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Arms Dealer Obama Will Win by Default

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Posted on Jan 5, 2012
AP / Gerald Herbert

President Barack Obama talks with Saudi King Abdullah in 2009.

By Robert Scheer

Barack Obama will be re-elected not as a vindication of his policies but because the Republicans are incapable of providing a reasonable challenge to his flawed performance. On the central issue of our time—reining in the greed of the multinational corporations, led by the financial sector and the defense industry—a Republican presidential victor, with the possible exception of the now-sidelined Ron Paul, would do far less to challenge the kleptocracy of corporate-dominated governance.

As compared to front-runner Mitt Romney, who wants to derail even Obama’s tepid efforts at regulating Wall Street, and who seeks ever more wasteful increases in military spending, the incumbent president appears relatively enlightened, but that is cold comfort.

Not only has Obama been a savior of the banking conglomerates that so generously financed his campaign, but he also has proved to be equally as solicitous of the needs of the military-industrial complex. He entered his re-election year by signing a $662 billion defense authorization bill that strips away some of our most fundamental liberties and keeps military spending at Cold War levels, and by approving a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Those two actions represent an obvious contradiction, since the attack on American soil that kept defense spending so high in the post-9/11 decade was carried out by 15 Saudis and four other men directed by Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi primarily using funding from his native land. Now Saudi Arabia is to be protected as a holdout against the democratic impulse of the Arab Spring because it is our ally against Iran, a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. Saudi Arabia, it should be recalled, was one of only three nations, along with the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, to recognize the Taliban government that harbored bin Laden before 9/11.

This is the same Saudi monarchy that rushed its forces into Bahrain last March to crush a popular uprising. But that doesn’t trouble the Obama administration; for two years it has been aggressively pushing the Saudi arms deal, which includes $30 billion in fighter jets built by Boeing. Forget human rights or the other good stuff Democrats love to prattle on about. As White House spokesman Josh Earnest put it: “This agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability as a key component to regional security.”

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The rationale for the first big arms deal with the tyrannical Saudi monarchy since 1992 is that a better-armed Sunni theocracy is needed to counter the threat from the Shiite theocracy in Iran. Once again the U.S. is stoking religious-based fratricide, just as we did in Iraq. Only this time, we are on the side of Saudi Sunnis oppressing Shiites both at home and in neighboring Bahrain. That oppression—along with a U.S. invasion that replaced Tehran’s sworn enemy in Sunni-led Baghdad with a Shiite leadership that had long been nurtured by Iran’s ayatollahs—is what enhances the regional influence of Iran.

If Iran ever does pose a regional military threat because of its nuclear program or any other reason, real or concocted, it will be NATO forces that will take out the threat, not the Saudis, who will still be polishing their latest-model F-15s as icons of a weird conception of modernism.

The real reason for this deal is that it is the only sort of jobs program that Democrats are capable of pushing through an obstructive Congress. The administration boasts that the arms package will result in 50,000 jobs in 44 states, underscoring the warning from Dwight Eisenhower, the last progressive Republican president, about the power of a military-industrial complex that has tentacles in every congressional district. As Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, an Armed Services Committee member who championed this sale, put it: “The F-15 is a world-class aircraft built by hardworking folks right here in St. Louis. I am thrilled for all of the skilled men and women on the F-15 line that this important, big order that I have stood side-by-side with them in working to secure is finally happening.” 

A Democrat running for re-election, McCaskill added, “These are important jobs in our community. I will continue advocating for sales of Boeing products wherever appropriate.” Being a good Democrat, she doesn’t reference Boeing’s profits, which are increasingly dependent upon arming the rest of the world.

That’s the win-win of government-generated profits and jobs on which the Democrats are counting to defeat the Republicans, both through campaign contributions from the more rational among the wealthy and the votes of ordinary people who, despite being seriously hurt in this economy, have nowhere else to turn.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, January 5, 2012 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, for us all, no matter who is elected next time, our country will
remain in dire need of a working government. One that is not run by the banking
cartels, and those above them. Without that government, the corporate hell, that
we are living in can only grow, and extend its crimes.

Politics in this country is a total and complete failure,. but that failure will have
catastrophic results. The country cannot go on much longer like this. And it won’t.

The hypnotized believers of Obama’s message, will remain so, they are just like
the laugh track on a macabre sit-com, they have no choice but to support him. Its
just to painful to admit, that its over… The Democratic party is finished….

The Demo-Republican party that remains, seeks only one thing, like all tyrannies
have since the beginning of time. To consolidate it’s power. Along the way they
plant to eliminate freedom, to stop change, and instal a bureaucratic system of
repression and control.

The outcome is certain, there will be more War, and more crimes against
humanity, hidden in clever psyops, and more disintegration at all levels of society.

All we have left are acts of defiance, and resistance, and support for each other.

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By nakji, January 5, 2012 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

“incapable of presenting a challenge”. Thank you, Robert Gibbs. Another wonderful opinion meant to sway a few gullible oafs who read this column. Obama is not a shoe-in by any means.  Arguably, the Republican sycophants are eating their young but the media, MI complex, Israel, will have their way again in the choice of the next potentate who will spit on the Constitution. Same old, same old. Down we go, put your fingers on your nose and squeeze.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 5, 2012 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

By the way, I am not a guy.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 5, 2012 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

We have to choose our irrationalities since the world can be seen
as absurd.  I choose mine, you choose yours.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, January 5, 2012 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

@Shenonymous, Weren’t you bashing religion a few weeks ago on this site and glorifying Christopher Hitchens? Funny how you guys trade one form of irrationality for another.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, January 5, 2012 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

more than that - the neocons love Petraeus - look for a draft and by March a
Betrayus vs Obomber election

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By Ceunei, January 5, 2012 at 3:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vote with your heart, just vote! The newest breed of republicans wouldn’t be working to hard to squelch the vote if it weren’t so important.

I’ve learned from my very own history. I regret voting for Nader and helping to put Bush into office (even the father of my best Republican friend warned me a vote for Nader was a vote for Republicans). It caused such a close race and went to the Senate who picked a President that could be used to take us into yet another couple of wars or so in the first place. The recent close races in WI allowed some vote counting person with their own stand alone computer system to possibly change the outcome of who knows how many elections, so, I know which way I’m voting.

Meanwhile, I will continue to look for good Progressive presidential candidates for our long term outlook. I’d like one in 2012, but it is 2012. Really, my only problem with Ron Paul is he isn’t Progressive. Okay, and, he is running as a Republican, why isn’t he true to his Libertarian self? We really need to start thinking long term as a country rather than this crazy short term thinking that makes us all crazy dogs ripping out each other throats while women’s reproductive control rights are being outlawed. Does Paul support birth control?

We the People are our worst problem, and, the people we elect and reelect to represent us, well, that is our own fault.

I do like that Ron Paul may split not only the conservative vote but also the liberal vote. Very exciting, and, I shall continue to vote him up in any popularity polls that come my way…

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 5, 2012 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

The voice of the public will be heard in November. And the margin
of votes will tell exactly what is thought of Obama.  He is not the
pariah he is made out to be by Sheer and Obama’s denigraters who
revel in their vehemence.  With all the criticisms, including Sheer’s,
not once have they suggested what another man not only would do
but would be able to do, except for the never-have-and-never-would-
have-made-it-Nader.  All are pathetically shortsighted at what the
executive of this country has to deal with.  A stacked deck Congress
is not the least of the problems.  My vote will be for Obama.

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By Guapo, January 5, 2012 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Munky, why not vote for the Green party again instead?  If Ron Paul can mobilize this many supporters, I figure that a party on the left should be able to do it. I haven’t heard anyone mentioning them or the Justice party this time around (well, and no one mentions the Socialist party either, but of course that wouldn’t happen in America).

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By munky, January 5, 2012 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

It’s premature to assume Obama will win by default. Big money loves Romney as much as Obama; and Romney has the added benefit of not being a psychotic Republican, which makes him electable. If Ron Paul runs as third party, many of us lefties will vote for him because we will not participate in the slaughter of humans abroad and the commensurate creation of new terrorists. This issue of American Nazi-like behavior abroad is far more important to protecting American lives than whether Romney will deregulate Wall Street. It’s more important than a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, elimination of the EPA or the other now-elitist domestic issues progs are obsessed over while sipping their lattes and playing on Daily Kos. We are massacring people abroad, people!! WAKE UP!! If my vote for Ron Paul elects Romney, so be it. I will not participate in “progressive” slaughter in foreign lands in order to protect the Supreme Court from another scary Republican justice. Forget it! I’m all DONE doing that. Hell, I’ll vote for Romney just to get Obama out of the White House if need be. It would radicalize the Democratic voters and energize the peace movement, just as my vote for Nader radicalized Democratic voters after Bush became president.

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