Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, January 2011
President Obama and the US Generals in Search of Navigational Change
By Mahboob A. Khawaja
Al-Jazeera, CCUN, January 3, 2011
“War provides an outlet for every evil element in man’s nature. It enfranchises cupidity and greed gives a charter to petty tyranny, glorifies cruelty and places in positions of power the vulgar and base.” (C.E.M. Joad, Guide to Modern Wickedness, London)
“No American national interest is served by the war in Afghanistan. As the former UK Ambassador Craig Murray disclosed, the purpose of the war is to protect Unocal’s interest in the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. The cost of the war is many times greater than Unocal’s investment in the pipeline. The obvious solution is to buy out Unocal and give the pipeline to the Afghans as partial compensation for the destruction we have inflicted on that country and its population, and bring the troops home.” (Paul Craig Roberts, “The World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet” (ICH: 01/2010).
H.G. Wells (Outline of History), once noted on the fall and decline of the Roman Empire: “so began the first of the most wasteful and disastrous series of wars that has ever darkened the history of mankind.” The 21st century US-British leaders share the same verdict of history that typifies what can go wrong with men who claim political ingenuity. In an age of global accountability, it is a staunch warning to the leaders that they are not above the laws and cannot escape the consequences of their treachery and wickedness. The global humanity flourishes with live conscience, not as digits and numbers on the electoral billboard but expects the leaders to be accountable for their role and performance. The mankind lives in one world on one planet. War waged by aggressors in one part of the planet, is a war against the whole of the mankind. Since the elected leaders faltered to deliver peace, they must be questioned for their treacherous role-play. There is no shortage of visionary, competent and intelligent people in the Western societies. Perhaps, the call of time will reinforce the demand to hire leaders who could serve the interest of the people for peace and lead the nations rather than waste time, money and hopes and disregard institutionalized political cynicism and bigotry - not Bush, not Cheney, not Blair and certainly not Rumsfeld - they are all candidates for war crimes against humanity.
In an emotionally charged political culture of the United States, it is easier to score public support as a presidential candidate and strike optimism across the beleaguered masses for better time ahead out of the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have undermined the American core values and collapsed its image and role as a global power. President Obama was unimaginative when he made promises that could not be delivered. Its powerful intriguing military-industrial complex needs on–going wars to maintain the economic leverage. Discard conventional wisdom, forget about the meaning of rationality and purpose of 21st century visionary leadership and imagine the listening and learning podium of the US presidency is out of bound, just stand still if you want to understand and believe how and when next the eloquent President Obama will engage the global audience with his idealistic oratory.
Almost two years have gone by since the presidential election night, President Obama signaled a courageous move and promise to “rebuild America” – a visionary outlook- a picture of tomorrow’s New America, from the Audacity of Hope to the first elected colored and intellectually viable President of a collapsed superpower effectively besieged and run down by the handful of Mujahideen challenging the US war plans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reconstruction of a nation involves rethinking from bottom–up and change of strategic direction to make it happen. After tough lifelong struggle to acquire the White House occupancy as a popularly elected President, Mr. Obama was an actor in a soap opera stage show but consciously speaking to the well informed global audience across many continents and defying physical distances and conflicting time zones to transmit refurbished optimism out of prevalent darkness of lost America that a New America will come into being with a new zeal and best opportunities for peace, liberty and freedom away from the continued wars of greed and institutionalized corruption. Global humanity is intelligent enough not to long for political cynicism and dubious characterization of aims, interpretations and technical explanations. Someone as intelligent as Mr. Obama in his outlook must know his strengths and weaknesses of the people around him and how best he could utilize them to perform his new role as a visionary President and Commander in-Chief of a war-torn and financially bankrupt and morally exhausted American nation. After almost two years, President Obama appears to be taking the in-between seat on a rollercoaster. He must have preferred to listen to the whispers of the few Generals, not the facts of life on the war front. The US Generals are interwoven with the productivity of the US military-industrial complex and believe in war as part of the economic development strategy. Obama needs to THINK and ACT outside the box. He failed to close down the Guantonmo Bay Terror prison as promised. The two Bush led vicious war against the humanity have continued with millions of death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Bob Woodward calls it “Obama’s War.” Paul Craig Roberts (“The World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet”: 01/2010), spells out the Obama’s tragedy in progress:
“Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so. The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it. President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order. Essentially, Obama is irrelevant. President Obama can promise that he is going to bring the troops home, and the military lobby says, “No, you are going to send them to Afghanistan, and in the meantime start a war in Pakistan and maneuver Iran into a position that will provide an excuse for a war there, too. Wars are too profitable for us to let you stop them.” And the mere president has to say, “Yes, Sir!”
Wikileaks won’t destroy America but the two wars have caused the US financial collapse and political downfall. The working of the US diplomacy is old and primitive corresponding to the time of gun and boat diplomacy. No matter how intelligent they claim to be, the US policy makers cannot redefine its economic and political failure that the thinking people of the global community understand it clearly. To the informed citizens of the global village, war is war and peace is peace. It is unthinkable that both terms could be taken for the same meaning and purpose. War is not synonymous to peace. Seemingly, an entrenched President, Obama bluntly told the audience at Oslo that “peace is desirable” but that is not enough whereas the cost of the war will be that “some will kill, some will be killed.” With gruesome outlook, in moments and crossing over the unthinkable time hurdles, Obama assumed the role of a War President instead of being a Peace President. The souls of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. must have been tarnished and tortured, how the new President of Hope is fast changing to be a President off the people and far the people.
The thinking people of America, the hub of organized opposition to the US self-engineered entanglements in Iraq, Afghanistan onward to Pakistan and to the implied inhuman interrogation methods and torture of the innocent civilians at Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanomo Bay, and the human devastation caused by uranium fueled weapons used on the innocent civilians at Falludga, Baghdad and at so many other locations across the Muslim world, are shocked to see the real Obama, no different in absurd reasoning of the wars than his predecessor George W. Bush and the neoconservatives blunders resulting in dismemberment of America as a superpower. Bob Woodward puts it in proper context and calls it “Obama’s War.” How could President Obama ignore the obvious lessons of the living history? The US lost the wars the day its imperial forces invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. The US commanders lack the courage as did the British Commander to admit that they cannot win the wars in Afghanistan. The only available option appears to be an immediate navigational change for the US forces to leave Iraq and Afghanistan.
In view of his intellectual foresights, it was improbable to imagine that a majority elected President Obama could renegade his own publicly claimed commitment for change and remaking of the American edifice for a sustainable New World Order. To transform the pacifists into optimists, to energize the depressed with new hope and motivate the soft-hearted and peace loving masses of the US, you had enliven them with a new vision when you declared the intent for a new dialogue and friendship with the Muslim world at the day of your official inauguration. You had the courage and enthusiasm to inform the curious Arabian audience in Cairo:
“I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition…….As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam -- at places like Al-Azhar -- that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities ---- it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
Surely, you moved the hearts of the people around the globe and rekindled interest in American sincerity of political aims including the dumb and dull Arab leaders from the comforts of petro dollars built palaces to the people’s street that Obama was here for change- for a new beginning of better relationships. They took your words seriously that continued wars were dead scenarios under the democratic choices, not knowing that you had finalized plans to dispatch more troops for the death and destruction of the innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan. That questions the intent of your friendly gestures. President Obama you crafted the illusion of HOPE to your global well wishers for a New World of friendly relationship between the US and the Muslim world: “That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.”
Subsequently, the hope was dashed away at the Oslo Nobel Peace ceremony (December 10, 2009), by the same person who had proclaimed it worldwide few months earlier. President Obama you knew well that America is broke in moral and political standing and that the nations of the world even some of your closest European friends do not take the US on its own words. The crippling images are outcomes of the American failed war engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. How could you consciously agree to dispatch more troops to kill the living innocents and disturb the graveyards across Afghanistan under the guise of false security and terrorism threats?
Mr. President, do you view the global humanity as totally dumb or perhaps too ignorant to believe in you and the mockery of your contentious war policy aims? Simply put, America under Bush and neocons indoctrination lost the touch of the real world and used the military force to dominate and control the energy rich Arab Middle Eastern and other nations of the world. Contravening the role of history, wars are still viewed as the best means to achieve those ends. According to Michael Meacher, the British Minister of Environment in PM Tony Blair Cabinet (“This War on Terrorism is Bogus”, The Guardian, Sept 6, 2003), explains that the overriding motivation for the war on terror has been the scarcity of hydrocarbon energy supplies and the US and UK will run out of sufficient supplies by 2010. Whereas, the Islamic world will control 60% of the global oil production and equally important, 95% of the remaining oil export capacity. Minister Meacher concludes that “the global war on terrorism has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda – The US goal of world hegemony built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.”
Viewing the global implications of the war on terror, it is becoming clearer that the US Government under President Bush and now continued under President Obama and the UK leadership coerced others to join the project of terrorism of wars against the Muslim people to instigate internal group fighting and political disruptions to destroy the Arabs and Muslims from within. Chris Floyd (“Darkness Renewed: Terror as a Tool of Empire” ICH, 04/2009) noted the US mindset:
“It is the policy of the United States government to provoke violent extremist groups into action. Once they are in play, their responses can then be used in whatever way the government that provoked them sees fit. And we also know that these provocations are being used, as a matter of deliberate policy, to rouse violent groups on the "Af-Pak" front to launch terrorist attacks.”
Had the President stayed on course for change “Yes We Can”, he would have scored high popularity standing in public perception as an optimistic President powerful enough to mould and shape the future of the world with America in lead as a power of influence, intellect and morally strong political values as was its history. President Obama claimed optimism to articulate change in America, its policies and practices. Yes, he changed the image of America, first time a colored President of visible minorities is elected to make a new beginning in American political affairs. A dot representing the Audacity of Hope on the ever large social and political white screen of the White House complex built with black slave labors. One fundamental factor is often ignored by most American scholars that none of these guys waging the wars from their drawing rooms ever fought on a real war front, they simply know how to talk, but war is not about talking, it is madness of killing fellow human beings under the glued labels of hatred and animosity and nothing else.
Why the intents and real purposes of the War on Terrorism are politically so secretive that none of the US policy makers would dare to talk in public - the wars and the 9/11?
If the 3,000 dead people of various nationalities were the real reason for the Bush administration to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, there was no reason to argue the presence of the bogus WMD scenario in Iraq. Imagine, if the actions of President Bush were legally and politically justifiable, was India not justifiable by the same legal precedent to invade the US after the Union Carbide’s plant gas leak had killed approximately 8,000 to 12,000 civilians in Bhopal in few minutes in1984. Aftermath of the gas leaks affected millions of others in that state. But India did not threaten the US with force and opted for reason to prevail over the perpetuated tragedy. Could it be that human victims of the Indian tragedy were not viewed as important and valuable as were the casualties of the 9/11 in American crafted media images? What makes terrorism of the few so intimately aligned to the US politics and friends of the Bush family elite as suddenly undesirable and marked to be killed along with millions of other innocent people throughout the world? Is there a secretive puzzle and political dimension untold and unknown to the genius of the global community?
“It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same, everywhere, all over the world … people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same people who … were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.” (John Pilger, “Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010”).
Obviously, just in over one year, according to Paul Craig Roberts, President Obama has reverted to become “the World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet” (ICH: 01/2010). Roberts explains that: “No American national interest is served by the war in Afghanistan. As the former UK Ambassador Craig Murray disclosed, the purpose of the war is to protect Unocal’s interest in the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. The cost of the war is many times greater than Unocal’s investment in the pipeline. The obvious solution is to buy out Unocal and give the pipeline to the Afghans as partial compensation for the destruction we have inflicted on that country and its population, and bring the troops home.”
At the 2009 Cairo gathering, President Obama reiterated the proactive policy aim in “change” by using diplomacy, not force to resolve the conflicts: “Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
You were right on Mr. President, somehow the imbalanced scale of power vs. wisdom failed to materialize in a rational manner. The soft hearted US masses are caught in the middle. America is fighting with itself, with its own ideals to defy the aims and spirit of its own Declaration of Independence. The military-industrial complex would long for the on-going wars and the Generals appear to be energetic to engage in wars that make no sense to the ordinary folks across America who are sacrificing their lives and souls for ambitions of the few wrong heads overwhelmed with wrong THINKING.
According to the former US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, the additional 40,000 troops were enough to stalemate the war, that is, to keep it going forever, the ideal situation for the armaments lobby.” How strange that Mr. Obama was elected enthusiastically by the will and passion of the American electorates, yet, he is overriding the primary interest of his own people in prolonging the wars of aggressions across the globe. It is estimated that the US and Britain forces have alone killed three million civilians in Iraq and devastated large parts of the human habitats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is this the on-going bloodbath of the innocent humanity not the premeditated genocide? Would President Obama assume the responsibility for the wars including the possibility of crimes committed against the humanity? One of the important features of the 21st century effective leadership is to be listening and learning enabling the leaders to be responsible to those who have expressed faith and trust in them. Would President Obama analyze his role and the policy outcomes for a navigational change? Paul Craig Roberts offers additional insights how President Obama appears to have lost the political momentum so abruptly:
“Increasingly the rest of the world sees the US as the sole source of all of its problems. Germany has lost the chief of its armed forces and its defense minister, because the US convinced or pressured, by hook or crook, the German government to violate its Constitution and to send troops to fight for Unocal’s interest in Afghanistan…… The British are investigating their leading criminal, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and his deception of his own cabinet in order to do Bush’s bidding and provide some cover for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq. The UK investigators have been denied the ability to bring criminal charges, but the issue of war based entirely on orchestrated deception and lies is getting a hearing. It will reverberate throughout the world, and the world will note that there is no corresponding investigation in the US, the country that originated the False War.”
What needs to be changed by President Obama is to live upto the proclaimed hopes and commitments made to the American masses during the elections? Adam Curtis, the author and producer of the Nightmares, BBC world famous documentary on the false pretext of the War on Terrorism streamlines the facts of human affairs and political manipulation:
“In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism. A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.”
To replace peacemaking with the nightmare of the war, President Obama offered no different discourse at Oslo Nobel Peace Prize gathering or at the UN General Assembly or during the recent visit to Indonesia than what Adam Curtis had reiterated to the whole world. Reconstruction of America would have involved the visionary leadership, a new THINKING to change the course and direction of the US foreign policy and warmongering and a new beginning to stop the wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but these hopes were mere words, not part of the current US policy or rational thinking. If President Obama was serious enough to rebuild America, he would need a navigational change and start THINKING anew, a different perspective to understand the prevalent realities of the world and put an end to the bloodshed carried on with active US forces and support to many self-styled illegitimate dictators and politicians in those countries implementing the American war agenda. In his concluding remarks, Paul Craig Roberts (The World’s Least Powerful Man- the Obama Puppet”01/2010), shares the prevalent global trend towards the US standing as is:
“The United States no longer commands the respect it enjoyed under President Ronald Reagan or President George Herbert Walker Bush. World polls show that the US and its puppet master are regarded as the two greatest threats to peace. Washington and Israel outrank on the most dangerous list the crazy regime in North Korea. The world is beginning to see America as a country that needs to go away. When the dollar is over-inflated by a Washington unable to pay its bills, will the world be motivated by greed and try to save us in order to save its investments, or will it say, thank God, good riddance.”
The 21st century mass media generated politcal activism propagates in-house crafted images and opinion polls rating as the framework of successful capitalist run democracy.The number game is vital to politicians how public perceives their acts and role play. When masses live in fear, they lose self-respect and positive thinking to become helpless subservient to the dicates of authoritarian rulers.The mainstream US mass media (owned by six corporate families) was accomplice and Bush used it as a weapon to overpower the American intellect and resistance to the war. The US masses lost their history and values during the eight years of Bush authoritarianism. Is President Obama looking for similar number games to play with the American political interests? The living history will caution him. There is a time and opportunity for an optimist president to be open to listening and learning to assume effective leadreship for decisive navigational change. Leaders create leaders not absurd paper-based role models. Nation-building is challenging as well as a serious cause and it is not for the militray Generals and American troops to bring hopes of nation-building into reality. Guns and bullets destroy living things and human habitats as the US is engaged actively in doing so for the last nine years. It failed aimlessly to defeat a handful of freedom fighetrs (mujhaideen) across the planes of Iraq and rugged mountains of Afghanistan. Historically, all those leaders and powers challenging the Laws of God ended up in self-defeats and got destroyed by natural causes of earthquakes, flooding and sound blasts. The US cannot fight against God and Islam – it does not have the weapons or the capacity to achieve that goal. A Navigational Change should be part of the vision and strategic direction that America needs desperately to avert an ultimate military defeat at the hands of Talaban fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan. The change should come from a responsible leader like Obama. History will judge the leaders by their actions, not by their claims.
President Obama is not a street dweller from Chicago but an intelligent person with a proactive vision for the remaking of the US lost image as a responsible player in global politics. He could rebuild the US global strategic and political partnerships with reason after Wikileaks revelations undermined its standing, not with the ferocity of wars and killings of millions of human beings but with big “NO” to the Generals and “Yes” to the people’s interest to immediate end the wars. If he is open to listening and learning to embody the moral traits of effective leadership, American masses no longer wish to be victimized by the cruelty of wrong thinking, hatred and fear. These Draconian traits belong to the Dark ages, not to the 21st century people-oriented responsible international politics. C.E.M. Joad (Guide to Modern Wickedness), said it candidly:
“The moral is that those who wish to rule the nation for whatever purpose, will do well to find something to hate somebody to fear….if I really wanted to unite the nations of the modern world, I should invent for them an enemy in some other planet or possibly on the moon.”
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: "Muslims and the West: Quest for Change and Conflict Resolution", University Press of America; How America Lost the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and Mujahideen Won; To America and Canada with Reason, VDM Publishers, 2009; “President Obama – War is War, Not Peace”, 2009; “ Global Peace and Conflict Management: How the Arabs-Israelis and the West Duped the Humanity?” “The Arab People Look for Peace and New Leadership.”, and “Images- The Militant West.” Comments are welcome at: email@example.com .
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