When Will the Wars End?

A majority of Americans, including an overwhelming majority of Democrats, oppose the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the warmongering persists. The Afghanistan war has been expanded and Obama has greatly expanded upon Bush’s drone attacks in Pakistan.

I predicted this would happen with an Obama presidency. Because the Democratic voters tend to be more pro-peace than the Republicans, a Democratic president means that the opposition is greatly weakened, as Democratic voters fear putting too much pressure on their president, and the conservative dissent from the Obama regime coming from the right is coupled with accusations that he has weakened our military, cut defense spending, planned to end the war on terror and other such complete falsehoods. Since conservatives are, unfortunately, still by and large pro-war, the mainstream critique we hear about the Democratic regime is incoherent and has very little traction for independent thinkers: They claim he is a tyrant expanding government power, but also a peacenik who is gutting the warfare state.

In reality, the worst things Obama has done, both in terms of natural law principles and in terms of constitutional limits on his power, have to do with the war. Obama has turned Bush’s de facto indefinite detention policy into an official one. He has used secrecy to cover up torture and wiretapping. And he has slaughtered innocent people in the Middle East. These were also the types of crimes that qualified as Bush’s worst offenses.

To have a true, consistent and meaningful critique of the Obama government, we must continue to put foreign policy and the imperial executive at the center of it. So long as enough conservatives support the national security state, empire, and growing police state, and so long as liberals give their president a pass even as he builds upon the worst policies of his predecessor, reclaiming constitutional liberty is a metaphysical impossibility. America’s financial well-being can never be solid so long as we live under the empire.

If the Republicans and conservatives want to save us from Obamunism, they have to admit they were wrong about Bush, about his corporatism and economic planning, and especially about his wars, police state and shredding of the Bill of Rights. They have to admit they were wrong about torture, surveillance, Guantanamo and the unitary executive. So long as they try to have their cake and eat it too, their effectiveness in opposing Obama will be short-lived and yield a series of relatively small victories. If they want America on their side, they need to take advantage of the fact that a majority of Americans oppose the Bush/Obama foreign policy, and embrace the cause of peace more sincerely and completely than they ever have. So long as the American right defends Bush’s management of the economy, which caused today’s economic crisis, as well as his wars, they will continue to lose credibility.

Opposing Obama fully means opposing Bush. And the left must also learn, opposing Bush fully means opposing Obama.

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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