Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where's Obama On The War?

Where's Barack Obama's on the Iraq war? You can't tell by going to his official exploratory committee Web site, where the war is dismissed with a tag-on sentence:

The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. Our economy is ... blah, blah, blah .... skyrocketing health care bills ... pensions you've lost ... struggles to pay for college .... blah, blah, blah. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.

There's a (pardon the expression) gulf between "never been waged" and "how to stop waging it," and Barack apparently isn't ready to risk contributions by spelling out his program on his Web site.

Fortunately, the Gore-worshipping site After W provides a thorough analysis of Obama's stated positions to date:

As for the most controversial issue in America right now, the Iraq war, Obama has called for a gradual withdrawal of American troops. But at the same time, in a speech givenlast November, he left the door open for a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq.

He specified conditions under which the withdrawal could halted or delayed, such as if the parties in Iraq reach an effective political arrangement that stabilizes the situation and they offer us a clear and compelling rationale for maintaining certain troop levels, and if the U.S. believes that a further reduction would put American troops in danger.

Obama also made it clear that, for him, leaving Iraq did not mean leaving northern Iraq, the Kurdish region.

Obama said last week he was trying to figure out a way to pay for some operations in Iraq, but not for the additional 21,500 troops President Bush has ordered to go there. He has expressed that he wishes to avoid “a game of chicken” with the president.

“The big dilemma,” he said, is “trying to figure out what mechanism we can use to stop what I’m convinced is the wrong policy, without shortchanging the young men and women who’ve already been deployed.”

Withdraw, but maybe stay longer -- it sounds Kerryesque, but actually indicates he's been thinking deeper than mere Murthaisms. That's good, but memories of Bill and the remarkable Clinton ability to think deep and act irrationally are still fresh.

Still, it's not a plan. A plan requires more than saying, "Gee, I don't like this. I think I'll leave gradually ... or maybe not so gradually." Leaders can't just say no to a troop surge; they have to explain how they'll address Iraq and the war on terror without one.

So, from the material that's currently available, we can conclude that Obama is a candidate, not a leader.

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