Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama and Iraq

So… Senator Obama publishes his “Plan for Iraq” as an op-ed in today’s New York Times. And, as might be expected, the ‘sphere erupts in comment. Here's some of the best I’ve read in this space today, beginning with Uncle Jimbo, writing at Blackfive:

(Ed: Quoting Obama’s Op-ed)

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

And there you show why you are unfit to be Commander in Chief. You don't even understand the fundamental concept of war and you would give the military a mission that doesn't exist. You want them to "end" the war which to you means simply pack up our toys and come home so your kids don't have to see those awful stories on the news. Well let me make one thing perfectly clear to you Senator. You can't end wars, you either win them or lose them. Your shameful naivete would endanger the lives of every military member worldwide. Once oue enemies know we have a clueless muppet at the helm, they will be empowered to act without fear of retribution.

Hmm. That sounds a lil bit familiar, nu?

And then Captain Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division from 2005 to 2006, and is the executive director of Vets for Freedom, weighs in at National Review Online:

As someone who monitors the Iraq-war-policy debate closely, I was puzzled to open the New York Times and see an oped authored by Sen. Barack Obama entitled “My Plan for Iraq.” Besides the seemingly moderate tone — and calling for an Afghanistan “surge” (an idea I agree, and one proposed by Sen. Joe Lieberman in March) — not much in the piece is new or newsworthy. In the final analysis, the oped is another dogmatic addendum to Obama’s “withdrawal at any cost” position.

In fact, just one question entered my head when I finished reading: Why now? Why would Sen. Obama — or any legislator, for that matter — write such a piece before visiting the country for himself, seeing the situation with his own eyes, and speaking with commanders and troops who actually know what’s going on?

It strikes me that only someone who is signaling no interest in consulting with commanders on the ground would spell out his “plan” for Iraq just one week before he visits the country for the first time in 918 days. Only someone who is arrogant enough to believe he always knows best would outline his Iraq policy before once meeting one-on-one with General David Petraeus.

The only conceivable answer to the question is that Sen. Obama believes he can capitalize on Prime Minister Maliki’s recent comments about a timeline for U.S. withdrawal. Maliki’s comments, important primarily because they demonstrate increased Iraqi strength and confidence, have been diluted by the fact that he didn’t actually call for a timeline after all. All withdrawal talks will be tied to conditions on the ground.

Yeah, the timing is strange, innit? Obama is going to Iraq this week, so why release an op-ed today, which amounts to nothing more than the “same ol’, same ol’”? Why not wait until next week… a mere eight or ten days… when the op-ed could have included the words “I’ve just returned from Iraq, where I consulted with General Petraeus and other commanders on the ground…”? Is there more here than meets the eye? Is this op-ed a way for Obama to re-focus the nutroots after his FISA vote? Or, are they (the Obama camp) just totally confused? Dean Barnett, writing in The Weekly Standard’s The Blog:”

On Iraq, Team Obama has become stuck in a quagmire of confusion. On Meet the Press yesterday, leading Obama surrogate Claire McCaskill said that Obama’s 16 month surrender plan in Iraq is a “goal” and added it would be “irresponsible for a commander-in-chief to set a date in stone.”

And yet today, the titular head of Team Obama took to the pages of New York Times and declared:

We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

That sounds sort of “set in stone” to me. Meanwhile Obama is trotting off to Iraq this week with “Republican” Chuck Hagel in tow to lend the voyage some military bona fides. Hagel’s the guy who long ago called the surge, “The most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam." Then again, I guess Hagel still makes a far more credible traveling companion than Harry Reid would.

And what’s the purpose of this trip? Ostensibly to talk to the commanders so Obama can further refine his plan which isn’t set in stone. Unless you like it as is, in which case you may consider it set in stone. Until further notice.

There’s much more in the “Required Reading” entry linked above, including some comment on that Barry – Michelle New Yorker cover that’s causing a lot of buzz elsewhere today. Even though it’s off-topic for this post, I liked the following:

It (ed: the cover) doesn’t mock the Obamas – it mocks idiots who see the Obamas as the type of people who burn the American flag in their study while engaging in a terrorist fist-bump.

Not everyone has gotten the joke. My favorite reaction to date has come from, the blogging home of Amanda Marcotte, the Edwards campaign’s controversial blogger that you may remember from last year. Pandagon is home to perhaps the shrillest version of feminism on the web, and yet the site’s Jesse Taylor responded to the cartoon with a lecture on humor. “The hallmark of good satire,” Taylor scolds, “is that it’s good enough to perhaps be taken credulously by those who aren’t too swift, but also ridiculous enough to show that whoever does take it seriously is a bit slow in the head. This is not good satire.” Strident and perennially outraged feminists posing as the arbiters of good humor? Take it from one who knows – if those comments were themselves intended as satire, they would be the equivalent of satire gold.

Going even further a field… Barnett’s comment about the oxymoron-ish nature of “feminist humor” struck me as particularly observant, if not unique. There are NO more humorless people on the face of God’s Green Earth than supposedly “radical” feminists. OTOH, Barnett makes a pretty convincing case that BHO is just as humorless. And that’s not a Good Thing in a leader, Gentle Reader. Particularly one who aspires to leading the entire Free World.

So… we end with a massive digression, eh? But… if you’re in need of more and better comment on The Obamanon and his “Iraq Plan,” there’s all these guys (via memeorandum, some of which already linked above):

Firedoglake, MoJoBlog, The Carpetbagger Report, Washington Post, The Swamp, The Hill's Blog Briefing Room, The New Republic, Marc Ambinder, USA Today, Informed Comment, The Trail, The Moderate Voice, MSNBC, Taylor Marsh, TownHall Blog, Comedy Central, Think Progress,, Weekly Standard Blog, TalkLeft, Political Radar, Swampland,, The Reaction, Pajamas Media, Commentary, Matthew Yglesias, The Corner, Hot Air, Riehl World View, Booman Tribune, All Spin Zone, protein wisdom, The Glittering Eye, Needlenose, BLACKFIVE,, The Strata-Sphere, Veterans For America, MyDD,, The Washington Note, Gateway Pundit, Confederate Yankee and Political Machine

That ought to hold ya for an hour or ten.


  1. Obama is a tool, at the very least. He really does frighten me - he knows nothing, absolutely nothing about foreign policy or even domestic policy.

    The man would be the worst thing to happen to this country since Bill Clinton - and god knows that's saying so much.

    What frightens me even more is that this trip to Iraq will likely be translated into Obama's expertise - he's been with the troops! He's been on the ground!

    Will he make up a Bosnia skirmish to prop up his massive ego???

  2. The New Yorker issue by accident got it right on the front cover.

  3. Kris: I hear ya. The man IS scary, in the sense that I don't believe we've ever had a candidate more liberal/left than this guy. Not in MY memory, anyway. One could say Carter was as liberal as Obama, or perhaps Dukakis. But I don't think so. Obama's resumé... from his education, to employment, to his voting record just SCREAMS Liberal! Not a good thing, in my book.

    Pat: Didja miss this part?

    It (ed: the cover) doesn’t mock the Obamas – it mocks idiots who see the Obamas as the type of people who burn the American flag in their study while engaging in a terrorist fist-bump.

    Obama is oh-so-wrong on so many things, but he isn't Muslim, a terrorist, or a flag-burner, nor is his wife. And people who characterize them as such are simply advertising their ignorance. Or worse. It's entirely possible to disagree with someone... anyone... without demonizing them. It's apparently pretty danged difficult, as well.

  4. The NYer magazine may have been mocking the ignorant who demonize Obama, but the ignorant will not get it. Instead, they will look at the cartoon and think, “Wow, them New Yorkers think like us!”

    Then the liberal idiots will not get it either. They will think, “The NYer had ulterior motives – they may have said they were mocking the ignorant, but they are really mocking Obama.”

    Very few will look at the magazine, read the article, see the purpose. Maybe the cartoon was just over the heads of too many. Every group has its paranoid.

  5. Your points are well-taken, Lou. The ignorant will probably remain that way and the Lefties... well, sometimes there's just NO explaining them, or understanding them. Lord knows I try. I don't know why I try, but I do.

    I was somewhat surprised at all the brouhaha over the cover... from BOTH sides. A LOT of people in this country need to relax and take a deep breath.

  6. I dunno Buck. How can I be excited by a man with such a name?
    Wikipedia defines it thusly: Barack, pronounced "BUH-ruhtsk", is a type of Hungarian brandy (Pálinka) made of (or flavored with) apricots. The word barack is a collective term for both apricot (in Hungarian sárgabarack, lit. "yellow-peach") and peach (in Hungarian őszibarack, lit. "autumn-peach").
    Ye gods. Apricot brandy? Yuk.
    Obama? Here: Higashi-Obama Station|東小浜駅|Higashi-Obama Eki is a station on the JR West Obama Line located in Onyū, Obama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan.
    An apricot flavored brandy in a Japanese train station?
    I pass.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.