Monday, July 07, 2008

What Would Obama Do?


Promises, promises:
Obama was perplexed that his statement on Iraq was dissected as it was.

"I was a little puzzled by the frenzy that I set off by what I thought
was a pretty innocuous statement," he said. "I am absolutely committed to ending
the war."

On Thursday in North Dakota, Obama said that "I'll ...
continue to refine my policy" on Iraq after an upcoming trip there.
Democrats have long been promising to "End the War in Iraq Now!", telling their moveon-dot-org constituency one thing, while attempting to legislate surrender bills that say something a lot more nuanced. Representative Paul Kanjorski was caught admitting that Democrats lied for political power:
I’ll tell you my impression. We really in this last election … when I say we… the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the … we didn’t say it, but we implied it … that if we won the congressional elections, we could stop the war.

Now anybody who was a good student of government would know that wasn’t true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the congress, so you sort of stretched the facts … and people ate it up.

Democratic Presidential Candidate of Hope and Change, Barack Obama, himself might keep 80,000 troops in Iraq for 100 years.

More snake oil from the Obamassiah:
"The tactics of how we ensure our troops are safe as we pull out, how we execute
the withdrawal, those are things that are all based on facts and conditions," he
said. "I am not somebody _ unlike George Bush _ who is willing to ignore facts
on the basis of my preconceived notions."
That is simply political partisanship rubbish. The reason why Senator Clinton and Senator Obama would basically carry on "the Bush Plan", is because no serious American leader who takes a sober look at the situation from the Oval Office, is going to realistically and responsibly "bring the troops home now". When he talks of how he'd end the war by consulting with military commanders and utilizing flexibility based upon the situation on the ground, he's basically adopting what has already been going on. Just replace the (R) with the (D), then take credit for the success of the surge, the full blossoming results of which will not happen under George W. Bush's watch.

Tom Hayden- one Democrat not fooled- at Huffington Post:

Call him slippery or nuanced, Barack Obama's core position on Iraq has always been more ambiguous than audacious. Now it is catching up with him as his latest remarks are questioned by the Republicans, the mainstream media, and the antiwar movement. He could put his candidacy at risk if his audacity continues to shrivel.
~~~
the issue that matters most to me is achieving a peaceful settlement of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
You want peace and stability? It won't be the anti-war movement that achieves it.
From the beginning, Obama's symbolic 2002 position on Iraq has been very promising, reinforced again and again by his campaign pledge to "end the war" in
2009.

But that pledge also has been laced with loopholes all along, caveats that the mainstream media and his opponents [excepting Bill Richardson] have ignored or avoided until now. As I pointed out in Ending the War in Iraq [2007], Obama's 2002 speech opposed the coming war with Iraq as "dumb", while avoiding what position he would take once the war was underway. Then he wrote of almost changing his position from anti- to pro-war after a trip to Iraq. He never took as forthright a position as Senator Russ Feingold, among others. Then he adopted the safe, nonpartisan formula of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group, which advocated the withdrawal of combat troops while leaving thousands of American counter-terrorism units, advisers and trainers behind.

That would mean at least 50,000 Americans, including back up forces, engaged in
counter-insurgency after the withdrawal of combat troops, a contradiction the media and Hillary Clinton failed to explore in the primary debates. To his credit, Obama said that these American units would not become caught up in a lengthy sectarian civil war, leaving the question of their role unanswered.

The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.

Finally, it has taken the pressure of the general election to raise questions about whether his parsed and lawyerly language is empty of credible meaning. Consider carefully his July 4 statements:

The first one, promising a "thorough reassessment" of his Iraq position later this summer:

"I've always said that the pace of our withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability" -- two conditions that could justify leaving American troops in combat indefinitely. "And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies" -- another loophole which could allow the war to drag on.

Then there came the later "clarification":

"Let me be as clear as I can be" [not, "let me be absolutely clear"].

"I intend to end this war." [intention only].

"My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war -- responsibly, deliberately, but decisively." [ Sounds positive, but "decisively" can mean by military threat in the worst case. And it's pure theatre, borrowed from Clinton, since the plans most likely will be drafted and finalized immediately after the November election.]

"And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one or two brigades a month..." [but what if the military commanders on the ground assert that it is too dangerous to pull out those troops?]

Obama's position, which always left a trail of unasked questions, now plants a seed of doubt, justifiably, among the peace bloc of American voters who harbor a legacy of betrayals beginning with Lyndon Johnson's 1064 pledge of "no wider war" through Richard Nixon's "secret plan for peace" to Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal and the deep complicity of Democrats in the evolution of the Iraq War.

It is difficult to understand Obama's motivation. Perhaps it is his lifetime success at straddling positions and disarming potential opponents. Perhaps it is a lawyer's training. Perhaps being surrounded by national security advisers who oppose what they call "precipitous withdrawal", and pragmatic Democrats distinctly uncomfortable with their antiwar roots.
Hayden's real flaw is in his belief that the anti-occupation/anti-war movement is made up of the ones who are being pragmatic for peace. It is the Pro-Victory Movement that is the movement of pragmatism and peace establishment. It is the pipe-dreamers who think we can logistically and responsibly end the war now; it is the pipe smokers who think a precipitous withdrawal will end the suffering and not create more.


And in case anti-war voters are experiencing "voter's remorse", what makes them think that the wife of Monica Lewinsky's boyfriend would have actually ended the war immediately?

An Obama or Clinton Administration- any administration- would more than likely reap the rewards of the surge groundwork laid out under the final 2 years of the Bush presidency.

The pro-peace pragmatists are not in the anti-war movement of Moveon dot orgers and Code Pink. Peace movement = Pro-Victory Movement.

Hat tip to Scott for the Tom Hayden piece.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

Further Reads (Scott Malensek):
The Democratic Party is a bunch of Chicken Doves
Iraq War Leaves Democrats at a Loss

Also check out Amy Proctor's post: Al Jazeera: “Obama’s Muslim Identity Can End the Iraq War”

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3 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

An Obama or Clinton Administration- any administration- would more than likely reap the rewards of the surge groundwork laid out under the final 2 years of the Bush presidency.

Yeah, just like ol' Bill reaped the benefits that Reagan's economic policy groundwork laid for him...

Monday, July 07, 2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Yep... if Obama gets in he will reap the rewards of all that President Bush accomplished and he will do so with glee, while poor Bush had to clean up Clinton's mess! Does nothing ever change?

But with all of Obama's flip-flopping, at the end of the day who is going to vote for him? He's destroying his base (praise the Lord) and I couldn't be happier about that! Nor do I believe he will win over the majority of Hillary voters. I've been visiting many of their websites and they are more angry with him than I am, which doesn't seem possible, but it's true.

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

If Obama becomes president and America pulls troops immediately from Iraq, two things will occur:

1. Massive conflict, thousands and thousands of Iraqis dead, perhaps to the point of genocide;

2. Very few will ever trust the word of the United States again, and will know that we are in fact the penultimate Paper Tiger.

BZ

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:27:00 PM  

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