So I guess we know what the buzz is going to be for the
next, ah, year or so. It looks like Barack Obama, the rookie senator from
Illinois, is going to run for president. He has received a plethora of
accolades from key primary states in recent weeks for his alleged tenacity and
willingness to shoot straight -- not unlike the great bamboozler before him,
Bill Clinton, who seemed to fool most everyone into believing his words
actually meant something.
The gift Obama has is unique but potentially dangerous. A
taste of his personal appeal: "Politics has
become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we
can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions,� he said in a video on his
website. �And that's what we have to change first."
What are the problems the senator
plans on tackling? Certainly not the big one: U.S. policy in the Middle East.
While assuring us that he supports the troops in Iraq, he�s made it quite clear
he won�t bring them home, and instead has pressured the White House to come up
with a plan of their own on the matter. How Obama, or anyone, can possibly
believe that the Bushites could come up with a worthwhile strategy for Iraq is
On Iran, Obama also serves the status quo with the kind of
hawkish zeal we are used to seeing in most Republicans. He�s admitted he may
favor surgical missile strikes on Iran and Pakistan if that�s what it takes to
fight the �war on terror.� And Obama even boasts that Bush hasn�t taken a hard
enough line on the foreign menaces.
How about Israel? Well, according
to Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, Obama may be to the right of the
Democratic mainstream when it comes to the occupation of Palestine. As Abunimah
told Philip Weiss of The New York
Observer, Obama is a �master triangulator� who knows that �pissing off the
(pro-Israel) lobby is not the way to the top.� Oh, and I almost forgot, Obama
even embraced Israel�s brutal bombings of Lebanon last summer -- the type of
complicity we�re sure to see continue if he�s successful in his evolving
Beyond that, Obama voted in favor
of the pork-swollen Pentagon budget last year, with its beefy handouts to
Halliburton and the rest of the tax and waste crooks. So I�ll stop right there
and ask, just what in the heck is the big stinkin� deal about Barack Obama?
Aside from not being Hillary Clinton,
Obama has little to offer the antiwar movement or proponents of an alternative
U.S. strategy for the Middle East.
Unfortunately we aren�t likely to
hear much of this as campaign 2008 comes to a head. What we�ll have instead is
the standard horse race where the pundits place their bets without wagering the
consequences of either candidate�s victory.
Barack Obama may indeed talk big about
�change� and �priorities,� but that�s all it is: talk. The main concern this
year and next will be Iraq and the Middle East. If Obama can�t offer up an
alternative solution to the mess we�ve helped create in the region, he doesn�t
deserve our support.Joshua Frank, co-editor of DissidentVoice.org,
is the author of Left
Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bushand edits BrickBurner.org.