Your Nobel Peace Prize at Work

So now it’s official. President Obama is going to escalate the war in Afghanistan. (Or as some are calling it, Vietghanistan.)

Given the rapid increase of U.S. troops in that nation (remember, Obama already sent more troops there this past spring), and the creeping withdrawal of troops from Iraq, our nation will now have more troops in those two countries combined than at any time during the Bush Administration. Yee ha.

Ironically, President Obama chose to announce this war escalation only a week before going to Norway to pick up his Peace Prize. One has to wonder if the Nobel Committee is having second thoughts.

This war escalation is, however, just one of a number of military, intelligence and foreign policy decisions in which the change promised by Barack Obama has turned out to be more of the same, following the terrible policies of his predecessor.

As has been noted previously in this space, President Obama is continuing the Bush policy of renditions (terrorism suspects being shipped to secret locations overseas for “interrogation”), as well as the Bush policy of indefinite detention without charges (it will just happen at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan now, instead of Guantanamo Bay).  And here is another you might have missed in the lead up to the Thanksgiving holiday last week: it was announced that President Obama will also, like President Bush, refuse to sign the International Treaty to Ban Landmines.

This baffling, appalling decision puts us at odds with most countries in the civilized world, including all our NATO allies. And it is yet another indication that on a number of crucial issues, the Pentagon seems to be calling the shots.

To watch (or read) Amy Goodman’s interview with Stephen Goose of Human Rights Watch on Obama’s landmine decision, click here. (The video opens with a State Department spokesman who is delightfully confused, and embarrassingly unable to explain this decision.)

And for Jon Stewart’s mighty funny take on Obama’s new war strategy, including his channeling of George Bush and the speeches we would have all preferred to see, click here.

Keep your chin up!

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