By Matthew Rothschild on April 19, 2011

In 2008, many voters viewed Barack Obama as the peace candidate, but he's turned into a war president.

On the campaign trail, he promised to get all combat troops out of Iraq by the spring of 2010. Then he extended that to the end of this year, and now his administration is trying to persuade the Iraqi government to sign an agreement extending the presence of U.S. troops there indefinitely.

And in Afghanistan, where Obama has tripled the number of U.S. troops, his administration is again backpedaling on withdrawal. Obama said he'd start bringing troops home this July, but that seems more and more likely to be just a token number.

He had vowed that all U.S. troops would be out of there by the end of 2014, but now his administration is negotiating with Kabul to have long-term military bases in Afghanistan.

And, of course, a month ago, Obama launched the war on Libya, which shows no signs of ending any time soon.

From his Nobel Prize speech to his Libya speech, Obama has become the chief advocate of war, boasting of its utility and expanding its justifications.

He's turned into a better salesman for war than his predecessor, and he's running the empire more efficiently -- and with less antagonism.

More bombs, less bombast: That's the Obama doctrine for you.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "In Written Guide, Wisconsin AG Supports Open Meetings Law."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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