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Obama’s foreign policies a nightmare

THE Obama-mania sweeping through the Irish Government, the media and the general public (apparently) needs some moderation, particularly in relation to US foreign policy.

Barack Obama has failed in one of his key election promises to close Guantanamo Bay. Thanks to the work of campaigning lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and Wikileaks we now know that children and elderly and mentally ill men are still illegally held there.

He has escalated the war in Afghanistan, a war now widely acknowledged even in official US and UK circles as being unwinnable. He has expanded it into Pakistan with the increased use of drone predator attacks that mainly kill civilians. The US Brookings Institute claims that the ratio of civilian deaths to militants due to drone attacks is 10-to-one.

Obama also ordered extra-judicial assassinations that were against all due process and the rule of law, with any women and children killed in the operations simply passed off as collateral damage.

His response to the inspirational Arab Revolutions has been either silently ambivalent or selectively interventionist. If there are sanctions against Syria why not against Bahrain? There is also the appalling treatment of Pt Bradley Manning in a US prison, accused merely of leaking files to Wikileaks, and the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people by America’s watchdog in the region — Israel. It is shameful that none of these contradictions were raised publicly by Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore during the Obama visit and that the Irish media perpetuated a virtual blackout on any meaningful debate.

If Obama is the “American Dream” as Enda Kenny pronounced last week, then his foreign polices are a horrible nightmare for many people in the Middle East and beyond, as he essentially continues many of the flawed and dangerous campaigns of his predecessor. We should not be fooled by his charm.

Jim Roche

PRO Steering Committee

Irish Anti-War Movement

Dublin 1


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