • Michelle Alexander
          January 23, 2017 at 18:25

          “His skin color was important because it fooled people; they figured that no way would a black man ever back the monied classes. He fooled everyone, except for those who had followed and shaped his thinking.”

          Yes, I guess everyone who thought there was only one side to a human was fooled. He is half Caucasian is he not? Irish I believe.

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