December 06, 2005
Obamush
U.S. Senator Barack Obama has planted his feet deeply inside the Iraq war-prolongation camp of the Democratic Party, the great swamp that, if not drained, will swallow up any hope of victory over the GOP in next year’s congressional elections. In a masterpiece of double-speak before the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, November 22, the Black Illinois lawmaker managed to out-mush-mouth Sen. John Kerry — a prodigious feat, indeed. …

In essence, all Obama wants from the Bush regime is that it fess up to having launched the war based on false information, and to henceforth come clean with the Senate on how it plans to proceed in the future. Those Democrats who want to dwell on the past — the actual genesis and rationale for the war, and the real reasons for its continuation — should be quiet.

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Posted by Wayne Uff at December 06, 2005 07:19 AM
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In my experience Senator Obama has been one of the most clear-headed politicians to come around in a long time. He is on the correct side of this issue. Calling for the full withdrawal of American troops from Iraq is irresponsible. First, it leaves Iraq vulnerable to either a full-fledged sectarian based civil war, al Qaeda or islamist infiltration, and leaves the region vulnerable to further destabilization which will, in the long run necesitate American involvement in the form of both a police force and humanitarian aid. I, like many other democrats agree that Bush has mismanaged the Iraq campaign, but understand what is at stake.

If you agree that Bush made a mistake in taking the country to war in Iraq, do you really think that the best way to solve it is to commit an een bigger mistake by abandoning the Iraqis to a violent fate similar to that which befell Afghanistan after the Soviet-Afghan war which eventually led to the rise of the Taliban? You can't get yourself into a position where the only way for the democratic party to win, is for the country to lose. You may not like Bush, but that dislike should not get in the way of what is good for the country.

Yes, we need to find a way to get out of Iraq, but we need to do so in a way that gives Iraqis a chance for a better life, that allows them to become an example to the rest of the Muslim world.

Posted by: nykrindc on December 6, 2005 11:46 AM

I’m ambivalent about this issue, and my ambivalence was reflected in an email I sent to the Black Commentator about the Obama post. I wrote after reading the James Fallows article, “Why Iraq Has No Army”, and posting a summary here on BA. I was hoping to get the Commentator’s views on the points Fallows makes.

I was quite surprised to get a reply claiming that the reason the US invaded Iraq was racism.

I certainly opposed the invasion of Iraq this time, as I did the last time. Unlike most Americans, I opposed the war in Afghanistan, and every other US war in my lifetime. I was a conscientious objector in Vietnam times.

But I think it’s clear that we invaded Iraq for oil, and to prevent Iraq from switching its oil sales from dollars to euros. One can certainly claim that racism plays a part in the attempt of the US to control oil and territory in the Middle East, but it’s a minor part compared to our hunger for fuel, our need to prop up a failing economy, and the related drive to find enormous, unconscionable profits for a few well-connected companies like Halliburton, Bechtel, and the oil giants.

The Black Commentator blog has really fine writing, and often makes excellent points. But I have to disagree on this particular issue. I understand the idea that Obama is playing politics; of course he is, he’s looking at a run for President. All such folks are playing politics. The question is not whether it’s a political game; the question is how well the game’s being played.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree (Belisarius) on December 6, 2005 1:45 PM

nykrindc, you're too focussed on the Foreign Affairs Weekly viewpoint.

No one in America gives a rat's ass if Iraq falls into chaos. We gave them a chance at democracy; if they want to blow it, that's on them, not on us.

Pull out, and contain. It worked against a far more dangerous enemy, the Soviet Union. It will work again. The problem, from the point of view of Bush, is that that strategy is so yesterday, so Bush the Elder; it requires patience for years over many administrations, and doesn't allow any Mission Accomplished photo ops.

Bottom line: declare victory and leave.

Posted by: Wayne Uff on December 6, 2005 3:09 PM

nykrindc, There wouldn't have been that Afghan-Soviet war without Reagan's Stinger missiles delivered to groups that were well known at the time to be anti-American hyperfundamentalists. So we dumped a Soviet-leaning socialist Afghan government (which offended the Afghan religious right by providing education and medical care to women) and put the Taliban into power.

The current situation is too scarily similar to me.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on December 6, 2005 4:04 PM

No one in America gives a rat's ass if Iraq falls into chaos.

They should because failed states are breeding grounds for extremism, the same extremism that brought us 9/11.

So we dumped a Soviet-leaning socialist Afghan government

We were fighting a Cold War against the Soviets, and yes they might have been giving women an education, but they were also torturing and repressing all religious worship.


This war will take time, and democrats will not win the white house unless they can provide the US with a strategy to win. Iraq is more than just about Iraq, it was never about oil alone, it was about taking out an enemy, whether rightly or wrongly, who had the potential to undermine our security. You don't trust dictators when they say they don't have WMDs. I disagreed with Bush on the issue of Saddam's WMDs but we are there now and can't abandon Iraq and Iraqis to their fate.

Posted by: nykrindc on December 7, 2005 10:34 AM

nykrindc: the breeding ground/chaos decision has already been made; yes, because of our invasion Iraq has become and for the foreseeable future will remain a center of hatred of America and desire to hurt America.

We can't change that by staying there.

We can't undo all the damage that the Weakener-in-Chief has done to our nation, the Iraqi people, and Western civilization. Sometimes, the cancer has no cure.

What we can, and should, do is get out, try to remain as helpful as we can to the weak democratic forces in Iraq, and contain our enemies regionally, as best as possible. Not sexy, not grand, not a photo op, not Mission Accomplished.

But this will do the least damage to the U.S. and to Iraq in the long run.

You said it yourself: Iraqis have "their fate." And, your beloved America, my beloved America, cannot save them from their fate; "their fate" is theirs to work out, not ours. We can try to help as a constant friend, at a safe distance, but that's all we can do.

Posted by: Wayne Uff on December 7, 2005 2:28 PM

Well, if that Republican Teddy Roosevelt hadn't taken Carnegie's money and spent it to shoot elephants and lions for a while and instead had gone directly to Berlin to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm before it was too late, then there wouldn't have been a World War I, and then there wouldn't have been a Soviet Union.

But I still don't see the point of creating Taliban Nation, which REALLY tortured and repressed religious worship (not sorta repressed, like wouldn't admit wacko right-wing missionaries)and, after they sandblasted Buddha off the mountain, attacked us.

But then I'm one of those Christians who pays attention to the red-letter text.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on December 8, 2005 10:52 AM

We can't undo the damage, but we can ameliorate it and ensure that Iraqis have a chance for a better life. We will withdraw, but we have to do it gradually to give Iraqi institutions time to adapt and grow. Anything else, would be no better than what we did to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, something we (as in America) now know was a huge mistake.

Posted by: nykrindc on December 9, 2005 9:09 PM
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