Posted by CODEPINK Staff
Yesterday President Obama held the first Twitter Town Hall at the White House where he fielded questions about jobs, the budget, taxes, and education with Tweeters all over the nation. The event was streamed live on the White House page. While a valiant effort at direct interaction through a fast growing medium, it unfortunately resonated with his usual lack of accountability and transparency about critical issues and Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey just let him get away with it.
Obama referenced the vast scale of military spending as compared with the human scale of spending on education while continuing to beat the "need for security" war drums. His claim to agree with ending the wars and cutting the military budget is clearly disingenuous given the administration’s war policies and recent insignificant Afghan drawdown. #AskObama: Is bankrupting the country while continuing old wars and starting new ones your 2012 platform?
Amongst the many issues that weren’t addressed, despite an outpouring of tweets was Bradley Manning. CODEPINK's Truth Set Free campaign joined Bradley Manning supporters in a Facebook group dedicated to posting and commenting on #AskObama tweets about the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower. Questions ranged from "#AskObama Will you pass your nobel prize to Brad Manning for exposing the truth?" to "#AskObama Why did you state that Bradley Manning broke the law when he has been in prison for over a year now without a trial?" Manning’s case represents yet another way that tax dollars are being wasted on over-classification of government documents and an unprecedented attack on whistleblowers resulting in unwarranted and costly investigations, trials, and incarceration. Unsurprisingly, the Bradley Manning tweets weren’t addressed.
Also omitted was the tragic treatment of the Freedom Flotilla II and how the US government aided Israel in pressuring the Greek government to impede a humanitarian mission to lift the blockade on Gaza. Obama's reference to US aid in his discussion of the budget certainly didn't address the billions of dollars Israel receives every year despite the human rights abuses of the apartheid regime.
The day after the Obama Twitter town hall, comments and analysis with #AskObama hashtag continue to cycle through page after page, though tweets of holding former Bush administration officials accountable for creating the "gulag" known as Guantanamo and leading the global community into an unjust and illegal war on Iraq fall silent with other topics taking priority. Barack Obama blazed a path to the White House on a platform that promised a complete break with the Bush presidency, yet in reality he has outstripped his predecessor.