My objections to the war in Iraq were not simply a speech… I was one of the most vocal opponents of the war ~ Barack Obama
For many Americans, the election of Barack Obama signifies a forthcoming era of hope, change, and principled foreign policy – a repudiation of Bush’s imperialistic cowboy diplomacy. It is a bit too early to divine Obama’s intended positions on preemptive war, and the ongoing military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Nonetheless, Obama’s selection of Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D, Il) as White House Chief of Staff is indicative of the pro-war direction of the new administration.
Rahm Emanuel’s ranking position in the bipartisan war party may come as bit of a shock to those expecting a dovish foreign policy in the new administration. As chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Emanuel did his best to ensure that 2006 democratic candidates in key toss-up house races were pro-war (20 out of 22 candidates, or 91%). When asked by Tim Russert in 2005 if he would have voted on the bill authorizing the invasion of Iraq knowing that there were no weapons of mass destruction, Emanuel answered yes. A clause inside a military appropriations bill requiring a vote of Congress before an attack on Iran was deleted at the insistence of Emanuel.
Rhambo probably got his war-mongering inclinations from his daddy. Benjamin Emanuel was a member of the Zionist terror organization Irgun which launched bloody attacks against civilians, Arabs, and the British from 1931 to 1948. In 1991, imbibed with war lust stoked by the the first Iraqi War, Emanuel volunteered for service in the Israeli Defense Forces. Although Emanuel settled for the life of the pol over the soldier, he got a chance to act out his violent fantasies through a bit of dinner table mutilation.
There’s the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president’s enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting ‘Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!’ and plunging the knife into the table after every name. ‘When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape,’ one campaign veteran recalls. ‘It was like something out of The Godfather.'(source)
Here are a couple of planks in Emanuel’s “War on terror” strategy from the book he coauthored, The Plan: Big Ideas for America.
We need to fortify the military’s “thin green line” around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. Finally we must protect our homeland and civil liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like Britain’s MI5
The U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined (8 times that of China). The U.S. has 1.4 million people on active military duty (an additional 848,056 in reserves). There are over 290 thousand troops in 820 installations in at least 39 countries. What exactly does Emanuel have in mind for these new troops? Do we not have enough G.I.s (government issues) to forcibly institute democracy in the lands of the freedom-loathing enemies of the U.S. hyper-power hegemony?
Obama recently made mention of Emanuel’s “new domestic counterterrorism force.” Do we really want to model a domestic spy agency on the MI5, who have dossiers on 1 out of every 160 British adults? Lessons from the flagrant abuses of Bush’s intelligence and law enforcement operatives should alone be enough to scuttle this horrible plan. I imagine that Rahm and Co. will need plenty of intel to discredit those pesky anti-war dissenters. Think of it as the kinder gentler COINTELPRO (without the kind and gentle part).
Obama was handed a clear mandate from the American people on Nov. 4th to restore competent and ethical leadership in the halls of the executive branch. The appointment of Rahm Emanuel reflects an intention to continue the disastrous pro-war foreign policies of the current administration. Stay tuned for the analysis of future cabinet appointees.