The Unbearable Lightness of Obama
Obama’s foreign policy assumes that by limiting the number of American boots in foreign countries and carrying out interventions wherever possible with drones, special forces operations and cyber attacks that America’s presence abroad will be considered benign. The consensus among mainstream Democrats that a US foreign policy which poses little risk to American troops hardly constitutes a war at all is precisely what Obama needs to continue his secret wars. Public opinion polls demonstrate a nation weary of US wars abroad and top Obama advisors have been advocating reduced US presence.The press after a decade of reporting high US casualties in occupied Afghanistan and Iraq can turn their attention to peace time reporting and foment America’s next “real” intervention with Iran. David Sanger’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times highlights how the White House conceives US military activity under the Obama Administration; US force abroad as it currently stands is defined by “caution, covert action and a modest military footprint.” Describing the effect of US military force in countries lucky enough to be spared “shock and awe” as only leaving a “light footprint” masks a war fueling deep hatred of the US. It also, again, illustrates America’s impressive ability to detach itself from the global suffering it causes. The why-do-they-hate-us camp is perennially vindicated.
A little thought experiment may help us feel how light Obama’s military touch really is.
Imagine that ten years ago the United States was invaded by tens of thousands of foreign people. They killed by the thousand lighting up night skies with missiles launched from fighter jets and explosives launched from tanks. They rounded up “insurgents” detaining them, torturing them, stripping them naked and humiliating them. Sometimes these barbaric foreigners would pose for pictures urinating on a deceased family member’s corpse. Imagine things like this happening for ten years as your country is reduced to a squalid wasteland. The blown up bridges, lack of electricity, water shortages, destroyed schools and hospitals lives and dreams are a constant reminder of the death and destruction the United States has endured. Then imagine after ten years of this brutal occupation, these foreign people leave after having installed a regime that suits their business interests. Your backyard is mined for, I suppose coal if you happen to live in Appalachia or Wyoming. Whatever. The businesses stay and dig your earth as the foreign occupiers leave. You are told by these former occupiers that the war has come to an end. The regime in power sort of echoes this. A lot of them are still around your country at “their” bases. Now imagine these strange aircrafts occasionally firing missiles at your neighbor’s house because the former occupiers identified an insurgent, no a militant, yes that’s what you are now called. Whereas you used to worry about getting in a car accident on your morning commute you now fear being blown up by a drone as you gather dried cow dung to heat your shanty. Can you feel the unbearable lightness of Obama?