Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thanks for Nothing, Obama

Thanks for nothing, Obama

Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:00
Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald via
Russia Today

The challenges, he said, were real. He called them serious and said there were many. America had gathered because the country had "chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord," and proclaimed "an end to the petty grievances and false promises."

But three years to the day that Barack Obama told millions of Americans that it was these choices that brought him to Washington in his inaugural address from the steps of the Capitol Building - the hope, change and abolishment of false promises remain largely out of reach for the American people.

Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, beginning a position he earned by promising a new era of peace and accepting his role as, as he put, aiding in the ushering in of "a new era of responsibility."

Three years later, however, the country's commander-in-chief has been persistently pounced on by both the press and public alike. He advertised a future built on hope, not fear, yet recently authorised the US military to indefinitely detain any American it sees fit.

There was more hope back then, hope for a unity of purpose over conflict and discord, yet he continued George W Bush's war in Iraq for more than 1 000 additional days and even aided the uprising in Libya - without asking Congress for approval or giving much in the way of an explanation.

And, as we reach four years after he addressed 1,5 million people in the US capital and spoke to billions worldwide, we can anticipate another speech on those same steps - and according to most recent polls the same person will deliver it.

Despite opposition from his own party in addition to that from the other side of the aisle, President Obama is currently polling as the most likely winner in the 2012 election.

After three years of broken promises, failed policies and dangerous legislation, is America only less than half done with Obama's reign in the White House?

Two days into office, Obama signed Executive Order 13492, vowing to suspend proceedings at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba - and to have the facility shut down within a year.

On January 22, 2009, the new president cited that "significant concerns "raised at home and abroad about detentions at the facility allowed him to insist that ending America's detention program there "would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice."

But not even two years had passed when Obama approved the 2011 Defence Authorisation Bill, effectively preventing the closure of the facility, and as of January 2012, 171 men remain in the prison.

Some have now been there for over a decade.

"The commitment that the president has to closing Guantanamo Bay is as firm today as it was during the (2008) campaign," White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier this year. Yet days before those comments to the media, Obama signed the updated Defence Authorisation Act for 2012, allowing the same grave, torturous and inhumane conditions Guantanamo's detainees have come to know so well to be imposed on Americans. In a signing statement that accompanied the bill, the president said, "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorise the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens." That declaration, however, was given two years after his last presidential memorandum promising the closing of Guantanamo - a promise broken time and time again.

As Americans wait for the closure of Gitmo, many of the president's other promises have either gone unfulfilled or broken - and many of them impact more than just the few dozen men behind bars at the facility in Cuba. On the campaign trail, Obama outlined a goal of putting humans back in outer space, insisting on having moon missions up and running again - with a Mars program being a not-so-distant goal for future generations, if not this one. Only a year into office, however, Obama told NASA to cancel its moon programme.

"By the mid 2030's," the president said at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2010, "I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow and I expect to be around to see it." A year later, NASA's shuttle programme was abolished completely.

During his White House campaign, Obama vowed to "cut wasteful and ineffective programs" and "slash earmarks." Obama would vow to cut those earmarks to under US$7,9 billion - their pre-1994, Clinton Administration level. But one year into Obama's term, congressional earmarks had more than doubled that figure. Then, in July 2008, Senator Obama told ABC News, "I cannot guarantee that it is going to be in the first 100 days. But what I can guarantee is that we will have - in the first year - an immigration bill that I strongly support, and that I'm promoting. And I want to move that forward as quickly as possible."

Less than three years into his presidency though, Americans assumed to be in the country illegally can be detained, cuffed and questioned by law enforcement agents in Alabama, Arizona and Georgia. A swarm of immigrants has already migrated from Alabama in an exodus brought on by the fear of imprisonment, and other minorities say that they continue to feel prosecuted in America as anti-immigrant sentiment expands. And even a decade after 9/11, Islamophobia is as rampant as ever.

It might have outshone the errors that marred the Bush administration, but between on-going wars, promises rescinded and America's superiority on thin ice, to many that hope was never delivered. And the change? It wasn't for the better. - RT.

No comments: