Obama keeps cluster bombs, secures war mongering legacy

Greg Nash
On Dec. 23, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included several harrowing aspects that will likely contribute to the perpetuation of warfare around the World and continue resulting in civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. weapons.
During the Vietnam War, the United States doused the country of Laos with cluster bombs. Obama as recently as September, allocated $90 million to help clear the ones still left their that never detonated. In May, the Obama administration halted a sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, as the controversial weapon has been used indiscriminately in Yemen.
{mosads}In September, a bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to halt a $1.15 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, but the bill failed to move forward. Obama’s administration has approved more than double the amount of weapons exports under the Bush administration, with Saudi Arabia being one of the top customers.

Though the use of cluster bombs is highly controversial for their indiscriminate use in civilian areas, and the weapon has been banned by most countries in the World in a 2008 International Treaty the U.S. and Russia abstained from signing, the defense bill President Obama signed perpetuates their use into the Donald Trump administration.

Sec. 143 of the bill included a stipulation in which none of the funds authorized from the bill can be allocated to the destruction of cluster bombs, and set up the continued use and development of cluster bombs for at least the next 10 years.

Trump recently tweeted he intends to increase and expand the United States’ nuclear arsenal. President Obama’s signing of this bill is helping Trump get a head start on this plan that has provoked outrage among many Democrats.

The Los Angeles Times reported the bill includes a provision and language that could incite a space-based nuclear arms race and expand the United States’ homeland missile system, in addition to Obama’s trillion dollar plan to upgrade the United States’ nuclear weapons system.

The bill deprioritizes climate change behind the self-interests of the military industrial complex. Sec. 317 of the bill stipulates that Department of Defense decisions “prioritize the support and enhancement of the combat capabilities of the department,” over any decisions “relating to energy efficiency, energy use, and climate change.”

Sec. 1032-1034 prevents the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, which violates the Geneva Convention and Obama promised to close when he first was elected President.

The bill also created a global engagement center to counter “state and non-state” propaganda. This “fake news,” has been cited as a scapegoat by mainstream media outlets and Clinton partisans for Hillary Clinton’s election loss, but criticized by free speech activists as a precipitous slope toward constricting first amendment rights and freedom of the press.

President Obama promised peace in the Middle East, and initially ran on de-escalating U.S. interventionist foreign policy and the perpetual warfare the United States has been engaged in. His rhetoric earned him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, but since then his foreign policy is more reflective of a war criminal than a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Middle East is more unstable than when Obama first assumed office in 2009. Under his administration, the United States has bombed 7 countries, and expanded presidential war powers. The Intercept reported Obama dramatically expanded the drone program and covert operations, enabling any future presidents to carry on perpetual warfare around the world with no accountability, rescinded constitutional protections, and failed to reprimand any individuals for CIA torture practices under the Bush Administration.

The Obama administration has been a foreign policy disaster, that in many ways has redefined war, hiding behind secrecy and subverting transparency to smokescreen what the United States is doing in the Middle East. His administration has developed the architecture for the United States to engage in perpetual warfare around the World, circumventing congressional approval and constitutional limitations in the process. His presidency began with the Nobel Peace Prize in hopes that his rhetoric would translate into greater peace and stability all over the World, but his presidency is ending in a never-ending war mentality that has shown no indication of slowing down. 

Michael Sainato is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian and the Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter @msainat1

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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