Pres. Obama Embraces the Bush Doctrine
As much as we may detest Obama’s willful and wanton destruction of our economic liberties and freedom at home, he has begun to mature into a president that will do what’s necessary to protect us, to a point. He has fully and openly abandoned the Obama Doctrine, which is basically, “Speak loudly and bow a lot, I mean a lot.” Obama said we should “view our security in terms of a common security and a common prosperity with other peoples and other countries.” Actions would have to be taken in concert with other global players. The United States would merely be one in the greater scheme of things. America would achieve peace through everyone mutual respect and getting along.
Didn’t work too well.
So, after his first attempts to make the Obama Doctrine, with help from the Nobel Peace prize committee, the principled practice of the United States were busts. The Israelis and Palestinians didn’t lay down their arms and embrace. Iran brutally crushed a dissent movement after their sham election results. Somali pirates didn’t go back to fishing. After the first shoots of the Arab spring began to emerge, the Obama Doctrine became somewhat of joke. It’s a silly punchline and not a doctrine at all. Tunisia ousted their leader. Egypt decapitated their government. The anti-tyrannical movements began to spill over into Libya. Quaddafi didn’t like it. So, he and his supporters fought back against the revolution and it turned into a bloody civil war. The rebel Libyans and their former European bosses cried out for help. The Obama Doctrine, ‘let’s all just get along’ had its first real test.
Secretary of State Clinton called for aid to the rebels. From there, the Obama Doctrine folded like a cheap suit. The Democratic Party rallied around the Clinton Corollary to the Bush Doctrine, use NATO as the rebel’s shield to benefit the ‘right’ side, and poof, it was gone.
The Bush Doctrine, as outlined by George W. Bush himself in his book, “Decision Points”, consisted of four tenets.
- “Make no distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them–and hold both to account.”
- “Take the fight to the enemy overseas before they can attack us again here at home.”
- “Confront threats before they fully materialize.”
- “Advance liberty and hope as an alternative to the enemy’s ideology of repression and fear.”
President Imemy, had railed against the Bush Doctrine as ‘doctrinaire’ and ‘cowboyish’ because it inserts American perogatives into world affairs. He lashed out by saying Bush’s ideas were too simple in a complex world. He believed engaging your adversaries was the way to make them change to your liking. He argued with Sen. John McCain that, “[d]emanding that a country meets all your conditions before you meet with them, that’s not a strategy. It’s just naive, wishful thinking.” Yet Obama’s open lines of communication had achieved nothing in the world except sneers and disdain if not outright derision. So, when push came to shove, the Obama Doctrine of chatting across the fence was abandoned. Instead, he pulled out the weaponry.
The first time Obama abandoned his principles was in Afghanistan. The Taliban were making inroads in the country and the Karzai government was in peril. Our troops were being attacked more and more frequently, and the policy of chatting with the enemy wasn’t curtailing a bolder Taliban. In fact, they seemed even more emboldened by the new president’s ‘open mike night’ approach at foreign affairs. The famous Obama dithering happened throughout most of 2009 as the Taliban did great damage to the Afghan people and the American military. In November of 2009 he finally agreed to send more troops to aid the Afghan government and the American troops on the ground. This was his first concession to the Bush Doctrine. He agreed to use more military force to stop the potential loss of that country to radical Islam. Note, that is the core idea in the Bush Doctrine, that it isn’t actual threats that need to be countered by American might but potential threats. This is quite different from the foreign policy strategies in the past. Instead of waiting for the British to invade from Canada, or having our ships attacked or forts. We aren’t going to wait for Pearl Harbor or a U.N. mandate. We will take decisive action based on the potential threat another group may pose to us.
Al Quaeda in Afghanistan had been routed. The Taliban had promised to never allow them back again. There was no imminent threat to us had we just left Afghanistan. But, Obama adopted the Bush Doctrine of using additional force to preclude the return of the Taliban and not engage in friendly chitchat leading to mutual respect and equality.
While Obama had promised his spanking new doctrine would ratchet down the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, he didn’t do any of it. The Bush Administration began withdrawing troops in Iraq and he merely followed the agreed upon time table negotiated with the Iraqi government. For all his bluster about withdrawing in 14 months, we are at 28 months and counting and still are fully engaged in both countries. He fears withdrawing troops could endanger our mission while at the same time pretending, with the help of the Party-run press, that he is actually working on pulling out.
President Imemy’s next abandonment of the Obama Doctrine occurred when the Arab spring came to Libya. The Libyan dictator, Quaddafi, was not going to let a bunch of rival tribespeople upturn his apple cart. He fought back and that’s where we get the Clinton Corollary. Recalling her days of running from imaginary gunfire in Bosnia, she whipped out the old Clinton foreign policy playbook and demanded satisfaction for the rebels in Libya. The Party-run press had believed their own hype in that like in Tunisia and Egypt, Quaddafi would cut and run when a bunch of people protested. Quaddafi fought back and was defeating the rebels in town after town so Hillary squeaked and squealed until Obama blinked.
Instead of ‘engaging adversaries with direct communication and equal respect’, Obama committed to NATO ‘protecting’ the rebels with ongoing air cover. To PREVENT atrocities that they SUPPOSED would be committed, they joined the Europeans in the fight. This is once again the essence of the Bush Doctrine. The Clinton Corollary, protect with air power and a coalition, those who were threatened by a rogue regime became attached to the Bush Doctrine. They made preemptive strikes against Quaddafi’s forces because they presumed a massive retaliation would follow. Obama could have easily stayed out of this fight. It wasn’t even in our national interest to ‘defend’ the Arab spring. In fact, when he was still pretending to follow the Obama Doctrine, he did just that, nothing, when the Iranian people were massively protesting and their leaders cracked down on them. Obama’s comment at the time. We mustn’t meddle.
Now, all of a sudden, we aren’t just meddling, we are proactively engaged in trying to force Quaddafi out and have his rivals enthroned. Our military isn’t just shooting at a few tanks that are heading for women and children. They are bombing Quaddafi’s home killing his children and grandchildren. This is a far cry from getting everyone to hold hands and sing “We Are the World” as he urged is the intelligent approach to foreign relations. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has engaged us in killing a tyrant’s family to get him to step down. This is based on the notion that if we don’t get him to step down, he’ll line up his adversaries and use them for target practice.
I’m not saying he won’t, I’m just saying we are engaged in a preemptive war against an enemy of someone else’s because we believe it will further our interests in the long run. This even stretches the Bush Doctrine out of whack. The Clinton Corollary merely creates an exception that fits within the idea of preemptive action.
But, nothing illustrates President Imemy’s growing adherence to the Bush Doctrine more than his taking out Osama bin Laden.
One of mainstays of the Left in the past few years has been the wholescale painting of the Bush Doctrine as being extralegal and therefore illegitimate. It was the policy of using whatever means necessary to collect intelligence and disrupt terrorist cells that made them crazy. The Bush Doctrine never suggests that torture should be used or that we should go against the rule of law, but the Left has painted their actions as such. Enhanced interrogation methods are labeled ‘torture’ for partisan political purposes without the benefit of any careful analysis. American intelligence and security forcs fictional tales were imagined and published in order to make the Bush Doctrine look arbitrary and capricious. However, once the Left took over these forces, suddenly, like a mirage, these tales vanished. But, they left a record of their existence.
One of the most horrifying examples of the Left’s false narrative is that of the Dick Cheney Assassination Wing. The Democratic Party and their camp followers in the media despised Cheney and created a caricature of him that endured. This caricature was that of a Darth Vader like character who would send out American forces to randomly pluck innocent people from their mundane daily lives, torture them, abuse them, and then either imprison or release them willy nilly into the ‘wild.’ This was based on a fantastical notion of conspiracy minded Truthers who were hellbent on destroying conservatives no matter what the cost to them intellectually.
Seymour Hersch is a well respected radical leftist, who earned his credential by exposing the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1969 where innocent Vietnamese people were killed by American soldiers. It’s coverup and exposure supposedly led to the American Peace movement, a movement that was already in full flower and had chased Lyndon Johnson from the Democratic presidential field a year prior. Regardless, Hersch has been inventing incidents and fictional tales of abuse by the American military ever since his lucky break.
Abu Ghraib was a terrible, horrific place. The events which unfolded there were even worse. Abu Ghraib was Saddam Hussein’s signature prison facility outside Bagdad and when the United States drove Hussein from power, they took over operation of the prison. There were serious abuses of prisoners by Americans and when these abuses came to light, the public was astounded. These were American soldiers doing unspeakable things to people without any control or voice. The fact that these incidents were limited to a single unit and cell block and not widespread throughout the military didn’t help. It was a case study in horror.
The incidents at Abu Ghraib fueled Hersch’s already feverish brain. At a forum entitled, “Great Conversations”, Hersch elaborated on a narrative already feeding the Party-run media. Namely, he equated the extralegal techniques allowed by adherence to the Bush Doctrine with illegal activities. Extralegal means, which are things outside the law, are very different from illegal means, which are not legal. Hersch confounded the two things and wove a tale of arbitrary and capricious activities like illegal seizures of persons and property outside the United States and use of torture. The Bush administration had been careful to cultivate a bright line between the two things but in the fertile mind of Hersch and that of the Bush Haters, they were essentially just excuses and not explanations.
Fast forward to the intel on Osama bin Laden. Using extralegally obtained information, sending in a extralegal squad in a sovereign foreign ally, and extralegally extracting his body, the Obama administration in one fell swoop accepted the Bush Doctrine arguments completely. On top of it, he used the supposed Cheney Assassination Wing to do so. Gone were the moral arguments that torture and enhanced interrogation were the same thing. They circumvented the entire ideal of cooperative and equal participation of other global actors. The Obama administration basically caved entirely and adopted the premises of the Bush Doctrine as their own.
At the same time, the Holder Addendum is in full force. The Holder Addendum states that if extralegal means are used by American agents, they are subject to investigation and punishment. The Attorney General is still trying to paste charges on American operatives who used the very same tactics as the Obama adminstration used to kill bin Laden. Yet, in spite of these extralegal means being accepted as legitimate by Obama, Holder continues to press forward with his cases.
So, essentially the Obama administration has accepted the Bush Doctrine and its empowering principles but only when exercised by a Democrat. If a Republican uses the Bush Doctrine, then those agents can be seen as having done something illegal. The rule of law which is supposed to ignore the background of the actor and punish the act is suspended. Now, under the Holder Addendum, an administration is only guilty when it is of a party not in power.
That is a dangerous road to go down. That road could easily allow one partisan group to legally punish a political adversary for the very same thing they are themselves doing.
But, regardless, we can see the Obama administration has abandoned its principles and accepted the Bush Doctrine for its own. That may be for the best when it comes to keeping us safe. However it is a bit disingenuous. Obama now enjoys the fruits of the Bush Doctrine while still attacking it. That doesn’t make for intellectual or legal consistancy. It also completely changes the nature of the Democratic Party’s argument. If, in fact, Bush’s Doctrine to keep the country safe is legitimate, their entire case against Republicans is in shambles. Their mishandling of the economy and constant meddling in ordinary Americans lives are hardly the kinds of winning ideas we need.
Basically, since Obama admits to the premise and practice of the Bush Doctrine, his own ideas were wrong. Why have a president that practices another party’s preachings? There is no reason to keep that president. That is precisely what we need to do. Get rid of the pretender.