The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril by Eugene Jarecki (New York: Free Press, 2008); 336 pages.
Many supporters of Barack Obama are disappointed that he has not reversed the war policies of his predecessor. He did his best to continue the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The Afghanistan war rages far beyond what was seen under George W. Bush. Obama has also proved militaristic in operations in Libya, Yemen, and Pakistan, and in the sanctions against Iran. The attacks on civil liberties and human rights continue on the same path that Bush forged.
Obama gave indications early on that that would be his trajectory. He always promised to expand the Afghanistan war. He never vowed to cut and run from Iraq any faster than was established policy by the time Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement in late 2008. As a U.S. senator, he voted to legalize Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, foreshadowing his future sellouts as president on the civil-liberties front.
Yet the reason for the continuity of militarism transcends anything that can be found in Obama himself. The sad truth is that Bush’s two terms were never quite the aberration that they were widely characterized as being. His neoconservative advisors were particularly belligerent in some avenues of foreign-policy theory, but they never represented a hard break from American traditions going back several generations.