To celebrate Obama Day, here are Barack’s greatest hits (wars, coups, slavery, sanctions, al-Qaeda, colonialism)
In parts of the United States and the bottomless pit of the internet, today, June 14, is considered “Barack Obama Day.” On social media, the hashtag #ObamaDayJune14th is going viral.
So I thought I would commemorate this day by listing some of the former Democratic president’s many accomplishments.
- wearing that tan suit one time
- deporting more people than any other president, 2.7 million, earning the ignominious title “deporter in chief”
- dropping 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in his last year in office
- overseeing a genocidal war in Yemen that has killed hundreds of thousands and unleashed the largest humanitarian catastrophe on Earth
- supporting al-Qaeda in Syria, funneling billions of dollars of weapons to hardened Salafi-jihadist fanatics to try to destroy the country, and fueling the rise of ISIS
- destroying Libya, once the most prosperous country in Africa, leaving behind a failed state with open-air slave markets
- giving the Israeli apartheid regime $38 billion in unconditional military aid and arming it as it bombed civilians in Gaza (in three separate, barbaric wars: 2008–2009, 2012, and 2014)
- creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a neoliberal “free trade” monstrosity that would have ensured even more dystopian corporate tyranny over the global political and economic system
Oh yeah, and here are some more unforgettable classics from Obama:
- sponsoring the military coup in Honduras, overthrowing its democratically elected left-leaning government and installing far-right narco-dictatorship led by a neoliberal autocrat whose drug lord brother smuggled thousands of tons of cocaine and machine guns
- managing Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent thousands of guns to murderous drug cartels in Mexico
- backing the parliamentary coup in Brazil, removing the democratically elected Workers’ Party government and paving the way for the fascist Bolsonaro regime
- supporting a soft coup against the democratically elected government in Paraguay
- overseeing a violent coup against Ukraine’s Russia-leaning elected government with the “Euromaidan” movement, in which neo-Nazis and other fascists played a significant role
- subsequently arming the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine
- prolonging the military occupation of Afghanistan, after promising dozens of times he would end the war by 2014
- drone bombing countries all across the planet, on multiple continents
And be sure not to forget these other timeless hits from Obama:
- bailing out Wall Street with trillions of dollars of tax dollars, not sending a single corporate executive to prison for blowing up the global economy, while overseeing one of the largest transfers of wealth from poor workers to rich capitalists
- using the World War I-era Espionage Act (passed in order to throw anti-war activists like socialist Eugene Debs in prison) to prosecute whistleblowers who leaked to journalists more than all previous presidents combined
- installing a neocolonial unelected “junta” (yes, that’s the real name) in Puerto Rico, which controls the debt-ridden colony’s finances and imposes suffocating austerity to wring wealth out of the Puerto Rican people
- imposing sanctions on Venezuela and declaring its democratically elected socialist government to be an “extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States,” setting the stage for Donald Trump’s full-on economic embargo and coup attempts
- letting police and mercenaries terrorize Indigenous water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas, on behalf of a corporate fossil-fuel pipeline
- letting police terrorize Black, Brown, and poor people all across the United States, doing nothing as Black Lives Matter and the movement against systemic police brutality and state violence swept the country
- doing nothing to get clean water for the mostly Black residents of Flint, Michigan, then visiting the city and pretending to drink the poisoned water and acting as if everything were okay
This last act in Flint is especially symbolic, and instructive. Watch video of it below, and you can see how the beloved 44th president cared just as little about his own population as he did the imperial subjects he bombed across the planet.
Obama did this repeatedly, just to rub it in.
But we shouldn’t be too surprised; after all, you can’t be commander in chief of the US empire without being a murderous sociopath. It’s the most important job requirement.
Obama certainly isn’t alone when it comes to being an unrepentant war criminal; every modern US president is. Barry just managed to pull it off with style.
(PS, Some critics might ask, at a time when the far-right Trump regime is terrorizing the planet with criminal wars of aggression and murderous sanctions, what is the point of writing articles like this? The answer is it to remind people that Trump did not come out of nowhere: neoliberal imperialists like Obama, and George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and the fellow war criminals who preceded them, all set the stage for Trump. At the end of the day, their policies were not very different. They all terrorize the planet. Trump is just more blatant about it.)
Originally published at https://bennorton.com on June 14, 2020.