Veteran American journalist Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House for more than 60 years, put a few questions to President Barack Obama in his recent press conference. She asked, "Mr. President, when are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are you continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism that if we don't go there, they will come here". "The reason we originally went to Afghanistan was because that was the base from which attacks were launched that killed 3,000 people" replied President Obama. The next question, quite naturally, is that if enemies of US were in Afghanistan, why did its vastly superior forces fail in finishing them off by sealing all their escape routes? Why were they allowed to move on elsewhere to regroup and gain strength? And why, instead of concentrating on tracking down and finishing off this enemy, the US left Afghanistan to launch another war in far off Iraq in 2003? That new war, against a 'new' enemy killed, wounded and displaced more than a million innocent Iraqis and earned US the hatred of the Muslim world. It also caused over 4,000 Americans to lose their lives and physically and mentally disabled tens of thousands more. That is greater, much greater in casualties and damages than that caused by Al-Qaeda. The White House came out of these wars as a worse enemy of the American people than Al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan too, the American casualties have reached 1,000 already and are only likely to rise further in the coming days as more troops arrive. All this brutality by the US has not secured mainland America. Incidents like Fort Hood shooting and the (failed) Times Square bombing keep happening. Apparently, the American gunboat policy is not helping anybody, not even the Americans at home whom it is exposing to ever greater risk of casualties. Mr Obama came with a promise of change but that is nowhere in sight and things are going much the same way as in Bush era. For a start, he retained Bush's killer team of Robert Gates, Mike Mullen, David Petraeus and the like and brought on board other hawks like Hillary Clinton. All his overtures to Muslims like the Cairo speech, video address from Qatar and other measures have remained gestures that were never backed by actions. Mere cosmetics His main concern seems to be not to upset the powerful pro-Israel lobby which could undermine his chances of a second term in the White House. All his actions seem to centre around this main objective much to the misfortune of his own countrymen whom he is increasingly using as a cannon-fodder in pursuance of his agenda. Given a chance Obama would prove a much worse enemy of the humanity than even George Bush because of his sinister plans to redraw the map of the world. S.R.H. HASHMI, Karachi, May 28.