Monday, October 20, 2008

Albright and Powell: the next Kissingers

By now it should be readily apparent that an Obama administration will not fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, an Obama presidency would see the military expanded by 100,000 men and women, a "surge" of U.S. troops into Afghanistan, and unconditional support for the military policy's of the state of Israel -- and that's just what Obama has admitted to publicly. 

(Last month, I noted in a piece for Inter Press Service that, outside of his opposition to a "free trade" deal with Colombia, Obama has much in common with John McCain and the Bush administration when it comes to Latin America in particular, from supporting the war on drugs to maintaing the embargo against Cuba.)

But in case you are need of more evidence that a President Obama will represent a continuation of U.S. imperialism, rather than a significant departure from past U.S. foreign policy, consider the recent comments made by one of the would-be president's top foreign policy advisers -- Madeleine "I think 500,000-plus dead Iraqi children is 'worth it'" Albright to the editors of the Moonie Times:
Washington should not set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq in the midst of the conflict, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says.
"I never was for a date certain," said Albright, who was appointed Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and now supports Barack Obama's Democratic presidential candidacy.

"In Bosnia, we gave a date certain, and then we couldn't get out, and that undercut our credibility," Albright, 71, told editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
Notice what never comes up there? The opinions of the Iraqi people. I know, I know -- according to the Obama campaign and the Democratic leadership, we should consider the Iraqi people a bunch of freeloaders who are ungratefully taking our reconstruction money even as we suffer with a ballooning national debt here at home. But it's nonetheless illuminating to hear a respected Obama foreign adviser so openly concerned with maintaining the "credibility" of the American empire. Then again, that shouldn't be surprising if one's familiar with the career of Albright, the widely respected humanitarian interventionist. 

Consider again Obama's pledge to expand the size of the military as you read this story from the Washington Post, circa 1996:
Albright was an early opponent of the Powell doctrine that the United States should restrict its military interventions to situations in which its vital interests are threatened, and should always insist on using overwhelming force. In his memoirs, Powell recalled that he almost had "an aneurysm" when Albright challenged him to explain "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
Yes Barack, what are you going to do with all those tens of thousands of new troops?

It's worth noting that Colin Powell, the man most notable for covering up the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and helping sell the U.S. public on a criminal war of aggression against Iraq, now appears set to assume some sort of cabinet position in an Obama administration -- another instance of a disgraced war criminal "falling up". 

For those who think Powell is an honorable man who was merely misled into lying to the American public  and the world in order to sell a criminal war of aggression, remember that he continues to defend the illegal invasion of Iraq to this day; as Chris Floyd notes, his only objection to the war thus far is that the Bush administration did not send more troops to occupy the country from the start. And as Jonathan Schwarz noted in a comprehensive debunking of his 2003 speech before the UN -- using intelligence available to the former Secretary of State at the time -- Powell knowingly lied to the world, and embellished what few facts he had available to him, in making the case for attacking Iraq.

The unfortunate thing is -- as the likely next President himself has signaled -- I think he and Barack are going to get along just fine.

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