posted on May, 26 2011 @ 06:59 PM
After more than two years, President Obama's national security policy looks all too familiar: like President Bush's policy.
You remember the Bush doctrine? Its most prominent tenet was the policy of preventive war -- using the U.S. military to eliminate potentially
dangerous enemies, rather than using force only when the United States is clearly threatened.
The Bush administration argued that deposing unfriendly regimes and promoting democracy both militarily and diplomatically were in America's
long-term best interests. President Obama not only has embraced this approach, he's gone further: increasing military spending, expanding the war in
Afghanistan, handing off more of the mission to contractors and mercenaries, and bombing Libya in violation of the War Powers Act.
Consider the budget. President Obama's first defense budget, for fiscal year 2010, was $685.1 billion, if we include the "supplemental" funds for
Afghanistan and Iraq (a budget gimmick he had promised not to use.) This was 3 percent higher than in the previous year.
The Obama administration upped the ante again for FY 2011, requesting a base budget of $548.9 billion, plus $159.3 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq,
for a total of $708.3 billion.
The President has requested "only" $670.9 billion for fiscal year 2012 -- but the Department of Defense baseline request was actually raised from
$548.9 billion to $553.1 billion. The overall decrease comes from a projected cut in operational costs for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet, according to the Congressional Research Service, Afghanistan will still cost $113.7 billion compared to the $43.5 billion spent in 2008,
President Bush's last year. Iraq will be much cheaper than before, but this decline was already in the works. In late 2008, President Bush signed an
agreement setting the Iraq drawdown in motion. If anything, Obama has slowed down the withdrawal, and is now petitioning Iraq to stay past 2011.
Meanwhile, the stepped-up war in Afghanistan has offset much of the savings we could have expected in Iraq.
And this is just the financial cost. Last year 559 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan -- significantly more than the 469 who died during
Bush's final year in office.
As a senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama criticized President Bush's war policies. But instead of changing course, President Obama has
tripled down in Afghanistan, widened the war into Pakistan, multiplied the drone attacks, bombed Yemen and Somalia, and started an undeclared NATO war
On surveillance questions, presidential war powers, Guantanamo, detention policy and habeas corpus, he has similarly stayed the course, or even
expanded Bush's precedents.
Almost none of this had anything to do with killing Osama bin Laden.
Those who voted for Obama in 2008, expecting a shift in defense policy, must face a sad fact: The United States would have likely spent less money and
spilled less American and foreign blood in its wars had the President simply continued on the path charted by President Bush. Instead, we now have