by James Corbett
February 4, 2014
Drone strikes in Pakistan. The surge in Afghanistan. The bombing of Libya. Aiding terrorists in Syria. Crippling sanctions on Iran. The Asia-Pacific Pivot. Here in 2014, the Nobel committee’s 2009 decision to award Obama with a Peace Prize seems like some sort of sick joke. But then, to those who were warning that Obama was just a fresh face for the same oligarchical interests that Bush had served so well in the 8 years before him, the hope and change pandemonium of the 2008 selection cycle always was always a sick joke. One look at the largest donors to Obama’s campaign was enough to confirm exactly who he was working for, and exactly what type of “hope” and “change” the public could expect.
So why did people believe in it so fervently? Surely wishful thinking played a role. A public that had just survived eight years of Bush-era insanity could perhaps be forgiven for desiring change so desperately that they were willing to see it in Barack Obama, a clean slate upon which they could project whatever fantasies they wished.
But the problem is deeper than that. As we examined last week on The Eyeopener, the fraudulent left/right political divide has been used to keep the people divided against each other even as it is used to dupe the public into supporting the very same political agenda through puppet administration after puppet administration. Perhaps nowhere is this process of divide and rule quite so transparent as it is in the so-called “anti-war” movement of the last decade.
At the height of the Bush Administration, scores gathered for protest, marches, rallies, and acts of civil disobedience to decry the acts of torture, abuse and violence being perpetrated by the Pentagon in the name of the War on Terror. At the time, the movement was dismissed by the talking heads on the right side of the political aisle as being little more than an anti-Bush movement.
As it turns out, they were largely right. After the election of Obama in 2008, the driving impetus of the anti-war movement evaporated. No longer did it matter that the wars, covert operations, military tribunals and prison torture camps were continuing. In fact, it did not even matter that American military involvement escalated with the Obama handover, expanding into Pakistan and Yemen, involving more drone strikes and extrajudicial assassinations. This was, after all, a Democrat, and so many on the anti-war left were appeased. Groups like Veterans For Peace, which had so loudly and so admirably called for the impeachment of Bush for his participation in war crimes and atrocities have been happy to look the other way while “their guy” in the White House forwards the very same agenda.
Last year, I had the chance to talk to famed activist and writer Larry Pinkney, a veteran of the original Black Panther Party, about the process by which the anti-war movement was co-opted and ultimately squashed by the left/right political fraud.
As vexing as this endless cycle of left-wing and right-wing warmongering is, the sick joke is set to be played on the public yet again and, what’s worse, it seems to be working yet again. This time it’s the Republicans who are pretending to play the role of savior, putting up a mock opposition to the worst abuses of Obama. There were protestations over the way Obama bypassed Congress to start the war in Libya. It is now http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/republicans-edward-snowden-nsa/2014/01/24/id/548911″ target=”_blank”>official Republican platform policy to decry illegal NSA surveillance as an abrogation of fundamental rights. But come November 2016, after the next pre-determined, rigged, phony American coronation spectacle plays itself out and a man (or woman) with an R next to his name is inevitably installed in office, the Republicans will once again be fine with any level of presumed Presidential authority and the Democrats will once again pretend to be concerned about Executive overreach. And the public, relieved to have “thrown the rascals out” yet again will be content for another 4 or 8 years until the next time they decide to throw out the rascals.
And so history repeats and repeats and repeats and repeats.
And yet, there are reasons to believe that this time can be different. As Larry Pinkney highlighted last year, there are concrete steps that the public can take to help transition away from the left/right duopoly and toward a system where people collaborate and act in their shared interest against the wishes of the warmongering ruling class.
What’s more, there is reason to believe that this is actually happening. No more stunning example of a genuine, grassroots, people’s anti-war movement can be identified than the spontaneous mobilization we saw in the wake of the false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria last August. It was the grassroots alternative media that raised the alarm about the push to war and the US/British manipulation of intelligence to try to lay the blame for the attack on Assad’s doorstep. It was mass mobilization and anti-war campaigning that derailed the war drive and forced Obama to back off from sending troops into yet another war theater. And it was this intense public backlash that ultimately shamed the administration into taking Putin’s face-saving deal.
Compared to the mass carnage that has been inflicted in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere over the past decade, the aversion of the Syrian war may seem like a small victory, but it nonetheless is a victory and has to be recognized as such. The fact that NATO did not begin the bombing of Syria in 2013 may prove to be the beginning of a tidal change of resistance to the imperial bankster-driven war agenda of the warmongers on the left and right sides of the phony political divide.
Or, it might turn out to be a momentary blip on the otherwise unimpeded journey toward a state of total war. The people might go back to their mainstream news, believing the mainstream lies, voting for the mainstream political parties, and thinking that as long as it’s “our guy” in office, everything will be OK again.
In the end, the choice is ours to make. But with war on Iran and a World War III scenario involving China and Russia looming on the horizon, the time to make that choice may be running out.