Thursday, September 02, 2010

And By The Way....

Attention Tuesday night and Wednesday were focused on President Obama's declaration of what we already knew. The U.S. combat role in Iraq, which had wound down to almost nothing over the past year or so, had come to an end.

The media's preoccupation with the big story- the one the Administration wanted told- was not surprising. But it was unfortunate, given (transcript here)

Earlier in the day, at Fort Bliss, Texas, a post that has endured losses during the war, Obama tried to tell the stretched military that all the work and bloodshed in Iraq was not in vain. He asserted that because of the U.S. efforts in the Iraq war, "America is more secure."

Whoa. As far as we know, this is the same man who on October 2, 2002 stirred crowds in Chicago's Federal Plaza while noting "Saddam poses no immediate direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors" and declaring (transcript, in PDF, here)

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occuptation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east and encourage the worst, rather than best, impules of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

A war would strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. He looks like the same fellow (a little older, naturally), has the same voice, and still answers to the name "Barack Obama," but now says U.S. involvement in that threatened war he once excoriated has made the nation "more secure."

This is the Barack Obama who if he had not faced the Democratic primary electorate as someone who had the prescience to oppose the war from the beginning, would have been Joe Biden without the foreign policy experience; John Edwards without the experience of a vice-presidential nomination, a commitment to the "other America," and a Southern background; or Hillary Clinton without the background in women's issues or the access to powerful and moneyed interests which can come only from being directly related to a former president. He would have been, at best, United States Senator Barack Obama.

Immediately prior to the assertion "America is more secure," President Obama noted that because of the "extraordinary service" of our nation's soldiers, "Iran has an opportunity to create a better future for itself." That is inarguable, and the possibility that Iran will endure an even worse future makes the statement no less true. However, the assertion that the United States has become more secure is far more questionable and a legitimate question to pose. But first, the President should have this debate with himself; then he can tell us who won it.

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Overwrought Reaction

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