I watched President Obama commit us to endless war Monday night, and it made me sick.

Speaking of the obligation of America to intervene in Libya, Obama said, “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.”

Is he kidding? A betrayal of who we are? We betray who we are so often that I suspect it isn’t really who we are.

We lied our way into the Mexican War, we lied our way into Vietnam, we lied our way into Iraq. We stand idly by while our allies in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain go after their protesters.

We turned a blind eye to genocide in Rwanda, we refuse to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and we are turning a blind eye right now to the Ivory Coast.

We are not the knight in shining armor riding to the rescue of oppressed peoples around the globe.

We are a military/financial empire that pursues its interests and gets into bed with anyone who will give us what we want, regardless of what they do to their own people.

I’m not saying we are wrong to intervene in Libya. I don’t know. I suspect it will end badly because it almost always ends badly.

But let’s not pretend we are doing this as part of some obligation to humanity. The hypocrisy in this speech was so overwhelming I was shocked the president got through it with a straight face.

The Bush Doctrine said we could attack anyone we decided was threatening us. The Obama Doctrine says we can attack anyone we decide is threatening their own people. That just about covers the entire globe.

We can now go to war with anyone we want, anywhere we want, anytime we want. We are now on a permanent and global war footing.

This is not what I voted for when I voted for Obama in 2008. If I wanted permanent war, I would have voted for Sen. McCain.

It seems it no longer matters which party wins; the wars just go on forever.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an author and educator. He blogs at Beyond Religion, where a version of this column previously appeared.

Share This