Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Iraq in the Rear-View Mirror

Barack Obama and John McCain are squaring off on foreign policy this week, but there is an oddly retrospective quality to the debate over Iraq. Both promise to end the war, albeit on differing timelines, but the main issue is whether we should have fought it at all.

In his foreign policy speech today, Obama's answer was a resounding no, claiming the effort should have gone into hunting down Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban and terrorists responsible for the attacks, and that the billions spent on the war could have been invested in alternative sources of energy to "end the tyranny of oil" and strengthening our position in the world.

"Instead," he said, "we have lost thousands of American lives, spent nearly a trillion dollars, alienated allies and neglected emerging threats--all in the cause of fighting a war for well over five years in a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks,"

Meanwhile, McCain's foreign policy adviser is harrumphing that his candidate "would rather lose an election than lose a war and see the nation lose a war. Senator Obama seems to think losing a war will help him win an election."

New polls are reflecting uncertainty among voters on how to react to all this. In the coming weeks, after he travels to the Mideast, Obama is going to have to make an effort to persuade the public to sign on to his five foreign policy goals:

"(E)nding the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century."


R. S. Abrinaud said...

I'm curious as to why you feel Obama will have an uphill battle in convincing the public to embrace his five foreign policy goals. Given our current situation, all of these sound painfully common-sensical, and I suspect they would still sound so even to the so-called "Illiterati."


Never underestimate the pervasive ability of the Illiterati to do the wrong thing.

GiromiDe said...

I wouldn't put much faith in "illiterati" since they're currently freaking out that filthy Belgians are buying their precious proud American swill ... I mean beer.