In an interview with the Daily Beast, actor and political pundit John Cusack unloaded criticism about President Obama’s policymaking calling it is "as bad or worse than Bush" when it comes to "drones, the American Empire, the NSA, civil liberties, attacks on journalism and whistleblowers."
“He hasn’t started as many wars, but he’s extended the ones we had,” Cusack said. “The president can just decide whom he wants to kill, and you know, since 9/11 there are magic words like “terror,” and if you use magic words, you can justify any power grab you want.”
The liberal actor has been previously outspoken about Obama’s foreign policy tactics, commenting on drone attacks in Pakistan and military intervention abroad. Cusack’s recent comments joins the ranks of other liberals who have expressed outrage on Obama’s presidency given that instead of following with his campaign of “change”, we have continued the same Bush Era policies of consistent drone attacks and wider NSA government surveillance, plus we are still in Iraq.
While Obama has been better than Bush in terms of environmental policy, LGBT rights and improving the economy, he has denied more Freedom of Information requests than Bush and prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other administration, according to The Guardian.
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Yet the extensive spying program and invasive military excursions are following the same strategies and policy narratives that have prevailed in the United States for decades. The point is not which president is better or worse than the other, but rather that these same “Big Brother”, imperialist and Wall Street-kissing policies remain the driving status quo in American presidential politics. Obama and Bush are merely figureheads governing a system that caters to corporations, terrified enough by terrorism to strip the American public of their privacy and secure its world power status through unnecessary and exploitative foreign invasions. Obama ran a campaign of change and “hope”, but change cannot happen with one leader, rather when the problems inherent in our system are eradicated, when those underlying systemic forces are reversed, then change within the American political system can finally have freedom to flourish.