Forget everything you thought you knew about Barack Obama. When it comes to child soldiers he's as bent as a pretzel.
Today Obama signed a waiver allowing four countries that use child soldiers to continue receiving U.S. military aid. These are real hellholes - Chad, Sudan, Yemen and the D.R. Congo. From The Washington Post:
Human rights groups reacted with surprise and concern, saying the decision would send the wrong message.
"What the president has done is basically given everybody a pass for using child soldiers," said Jo Becker, children's rights director at Human Rights Watch.
Administration officials said cutting off aid would cause more damage than good in countries where the U.S. military is trying to fight terrorism and reform abusive armies.
Senior U.S. officials said Wednesday that Yemen was exempted because ending military aid would jeopardize the country's ability to fight al-Qaeda. In Sudan, U.S. military assistance will be critical in helping the unstable southern part of the country build military institutions if it votes to secede in a January referendum, as expected, officials said.
Congo was exempted because U.S.-funded programs there are aimed at helping the military become more professional and less abusive, officials said. Chad got a pass because of its role in fighting terrorism and assistance with the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.
So it's not whether you use child soldiers but what you're using them for that's the litmus test in Washington.
Mid-term elections are coming up and I haven't heard even One Denial from anyone that the U.S. hasn't committed war atrocities by turning a blind eye to Iraq human rights violations as the Wikileaks dump tells us they did.
Nor are any American talking heads even talking about it, they leave it for the newspapers to cover.
Imagine an election coming up and WAR not even being discussed? You'd think it would be a huge election issue, considering their economy and loss of any credibility they once held as following international law.
It boggles. The worst part is they are our neighbours and I'm beginning to hate them. I think they want me to hate them, or they just don't give a shit if I hate them, because they know we'll be just like them by 2020. Yeah, that's it.
It is mystifying what's going on down there. Recently I've been wondering if wedge politics, heavily spiced up with propaganda-driven fear, frustration and anger, isn't being employed to divide the electorate and leave the country ungovernable. Why? To derail environmental, financial, and social reform, all for the benefit of the emerging corporatist oligarchs.
The Repugs have plainly warned that, if they recover the House, they'll launch a Climategate witch hunt (even though it's been thoroughly checked and cleared four times); they'll dismantle Obama's healthcare initiative; they'll deregulate the financial sector and will ensure there's no climate change legislation for at least another decade. And then they'll go back and take another try at sabotaging Social Security.
Now take that all together and think who could possibly benefit from such a fierce rearguard action? Not blue or white-collar America, that's for sure.
But imagine how successful they've been at mustering blue collar workers to back their agenda using their own fiscal irresponsibility to beat the Democrats over the head. This reveals that there's a very large segment of the American population that is profoundly ignorant, childlike even.
It's both amazing and, yes, oh so easy to despise. Yet we have to always remember that there are also many clear-headed Americans who are as upset, more so, than even we are. If we lose sight of them our perspective can easily become warped.
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