Thursday, March 21, 2013
Anniversaries inherently have nostalgia attached to them. As the world marked the 10th anniversary this week of the U.S. “war” with Iraq, I am surprised to find I’m longing for the days of George W. Bush...well, not him personally, but his era. I am not a Republican, nor a fan of W’s politics – especially the policies that drove the U.S. economy into a depression in addition to invading sovereign countries preemptively. It’s the 10th anniversary of my opposition to the military action in Iraq. Harry Browne (RIP) and other Libertarians warned of the consequences in 2003 of the action. Their website has been frozen in time at http://www.truthaboutwar.org/. It remains accurate and prophetic. The Bush administration either had the worst intelligence gathering people imaginable, or the material justifying invasion was manufactured to support their perspective. Why would I be nostalgic for those shenanigans?
The Bush administration went to the United Nations to get authorization to invade. Then they went to Congress and asked for the legislative authority to use the military. I have criticized the fact that the politicians at the time didn’t request or authorize war, permitted by the Constitution, Instead there’s this whole other reality that has been created where it feels like war, it’s funded like war, but it really isn’t war. But let’s give credit where credit’s due: the Bush administration at least had the gumption to give the illusion of following the rule of law and getting appropriate authorizations. The political theatre at the time was all about getting the authorization. Action wasn’t taken unilaterally.
Barack Obama swept into office in 2008 as the anti-Bush. Many would say that he even won re-election by campaigning against Bush 43 again in 2012. A key differentiation between the candidates was how Obama viewed the war in Iraq. He promised to get U.S. troops out of the country – and he did. (There are still tens of thousands of ex-military serving through third-party ‘security’ companies as 'civilian contractors' who are funded by the Pentagon. Direct U.S. troops are essentially gone.)
Kudos and appreciation should rightfully go to the 44th President for ending the occupation of Iraq. In other regions, however, President Obama has gone where even George W. Bush wouldn’t. Obama has a kill list that he personally oversees – deciding who lives and who dies. He has expanded the Bush drone program and has even assassinated U.S. citizens – without any oversight or any semblance of the Rule of Law. The current administration has shut down any attempt to apply even military justice rules to the program. Can you imagine the hue and cry if President Bush had done any of these things?
There’s little that I agree with policy wise from either of the last two Presidents. They’ve both been reckless with the economy, spending vast amounts of money that don’t exist. The limitations on civil liberties are epic. The wars are a stain on America’s values. At least Bush went through the motions of following the law, and, it’s horrifying that this distinction makes me nostalgic.