Double Standards: Where Were Liberal Protestors During Obama’s Wars?
Above Photo: by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0
Note: The article below is a warning to all activists, do not ally with the Democratic Party or it will kill your movement. The mass protests Whitney describes during the Bush era turned out to really be partisan anti-Bush protests not true anti-war protests. Once Bush was out of office, replaced by a Democrat who continued US militarism and war, the mass protests died.
This is not to say that protests against war, militarism and torture by the military stopped during the Obama era. A movement also developed around Chelsea Manning protesting her persecution and mistreatment in prison, finally leading to the success of clemency in her case. Protests continued, just without the mass of Democratic partisans. Here’s a video of one example of a protest during Obama’s presidency where 130 were arrested protesting the Afghan war. Obama was inside the White House extolling the successes the US military was having in Afghanistan. Peace actvists were outside in the snow protesting at an even organized by Veterans for Peace, while not a mass protest, 130 arrests in one protest is not insignificant.
Another lesson from this era – be very wary of MoveOn. MoveOn is a Democratic Party political action group. It was founded to protect Bill Clinton from impeachment. It has played a dastardly role in undermining the anti-war movement. Here is a report about their activities in 2007 when consistent protest was putting incredible pressure on Congress to stop funding the war:
MoveOn did this to the peace movement in 2007 after an anti-Iraq War vote gave the Democrats control of the House of Representatives. The anti-war movement was in full force pressuring members of Congress. The Democratic leadership put forward a bill to end funding for the war unless “benchmarks” were met and allowed war funding for four big exceptions that would allow the war to continue, such as fighting terrorism, protecting American interests, and training the Iraq military. Twenty peace groups united to oppose the Democratic plan to continue war funding. Every vote was needed by the corporate-Democratic Party leadership to continue war funding. At the last minute, MoveOn came out in support of the weak Democratic plan and provided cover to Democrats, relieved constituent pressure, and allowed the war funding to continue.
One of the goals of October 2010 protest in the video above was to begin to build a ‘culture of resistance’ in the US. It was after this protest that we began to discuss and think about new forms of protest as we did not want to do symbolic protests. These discussions led to the formation of the occupation in Washington, DC. We worked on it for months and went public in June of 2010 with this video. In a coincidence of history, the day after the anti-war protest at the White House in the video above, a fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest corruption beginning the Arab Spring.
Occupy stayed independent of the Democratic Party and served as a take-off of a new phase of resistance in the United States. After the encampment tactic ended it evolved into many other protest activities that continue today. This website is one form of the continuation of our Occupy work. KZ
The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country.
Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?
Where were they?
They were asleep, weren’t they? Because liberals always sleep when their man is in office, particularly if their man is a smooth-talking cosmopolitan snake-charmer like Obama who croons about personal freedom and democracy while unleashing the most unspeakable violence on civilians across the Middle East and Central Asia.
The United States has been at war for eight straight years under Obama, and during that time, there hasn’t been one sizable antiwar march, demonstration or protest. Nothing. No one seems to care when an articulate bi-racial mandarin kills mostly people of color, but when a brash and outspoken real estate magnate takes over the reigns of power, then ‘watch out’ because here come the protestors, all three million of them!
Can we agree that there is at least the appearance of hypocrisy here?
Indeed. Analyst Jon Reynolds summed it up perfectly over at the Black Agenda Report. He said:
“If Hillary had won, the drone strikes would have continued. The wars would have continued. The spying would continue. Whistleblowers would continue being prosecuted and hunted down. And minorities would continue bearing the brunt of these policies, both in the US and across the world. The difference is that in such a scenario, Democrats, if the last eight years are any indication, would remain silent — as they did under Obama — offering bare minimum concern and vilifying anyone attacking their beloved president as some sort of hater. Cities across the US would remain free of protests, and for another 4-8 years, Democrats would continue doing absolutely nothing to end the same horrifying policies now promoted by a Republican.” (“Delusions Shattered“, Jon Reynolds, The Black Agenda Report)
He’s right, isn’t he? How many of the 800,000 protesters who marched on Sunday would have flown to Washington to express their contempt for would-be President Hillary Clinton?
Zero, I’d wager, and yet it’s Hillary who wanted to implement the no-fly zones in Syria that would have put Washington in direct confrontation with Moscow, just like it was Hillary who wanted to teach Putin a-thing-or-two in Ukraine. But is that what the people want? Would people prefer to be led into World War 3 by a bonefide champion of liberal values than concede the post to a brassy billionaire who wants to find common ground on fighting ISIS with his Russian counterpart?
It seems like a no-brainer to me. And it’s not like we don’t know who is responsible for the killing in Syria either. We do.
Barack Obama and his coterie of bloodthirsty friends in the political establishment are entirely responsible. These are the people who funded, armed and trained the Salafist maniacs that have decimated the country and created millions of refugees that are now tearing apart the EU. That’s right, the spillover from America’s not-so-covert operation is ripping the EU to shreds. It’s just another unfortunate side-effect of Obama’s bloody Syrian debacle. As journalist Margaret Kimberly says in a recent post at The Black Agenda Report: “All of the casualties, the sieges, the hunger and the frantic search for refuge can be placed at America’s feet.”
Amen, to that. All the violence can be traced back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, home of Barack Hussein Obama, Nobel peace prize winner. What a joke. Here’s how analyst Solomon Comissiong sums it up in another article at the BAR:
“Supporters of Barack Obama, and liberals in general, are disingenuous frauds. They had no issues protesting the likes of the amoral warmongering George W. Bush or the racist xenophobe, Donald J. Trump, however when it comes to Barack Obama they can find no reason to protest his mass murdering escapades. Obama supporters were recently nostalgic and teary eyed after he gave his last major speech as president of the United States, yet can find little reason to shed tears over the masses of civilians who were destroyed directly as a result of Obama’s policies. Where were the emotions and tears when men, women and children were getting blown to bits by USA drone attacks, indiscriminate air strikes and bombs?…Those who protested the racist and xenophobic Trump, but not Obama or Clinton, are nothing more that disingenuous frauds and amoral cowards.” (“As Obama Exits the White House, Never Forget His Destructive Imperialist Legacy“, Solomon Comissiong, Black Agenda Report)
Let’s be honest, Obama got a pass from his supporters strictly because of appearances; because he looked and sounded like a thoroughly reasonable bloke who only acted on the loftiest of principles. Obama was hailed as a moral giant, a political rock star, a leader among leaders. But it was all fake, all make-up and glitz behind which operated the vicious national security state extending its tentacles around the world, toppling regimes wherever it went, and leaving anarchy and destruction in its wake. Isn’t this Obama’s real legacy when you strip away the sweeping hand gestures and pompous rhetoric?
Of course it is. But Trump won’t have that advantage, will he? Trump is not a public relations invention upon which heartsick liberals pin their highest hopes. Trump is Trump warts and all, the proverbial bull in the china shop. That’s not to say Trump won’t be a lousy president. Judging by the Wall Street cutthroats and hard-edged military men he’s surrounded himself with, he probably will be. But the American people are no longer asleep, so there’s going to be limits to what he can hope to achieve.
So the question is: How should one approach the Trump presidency? Should we denounce him as a fascist before he ever sets foot in the Oval Office? Should we deny his “legitimacy” even though he was elected via a process we have honored for over 200 years? Should we launch impeachment proceedings before he’s done anything that would warrant his removal from office?
Veteran journalist Robert Parry answers this question in a recent piece at Consortium News. Here’s what he said:
“The current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.
There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.
Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.
If — in a rush to demonize and impeach President Trump — Democrats and progressives solidify support for wars of choice in the Middle East, a New Cold War with Russia and a Davos-style elitism, they could further alienate many people who might otherwise be their allies.
In other words, selectivity in opposing and criticizing Trump – where he rightly deserves it – rather than opportunism in rejecting everything that Trump says might make more sense. A movement built entirely on destroying Trump could drop Democrats and progressives into some politically destructive traps.” (“Selectivity in Trashing Trump“, Robert Parry, Consortium News)
Right on, Bob. A very reasonable approach to a very thorny situation.