Joseph Biden has now been president just two shy of the vaunted "100 days." However arbitrary the designation, that’s a perhaps more fitting benchmark than most for Biden, since he and his biggest fans have not-so-subtly styled this commander-in-chief as a new FDR – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, after all, being the first to use the phrase. For the most part, such glowing analogies refer to domestic agendas – infrastructure, healthcare, and jobs – plus both presidents’ presumably paradigmatic pivot from unseemly predecessors, be they a Herbert Hoover or Donald Trump. But what of foreign policy – what’s done in and to the world by select Americans and in We the People’s name? Well, that’s rather more complicated.
Spend much time on the pages of America’s self-styled "paper," or papers, "of record," and one quickly learns the permissibility ropes – Biden-era edition: what is and isn’t covered, questions asked or not, answers offered and analyzed…or not. The establishment left- and right-dominated media outlets offer mostly mirrored inversions of the same flawed and circumscribed narrative: Joseph R. Biden is either the greatest peacemaker, or biggest warmonger, in modern American history. He may in fact be neither – and there’s much concealed behind both binary ruses.
In other words, scratch the surface just a bit, and under the transformative veneer one finds the potential for another Biden-Roosevelt resemblance – extralegal trans-hemispheric wars waged with silence and violence. Whatever his finer qualities – and the admitted exigency of defeating worldwide fascism – it’s troubling that few now remember how FDR unilaterally decided upon war-intervention nearly two years before Pearl Harbor, and secretly waged it absent congressional sanction, and over widespread citizen objections. Whilst daring to hold out hope that I’m wrong, the stage seems set for Biden to continue waging wars far more global, dissemblingly defined, and abstract, than anything FDR cooked-up with pre-Pearl Harbor anti-German submarine combat in the North Atlantic.
You’ll note that no one’s really made that analogy, certainly not in any of the 90 percent of media outlets now owned by just six media giants – AT&T (which bought Time Warner), CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp (the parent company of Fox News), and Viacom – which is down 46 from the count of companies controlling the same share in the year of my birth (1983). Of course, I could be crazy for making the Biden-FDR parallel; then again, I might be connecting something crucial. Either way, Antiwar.com is on that beat, and have been since the last three elected emperors were still known as Governor Bush, associate attorney Obama, and casino magnate/cartoon-rich-guy Trump.
Look, it’s a cliché amidst the fundraising drives of countless alternative media outlets clawing their way into the conversation, to say that the traditional outlets aren’t doing their due diligence – but that doesn’t make it any less true in this case, or any less important for diverse and independent publications and networks to break the hawkish-establishment perma-seal of mainline media. Yet there’s something truly unique going on here at my weekly home-base – and it ain’t just that Eric Garris and Scott Horton are crazy enough to indulge me four columns, and more than 12,000 words analyzing otherwise obscure conflicts – but I’d dare say issue-essentialities – like Nagorno-Karabakh.
Real talk: Antiwar.com is pumping out originals on subjects scantly covered, and hardly understood, by even the policymakers themselves. As scary as that factoid is, Antiwar.com’s public contribution is therefore equally as crucial.
Consider just a few highlights relevant here on the cusp of Biden’s "100 Days" calendar date:
Is Uncle Joe really ending America’s Afghan adventure – Inshallah! – or set to turn our nation’s longest-ever war into a subcontracted mercenary maelstrom, an air and Agency (you know the acronym) abstraction waged from afar and in the shadows?
– That remains to be seen, but Antiwar.com is preemptively on the case.
What exactly is going on in Africa? Is America’s Parisian pal Emmanuel Macron set to get a Biden-bailout in his failing forever war in the sweltering Sahel?
– Antiwar.com’s put yours truly on that issue.
And speaking of AFRICOM’s about-anything-but-Africans charter, what are we to make of the implications of this proconsular command’s latest unprecedented portfolio addition into the continent’s southernmost reaches: Mozambique?
– Antiwar.com has been way ahead ahead of most outlets on that topic too.
Why in the world was Biden bombing Iraqi militias, in Syria, that are allegedly – but less than definitively – tied to Iran? And why doesn’t anyone in the establishment press seem to think that’s more than a little peculiar? Besides, what the heck is the purpose of putting troops in Syria and Iraq, except as rocket-magnet bait for further regional military escalation?
– Antiwar.com has known the score on all that for a while, and we refuse to keep silent about it.
Will Biden break all recent precedent and do what’s – for the powerful – conceptually unthinkable: voluntarily cede authority, in this case imperial presidential war powers?
– Antiwar.com covers it, with more than a little prudent skepticism.
Will Biden prove different than his former constitutional lawyer of a boss – who often broke records for extra-constitutional press-freedom suppression – and at least thaw the war on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and so many others?
– Antiwar.com has been on that too.
So here’s the deal: everyone’s got a lot going on – plenty of financial commitments and concerns – but if you like reading real analysis that’s not tainted by corporate media connections, and their oft-related war industry ties, please consider kicking in a few clams. In fact, once again, any contributions you kindly make will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
Antiwar.com has been on the bipartisan, no-one-gets-a-pass, empire-exposure beat since 1995.
It’s a path more vital, yet far less beaten, than ever – help us fight that fight however you can!
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP), contributing editor at Antiwar.com, and director of the new Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, The American Conservative, Mother Jones, Scheer Post and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War. Along with fellow vet Chris "Henri" Henriksen, he co-hosts the podcast “Fortress on a Hill.” Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and on his website for media requests and past publications.
Copyright 2020 Danny Sjursen