Peace Activists Turn Against Obama And His Drone Wars

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In 2008, candidate Barack Obama had the enthusiastic backing of activists looking to bring an end to US led wars. In 2012, those same activists are harshly criticizing President Obama for using drones to attack civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. A United Nations report says that about 20 percent of the thousands killed by US drone strikes since 2004 have been civilians and that some of the strikes might even be “war crimes.”

“I was an Obama enthusiastic supporter four years ago. I’m very disappointed with what he’s done,” peace activist Andy Berman told The UpTake at an anti-drone protest this week. “I’m very aware that the alternative is far worse. But I have no enthusiasm. I will not be campaigning for Obama.”

“Well, I’d rather have Obama win than Romney,” said Roger Cuthbertson. “I believe the drones are totally illegal and they’re irresponsible and its going to come back to bite us because we wouldn’t want drones over our skies killing indiscriminately.

“There’s been more drones, way more drones under Obama than under Bush.

“So I’m not giving Obama a pass. I mean it’s irresponsible to be a war criminal no matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. It’s not a partisan issue.”

Obama is “Bush on steroids”

Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley helped organize the Minneapolis protest, one of about twenty held across the country this week to protest the drone strikes and to push back on the growing pressure to wage war on Iran and Syria.

“Because people waste their time and energy believing in a candidate and then they don’t come out and work as hard as they can on the issues,” said Rowley. “And in the case of Obama having won it was a cruel disappointment. Actually Obama in many ways is Bush on steroids.

“At the end of Bush’s term there was some changes. Bush was starting to close Guantanamo. He was repatriating. Guess what. The election occurred. Obama can’t end Guantanamo. And now we’re actually in a worse position then we were at the end of Bush’s term.”

Peace activist protests have gone on for many years. This is one of the few times in history where the tide of this movement has turned so strongly against their one-time champion. The corporate takeover of the Congress has added fuel to the war flames to favor the Pentagon and military contractors.

The tempo of local peace protests decreased in the early days of the Obama administration, but is has picked up in recent months to be close to 2008 levels.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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