By Ralph Nader: Stopping Barry O'Bomber's Rush to War!
Dear President Obama: Little did your school boy chums in Hawaii, watching you race up ad down the basketball court, know how prescient they were when they nicknamed you "Barry O'Bomber." Little did your fellow Harvard Law Review editors, who elected you to lead that venerable journal, ever imagine that your fellow Harvard Law Review editors, who elected you to lead that venerable journal ever imagine that you could be a president who chronically violates the Constitution, federal statues, international treaties and the separation of power at depths equal to or beyond the George W. Bush regime. Nor would many of the voters who elected you in 2008 have conceived that your foreign policy would rely so much on brute military force at the expense of systemically waging peace. Certainly, voters who knew your background as a child of third world countries, a community organizer, a scholar of constitutional law and a critic of the Bush/Cheney years, never would have expected you to favor the giant warfare state so pleasing to the military industrial complex. Now, as if having learned nothing from the devastating and costly aftermaths of the military invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, you're beating the combustible drums to attack Syria, a country that is no threat to the U.S. and is embroiled in complex civil wars under a brutal regime. This time, however, you may have pushed for too many acts of war. Public opinion and sizable numbers of members of both parties in Congress are opposed. These lawmakers oppose bombing Syria in spite of your corralling the cowardly leaders of both parties in the Congress. Thus far, your chief achievement on the Syrian front has been support for your opposition from al-Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria, the pro-Israeli government lobby, AIPAC, your chief nemesis in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, and Dick Cheney. This is quite a gathering and a telling commentary on your ecumenical talents. Assuming the veracity of your declarations regarding the regime's resort to chemical warfare first introduced into the Middle East by Winston Churchill's Royal Air Force's plastering of Iraqi tribesmen in the nineteen twenties, your motley support group is oblivious to the uncontrollable consequences that might stem from bombing Syria. One domestic consequence may be that Speaker Boehner expects to exact concessions from you on domestic issues before Congress in return for giving you such high visibility bipartisan cover. Your argument for shelling Syria is to maintain "international credibility" in drawing that "red line" regardless, it seems, of the loss of innocent Syrian civilian life, causalities to our foreign service and armed forces in that wider region, and retaliation against the fearful Christian population in Syria, one in seven Syrians are Christian. But the more fundamental credibilities are to our Constitution, to the neglected necessities of the American people, and to the red line of observing international law and the UN Charter which prohibit unilateral bombing in this situation. There is another burgeoning cost, that the militarization of the State Department whose original charter invests it with the responsibility of diplomacy. Instead, Mr. Obama you have shaped the State Department into a belligerent "force projector" first under Generalissima Clinton and now under Generalissimo Kerry.