African-Americans don’t like war, and we especially don’t like the wars we’ve been fighting for the last eight years. According to the Department of Defense, the number of African-American volunteers for the military dropped by 58 percent between 2000 and 2007. The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were cited as the key reasons for the decline. We’ve now hit exactly eight years since the start of the war in Afghanistan, and troops are still being killed.
As black mothers grow weary of sending their children to die, and black fathers recall their experiences in Vietnam and the first Iraq War, African-Americans are confronted with a president who is caught in the middle of unnecessary military conflicts from which he cannot remove himself. Recent setbacks in Afghanistan have led to calls by some Republicans to increase the number of troops in the war, while many Democrats are asking for numbers to remain level or to be reduced.
President Obama has remained adamantly against the idea of increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, but he also has not met his campaign promise to withdraw all of our troops from battle. In standard Barack Obama fashion, the president has taken the middle road, where liberal idealism is slapped in the face by pragmatic realism. Of course the liberals will continue to be angry over the war, but Obama has grown increasingly comfortable with their disappointment.
Black Americans, quite honestly, don’t give two Bushes about what Obama does in Afghanistan. It doesn’t mean that African-Americans don’t want what’s best for our nation. It means that issues such as the war, torture, and even environmentalism do very little to test the black community’s love for our nation’s president. Obama could send 100,000 more troops across the sea, or he could bring everyone home; either way, people will still (incorrectly) consider him to be the second coming of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The truth is that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are primarily white, liberal issues; African-Americans tend to be worried about problems in our own communities, such as violence, unemployment and education. In fact, even when it comes to matters that affect us most, it would take a long list of incredibly irresponsible decisions before the black community is to ever turn on their political superman.
African-Americans will stick with Obama through the war. They will stick with him through health care. They will stick with him through hell, high water or the return of bell-bottom pants. They love Barack Obama – and no war, economic downturn, educational crisis, or health care quagmire is going to change that. He might as well name himself the King of Black America.