Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
May 21, 2009 “Information Clearing House

America has lost her soul, and so has her president.

A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.

The people’s good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.

The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.

Obama has not been in office four months and already a book could be written about his broken promises.

Obama said he would close the torture prison, Guantanamo, and abolish the kangaroo courts known as military tribunals. But now he says he is going to reform the tribunals and continue the process, but without confessions obtained with torture. Getting behind Obama’s validation of the Bush/Cheney policy, House Democrats pulled the budget funding that was to be used for closing Guantanamo.

The policy of kidnapping people (usually on the basis of disinformation supplied by their enemies) and whisking them off to Third World prisons to be interrogated is to be continued. Again, Obama has substituted a “reform” for his promise to abolish an illegal policy. Rendition, Obama says, has also been reformed and will no longer involve torture. How would anyone know? Is Obama going to assign a U.S. government agent to watch over the treatment given to disappeared people by Third World thugs? Given the proclivity of American police to brutalize U.S. citizens, nothing can save the victims of rendition from torture.

Obama has defended the Bush/Cheney warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency and broadened the government’s legal argument that “sovereign immunity” protects government officials from prosecution and civil suits when they violate U.S. law and constitutional protections of citizens. Obama’s Justice Department has taken up the defense of Donald Rumsfeld against a case brought by detainees whose rights Rumsfeld violated.

In a signing statement this month, Obama abandoned his promise to protect whistleblowers who give information of executive branch illegality to Congress.

Obama is making even more expansive claims of executive power than Bush. As Bruce Fein puts it: “In principle, President Obama is maintaining that victims of constitutional wrongdoing by the U.S. government should be denied a remedy in order to prevent the American people and the world at large from learning of the lawlessness perpetrated in the name of national security and exacting political and legal accountability.”

Obama, in other words, is committed to covering up the Bush regime’s crimes and to ensuring that his own regime can continue to operate in the same illegal and unconstitutional ways.

Obama is fighting the release of the latest batch of horrific torture photos that have come to light. Obama claims that release of the photos would anger insurgents and cause them to kill our troops. That, of course, is nonsense. Those resisting occupation of their land by U.S. troops and NATO mercenaries are already dedicated to killing our troops, and they know that Americans torture whomever they capture. Obama is fighting the release of the photos because he knows the barbaric image that the photos present of the U.S. military will undermine the public’s support for the wars that enrich the military/security complex, appease the Israel Lobby, and repay the campaign contributions that elect the U.S. government.

As for bringing the troops home from Iraq, this promise, too, has been reformed. To the consternation of his supporters, Obama is leaving 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The others are being sent to Afghanistan and to Pakistan, where on Obama’s watch war has broken out big time with already one million refugees from the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

Meanwhile, war with Iran remains a possibility, and at Washington’s insistence, NATO is conducting war games on former Soviet territory, thus laying the groundwork for future enrichment of the U.S. military/security complex. The steeply rising U.S. unemployment rate will provide the needed troops for Obama’s expanding wars.

Obama can give a great speech without mangling the language. He can smile and make people believe his rhetoric. The world, or much of it, seems to be content with the soft words that now drape Dick Cheney’s policies in pursuit of executive supremacy and U.S. hegemony.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review.

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10 thoughts on “Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney By Paul Craig Roberts

  1. Pingback: Fmr. V.P. Cheney discusses terrorism « Dandelion Salad

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  4. Check out Maddow’s opening remarks tonite…

    I think had we had Obomba, this all may never have happened.

    He’s smart, and a born leader, definitely less evil/paranoid/right-wing than Botch/Chainey, but yet another war criminal, so bizarre.

    if he had appointed Kucinich to his cabinet, the Botch wars would be moving in a different direction, namely de-escalating.

    Obomba is not the first born leader to wrongly escalate his predecessor’s illegal war. But he did warn us about his hawkishisms, and they flocked regardless.

    So once again, it’s the amerigoon electorate who are to blame.

    I say we eliminate this ‘commander in chief’ idea. No wars unless decided by public referendum! (And then only in compliance with the Geneva Convention, and even then, only with snowballs!)

  5. Pingback: Countdown Special Comment: Cheney, go away. + Wilkerson « Dandelion Salad

  6. Thank you!
    I honestly believe Obama is a decent amiable man of unquestioned integrity.

    But he’s not a savior…not the king…just one well-spoken articulate guy….not even a strong, wealthy guy with a long history of allies like a JFK….

    He needs to know that we DEMAND he chart the course we believed in when we braved the cold on innauguration day.
    Instead of waiting for him to do it, while he sits in rooms with the powers-that-be like a chameleon, the ‘experts’ all around him, who are all congratulating him on his great rhetoric even as they now assume he will and must ignore it, as they all dive into the endless spin games, not wanting to change a thing ….. they created it, why would they change it?
    Because WE say so! And he’ll GET that!

    • I’m not so certain on his integrity, seems that he has lied to us/misled us on a few occasions already. Kucinich, Paul and Nader have solid integrity, imo.

      We do need to demand more from our govt/elected officials. But are they listening? Most people were against the bank bailouts, yet Congress passed the bills. They certainly are not listening to the public when it comes to Single Payer healthcare, either.

      Thanks again, Tony for commenting.

  7. Great article, truly he has been disappointing!

    Naomi Klein and Cindy Sheehan have both made great points about Obama: he is malleable.

    He tries to be conciliatory, ultimately bends under the pressures of the permanent-govt establishment “experts” in Washington. Waits for pressure to decide.

    “MAKE me!” is what he seems to yearn for.

    It’s as if he’s ASKING for his Party and the voters to DEMAND he keep to his promises…and not enough people do!

    Telling us what we want to hear, then heading for the back room with Hillary, Nancy and the other posturing actors….

    So he sinks into sticking with Hillary and Pelosi–who are also part of this single-minded march to Empire and Internationalism, this crony capitalism, this oligarchy that seems to truly run the agenda, not caring which Party’s shill is up front reading the teleprompter.

    It’s time to MAKE it happen!

    During Vietnam, there was a draft. Unlike these barbarous wars of expansion we are conducting now, it was not just a sound byte on the News, like today.

    It was your son getting his letter…your nephew dying….your neighbor kid coming home without a leg, or his brains so scrambled he cant feed himself. It was HOME.

    The biggest ally the people ‘running’ Obama have is that we are so separate from it.

    Hired guns fight it, the corporate media doesnt have the journalistic standards that the networks had in the 60’s, it’s so filtered, so removed…you see a little quote from a General, then Brittney Spears is selling you Pepsi!

    And your kids text each other, play their video games…this digital overload is like a hypnosis!

    Cindy and Naomi get it right. He’s almost begging someone to MAKE him!

    So its time to MAKE OBAMA BE WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD BE!

    I honestly think he yearns for that…

    I say this as a Ron Paul supporter.

    It’s just hearbreaking to see the same ol’ same ol’ march on, the Empire march on, the plunder of the economy, these wars where civilians mean nothing….and the people are watching American Idol with glazed looks in their eyes, just hoping they have a job tomorrow………

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