Obama’s Politics of War and US Public Opinion: The Great Divergence By James Petras

6 September 2013 — James Petras

Introduction: As President Obama announces plans for another war, adding Syria to the ongoing and recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, a profound gap has emerged between the highly militarized state and US public opinion.

Reuters/IPSOS poll taken August 19-23 (2013) revealed that 60 percent of Americans surveyed stated that the United States should not intervene in Syria, while 9 percent said Obama should act. Even when the question was ‘loaded’ to include Obama’s bogus and unsubstantiated claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces “used chemicals to attack civilians”, almost twice as many Americans oppose US military intervention (46 percent to 25 percent). In panic and haste several pro Administration media outlets contracted new polls to better the results. What is striking about this finding is that despite the mass media and the Obama spokespeople’s saturation of the airwaves with atrocity images of “victims”, the US public is becoming more vehemently opposed to another imperialist war. Reuters/IPSOS poll of August 13 found 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if toxic chemicals were used, while 41.6 percent did not. In other words, as the Obama regimeintensified preparations for war, oppostion increased by over 16 percent.

Current and past polls and studies document that a substantial and enduring majority of Americans are opposed to ongoing wars (Afghanistan), even as the Executive Branch and Congress continue to finance and dispatch US troops and engage in aerial assaults in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

If, as some scholars argue, militarism and ‘national security’ have become the secular religion of the State, it is clear that the majority of civil society are ‘non-believers’. The ‘true believers’ of militarism as the true path to empire building are firmly ensconced in Washington’s political establishment, among high powered ‘lobbies and influential propaganda mills’ known as “think tanks”. The militarist beliefs are embraced and are especially pervasive among highly placed officials with deep and long-standing ties to the Israeli power structure. The myths propagated by cynical political pundits that “the US public opinion gets the elected officials it deserves”; that “Congress and the President reflect the values and sentiments of the electorate”; flies in the face of the divergent attitudes and interests showing up in repeated polls. The vast majority of Americas are concerned with domestic economic issues such as deteriorating job opportunities and living standards, growing inequalities, the concentration of wealth (the Wall Street 1% issue), growing indebtedness of college graduates, the savage cuts in social programs in the face of soaring military expenditures and Wall Street bailouts. In other words the values, attitudes and interests of the vast majority of Americans diverge from those of the Washington establishment, the mass media and the power brokers who penetrate and surround the political elite.

War and Peace: Oligarchy and Democracy

This divergence raises fundamental questions about the nature of the American political system, the role and influence of the mass media and the power of minorities over majorities. Divergences, deep differences between rulers and ruled, has become the norm in the United States on all the big issues, domestic and foreign, of our day.

As the differences accumulate, deepen and grind , they ‘wear’ on our public; political “differences” become outright personal dislike, turning hostility to anger and even hatred of the O-man. His deceptions, the very words he mouths are repeated and jeered. Nothing is more irritating than to listen to a stale confidence man who still tries to fool a knowing public. They are onto him. His newly recruited Cabinet members of both sexes are seen as promoters of toxic lies who try their hand at justifyingwar crimes via moral ejaculations that resonate in their own ears and with the President, but not beyond.

Executive Prerogatives as Dictatorial Rule

The Presidential declarations of war against the opinion of vast majorities;the dictates to finance bank bailouts behind the backs of the 99%; the proclamations ending ongoing wars which continue; fabrications that serve as pretexts for new wars which resonate with the lies of the previous wars…all speak against a constitutional democracy.

It’s a dictatorship stupid! Nothing “constitutional” –that’s used toilet paper! Legal hacks scratch their crotch and come up with past illegal executive orders to back new arbitrary declarations of war.

Electorates are ignored.Who calls the US a democracy except during electoral campaigns? War is the prerogative of the President, we are told. Sequential wars are the alternative to a national health plan. When the President mouths moral platitudes most ignore him ,others jeer, curse and wish he would die of bad breath.

The Case for Impeachment

When in the course of human history a President perpetuates and extends his power beyond the restraints of a constitutional order and wilfully commits the American people to perpetual suffering and empties the public treasury of the wealth of its citizens, the question of impeachment rises to the fore. And it ill behooves the climbers and clamorers from foreign lands to flatter, cajole and threaten a President whose imperial pretensions nurture the ambitions of their Chosen State.

Profound and lasting divisions between rulers and ruled accompanied by unending and onerous hardships at a time when our people lack redress in petition and protest, sooner or later, will lead the American people to demand his impeachment. A trial via judicial procedures, condemnation according to judge and jury and incarceration for multiple and grave violations of the constitutional order will ensue.Executives, usurping the rights of the American people at the service of empire and their collaborators with traitorous intent ,will not pass with impunity

Why and How the American Public is disenfranchised: the Tyranny of the Minority

It is not the military who choose to disenfranchise and ignore the vast majority of Americans opposed to new Middle East wars. The usurpers are mostly civilians, some of whom shed a foreign rifle to ply our President. Nor is the exclusion of the majority a hidden conspiracy of petrol companies – they have lost hundreds of billions to wars, not of their making, disrupting trade and production.

Idle chatter, flowing from leftist monthlies, liberal weeklies and a multitude of pundits, academics and ‘critical’ public intellectuals, decry the “military-industrial complex”. True their lobbyists seek military contracts, but they did not draw up ‘position papers’ for invading Iraq, nor submit and secure sanctions, and resolutions in Congress against Iran.

If we seek to identify the minority which secures its militarist agenda in the White House and Congress against the majority of Americans, it is clearly identifiable by its consistent, frequent and intrusive presence. It is a new version of the 1%– its called the Zionist power configuration.

One can be 99% sure that among the scant 11% of Americans who support US military intervention in Syria, the pro-Israel crowd and its acolytes are over-represented.

The evidence is clear: they are the most actively engaged in promoting war with Syria at the national and local levels. They are the pundits’ and news commentators promoting the Syrian government toxic gas ploy. They and other mass media pundits and publishers totally ignored the Associated Press interview quoting the armed Syrian opposition admitting they “mistakenly set off the toxic gas”.

To the degree that we have moved from democracy to oligarchy, from a democratic to a militarist foreign policy, the powerful Zionist power structure has accumulated power and influence and in turn furthered the tyranny of the minority over the majority. Not alone, but certainly with their approval and to their advantage, the Zionist power configuration has marginalized Americans of all creeds, races and religions (including the majority of Jews and apostates).

Oligarchy facilitates minorities’ access to power: it is far easier to buy and blackmail a handful of corrupt wealthy legislators and a coterie of senior administration officials, than millions of citizens suffering the double onus of wars and declining living standards.

Limits of Mass Media Manipulation

The arbitrary power of the oligarchy and its collaborators, and their growing distance from the ruled, no longer is bridged by mass media propaganda. The Obama regime and most Washington think tanks have repeatedly saturated the print and electronic media with the most lurid images and horrendous atrocity stories of Syrian ‘war crimes’ to induce the American citizens to support US military intervention. Daily reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and all the major and minor television networks repeat ad nauseum the ‘need for war’, “our humanitarian war mission” to no avail. The mass media, the high powered propaganda campaign run by and for the war mongers in Washington and Tel Aviv has failed to gain no more than 10% of the US citizenry.

We have been told by media experts about the power of the mass media to manipulate the US public, as if it was a blank blackboard: the media write the script for the oligarchy and the masses repeat it. In fact, time and time again, a majority of US citizens have rejected “the line” of the mass media, especially on questions of peace and war, living standards and bank bailouts. The credibility of the mass media is near zero.

The public’s rejection of the Obama regime’s move to war with Syria is another example of the limits of mass propaganda. The public supported the Afghan, Iraq wars at the start .But as the wars ground on, became costly and new wars spread; and as the police state grew and living standards plunged, the public became wary. The domestic crises drove the message home: domestic decay accompanies imperial wars. No amount of empty rhetoric or high powered Zionist lobbying for wars for Israel could convince the American majority to continue to sacrifice their lives and their children’s and grandchildren’s living standards to endless wars, spiraling costs and harmful economic consequences.

The Quiet Rebellion of the Democratic Majority

No doubt the word is out: throughout Europe, vast majorities reject their ruler’s imperial wars, particularly the war in Syria. Even the British Parliament rose on its hind legs and said no. Only the decrepit French regime under Hollande, the colonial whore master, sided with Obama for a few days before Parliament convened. The media and their editorial writers, sense ‘trouble’.They start to quote doubting military officers, and to ask questions. “What are the consequences of bombing Assad and aiding al Qaeda?” … asks a retired General.

Obama faces the taunt of the Zionists, “not to waiver and cower”. The printing presses of the White House Propaganda Office runs off thousands of reports of intercepted Syrian military directives ordering the use of toxic chemicals…. taken from ‘rebel’ sources; documents that nobody reads, or gives credence.

The White House declares red lines’: the public cries ‘big lies’. Deception by the media and White House has been going on too long. The majority is fed up with the fabrication of weapons of mass destruction leading to the Iraq war, the phoney Libyan “atrocities”, the blatant cover-up of Israeli land grabs.

The specter of economic insecurity, of accumulating debts and precarious employment stalks the cities and towns of America. Anger and fear at home, so far, is focused against new wars abroad and their most visible exponent. The Obama regime is facing “a fall” sooner or later. Will his willing accomplices slink away to their think tanks? Will the oligarchs decide he is expandable, no longer useful, too far from the people, too arrogant? Too many ‘wars for Israel’ ?(Oh my god how did that slip in?)Not enough attention to ‘rebuilding America’.? Time for a new election: all aboard. The people have spoken! A new president, less effusive, more mainstream is on order from the Oligarchy

With Obama’s fall, we learn that the mass media are not all powerful and that Israel’s well-wishers will not temper their demands for power even though they a are a 1% minority.The majority can bring down a regime but can the create an alternative?

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