Obama’s New “War on Terrorism”

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

In a short-lived but well-crafted move aimed at hyping President Obama’s credentials as a reasonable and democratic warmaker in mid-February the president submitted a resolution to Congress requesting “authorization for use of force” to proceed full tilt with his administration’s now worldwide “war on [Islamic] terrorism.” At first glance, what struck his contentious co-warrior Republican “adversaries” as strange was that the president appeared to be exercising a bit of self-restraint in limiting his request to three years, not to mention his asking permission from Congress itself to make yet another war, but this time on a global basis and not directly against any particular nation.

Obama sought to contrast his “democratic” (let Congress decide rather than the president) and time-limited approach to war making to the previous Bush administration’s request for blanket or unlimited authority to pursue terrorists everywhere. As expected, in the circus-like atmosphere that characterizes congressional debate, Republicans beat the war drums even louder — attacking Obama for limiting his war  and thus future president’s unlimited war-making powers to just three years. But the media-promoted sound and fury attendant to the debate rapidly subsided when it was revealed that Obama’s purported self-imposed limitations were a fraud. The Feb. 26 New York Times noted, “Mr. Obama did not ask Congress to repeal a 2001 [Bush-era] measure authorizing force against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, which would mean that he would still have wide discretion to wage war.”

Congressional approval of Obama’s legacy-burnishing gesture amounted to rubber stamping what he has been doing for the past six months and longer, including bombing Islamic State forces (ISIS or ISIL), or any other organization that the administration deemed terrorist, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, across Africa, and far beyond.

With this in mind the heated Capitol Hill debate faded into oblivion as the bi-partisan warmakers fully understood that U.S. imperialism recognizes no limits to its capacity to proceed with wars anywhere and everywhere in pursuit of power, profit and global domination. Indeed, overt and covert wars, drone wars, privatized army wars, embargo, blockade and sanction wars and U.S.-engineered coups and assassinations are the norm among U.S. imperialism’s top decision-making oligarchical elite — the .0001 percent. Presidents, whether they be Obama-bright or Bush-not-so-bright, as well as posturing politicians of all capitalist parties are mere agents, coated with a democratic veneer but pledged far in advance to fealty to capitalism’s exploits everywhere.

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