The successful assassination of Osama bin Laden this week provides 9/11 families and all Americans with a measure of justice, and hands President Obama and our military/intelligence communities an undeniable feather in their caps heading toward the 10-year anniversary of our national horror this September.
But as President Obama visited Ground Zero Thursday for a touching wreath ceremony and not-so-subtle victory lap, it’s easy to forget about the ongoing human costs of the war on terror.
It’s easy to forget because hardly anyone’s mentioning them anymore.
During George Bush’s presidency, we were subjected to daily reminders of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as the names of fallen soldiers appeared on our TV screens, and casualty counts constantly adorned headlines.
Candidate Obama capitalized on these highly publicized military deaths: Campaigning against the Iraq War, he not only captured the nomination and the presidency, he somehow impressed the Nobel Peace Prize committee after serving approximately 12 days in office.
Once again, however, President Obama’s image and campaign rhetoric conflict with his now two-year-plus record.
You may be surprised to learn, as was I, that more than 1,176 American combat soldiers have died on President Obama’s watch, on pace to equal or surpass the number of war dead (4,200) under President Bush, despite the fact that Obama has liberated no known countries to date, and often seems unclear on exactly what we’re doing in Afghanistan.
On the heels of the deadliest year ever in Afghanistan in 2010, U.S. soldiers are dying at nearly the same rate this year. (http://icasualties.org/OEF/index.aspx)
And the media apparently couldn’t care less.
Yes, the media treat Obama differently than Bush. Surprise, surprise.
But while we can’t expect JournoList types to care about the alarming number of fallen U.S. soldiers under a Democratic president, at least they could mention the tragic civilian fatalities inflicted by our military right? Remember how Obama, John Kerry and other liberal demagogues shamelessly accused our troops of “air-raiding villages and killing civilians” and “terrorizing women and children“?
Well it turns out that is exactly what Obama’s drone bombing is doing in Pakistan – a country we aren’t even supposed to be at war with. And all with little notice from the lapdog press or most of the formerly offended anti-war professional left.
Even liberal Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald notices the glaring hypocrisy in the coverage of Obama’s drone strikes that kill (and yes, terrorize) civilians.
In a column last Friday he took the NY Times to task for understating the loss of civilian lives:
A U.S. drone attack in Pakistan killed 23 people this morning, and this is how The New York Times described that event in its headline and first paragraph:
When I saw that, I was going to ask how the NYT could possibly know that the people whose lives the U.S. just ended were “militants,” but then I read further in the article and it said this: “A government official in North Waziristan told Pakistani reporters that five children and four women were among the 23 who were killed.” So at least 9 of the 23 people we killed — at least — were presumably not “militants” at all, but rather innocent civilians (contrast how the NYT characterizes Libya’s attacks in its headlines: “Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas”).
Can someone who defends these drone attacks please identify the purpose? Is the idea that we’re going to keep dropping them until we kill all the “militants” in that area? We’ve been killing people in that area at a rapid clip for many, many years now, and we don’t seem to be much closer to extinguishing them. How many more do we have to kill before the eradication is complete?
We conservatives are rightly seen as pro-military. But shouldn’t we join a few of our intellectually honest liberal counterparts in holding President Obama to the same standards he applied to his predecessor? Moreover, shouldn’t we hold him to his own words as president? In March, while explaining our involvement in Libya, Obama claimed: “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”
And yet, in an April joint Op-Ed with David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama pledged to “continue operations in Libya until Gadaffi was gone” and has now authorized drone attacks in Libya – without Congressional approval.
Given Obama’s constant contradictions and flip flops, it’s not surprising Governor Palin has frequently criticized the president for failing to lead our military, and recently offered her own, dramatically more coherent platform for the use of American force. In her widely praised five-point declaration, she presented a clear alternative to Obama’s reckless war-mongering, including:
… we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake …
if we have to fight, we fight to win. … we use overwhelming force.
… we must have clearly defined goals and objectives …
By Palin’s sensible standards, Obama is completely botching the mission. At this point, with war casualties mounting, it seems clear that the man who claimed to be against “dumb wars” is currently fighting three costly and deadly wars with no apparent purpose.
Maybe it’s time for conservatives to break out the old liberal stand by. What was it?
Oh yeah … Obama lied, people died.
Or, we could just do what we conservatives do best … fly our flags proudly, honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day later this month, and pray for the troops’ safety … while pursuing American regime change at the ballot box in 2012.
It’s time to elect the mother of a combat veteran to lead our troops.