2.4 Drone attacks – Bush did: Implemented program of bombing Al Qaeda and militants in the Pakistan tribal areas, along the borders of Afghanistan. – Obama said: It was not a significant issue during his first presidential campaign. – Obama did: During his first year in office he doubled the number of drone attacks over Bush’s entire presidency. He further increased the number of drone attacks at the end of 2010 and extended the drone attacks to other countries. The drone attacks have killed many innocent civilians.
2.5 Popularity in Arab and Muslim countries – Bush did: He was widely mistrusted. He made the major mistake of calling the “War on Terrror” a “crusade” after 9/11. – Obama said: He called for a new beginning “based on mutual interest and mutual respect…” (Cairo University, June 4, 2009) – Obama did: He had high popularity in 2009 but by July 2010, a Brookings Institution poll showed a sharp decline, approaching Bush’s approval ratings, because his foreign policy was seen as virtually unchanged toward Middle Eastern and Muslim countries. Obama has waged war in three predominantly Muslim countries and conducted drone strikes in six others. The Obama administration supports Israel, seemingly regardless of its actions.
2.6 Pro-democracy uprisings – Bush did: He followed U.S. tradition of propping up and funding friendly dictators in the Arab world but claimed his policy was to spread democracy. – Obama said: He wanted our so-called “allies” in the Middle East from oppressing their own people. (Rally of Chicagoans Against War in Iraq, October 2002) “Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.” (Address to the Nation on Libya, March 28, 2011)
Tunisia – Obama did: He defended the Ben Ali regime, even after security forces fired into crowds of protesters.
Egypt – Obama did: He described Hosni Mubarak as a “friend” and initially supported Omar Suleiman as a strongman, even though Suleiman had partnered the U.S. rendition and torture porgram. The Obama administration even supported shipping arms to the oppressive Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Bahrain – Obama did: He praised the royal family, ever after it cracked down hard on its own protesting citizens and invited Saudi Arabian troops in.
Yemen – Obama did: President Ali Abdullah has been an important U.S. partner, regardless of the fact that he has always repressed opposition to his rule and cracked down hard on pro-democracy protesters.
2.7 Attack on Libya – Bush did: It happened after Bush left office. – Obama did: U.S. warplanes participated in flying air cover for Libyan rebels, without a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress.
2.8 War on drugs – Bush did: He continued the long-standing War on Drugs. He paid little attention to the treatment of addicts. Bush also described the drug trade as a form of terrorism. He began to heavily fund the Mexican government in its militarist crackdown on drug cartels. – Obama said: He would review long sentences for first-time users and “see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the blind and counterproductive warehousing of non-violent offenders.” (Howard University, September 26, 2008) “We have to think about drugs as a public health problem.” (YouTube Q and A, January 27, 2011)
He called concerns about an increasing U.S. presence in Columbia as a “myth.” (Speaking to Hispanic media reporters, August 2009) – Obama did: He hiked funding for the War on Drugs. The international non-profit organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, (LEAP) reports that the spending on supply reduction has increased markedly, while spending on demand reduction has dropped sharply under Obama. Obama continues to finance Mexico’s militarist crackdown on drug cartels, while ignoring Mexican human rights violations and the massive increase in deaths. In Columbia, multiple U.S. military bases have been created.
After suggesting in an October 2009 memo that those in compliance with state laws should not be prosecuted, Obama has already conducted more raids on medical marijuana providers than Bush did in two terms.