In an interview with the Guardian published on Sunday, renowned professor and prolific critic of the "military-industrial-complex" and rampant "plutocracy" in the U.S. and around the world, Dr. Cornel West explained his views on the state of America today and his fall from grace, by design, with President Barack Obama: "He's just too tied to Wall Street. And at this point he is a war criminal."
"They say I'm un-American," West told interviewer Hugh Muir, referring to Obama's team.
But from someone who actively campaigned for the man, only to be quickly and vastly disappointed, West sees in Obama the epitome of Washington corruption:
"He talked about Martin Luther King over and over again as he ran," West said of their campaign stops together, adding later, "You can't just invoke Martin Luther King like that and not follow through on his priorities in some way."
"King died fighting not just against poverty but against carpet-bombing in Vietnam; the war crimes under Nixon and Kissinger."
West goes on:
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You can't meet every Tuesday with a killer list and continually have drones drop bombs. You can do that once or twice and say: 'I shouldn't have done that, I've got to stop.' But when you do it month in, month out, year in, year out – that's a pattern of behavior." [...]
I think there is a chance of a snowball in hell that he will ever be tried, but I think he should be tried and I said the same about George Bush. These are war crimes. We suffer in this age from an indifference toward criminality and a callousness to catastrophe when it comes to poor and working people." [...]
"I knew he would have rightwing opposition, but he hasn't tried," West said of Obama's unwillingness to curb Wall Street's hold on Washington. "When he came in, he brought in Wall Street-friendly people – Tim Geithner, Larry Summers – and made it clear he had no intention of bailing out homeowners, supporting trade unions."
And he hasn't said a mumbling word about the institutions that have destroyed two generations of young black and brown youth, the new Jim Crow, the prison industrial complex. It's not about race. It is about commitment to justice. He should be able to say that in the last few years, with the shift from 300,000 inmates to 2.5 million today, there have been unjust polices and I intend to do all I can. Maybe he couldn't do that much. But at least tell the truth. I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones."