“To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them.”
― Aristophanes, The Knights
If you know someone who isn’t adept at keeping their promises, you might want to suggest that they consider a run at President of the United States.
A little “tribute” to some of our chief executives (not an exhaustive list, by any means) both past and present, who couldn’t keep a promise:
- President Woodrow Wilson – He campaigned on the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War”. Months after his reelection to the presidency in 1916, he went to Congress to approve a declaration of War with Germany and its allies.
- President Franklin Roosevelt – “I have said this before, but I shall say it again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars”. That was said in 1940. A little over a year later he would lead the country into war in response to the attacks on Pearl Harbor. And there is evidence that FDR knew of the attacks in advance and desired to engage America in the war.
- President Lyndon Johnson – When President Johnson was up for reelection in 1964, running against Barry Goldwater, he said his administration would not send ground troops into Vietnam, even though his administration had been working on escalating America’s involvement in Vietnam prior to the election – particularly noteworthy is the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
- President Richard Nixon – Aside from the many lies and cover-ups of the Watergate scandal, which were all broken promises if one takes into account the Oath of Office he took, Nixon campaigned in 1968 of ending the war in Vietnam. Once in office, he continued to press on with American forces in Vietnam, resulting in many more deaths in the first few months of his presidency.
- President Barack Obama – Too many broken promises, frankly, to note here (as is the case with most past presidents). For a comprehensive list, you can check out Politifact.com
President Trump has been in office less than 100 days. He’s been really busy tweeting and such, and to be fair, has implemented some of his promises, but when it comes to war and America’s involvement in about every international conflict possible, he’s seems to be going at light speed with broken promises and accelerated interventionist activities. Drones strikes alone have gone up 432% since he took office.
And as Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept noted regarding the outcome of one of the strikes:
“The raid in Yemen that cost (Ryan) Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including ‘many civilians,’ at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honored with applause and the presence of grieving relatives. That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a U.S. citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).”
As Greenwald notes further, this is typical not just of Trump, but the American war machine in general:
“We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the U.S. government kills, whose numbers are always far greater.”
Indeed, the American war machine is chugging along quite nicely with Mr. Trump at the helm, with his administration resuming arm sales to the Saudi’s that were frozen under the Obama administration and the worse number of airstrike casualties in Mosul than during Aleppo that the MSM media is not covering. Add to all this (as if we need more) that the US has sent thousands of troops to Kuwait to deploy to Iraq and Syria, not to mention the thousands Obama sent to Poland right before leaving office, and one can see the broken promises quickly mounting by Mr. Trump who ran a somewhat, non-interventionist campaign.
“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” Trump said. “Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will.”
“We don’t forget. We want to strengthen old friendships and seek out new friendships,” he said. He said the policy of “intervention and chaos” must come to an end. – President-elect Donald Trump
So much for all that non-interventionist stuff.
Sadly, none of our current leaders in the West, have any of the forethought, compassion and desire for peace as JFK. And we all know the fate he suffered because of many of the changes he was attempting to initiate for the better for Americans, not the least being his attempts to stop the insanity of America’s war machine.
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace for all time…
Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it…
For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
-John F. Kennedy, American University Commencement Address, June 10, 1963
Photo credit (President Kennedy): By Cecil (Cecil William) Stoughton, 1920-2008, Photographer (NARA record: 4538278) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons