President Obama and the First Lady Speak to Troops at Fort Bragg
by Glynn Wilson
Bush’s illegal and ill-fated war in Iraq is finally over. All of the U.S. troops are coming home after eight long years.
It was the longest war in American history, although the news media is not covering the war’s end as much as it did the “Shock and Awe” campaign that started it all on March 20, 2003.
President Barack Obama marked the occasion in a low-key, solemn fashion, by saluting the troops upon their return at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but with “little fanfare,” according to the AP headline.
The wire service did report that Obama never tried to declare victory in this war, as Bush did with a “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. Although it is doubtful that story made the front page of many newspapers or the top 10 minutes of many local news broadcasts in this country. It is a war we wish would just go away quietly, and for good reasons. It was started under faulty pretenses based on bad intelligence about a non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction program on the part of Saddam Hussein.
“It was a war that (Obama) opposed from the start, inherited as president and is now bringing to a close, leaving behind an Iraq still struggling,” the wire service reported.
Will Obama Get the Credit?
Will the American public give credit to this president for ending a war started by his totally corrupt predecessor? Should this president not get credit as well for finally finding and killing Osama bin Laden, the master mind and funder of the 9/11 attacks that still has this country living in Post Traumatic Stress and in fear of “terrorism?”
What, you don’t believe me? Look around.
Will the American left give Obama credit? Many won’t, because Congress just passed a massive $662 billion defense authorization bill Thursday after months of wrangling over how to handle captured “terrorist” suspects without violating constitutional rights of American citizens, according to AP.
A monumental struggle has been going on for months over this issue with most Americans apparently not aware of or willing to face the hard truth about a law that would allow suspected terrorists, even citizens on domestic soil, to be detained indefinitely without due process. The media paints the battle as one between the White House and Congress, with measures that have divided Republicans and Democrats and “drawn the wrath of civil rights groups.”
The White House had threatened to veto the legislation, but that warning was dropped on Wednesday with a statement saying that last-minute congressional changes no longer challenge the president’s ability to “prosecute the war on terror.”
The most controversial measure would deny suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention, reaffirming the post-9/11 authorization for the use of military force that allows indefinite detention of “enemy combatants.” It includes a Senate compromise that says nothing in the legislation may be “construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”
Conservative Republicans, some Democrats and civil rights groups have warned that the bill would allow the government to hold U.S. citizens indefinitely, but what is a president to do who has received more death threats than any president ever, and a Democrat who is already being accused of being “soft” by the Republicans running against him?
The hawk verses dove issue has long been key to the calculus of running for president in this country, and President Obama made the bet some time back that prosecuting the war in Afghanistan aggressively and going after bin Laden would inoculate him against this criticism in his 2012 reelection battle.
Will that tactic work?
We will see.
According to a new poll out Friday, the AP gives Obama a 50-50 chance at winning a second term. A slight majority of Americans say the president deserves to be voted out of office even though they have concerns about the Republican alternatives, and
his standing suggests he could fail to win re-election even though the public’s outlook on the economy is improving.
“For the first time since spring, more people said the economy got better in the past month than said it got worse. The president’s approval rating on unemployment shifted upward – from 40 percent in October to 45 percent in the latest poll – as the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent last month, its lowest level since March 2009.”
But according to recent polls by NBC, the Wall Street Journal and Gallup, it is the Republicans who face an uphill battle to unseat this incumbent president. Incumbency is still a huge advantage in this country.
The Republican field appears to have narrowed to a two-man race between Mitt Romney and New Gingrich.
Romney faces a challenge with the Republican primary electorate, trailing Gingrich nationally by 17 percentage points as nearly two-thirds of Republicans view him as either liberal or moderate, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll. Gingrich, meanwhile, faces a challenge with the general electorate, as half of all voters say they wouldn’t vote for him in November. He trails President Obama by more than 10 percentage points in a hypothetical contest, while Romney’s trails the Democratic incumbent by 2 points.
Iraq War Costs
The Iraq war has had traumatic consequences at home and abroad. Nearly 4,500 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis were killed. Another 32,000 American and tens of thousands Iraqis were wounded. The war cost the U.S. Treasury at least $800 billion, and a sizable chunk of that just disappeared into the sands of the Middle East somewhere with no accounting for what happened to it. So much for the war paying for itself, as proclaimed by Vice President Dick Cheney at the outset of the war.
Does anybody believe the Republicans about anything anymore? If so, they have not been paying attention.
Is President Obama perfect? Absolutely not.
But as far as I’m concerned, he has conducted himself with class and dignity in office, something you cannot say about President Bush, who was the goofy idiot in the room on most occasions who not only had no idea what he was talking about most of the time. He even had trouble reading what they wrote for him on the teleprompter.
Obama’s problems in office are not of his own making. The tea party Republicans in Congress have fought him at every turn. If you want to blame someone for this country’s troubles, blame Bush and the Republicans in Congress.
Most of the American people do. Public assessment of Congress hit a new low in December of last year and it has not recovered. Only 13 percent say they approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The 83 percent disapproval rating was the worst the Gallup Survey has measured in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.
If you want to fix the problems in this country, reelect President Obama for another term and vote in a larger majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress. Let’s give them more time and a chance to fix the problems inherited by anti-government Republican rule. That is our only hope, people.
Hey, it may not work. But it has a better chance than letting the Republicans back into power for another four or eight years. They fucked this place up. You want to go down that road again? Not me.
© 2011, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.