Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Ms. Brooks: Four Wars Ended

Rosa Brooks' latest column celebrates the fact that President Obama ended four wars in his first week in office: the war on terror, the war on Islam, the war on science and the war on women. Certainly not a bad first week, except I don't think Mr. Obama did end the war on women, not completely, but more on that in a moment. Here's her take:

In his first executive orders, Obama effectively dismantled the elaborate structures that supported the Bush administration's "war on terror." On Jan. 22, he ordered the closure of the Guantanamo prison and a halt to the much-criticized military commission trials. He closed secret CIA prisons, required that the Red Cross have access to detainees and mandated that interrogations of detainees -- whether by the military, the CIA or anyone else -- comply with the rules laid out in the Army Field Manual. ...

The war on Islam is also over. Officially, of course, it never existed. But that's how the "war on terror" looked to many around the world, a misunderstanding fueled by the war in Iraq and the irresponsible rhetoric of many Bush administration officials. ...

Obama also ended the undeclared Bush administration war on science. In his inaugural speech, he promised to "restore science to its rightful place." Reversing years of Bush administration disregard of scientific evidence on global climate change, Obama ordered the Transportation Department to set new fuel-efficiency standards and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rethink its Bush-era refusal to allow states such as California to impose anti-pollution standards more stringent than federal ones.

The undeclared war on women? Also over. On Jan. 23, Obama reversed the "Mexico City policy," which prohibited recipients of U.S. foreign-assistance funds from providing abortions or even providing information about abortions. Family planning groups worldwide will no longer have to choose between providing honest information and receiving crucial funding.

As Ms. Brooks pointed out, these weren't just metaphorical wars: the policies of the Bush administration had real world consequences. Many people died or were maimed in their prosecution. President Obama's executive actions, taken so early and so quickly was a dramatic repudiation of the Bush war on humanity. But then the second week began, and one of the first things he did was reopen the war on women by pressuring the congressional Democrats to remove family planning funding (i.e., the provision of contraceptive devices such as condoms) from the stimulus bill.

Women in the rest of the world may have a better chance of staying alive, but the women in this country just took a hit. Why? Because the new president wanted bipartisan support for the bill. Trading women's health and security apparently was the price.

Fat lot of good it did: not one Republican in the House voted for the bill. Obama gave women up for nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Look, Mr. Obama, the GOP wants you to fail. They are willing to sacrifice the entire nation just to watch you fall so they can point, laugh, and gain ground for 2010. The only reason some Republicans told Rush Limbaugh to shut up on the failure issue is that they don't want their strategy revealed too early. And don't give us any of the "canny political move" nonsense, the "See, I tried to reach out to the GOP, but they bit my hand rather than shake it." You got snookered.

Who's going to be the next sacrificial lamb in your brilliant strategy? People of color (Voting Rights Act)? The elderly (Social Security)?

I'm sorry, Ms. Brooks, but President Obama didn't end the war on women. He just declared a truce, a truce that lasted about, what, 36 hours?

Yes, I'm disappointed. I'm also furious.

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Blogger Hecate said...

What you said.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous ql said...

Yup. They also ditched bankruptcy reform in an effort to get some Republican votes. I hope they have learned something.


4:29 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

Now if he would drop the war on drugs...but both that and the bankruptsy laws are biden's.

5:49 AM  

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