Monday, July 18, 2016

Iraq and race relations dominate in year eight of Obama


We are counting down to the end of the Obama presidency. Only six months remain.
Wonder who voted for Obama in 2008 thinking that Iraq and race relations would dominate the front pages at the end of his presidency? In other words, this is not what “hope and change” had in store for year eight.    
Over in Iraq, reality is forcing  President Obama to send U.S. troops, even if in a support role as reported by the New York Times:
President Obama will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul, the largest city still controlled by the Islamic State, a deployment intended to capitalize on recent battlefield gains that also illustrates the obstacles that Mr. Obama has faced in trying to wind down America’s wars.
The additional troops, announced here on Monday by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, are the latest escalation of the American military role in Iraq by Mr. Obama, who withdrew the last American soldiers from Iraq at the end of 2011.
On race relations, the situation is even more disastrous. Like many, President Obama reacted irresponsibly to the killing of Michael Brown in Missouri, as Ron Christie wrote:
Turning to the ginned-up cauldron of race that is now Ferguson, the president was once again quick to offer his opinion on local matter on which he knew nothing of the facts at hand. Days following the shooting the president assured the press that he had sent both the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown. Of particular relevance, Mr. Obama offered:
“Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities — including the police — have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death, and how they are protecting the people in their communities.”
The circumstances under which Brown lost his life are both heartbreaking and tragic — but not in the manner implied by the president. 
Rather than waiting for local authorities to complete their investigation, the president took sides — particularly with the “his family will never hold Michael in their arms again” line. 
The implication here is that a white police gunned down a young black man in a manner that was irresponsible and opaque.
With race relations, polls tell us that things are really bad. Over in Iraq, U.S. troops will face combat again.   
This is not what they predicted back in 2008!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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