George Graham

He Didn’t Start the Fire; It Was Always Burning

I have to admit that the Obama Administration has not lived up to my expectations.The change I hoped for is yet to come.

And it seems to me that President Obama sounds more like George Bush as the days go by. If I closed my eyes last night, it could have been W talking about Iraq. The platitudes were all-too familiar … Obama found some good things to say about the bloody, trillion-dollar Iraq adventure. And, lest we forget, he unctuously saluted “the troops” for their “service.”

Most dispiriting of all were the implications buried in this passage:

As Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, our commitment to a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq continues.

So, now we are committed to keeping Iraq “stable and self-reliant,” are we? I suppose that means if the evil Iranian empire encroaches on those peace-loving Iraqis, “we” will be ready to give our blood, sweat and money to kick out the invaders.

Add Iraq to the ever-growing list of “allies” that America is committed to preserve – Israel, Japan, Canada, Britain, Europe (including some former Soviet republics), India, Pakistan, Afghanistan… and on and on. And allies or not, there’s a whole atlas of countries that Americans would send their “troops” to die for if the need arose.

If anyone invades Mexico, do you think America would stand by and let it happen? Or any Caribbean island? Or Colombia? Or any banana republic anywhere in this hemisphere?

Am I blaming anyone for any of this? Not I. It seems that who occupies the Oval Office isn’t as relevant as I thought. The name on the door might change but the policies remain remarkably consistent. I can only conclude that irresistible forces predetermine American foreign policy.

If I were president, I would probably be doing and saying the same things as all the others.

As Billy Joel sang, we didn’t start the fire.

It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning.

But I can’t help feeling that some administrations are worse than others. And I shudder at the prospect of a Republican victory in the fall. Ominous signs proliferate. One chilling example: Today’s news tells of another Tea Party victory, this time in an Alaskan Republican primary.

Do these people know what they’re doing? Do they have any idea of the harm they could cause – not only to America but to the whole, wide world?

Or are they so riled up by the lies they’ve been fed that they no longer care if they perish as long as they, like Samson, tear down the temple around their heads?

And as for the rest of us, the people I would describe as sane, what are we to do? It seems that we can only sing along with Billy Joel:

We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it.

That could be Barack Obama’s swan song, too.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com