The Significance of Obama's Second Presidency
The Significance of Obama's Second Presidency
Obama's Outlaw State
One of the main features of Obama's second term in office will be the unfettered promotion of his so-called drone war doctrine. This is the reliance of U.S. imperialism on drones to conduct targeted assassinations, coupled with use of black ops to foment civil wars, mayhem and chaos. This is a desperate hope born out of anarchy that the U.S. can prevail over its rivals, including both competitors amongst the imperialist powers and against developing nations' intent on making a way for themselves and against the peoples of the world fighting for their right to be.
The Obama drone war doctrine contends that the security of the United States and its empire-building project can be achieved through the destruction of individual and collective rights at home and abroad. This conception is false and doomed to failure as it runs counter to the trend of history towards the affirmation of individual and collective rights. The security of any modern nation lies in the fight for the rights of all both nationally and internationally.
The objective and subjective conditions organized into a coherent force by the workers' opposition rebel against the Obama drone war doctrine and its destruction of rights. The peoples of North America bear an enormous social responsibility to resist the Obama drone war doctrine and its destruction of rights within Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world.
The unspoken aim of the Obama drone war doctrine is to defend the monopoly right of U.S. private interests to exploit the sovereign land, natural resources and human potential of the entire world, destroy resistance to this exploitation and trampling of sovereign rights, and to deny imperialist competitors access to those sovereign lands and peoples.
Obama Drone War in Practice
The Obama drone war doctrine is a departure from the Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney shock and awe torture regime even though it preserves the worst of their legacy. The drone war doctrine gives Obama a new narrative — that the U.S. is no longer engaged in any wars. It includes the practice of establishing large numbers of Lily-Pad U.S. military bases around the world. The land based Lily-Pad bases contain drones, long- range missiles and mobile Special Forces. The U.S. navy on the High Seas favored by the Bush administration no longer predominates but will continue to play a role by complementing the Lily-Pads along with the traditional strategically placed larger military bases with their extensive use of fighter planes, bombers, ground forces and space weapons, especially space spying and telecommunications.
A growing military base is Camp Lemonnier in North Africa in Djibouti. The Washington Post says Camp Lemonnier is the "busiest Predator drone base outside of the Afghan war zone with 16 drone flights a day." From there, drones can hit or spy on targets in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia etc. Drones also operate out of Afghanistan and Iraq bringing the entire Persian Gulf, West and Central Asia and Horn of Africa within the grasp of the U.S. military and its extensive program of targeted assassinations and random extrajudicial killings to terrorize the people, including even U.S. citizens. The drone that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdul in Northern Yemen is said to have come from Camp Lemonnier.
The Post says tentacles of the U.S. military already extend well across Africa. Lily-Pad semi-clandestine bases with active daily drone flights and secret operations involving Special Forces exist in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya with plans afoot to open a new base in South Sudan. According to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), "The Pentagon has begun deploying 4,000 additional soldiers to 35 different African countries."
The Post reports further, "The Pentagon is spending $8.1 million to upgrade a forward operating base and airstrip in Mauritania, on the western edge of the Sahara. The base is near the border with strife-torn Mali."
The U.S. Army Times says, "Africa, in particular, has emerged as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security."
The Obama drone war doctrine using advanced weaponry further builds on the post-World War II building of the U.S. Empire, which now controls vast sweeps of the world. But economic and military pressure from its own colossal armed forces and internal rivalries and contradictions and those of its competitors and the resistance of the peoples of the world has forced U.S. imperialism to adjust its methods. The traditional military occupation arising from WWII using large bases is only economically feasible if the occupied country can pay for its occupation. This is the case in Japan, South Korea and Germany. With the defeat of the U.S. military's advance into the DPRK and its subsequent defeat in Vietnam and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Empire has adjusted its modus operandi.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, all its Cold War definitions and rationale no longer hold water and the U.S. rulers are incapable of renewal. The Obama drone war doctrine is a further degeneration of unfettered U.S. power. From the post war traditional use of constant military pressure on a targeted country, the U.S. has systematically resorted to the financing and fomenting of anarchy and violence creating an atmosphere of chaos and destruction that tears societies apart.
This precedent was set by George Bush senior with the economic blockade, no fly zone and constant aerial bombardment of Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion and occupation. Similar chaos has been part of the Afghanistan campaign for decades, which has now been extended into Pakistan. Making extensive use of NATO, the U.S. tore apart Yugoslavia fomenting clan/ethnic/religious sectarian bloodshed and strife followed with direct NATO military strikes. Most recently the U.S., again financing and organizing clan, ethnic and religious sectarian violence and chaos and with NATO and the Canadian military playing a central role, destroyed the Gaddafi regime in Libya leaving anarchy and violence in its wake, which is spreading throughout Northwest Africa. U.S./NATO/French forces have now directly attacked Mali and are promoting sectarian violence in Algeria. Similar wrecking continues apace in Syria where a well-financed and armed force of mercenaries is waging a destructive campaign against the Assad regime.
The Entire World as a War Zone
The Obama drone war doctrine is one of endless war that includes the entire world. The world is viewed as lawless without any legal restrictions on the U.S. instruments of power, including its military, private contractors and spy agencies. All equations based on past calculations are meaningless in the face of the anarchy that unfettered U.S. power has unleashed. Only the organized resistance of the peoples of the world can deal with the consequences of the unfettered power that the Obama presidency in its hubris will claim to control.
The drone war doctrine lowers the economic and political cost of military intervention using traditional ground forces. No laws of war are recognized because no formal war is declared. No sovereignty except that of the U.S. Empire is recognized, which has turned the entire world into a war zone, a killing field.
Drones, which enable lawless extra-judicial targeted killing even of U.S. citizens, will bring the U.S. state terror to ever larger sections of the population. From targeting Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanics, now everyone is considered fair game.
Attempts to Justify and Give a Veneer of Legality to Drone Warfare
President Obama's administration is reportedly drawing up a rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, including the killing of U.S. citizens. Such a codification is meant to negate in theory as well as practice the international and national laws that prohibit such medieval practices, especially those laws that arose from the defeat of fascism during World War II.
Obama wants a legal framework to justify what cannot be justified, to justify in law the open violation of rights, which the U.S. Empire is now routinely practicing.
Referring to drone warfare in an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show October 18, Obama said: "One of the things we've got to do is put legal architecture in place and we need congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in, in terms of some of the decisions we're making [regarding targeted killings, interference in the affairs of sovereign nations, invasions etc]."
During the recent presidential election when Obama faced the possibility he might not be re-elected, the New York Times reported that his administration began work to "develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures."
This goes far beyond making the practice of governing a process of pragmatic policy objectives devoid of principles. A policy objective set to determine the scope of the government's authority to carry out targeted killings is an unfettered police power. The previous George Bush administration similarly made torture a police power saying roughly that it could not be accused of torture because the definition of torture is imprecise.
The state authority to kill and jail people without due process or declaration of war appears as a reintroduction of the medieval practices of feuding princes based on might makes right. Similarly, the German Nazi Reich of Adolf Hitler was guilty of these practices, most significantly the surprise invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland and subsequently the Soviet Union in 1941, despite the non-aggression pact of 1939.
However, no precedent exists for the kind of police powers the Obama presidency is usurping, unleashing mayhem that turns on its own master and requires evermore devious killers to kill the killers. The police powers are unlike those of the past targeting minorities, political opponents, crime families or simply the "bad guys." They assume a dimension where the "good guys" and "bad guys" do not seem to be comprised of state authorities themselves but rather elements fighting a turf war, even within its own ruling class, in which the people are victims.
Drones are now routinely used along both the Mexican and Canadian borders, sanctioned by the new state of North American monopolies into which both Canada and Mexico have been absorbed. All of it shows that today there are no limits. The U.S. authority is not only clashing with the conditions within the U.S. and the entire world. It is overwhelming itself in the process.
Use of Facile Labels to Excuse or Justify Targeted Assassinations and Collateral Killing of Civilians
The use of phony human rights' definitions to dehumanize war and promote its acceptance as a legitimate method to settle disputes and differences amongst the people form part of the Obama drone war doctrine. The doctrine labels individuals and states with repugnant terms, which is considered enough of a high ideal to take armed action. Labeling individuals and states as terrorist or rogue and denying them their rights is incompatible with a modern state.
Individuals committing criminal acts, such as car bombings and hijackings can be pursued through lawful methods and criminal proceedings. A modern lawful state cannot use labels to bypass the legal system within its national boundaries or internationally or it becomes a lawless state, a government unfit to rule, an authority in contradiction with modern conditions as is today the case with the U.S. state and its relations with those with which it is colluding and contending for the dominant positions.
French President François Hollande declares blithely that certain elements causing trouble in North Mali are "Jihadists and terrorists" giving French imperialism carte blanche to do whatever it wants to defend its economic and political interests in West Africa.
Principles are rejected and replaced with pragmatic assertions based on whether the denial of rights works or not, whether it is successful or not. The U.S. movie Zero Dark Thirty says torture worked in finding Osama bin Laden therefore torture is acceptable. Many in the U.S. authority contend U.S. drone killings work in Pakistan and have seriously weakened the enemy. Devoid of principles, you cannot argue with success. However, the debate is not whether drone warfare works or not. The debate is how to organize to resist those state authorities that deprive the people of their rights, rights that they possess by virtue of being human. The fight to affirm the rights of all is the only road forward for humanity and the only way our individual and collective security can be upheld and guaranteed.
Necessity for Organized Opposition to Obama Drone War Doctrine
The people will continue to organize to oppose these reckless and illegal actions of U.S. imperialism, whose unfettered power have been declared the norm, a precedent that other big powers follow with impunity until those big powers directly and unavoidably confront one another in open catastrophic warfare.
The peoples of the world reject the lawless U.S. imperialist world of anarchy and violence. Humanity and its societies cannot survive in such a world; only by stepping up their acts of organized resistance to the Obama drone war doctrine can we create the conditions necessary to affirm the rights of all! (TML Daily, cpcml.ca)
Plans for Civil Death and Lawlessness at Home
Obama’s second presidency means plans for broad civil death and lawlessness at home. As part and parcel of his drone war doctrine, unleashing targeted assassinations, civil wars and chaos abroad, there will also be greater use of police powers at home. This is already being indicated by Obama’s plans for immigration and proposals concerning gun control.
With his actions, while appearing to address the concerns of minorities and immigrants, he is acting to provide a legal framework to justify in law the open violation of rights and effective civil death of large sections of the population. Civil death involves removing basic civil rights from all those who do not meet criteria arbitrarily set by the government and imposing death in the form of denial of the ability to participate in the life of the country, especially its political and economic life.
It is not coincidental that Obama’s second presidency is beginning with major efforts concerning immigration and gun control. Immigration has long been a major issue. The issue of school shootings and violent murders in general were also a problem throughout his first presidency and long before. So why the push now? It is in part connected with the consolidation of Obama’s outlaw state and unfettered police powers for repression at home.
Obama is expected to present his blueprint for immigration in an address January 29. A group of Senators is also planning a proposal. It is likely that both proposals will largely follow that proposed by New York Senator Schumer, a leading Democrat, in 2010. Schumer and others involved from 2010 are among the Senators making proposals now.
Schumer’s plan calls for a biometric identification card (ID) for all workers, which can only be secured after meeting a government “background” check and proving citizenship or permanent residency. It is said to be needed to prevent undocumented workers from working but in fact would serve to greatly regiment the entire workforce and impose civil death and perhaps labor camps on those who cannot secure the ID.
It is already the case where the government imposed proof of citizenship, such as in Massachusetts to secure Medicaid, that thousands of citizens were forced off the rolls because they could not prove their citizenship to the government’s satisfaction. Biometric ID or something similar as part of immigration law will serve the same purpose — to force all to register with the government, provide biometric identifiers and put in the federal government’s hands the ability to grant or not grant such ID cards. The federal government will decide who does and does not work, who does and does not pass background checks. And no doubt, to extend this further, such ID will become required to enter airports, government buildings, or receive welfare or unemployment benefits, or vote. Lacking it will mean civil death and further attacks on rights, such as the rights to speak and organize.
Similarly, just as Obama presents himself as a “peace” president who has ended wars abroad while drone warfare continues, he presents himself as a “progressive” speaking to the need for mental health care and ending gun violence. The full content of Obama’s executive orders concerning gun control have not yet been released. But in speaking to the issue, Obama made the point that “Someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator.” He also said “We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care as easy as access to a gun.” This is the clothing of concern. But indications from the planned content of actual laws is that mental illness will be used as another mechanism to deny rights, beginning with the issue of guns and proceeding further from there.
All indications are that government health officials will be given authority to determine if someone’s “mental health” is sufficient to own a gun. If not, they will be denied access. Judging by various other laws, such as those concerning terrorists and no-fly lists, the actual criteria and definitions as to what constitutes “mental health” will be vague enough to arbitrarily brand people as mentally ill. And once that occurs, what other rights will be denied — ability to fly? enter federal buildings? to vote? Whatever one may think about gun control laws, instituting measures like those planned for the mentally ill opens the way for imposing civil death on far larger sections of the people.
It is also well known that the existing healthcare system does not provide what is needed for anyone, let alone those most vulnerable like the mentally ill. Large numbers of mentally ill people have been imprisoned or thrown on the streets without the support needed. More cuts are planned for Medicaid, which provides nearly half of all public mental health care coverage. States cut more than $4 billion in public mental health dollars between 2009-2012, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. It is the largest reduction since widespread deinstitutionalization of people with mental illness 40 years ago.
Given, as Obama states, that mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of gun violence, why then make them the target of gun laws? It is also the case more generally that the rate of violent crime is going down and the murder rate is the lowest since the presidency of John F. Kennedy. So while violence in society is no doubt a serious problem, why the focus now on pushing gun control? It serves as a means to divide the people and divert from the actual sources of violence, such as poverty, and Obama and his drone warfare with its assassinations and massacres of civilians. It is also a means to justify what cannot be justified, which is a legal architecture for imposing civil death and terrorizing yet broader sections of the population.
Modern society requires modern democracy and institutions devoted to guaranteeing rights, not denying them. The U.S. effort to destroy rights at home and abroad is headed in the opposite direction and doomed to failure. It is an effort to escape the call of history for society to advance and to modernize governance by affirming the individual and collective rights of all. Security cannot be found in the anarchy, violence and chaos of unfettered U.S. power. It can be found and society can advance through the organized fight to affirm the rights of all.
Voice of Revolution
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