The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Jun 01 2011, 7:03 PM Category: Commentary Source: Anthony Gregory Print

The Heavy Cost of the Bush-Obama Murder Rampage

by Anthony Gregory

In every election cycle, the politicians love to pretend there is a difference among them on the foreign policy questions. Yet on these issues of unsurpassed importance, we see the Democrats and Republicans are all part of the same bloodthirsty gang.

On the superficial level of presidential politics, Obama and Bush appeared light-years apart. They play opposites in the DC-approved official culture war between those who pretend to be genuine red-blooded Americans of the heartland and those who feign an understanding of the beleaguered urban minorities and oppressed underclass, when in truth both perfectly embody the same Wall Street-Pentagon-friendly power elite. This is most clearly seen in their virtually identical approach toward empire.

After 9/11, Bush could have used his Republican bonafides to stress not pacifism but at least the humble foreign policy he had promised. We shouldn’t be "an arrogant nation," he famously said in his October 11, 2000, debate with Al Gore. "[O]ne way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you."

But instead, Bush used 9/11 as an excuse to expand the federal government more than had happened in decades, gut the Bill of Rights, and start two major wars to "democractize" Afghanistan and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands, maybe more than a million innocents, were slaughtered in his wars. He left America in low morale, bankrupted from his recklessness, bloodied from battle, with thousands of Americans having returned in flag-draped caskets.

Obama in 2008 gave even more lip service to foreign policy humility than did Bush in 2000, or at least was perceived this way, and somehow everyone believed it. He said Bush made a terrible mistake in invading Iraq. He said we could save a fortune and restore American honor by withdrawing.

Yet here we are, over two years into his presidency, and the mountain of corpses continues to rise. In Afghanistan, there were more civilian deaths last year than any time since the war began. In Pakistan, Obama has unleashed unspeakable terror with his drone attacks, deploying more than three times as many last year as Bush did in 2008. This killing spree has greatly exacerbated a refugee disaster, wherein a million or two have been displaced from their homes.

But of course, most Americans don’t care about the death of foreigners. Non-Americans are barely human. Yet even by purely U.S.-centric standards, the Obama model of war has amounted to a continuation of the Bush trajectory. My new Independent Institute policy report, What Price War? Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Costs of Conflict, goes into the numbers and cuts through the rhetorical fog of partisan nonsense.

Last year, 559 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is ninety more than died in Bush’s last full year – 2008 – in office. Both 2009 and 2010 were far bloodier for Americans in Afghanistan than any year under Bush. In 2008, Bush’s deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, 155 died there – fewer than half of the 317 who fell in 2009 and fewer than a third of the 499 who fell last year.

Even conservative Americans should be alarmed by this, and liberal peaceniks should be horrified that their man has apparently increased U.S. belligerence from its 2008 levels, by which point U.S. casualties were winding down from their peak during Bush’s most lethal years. All Americans have to be concerned with the financial cost too. Obama repeatedly promised to save money from the Iraq adventure and devote the savings to other priorities – which he has, more or less. Yet the U.S. was going to begin drawing down in Iraq anyway: Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement in 2008, setting a timetable for Iraq similar to what we’ve seen followed under Obama.

Overall, the heightened violence in Afghanistan has meant a war price tag rivaling the worst days of war criminal George W. Bush. Even adjusting for inflation, in 2006, Bush was spending about $133 billion on his two wars in 2011 dollars. Last year, the cost was up to $170 billion. Then we have the record-busting Pentagon budgets that the Democrats have given us.

Obama could have gotten away with a more modest policy than Bush, simply by continuing on the path set at the beginning of 2009. But he wanted to show that the Republicans had "neglected" Afghanistan and so he tripled the U.S. troop presence, from just over 30,000 soldiers at the end of the Bush era to the 100,000 or so that are there now. This puts aside the vast increase in contractors, as I discuss in the report.

Obama has also bombed Somalia and Yemen and started a fresh new major war with Libya, in violation of the War Powers Act, the Constitution, and all semblance of common sense. So far, according to Defense Secretary Gates, the cost has been over $750 million. This particular battle costs about $40 million a month in direct costs, but I’m sure the Republicans are still patting themselves on the back for saving $5 million a year by cutting federal funding for NPR.

All of this ignores the more hidden costs of war: The uncounted thousands of innocents blown to bits and otherwise slaughtered because Obama doesn’t want to appear "weak" in Afghanistan; the civil liberties violations that have only accelerated under this president; the many thousands of Americans injured and psychologically traumatized; the economic opportunities vanquished because of the trillions in resources devoted to and destroyed in these wars.

Concerning all the permanent fixtures of the American state – the trillions in entitlements, the national police power, the Fed and the armies of regulators – Obama has continued and expanded upon nearly everything we had under Bush, just as Bush ramped up what he inherited from Clinton and on and on going back decades. Nowhere is the tragic bipartisan continuity in U.S. policy starker than in the area of war. Yet as I note in my paper, there was no reason to expect otherwise: candidate Obama said Iraq was a mistake, but he praised the horrible surge and voted to continue funding the war, vowing the whole time to expand operations in Afghanistan.

Millions thought Obama would bring home the troops, wind down the wars, stop killing so many civilians, and save money while he was at it. Sadly, the murder rampage continues without interruption, only with a greater emphasis on picking on some nations rather than others and a different rhetorical cloak to obscure the evil of the slaughter. Hawks decry Obama as a pacifist who hates American power and doves often praise him for being more thoughtful than his reckless warmongering predecessor. The only real question is which dishonest characterization is the greater obscenity.
Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is research editor at the Independent Institute. He lives in Oakland, California. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.

Copyright © 2011 by

Latest Commentary
- Net Neutrality: Triumph of the Ruling Class
- If You're Not "Sovereign," You're Servile
- Domestic Fear Is the Price of Empire
- The Net Neutrality Scam
- The National-Security State's ISIS Racket
- Gun Control, Death, and the Drug War
- Against Forced Vaccination
- A Modest Proposal: Mandatory Military Service for Congress

No Comments Posted Add Comment

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

Feds Raid Texas Political Meeting; Fingerprint And Photograph All Attendees, Seize Phones - 02/27Shock Video Emerges Of LAPD Shooting Homeless Man - 03/02Cop Tases an Innocent, Non-Violent, and Unarmed Senior Citizen in a Wheelchair - 03/02Net Neutrality: Triumph of the Ruling Class - 02/27Man Falls Asleep On Bus, Cop Pummels And Pepper Sprays Him - 02/27Wrong Man Jailed For Child Porn; Real Suspect Can't Be Charged - 02/27Video of Man's Police Interaction Exposes Vast Conspiracy -- This is Why You Always Film Police - 02/26The Disappeared: Chicago Police Detain Americans At Abuse-Laden 'Black Site' - 02/25

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up