Michael Moore, the Academy Award winning documentary film maker who has been generally supportive of the Obama administration despite its stealth opposition to real health care reform (Obama has talked of the public option as a "sliver" and speaks now about "insurance reform"), has an open letter to President Obama up on his website asking if Obama really wants to be the new "war president". The answer, Michael, is: YES HE DOES.
In fact, the Associated Press and other news sources have reported that Obama already began his escalation BEFORE his primetime Tuesday address to the American people (I guess that Dick Cheney’s "dithering" remarks lit a fire under Hamlet’s back side). AP reports that:
Even before explaining his decision, Obama told the military to begin executing the force increases. The commander in chief gave the deployment orders Sunday night, during an Oval Office meeting in which he told key military and White House advisers of his final decision.
The Democratic President talked about his plans with key lawmakers but has not addressed all lawmakers nor has he addressed one of the key problems with the escalation, its cost (estimated to be $350 billion over 10 years if the escalation is for 35,000 troops). From the AP story again:
Gibbs said detailed discussions on costs would be held later with lawmakers.
So, not only does Obama apparently believe the war can somehow be paid for later (he opposes David Obey’s pay-as-you-go war tax on the wealthy), he has not even discussed costs with Congress. How’s that for transparency in government, folks, and did not Obama promise that his administration would be the most transparent in American history?
Michael Moore, no doubt Obama will talk about the firm resolve of our allies on Tuesday night. However, the Obama administration in this buildup to the escalation, as reported in the AP story linked above, only dwells on the Brits and the French and does not talk about Germany. How many more troops will the Brits send? 500, again according to the same AP story. That’s about enough to guard one parking lot in Kabul. Nor will Obama or his hirelings talk about the Germans very much. Germany currently is the number three nation with troops in Afghanistan (behind the U.S.A. and the U.K.). But due to a scandal over the former Defense Minister lying about civilian deaths in an air strike called for by the German army but executed by the American Air Force, German resolve (never strong to begin with) has weakened and the German people and their nation turned against the war. This issue is discussed at length in length at the diary, "Germany’s Top General Quits Over Afghan War Cover-up of Civilian Killings; US Implications" here at Firedoglake.
So Michael, you were late in recognizing that Obama really never was a progressive or a Democrat, as Sen. Paul Wellstone used to say, from the "Democratic side of the Democratic Party." Michael, you know more about health care reform than just about anyone (what a great documentary "Sicko" is), so surely you noticed that Obama shied away from a public option (which he supported as a state senator in Illinois). He called a White House conference on health care in February that failed to include a single speaker for single payer, he broke a campaign pledge to hold "all healthcare meetings in public and televise them live on C-SPAN," instead meeting behind closed doors in secret with insurance companies. He then began talking about "insurance reform" and the public option as but a "sliver" to his real program (never really defined in detail). Now we have the messy bill in Congress that Dennis Kucinich has called "the wrong approach; a bailout for insurance companies."
So too on Afghanistan, Obama has broken campaign promises.* (See note below). Recall that he did campaign on escalating the war in Afghanistan BUT ONLY talked about sending 2 more brigades there: that’s less than 8,000 soldiers. Obama already in February sent 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan (and countless civilian contractors like Blackwater). So he has already escalated once far exceeding his campaign promise. And this is about the only campaign promise Obama has NOT broken. He’s broken pledges on bringing change, on bringing new faces to Washington, on FISA telecom immunity, on renegotiating NAFTA, on DOMA, on DADT, on hiring no lobbyists in his administration, on increasing taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year, on closing GITMO quickly, on doing away with forced renditions, on state secrets, on passing no law until 5 days have elapsed before it has been submitted ("sunshine before signing" legislation) and a host of other issues.
Obama campaigned as a stealth candidate and has broken virtually every campaign pledge he made. Only Goldman Sachs and Wall St. have received their trillions of dollars in largesse from Obama through the bailouts. For workers and the unemployed: they get a White House conference that will doubtlessly feature those progressive, people-oriented Obama economists, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, in a few days on unemployment. Obama was quick to talk about the cost of true health care reform (and all of his estimates mysteriously projected for 10 years, not one, thus swelling the apparent cost to the people). But with war, Obama has no problems with not even talking or considering the costs even with Congress. That will be done later. So Obama’s escalation fits in perfectly with the rest of his actions in the past year: all public relations and pretty speeches. Expect more lies and more vagueness (especially regarding a pull out date, he will not mention one for sure) on Tuesday.
Sorry, Michael but you need to pick up that patented bull-horn megaphone of yours and trumpet this message: Obama is a fraud, a complete sellout, a nonfighter for the progressive platform he ran and won on.
NOTE: On Obama breaking his campaign pledges on Afghanistan (the linked story has links to the campaign speeches):
In major foreign policy speeches in August 2007 and July 2008, Obama did talk of sending “at least two” more U.S. combat brigades — made up of between three thousand and four thousand troops each — to Afghanistan. However, the 21,000 troops he has already sent far exceed any troop increase he discussed publicly before the election, even before the 30,000 or so more he’s expected to announce he’ll add to that number in Tuesday’s speech.