Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Obama's Magical Mystery Tour

He's in Afghanistan today and will go on to Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England on what his campaign hopes will be a 21st century reprise of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour with its theme of "All You Need Is Love" but at the same time has the potential to be a gauntlet of political minefields and security nightmares.

Despite the advance secrecy, John McCain yesterday blurted out that Obama would be going "either today or tomorrow" and that "Sen. Obama is going to arrive in Baghdad in a much, much safer and secure environment than the one that he would've encountered before we started the surge." Maybe so, but someone might remind McCain of the old World War II slogan, "Loose Lips Sink Ships."

Physical security aside, Obama may get a warm reception in Baghdad if what Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told the German magazine Der Spiegel about troop withdrawal is any indication:

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

As he departed, Obama pointed out, "I’m more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking. And I think it is very important to recognize that I’m going over there as a U.S. senator. We have one president at a time, so it’s the president’s job to deliver those messages.”

That may be what the Democratic candidate is saying, but what will the world leaders along his route be hearing? Something alone the lines of "All You Need Is Tough Love"?

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