Although Democratic presidents and candidates are traditionally considered to be “anti-war” (at least in the past decade), some opinion writers have openly speculated about President Obama’s “legacy of war.” Though instead of a grand showing and multi-billion dollar invasions, President Obama’s war tactics rely on stealth, subterfuge, and secrecy. This is true of the literal wars the president is waging, as well as the metaphorical ones he allegedly wages here at home.
Ari Shapiro of NPR wrote an op-ed concerning President Obama’s preference, and indeed favoritism, concerning the use of unmanned drones in the fight against terrorism. It is true that the Obama administration has used a record number of drones in various conflicts around the world, including the assassination of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. This prompts Shapiro to consider the question: Are drones Obama’s legacy? That question begs another question. Is that something to be proud of?
“Drones target individuals, and they fly into countries where they may not be welcome. Solis says they pose thorny new legal and moral questions such as, ‘Where is the battlefield? Can we fly these individual aircraft into Pakistan [or] Yemen? Where can we take these planes and kill people?’ writes Shapiro. “Smaller and more efficient drone aircraft could put even more power in the hands of a wide array of countries in the future,” she concludes. “So as the technology gets smaller, the legal and moral questions might only get bigger.”
Also, what of Obama’s alleged culture war right here in the United States? As the window closes between the now and election time, the president has finally taken firm stands on social issues. Immigration, gay marriage, and contraception; these are only a few of the issues Obama has clocked-in a bit late for. You could say that he’s been too concerned with a broken economy to handle social issues throughout his first term, but I would reply, “Okay, what about the beer summit?” on the small scale and “What about healthcare?” on a large “moral” scale.
He’s been biding his time. Just in case he had to take an election from the base.
Michael Gerson of the Washington Post calls Obama’s strategy in his “endless culture war” an “inherently aggressive” strategy. “Why not use government power to undermine the resistance of private institutions to reproductive rights by giving funding only to charitable organizations that refer for abortions? The Obama administration already imposed this requirement on a recent grant dealing with human trafficking. So why not take a similar approach on gay rights or gender equality, denying public benefits to organizations with illiberal views?” he writes.
Why not? Because it’s not openly aggressive, is it not threatening? Take an honest look. Are we a pluralistic country that thrives on the difference of opinion and perspective, or are we marching forward to… whatever? Call it socialism, call it progress, call it autocracy, call it fascism, communism, whatever label you want.
For me, none of those words are as scary as the idea that encompasses them all. Idealistic monopoly. Right or Left, I don’t want that. I don’t think anyone honestly does.
I think we have to wake up and realize the same rights that allow that dummy over there to believe the ridiculous things he believes and spout off the ridiculous perspectives he entertains are the same rights that allow me to do the same.
Is Obama waging war in the election like he does overseas? With secrecy and subterfuge? Perhaps most importantly, is pluralism disappearing? Sound off below!