A President in Bush’s Clothing?


Today, President Obama will land in Norway, where he will officially accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Now that the President has committed 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, my mild annoyance and amusement about the Norwegian gag gift has sprouted into full-fledged outrage. How can a president who is not only managing but escalating unnecessary wars receive an award as an agent of peace? Even more absurd is the reaction from the Left, which has failed to call Obama on the carpet for the very policies and practices for which we lambasted President Bush.

Like George W. Bush, Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy is rooted in a belief that military escalation and indefinite occupation are the keys to global security and the expansion of democracy. Like Bush, Obama has refused to substantively invest in Afghani jobs, housing, and education, all of which are traditional keys to an effective counter-insurgency strategy. Like Bush, Obama has dipped into the reservoir of fear, scaring Americans into thinking that military aggression, even the pre-emptive sort, is the only thing that will keep Americans safe. Yet somehow, despite these and other eerie similarities to President Bush, the anti-war Left has sat on its hands while President Obama operates.

Even more disturbing than Obama’s warmongering is the blatant calculation behind it. Unlike Bush, whose wrongheadedness was at least borne out of a coherent (though perverted) set of principles, Obama appears willing to act out of pure political expediency. After getting public pressure from his generals and bloodthirsty Republicans for his “dithering” (a Bushian term used to mock the President’s audacious use of facts, evidence, and wise council) Obama finally caved to his rivals and sent troops. Then, in order to satisfy the anxious anti-war left, Obama promises a withdrawal date. Sound good? Sure, except for one catch: He never promised a completion of the withdrawal, which hinges upon the ability of a severely compromised Karzai government and woefully underprepared Afghani troops to take over the military reigns. In short, Obama, like Bush, has American troops and innocent Afghani citizens in harms way without a clear or reasonable exit strategy.

In fairness, Obama has never lied about his desire to go into Afghanistan. Despite what many Obamaphiles want to believe, the President was not “anti-war”, but rather “anti-Iraq war.” Now that Obama has fulfilled his hawkish promise, the ball is in our court. Were we against President Bush or were we against his policies? Were we against the war in Iraq or all unnecessary wars? When we elected Obama, were we looking for a new driver or a new direction? Based on what I’ve seen so far, the answer isn’t pretty.

23 thoughts on “A President in Bush’s Clothing?

  1. I agree, and even though I’m too young to remember it, I feel like we’ve fought this war before. You oust a cruel ruling party and get stuck trying to train a pseudo-government’s inept forces while being killed by loyalist and insurgents.

  2. I cannot believe that I would defend Obama to you. It’s highly ironic. But has it occurred to you that the intelligence that Obama sees as Pres, that we don’t see, tells him how dangerous the situation is? This is really about trust. YOu either trust the Pres to do the right thing or you don’t. If you did trust Obama before, then why would you believe that he is doing the wrong thing now? He knows things we don’t know. I figure it has to be pretty bad for him to go against his base this way. What he knows compells him.

  3. I agree whole heartedly its just crazy how osama isn’t an issue anymore and now we’re talking pakistan also obama hasn’t changed much of anything accept the color of the bus driver. He driving us right into bankruptcy

  4. I hope you’re not teaching civics. Escalating in Afghanistan was one of Obama’s campaign promises. Don’t feign indignity about his policies when you voted knowing full well what they were.

  5. Wow, Marc. Usually your analysis is thoughtful, but this is straight emotional trash compared to your standard quality. I might disagree strongly with your opinions, but this is really bad stuff. Every sober, coherent analysis of Afghanistan with any semblance of a successful outcome involves us out of the country with a stable, friendly government that supports human rights. And those that are skeptical of current policy and its underpinning assumptions also have no illusions to what will happen once we leave, but also don’t paint the president in some Bush/Machiavellian light. Bush was crazy and stupid. Obama is indeed calculating. He better be since that’s what I voted for: someone who thinks before they act. Who assesses pros and cons and acts hopefully in our best interests. But all of this is beside the point.

    I’d be interested in a layout of how you think Obama should proceed and what the consequences good and bad we would face. That’s something worthy of your pen. It’s something I rarely hear from liberals: responsible policy.

  6. How is this commentary not thoughtful? You comment as though MLH wrote every thought that streamed through his conscious during some vacuous emotional rant. I would love to expound on his contention, but it was explained well enough. What do you have against a logical deduction that equates the directives of two supposedly different leaders. Obama is shaping to be more of the same politics, simply repackaged to conform to an evolving political spectrum. Not only is nation-building in Afghanistan a lofty ambition at this time, but is also a futile attempt when you implement policies through such a corrupt, inept government(US & Afghan). Democracy cannot be imposed down the barrel of a gun(see Russia &UK). All this malarkey about fighting the good fight gives the il-informed a warm fuzzy, meanwhile we’re becoming more indebted as a nation and our moral leverage is quickly diminishing around the world.

  7. Well here are my reasons for doing to Marc what he did to Obama in this piece: A) Obama is not a warmonger. He is not “Bring ’em on” Bush. He has played it straight from day one. Fight the Taliban and their close allies al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. B) Obama can’t nation build nor is he trying to. With a corrupt local government that would be impossible. We can help the Afghan’s build their nation if they want. That’s what he means when he says the US will be your partner, not your patron. C) It’s too early in the game right now to even think of that with an resurgent Taliban. They will destroy whatever you attempt to build.

    This is why I tire of liberals wanting results with no plan to realize them. Marc wants schools. OK. I do too. Where will the money go? Who will build them? And who will fight the Taliban to make sure the parents and their daughters who attend them aren’t slaughtered? So, I put it to you Bitter. What exactly would you do? I heard no alternative solution. Just a lot of ish talking which is played out.

    Personally, I think liberals want a precipitous pull-out, i.e. quick short term results, and will duck responsibility for the aftermath. Which is as Marc says eerily Bush-like.

  8. So what is your safe resolution to ending the war and having our troops come home? I tend to side with R.oB comments.

  9. OK I’ll try again to respond to Bitter. Who rarely seems so.

    I think calling Obama a warmonger is over the top and emotional (shrill?) because he is far from it. Yes, he supports war in Afghanistan and he has since we went there. He never said he was against wars, merely stupid ones. Have you heard Obama say anything approaching “Bring it On” or “War on Terror?” Ideological wars are those that go on for ever. A War on Terror would never end but war in Iraq and Afghanistan can. Obama has said that the struggle against extremism can’t be fought only with the military by the military will have to be used if force is necessary. The Taliban will not talk peace with Karzai unless they have less palatable alternatives. Further, how the hell are we going to build schools and infrastructure without some semblance of peace in the country and some form of government (at this point a stable warlord will do) to support it?

    If we pull out precipitously, there will be consequences. Are you prepared for them? I have not heard a peep from liberals on these consequences as if we wouldn’t be responsible for them. What do you think the Taliban will do with all the women who taught in school and the girls who attended them? In fact, I challenge you to come up with a couple of ideas on what Obama should do. This isn’t five minutes on O’Reily. We have time to work this out. Let’s do this…

    At some point we have to stop calling names and produce alternatives. It’s like the GOP on healthcare. Talking loud but sayin’ nothing. Marc can be supercritical if he has a better plan. He can ask, “Why the hell aren’t you doing this, Obama?!?” That’s what I demand from a mind of his calibre. And that’s why I dissed this piece. It’s like seeing Tiger shooting double par. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

  10. How can we have peace professor if there are Terrorist threatening our very survival? It sure is easy to criticize when you have no solutions, or have offered any solutions for world peace that would satisfy those trying to harm our very freedom.

    When 911 happened everyone was in a panic…scared…never seen anything like this other than on TV. I remember that day, I remember where I was, what time it was when I saw the second plane hit, who was stading by my side and the emotional bond we had at that very moment. All hatred went out the door. The fact that you can blog freely today is because our goal is for world peace.

    I don’t like war, I don’t like casualties, but my Father who was in the Navy said if you don’t stand for something we will fall for anything.

    If I slapped you Professor Hill in the face, would you bow down and show me how “humble” you are or would you put me in my place with kind words or cow-tow back to your office to blog on it.

    See, Mr. Hill I don’t like cowards, our President understands that in order to remain free we must fight for those very freedoms whether we like it or not. Our soldiers who give their lives everyday would not like to hear the words from “cowards”, who argue over whether our President should except a peace award. He has accepted the award in the name of PEACE while praying that God help us all.

    He’s not wearing Bushes suit, but wearing his courage to protect and serve our country along with 42 other nations. Together we will stand and divided we fall. Could you wear Obama’s shoes and lead this great country of OURS? I don’t believe I saw your name on any pre-election ballots? What I’m saying in other words is put up or shut up, lead or follow Dr. Hill. I will look for your name next time around since you have the answers and I pray to Allah that you do.

    God Bless You Professor Hill

  11. This is a gas. Dissecting the commentary of someone who has a degree in rap music. Affirmative action has come full circle.Yo, Yo , Yo, what up wit Iraq? Word? How it relate to Public Enemy? Feel me?

  12. What I hear from most supporters of continued American occupation of Afghanistan is this false dilemma: “Either we leave the region now and things get worse, or we stay and fight and things get better.” This faulty reasoning is based primarily on an appeal to fear that has been promulgated by both administrations. Being able to accurately recognize futility of one means, doesn’t constitute the knowledge of an effective alternative. What is historically and presently true, is that imposing governmental structure on Afghanistan via war has been fruitless. We’ve been there nearly a decade, so what justification is there to continue fighting? Therefore, if we leave now, we could waste a lot less blood, money and resources. If most Americans consider the facts, and not yield to political shibboleths authored by their favorite politician, then together we could devise a strategy in our best interest. I reject the notion that I should blindly “trust” my president, because he is provided with more intelligence. Thus lies the problem with our gov’t, we’ve outsourced all reason and direction to politicians when we should be the prime movers.

  13. I remember seeing many people, even some democrats saying support Obama but “don’t drink the koolaid” and things similar to that. I always thought they were being overly cautious, that nobody is absolutely blinding following Obama….until now.

    “You either trust Obama or you don’t”

    “he knows things we don’t”

    ok….? I’m not expert in war, or economics, but i tell you this, we don’t have 30bil a month to spend on a war we shouldn’t be end, fighting “terrorism” which will never be completely defeated. America is on the verge of a depression, debt up to our eyeballs, and people are trying to support sending in 30k more soldiers….to help us leave?? Please explain to me how that makes any type of sense.

  14. Just wondering how many of you have been in the armed services of this great country? HAVE YOU, What about you?…..maybe you sitting over there—huh? Oh you ran out of the office just before signing up…okay.

    Here’s my purposal:

    1. Send non-threatening prisoners held in American Jails and Prisons to training camps and deploy them to the area along with a few city dwellers, gang bangers and theives.

    2. Since none of you have protected or served in the Armed Forces, you SHOULD probably attend leadership institutes for Officer training and also complete training so that you can protect YOUR families back home and some abroad.

    3. All “COWARDS” here and out there who are afraid to speak up, should attend a ” Fear Factor ” program which in turn will get you up to speed on becoming more aggressive in your approach i.e. (King Warriors of African Decent Training), then watch the Wizard of Oz and learn from the Scare Crow about facing your fears and any wicked witches or flying monkeys. (smiling)

    4. Recite the ” Pledge of Allegiance ” every hour on the hour; ie… Remembering the Buffalo Soldiers who died for your very existence.

    5. Call your Mama or Papa before you leave for Afghanistan so they can ask you “Are you sure son you want to do this”…you are scared of the dark you know.

    Love and Service to this great country of OURS and never let decisions like the President make you sweat.

  15. R.oB….see comments made by bateaux1999 for an example of a “vacuous emotional rant”.

    While I can respect divergent opinions as long as they can be empirically substantiated, I took comment #19 to be strictly ad hominem. I spent 8 of my 26 trips around the sun as a nuclear mechanic in the Navy b/n 2001 and 2009. During which time, I’ve been deployed in combat on 3 separate occasions. According to bateaux1999 that qualifies me to be heard. How can someone be ridiculed as a coward for having a disparate opinion and having not served? Dissention is the highest form of patriotism! Some of the most revered of our country’s forefathers were, effectively, professional critics whose ideas molded and shaped America. Furthermore, the ideas you’ve itemized as suggestions for expanded military service are both ridiculous and inherently faulty. America should be ashamed that we cowered into a temporary unity by 9/11 and not out of a broad sense of humanity. Eight years later….it’s business as usual, as we’ve returned to our embrace of every -ism there is. Why do people celebrate that? The eloquent rhetoric about securing Afghanistan is all retroactive rationing for a fruitless, ill-advised war against an ideal, waged out of fear and revenge.

  16. Vacuous: meaning empty, lacking intelligence.

    divergent: meaning moving apart from a common point.

    ****(forget the rest, time is money)……..


    “ad hominem”:

    Had to get out my dictionary because YOU Bitter Brother have a large vocabulary for a nuclear mechanic. Thanks for your service to this ” great country of ours ” out on the sea of dreams. You almost remind me of that Professor, uhhmmm the one that uses all ” dem ” big words ( Professor Michael Eric Dyson)—while po’ folk ask, ” what did he just say YALL “? ” huh” ” what did he say ” ? By the time you explain the point is lost out to sea. Almost need to hire a translator to hear him speak. (smiling).

    Heres one for you BB (Bitter Brother): I almost feel a “divestiture” (undressing) of my silly comments coming soon. I love making young people think and some old folk too. Stepping out of the box.

    Love and Service Ms. Bateaux !

  17. Yeah, BB. That’s that bullshucks. I don’t know if you checked out the link, but you should check out the link above. Te-Nehisi Coates is nice with his like Marc. Perhaps better on the his lyrics to use a hip hop metaphor.

    Back to Obama: critique without substance is weak sauce esp. after years of complaints. Provide an alternative. If you haven’t come up with one, then it’s hard to have credibility. You are just one more #19 in drag. It’s criticism to criticize, which is small minded and frankly for small people. We need to be constructive about our criticism. Then at least we can have a productive discussion.

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