In all the blather you read about the Obama reach-out to the world of Islam, what criticism you can find is usually from the screeching Right. What the Left is concerned with, what I'm concerned with is the clear indication we've gotten from the Obama administration that as far as those miserable wars in the Middle East that are hollowing out our substance, Obama's policies will not be discernibly different than those of Bush. For starters, there's been a huge plus-up of DoD contractors in Afghanistan. Thousands and thousands of these guys. Mercenaries and support tail guys. Wanna take a guess at how many are already there? Are you sitting down?
In Iraq: 132,600+ In Afghanistan: 68,000+. In the entire Central Command area of responsibility, the U.S. had almost 250,000 contractors! What this translates to is fully half of the people we've got over there are on the payroll of some corporation. Under our let's-get-our-troops-out-of-the-Middle-East president, just in the last quarter, the military contractor contingent went up over 25 percent in both countries. Does this sound like draw-down to you?
And then we have the constant, consistent, and increasing toll of civilian lives we're snuffing out in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and have snuffed out in Iraq, where we're presumably not killing nearly as many. Chris Hedges points out in his latest piece for Truthdig that besides the innocents we're killing in our wars, the Muslims have a list of grievances against us, and no progress is being made in addressing them. While we may thrill to Obama's soaring words,
very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration. The wars of occupation go on or have been expanded. Israel continues to flout international law, gobbling up more Palestinian land and carrying out egregious war crimes in Gaza. Calcified, repressive regimes in countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are feted in Washington as allies.Listen. To me, this whole thing is just as clear as can be. If you kill members of my family, kill my neighbor's family, blow up my mosque or my house or village or my marketplace, the likelihood that I'm going hate you and your country is about 100 percent. The likelihood that either I or someone I know or is related to will assist the enemies of the U.S. after this are about 100 percent. Explanations about how careful you're trying to be and how exaggerated I am in telling the story will not endear me to you. They will not erase the crime you've committed against me, who was merely living his life before you showed up.
So who loses here? The Americans, of course. What blockheads we are! Prediction: Even if Barack Obama serves two terms, at the end of the second term, this country will still be fighting a war in the Middle East. We're laying the foundation--already have!--for a perpetual war there. Mamas with 4-year-olds. Get ready. They'll be next.