Short of an ongoing hot war, the imbroglio over the proposed bombing of Syria has occupied the precious time of President Obama, and therefore the mass media, unlike anything else on his plate. Moreover, it portends absorbing much more of his time and political capital in the coming weeks.
Our country’s misguided foreign policy has caused our president to spend enormous time and influence enlisting allies, members of Congress, and figuring out the many risks of another protracted unlawful war-quagmire in the Middle East. Imagine how much time our president could spend on our country’s many domestic problems.
Let’s take the easy ones first. Mr. Obama was scheduled to fly to California to address the largest annual convention of the AFL-CIO and its member unions. Chief Labor Leader Richard Trumka – an Obama loyalist – was unveiling a bold new plan to expand labor’s big tent to include groups such as Working America (representing non-union workers), the Sierra Club, the NAACP, La Raza and student groups. Keynoter Barack Obama had to cancel his appearance. Reason: Absorption with Syria.
After waiting for months for a meeting with their President, the Congressional Black Caucus finally got their White House Invitation. Did their political hero engage them over the domestic issues Caucus members wanted to discuss?
As noted by a disappointed Rep. André Carson (D-Indiana), Black Caucus members wanted to focus on programs targeted for the African-American community – “summer jobs,” “helping to empower small business, women-owned businesses,” helping to “improve the health of our public school systems,” along with the civil rights and voting issues in the news. Sorry. Barack Obama spent his hour trying to persuade them to support bombing Syria!
Taking Mr. Obama at his often repeated words that “the safety of the American people” is his top priority, the trajectory of that commitment is strangely skewed. Drone attacks or other techniques of wiping out stateless terrorists overseas, alleged suspects, and an occasional American citizen, produce blowback and in the long run force our country to spend more on “guns than butter.”
But whether campaigning or presiding, candidate and President Barack Obama seems to seriously undervalue policies that would prevent over 300,000 American lives lost each year, and many more injuries and illnesses, from having a prominent place on his timetable.
~ from Obama's Perverse Priorities by Ralph Nader ~
One of the hallmarks of the presidency of Barack Obama -- the guy who won a Nobel Peace Prize of all things -- is that, when it comes to military aggression, he has all the time in the world, but, when it comes to talking about ways to promote life, he never has the time to do it justice. War means big profits for his corporate benefactors. Alleviating poverty, promoting education, and dealing with climate change, not so much.
If only working to better people's lives -- not kill them -- was more lucrative for Wall Street! If that were the case, I'm guessing Obama would clear the table and talk about it until the cows came home.