Friday, July 25, 2008
Personal Aside: The Great One Speaks in Berlin but Back Home Obamas Iraq Views are Seen as Pompously Wrongheaded.
He may cause emotional kids and idealistic old ladies in audiences to swoon, but Barack Obamas flabby views on the Iraq war will likely do him in. More than any other issue, McCain is right to make Iraq even though its an unpopular war as the litmus test to show how wrongheaded Obama has beenand how his inexperience and Jimmy Carter-like timidity threaten to make his presidency a disaster. Already polls are showing that Obama is not getting his bounce from the ecstatically immature mainstream media camp followers.
Small wonder. The American people are wary of this con-man rhetorician inflated as if by a bicycle pump manned by David Axelrod with the help of Big Foot media.
In the long view of history, President George W. Bush will go down as the true great one ranking with Harry Truman on the issue of seizing the moment to launch an effort that will defeat our enemies.
From the very start, on September 12, 2001, Bush understood a new existential threat to our safety made clear the necessity for interventionism. He understood immediately that the ground-rules had changed. The end of U.S. foreign policy was still the security of the United States but to do thisas John Kennedy had said of the Cold Warit is imperative to achieve the success of liberty. Bush saw intuitivelybrilliantlythat while we will support democracy everywhere, we will commit blood and treasure only where there is a strategic urgency. Because he understood al Qaeda was behind the attack, he saw the U.S. had no choice but to go to war in Afghanistan. Secondarily, he saw that the Saddam regime posed a great threat to the region. Thirdly he saw farsightedly the fact that a self-sustaining democracy in Iraq would be a major first step in draining the swamp of the poisonous political culture composed of intolerance and religious fanaticism that spawned anti-American extremism which produced 9/11. On all these elements, John McCain was with President Bush. In fact, he was ahead of himpointing out the initial insufficiency of our efforts in Iraq, calling for the replacement of Donald Rumsfeld and anticipating the surge which the president later implemented.
In contrast to this, the views of Barack Obama have been shriveled and amateurish. So wrongheaded that for the second time in U.S. history, by making the winning of an unpopular war key, the Republicans may well retain the White House. The first time came when the American people became convinced that though he was running an unpopular war, Abraham Lincoln was on the track to victory. Lincoln won despite the fact that he was running against a supposedly well-versed general who at two points had commanded federal forces in that war and who vociferously criticized its conduct--Gen. George C. McClellan.
McClellans views on the war roughly parallel Barack Obamas. McClellan never completely saw victory in the war as essentialbut only the ending of it. But Obama far exceeds McClellan in his error-prone views of the war and his failure to understand the value of winning a war so as to bring stability.
Initially and from the time he entered the presidential race Obama first urged total withdrawal as quickly as the troops could be pulled out and then said he would order the Joint Chiefs of Staff to withdraw within 16 months. That college prof assessment was grievously wrong. As even The New York Times said when he first made this statement as a presidential candidate and talked about precipitate withdrawal, Iraq and the region around it could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the [American] invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.
In October, 2006three months before the surge was announcedthis is what Obama said: It is clear at this point that we cannot, though putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve, and we have to do something significant to break the pattern that weve been in right now.
The night before the surge was announced, Jan. 10, 2007, Obama said: I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact I think it will do the reverse.
On Jan. 17, 2007: The surge strategy will not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly. That July despite evidence the surge was succeeding, he said: My assessment is that the surg/e has not worked. Nowjust yesterday-- even the anti-Iraq war newspaper USA TODAY said: Why cant Obama bring himself to acknowledge the surge worked better than he and other skeptics, including this page, thought it would? What does that stubbornness say about the kind of president he would be?
Ill tell you what it says. Had we pulled troops out of Iraq when Obama first urged us to do so, the Iraqi army that went into Basra and achieved in a few weeks what the British had failed to do in four yearscapture the city, drive out the insurgents and seize the vital ports from the Iranian-backed militias would not have been successful and probably could not have attempted to do it: thus the earlier expenditure of U. S. lives and treasure would have been in vain.
Without any U. S. ground forces to instill morale, the Iraqi army could not have entered and occupied Sadr Citry, the Mahdi army stronghold.
With a retreatingor departing U. S. presence--the Iraqi parliament could not have enacted its de-Baathification law which under-girds its political stability.
Obamas continued refusal to acknowledge the value of the surge and his insistence that stability in Iraq is dependent on a time-table means that with his election this country would forfeit every success and substitute for it the aura of defeatism inculcated unconditional withdrawal. There is no doubt that there is not a U.S. commander in the field who supports his strategy. Moreover while the media play the fact that Premier Maliki would support a withdrawal of U.S.forces by 2010, they do not focus on the fact that it was CONDITIONED ON THE READINESS OF IRAQI FORCES and that MALIKIS TIMETABLE WOULD EXPAND OBAMAS BY AT LEAST SEVEN MONTHS.
The reason Obama cannot admit the surge worked nor alter his views of withdrawal is that he sees his campaign owned on national defense policies by the Democratic partys far-left contingent. Thus a candidate who (a) cannot appreciate the need to stabilize the Middle East, who (b) wrong-headedly denied the efficacy of the surge and (c) avoids the flexibility of judgment mandatory in the president on Iraq proves that this young man is immature, unready and not nearly at the stage of maturity the nation demands in a president.
What McCain should do is continue to drive this point home. The David Axelrod campaign surge in Berlin and with photo ops of his candidate with U.S. generals has not comforted the American people who are realizing that what we have here is a very, very egotistical young man without even the beginnings of maturity that were contained in John Kennedy, age 43, in 1960. Obama is a man who in three and a half years in the Senate has a record that is barren of accomplishment. As a law professor and Harvard Law Review president he has not propounded a single idea that is worthy of enunciation. As a state senator he was noteworthy for not lifting a finger to improve his poverty-stricken inner city district.
The scandalously biased national media puff job employs a bicycle pump to puff him to the heroic stature of world citizen, like the displays toted down the street in a Macys Thanksgiving day parade held to earth by mooringsbut now the helium gas is seeping pfffffft! shortly to reveal little more than an empty suit.