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Barack Obama for President

It may come as something of a surprise, dear reader, to see the title of this humble "post" appearing on Wizbang, the well-known right-leaning "website." Yet we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," have caught the cold that currently ravages our nation's media elites--Obama fever--and we hope to share our reasons for supporting Senator Obama's crusade (if that is the mot juste) to become the next President of the United States of America.

If you ask us, Senator Obama is a real rarity in American politics--a candidate who appears to stand for both everything and nothing. To some, this makes Senator Obama seem wishy-washy. Not so: Surely amidst the Senator's myriad platitudes is a position or two you can wholeheartedly support.

For instance, take this controversial stance from Senator Obama's best-selling book, The Audacity of Hope: "I value good manners." Sure, that isn't going to win him fans in the powerful Bad Manners Lobby (note the capitalization, Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt), but it suits us just fine. In fact, we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," have been supporters of good manners for as long as we can remember. Perhaps as far back as toilet training.

But Senator Obama favors more than mere etiquette. Examine this bold position on US veterans, culled from his "website":

As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama is committed to helping the heroes who defend our nation today and the veterans who fought in years past.

Wow: That's our view too! We don't want to come across as delusional, but it sounds like this guy is speaking directly to us!

Additionally, we should add that Senator Obama has a way with history. In the pages of the Wall Street Journal, columnist Peggy Noonan quotes Senator Obama as saying the he longs for the days when the US enjoyed "the near unanimity forged by the Cold War, and the Soviet threat."

Huh: We seem to recall that Cold War paleo-liberals of Senator Obama's ilk were dead set on denying the existence of a Soviet threat, eager to live in a post-nuclear la-la-land. Even today, the organs of paleo-liberal thought, in between bouts of cheerleading for Obama, are busy whitewashing the careers of Stalin apologists like I.F. Stone.

To some, the Senator's jaw-dropping revisionist history is maddening. Not us: After so many bitter years of partisanship in Washington, isn't it time to forge a phony consensus or two? We certainly think our country could use a few.

That's why we hope, dear reader, that you'll join us in supporting Senator Obama, the small-eared, nebulous visionary running for President. He's the Seinfeld candidate, and--provided he remains sufficiently vague--he's unstoppable.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently envisioning an "Obama for President" campaign commercial starring Jason Alexander and Michael Richards and dealing with the Senator's controversial love for animals.)


Comments (58)

No Apologies to Brewer and ... (Below threshold)
epador:

No Apologies to Brewer and Shipley:

Obama
How is your Karma?
Just doing your best to live the Good Ol' American Way?
It says right there in the Constitution
Its really A Ok to be your own Solution
When the Party Leaders Choose
Folks you'd rather see in a Noose.

Oh Nancy
Barack is fancy
I believe once Bill was Right
So please don't start a Fight
Pluheez!
I just wanna vote for a Muslim mod'rate
So we all can wear our dhimmi outfit
How can you not give him weight
And leave a place for him on your slate?

Just don't mistake him for ol' Osama
And send him off in chains to evil Guantana...

ooooo-oooo-oooooh


I think Obama's chances for... (Below threshold)

I think Obama's chances for the Presidency just went down the toilet...seems he made a VERY COZY real estate deal with a now indicted political operative that was a MAJOR contributor to his 2004 Campaign...how cozy of a deal. This shuckerster and Obama bought adjoining house on the SAME DAY! Even more suspicious...when Obama wanted a BIGGER yard, out of the compassion these neighbors sold him part of theirs...how convenient.

Don't forget to -*always*- ... (Below threshold)

Don't forget to -*always*- say his full name ...

Barack Hussein Obama. You don't want to be an insensitive a-hole.

He stands for "both everyth... (Below threshold)
Wethal:

He stands for "both everything and nothing"? Like Peter Sellers' character Chance in the movie "Being There"?

The first 3 posts here sum ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

The first 3 posts here sum up much of the right wing today. None of them clearly know a thing about the man but feel free to mock him. A typical ignorant tactic of the right.

Herbert Spencer said it better than I:

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

That says all that needs to be said about these folks. The xenophobic racists like Felix should make you folks proud. Yes, I know the fur will fly about this comment. Get over it. His one liner speaks for itself.


Actually, Hugh, it reminds ... (Below threshold)

Actually, Hugh, it reminds me of the Bette Midler line about Michael Jackson -- "I have nothing against sex symbols, I just like to know the sex of the symbol."

Trying to define Obama's philosophies and positions is like nailing Jello to a wall. He's a blank slate, and people are able to project whatever opinions and positions they like on him.

I suspect he'll peak and fall before the primaries.

J.

The packaging is great! Any... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

The packaging is great! Any chance we could have a peek at what's inside?

Jay:I have no quar... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

I have no quarrel with people challenging his ideas, or lack of same. Certainly Bush gets plenty of that, and deservedly so in my view.

USMC:

Have you ready anyhting he's written? Have you listened to any of his speeches?
H

Hugh:Yes. I went t... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilotb:

Hugh:

Yes. I went to his web site, which should be an indication of where he stands. However, I could not find a single instance of anything but I'm for everything your for, and against everything your against. Telling me that you are against crime, poverty, drugs, etc., etc., and for mom and apple pie is not a platform. It's political mumbo jumbo that I've heard for the past 65 years, and if I've learned anything in life, it's to evaluate a person on what they do, not what they say. Hence, my comment about "the packaging looks great, can we have a look inside". In other words, "how about some specifics".

I'm kind of disappointed US... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

I'm kind of disappointed USMC in your response. I wouldn't have classified you in the same vein as the others who have done no investigation. Just for fun I went to the web sites for the 3 leading republican candidates for president and their material was nothing different than Obama's...brief blurbs on issues.

So, again have you read any of his writings or listened to any of his speeches? Or are you one of those Spencer defined so well?

Hugh, lemme continue: with ... (Below threshold)

Hugh, lemme continue: with Bush, I know he was in favor of a few things. Cutting taxes. Confronting militant Islam on its own turf. A couple of others I agreed with. And some I didn't. Overall, I felt more comfortable voting for him than either of his opponents.

Obama, though, there's no "there" there. He believes in people. In helping people. In making things better. All kinds of vague good intentions.

He's trying to pave a road to the White House with those good intentions, but such roads tend to end up in a different place...

J.

USMC Pilot: "that... (Below threshold)
Patriot's Game:

USMC Pilot:

"that I've heard for the past 65 years,..."

I've got grandkids older than you, boy.
You are a mere child, albeit wise for such a youngster.

Hugh:We have commo... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Hugh:

We have common ground. You point out that his web site is no different than three prominent Republican sites. I never said that it is. I said that politicians are great on speeches and promises, but short on delivery. He can not accomplish any more of his grand ideas, any more than any other politican, simply because it will all eventually boil down to money. Here is where you and I part company. I don't want them taking my money, and you don't mind if they take yours. I feel it would be a lot more helpful if you would go find a needy family, give them all of our money, and I'll determine just who and where I wish to help.

"give them all of our money... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

"give them all of our money"

should read "give them all of your money"

Hugh, how dare you compare ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Hugh, how dare you compare my insipid lyrics to the serious discourse of Porgie or the laconic wit of DJF! Really now!

Is that the best the Obama Supporters can do?

Watch out USMC. Obviously ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Watch out USMC. Obviously you have some suppressed Democratic neurons that overtook control of you fingertips momentarily.

He seems to belong to some ... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

He seems to belong to some fringe church that will surely trip him up. Otherwise, a totally empty suit...but do the dems have anything else but empty suits?

Hugh, I don't look at speec... (Below threshold)
epador:

Hugh, I don't look at speeches, I look at voting records:

http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=BS030017

But if its speeches you wan... (Below threshold)
epador:

But if its speeches you want, he rants pretty predictably about Kerry at the '04 convention. Condi would eat him alive in a debate. But Hillary will never give him the chance for that pleasure. He better not take up any jogging in Rock Creek Park...

His middle name is Hussein.... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

His middle name is Hussein.

Wierd.

He fits the John Edwards school of politics: photogenic, smooth, but empty suit, no experience. All ego, and no substance. Perfect for the Democrapic Party.

Fresh, humurous, authentic,... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Fresh, humurous, authentic, charismatic, spiritual but not heavily religious, articulate, hopeful, a peacemaker, a uniter not a divider, classy, has a Hawaaian background, been part of a minority, educated, introspective, analytical, courteous, and most of all humility.......everything that the republicans have no real understanding of since no candidate they have comes anywhere close.

No wonder they consider him a threat to their occupying the Oval office in 2008. If Barack Hussein Obama runs for president that giant sucking sound you will hear is the end of republican control for much of anything for a very long time.

Sure, these are great quali... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Sure, these are great qualities for the Messiah, but they don't tell you anything about his political positions.

You Dems. exalt form over substance routinely.

Civil: Obama's lines are ol... (Below threshold)
epador:

Civil: Obama's lines are old, rehashed, thinly-veiled and pander to the folks making giant sucking sounds... we'll leave the rest to your disturbed imagination.

Hugh, You can't expect the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Hugh, You can't expect the knuckleheads who voted for Bush twice, and still defend him today, to recognize the leadership qualities in a candidate like Obama. Not to worry -- they are wrong today and out of step with America with regards to Obama just as they were wrong on November 6. Their rantings in no way reflect on Obama's chances, in fact... they are a good contra-indicator of Obama's likely success.

Anyone who gets the Wiznuts jabbering is someone they fear, and anyone who makes the right-wing Christianistas afraid is going to capture the hearts and minds of Americans.

It's as if the dems fin... (Below threshold)
Jo:

It's as if the dems finally found a black guy in their party who isn't a kook like Sharpton , a hustler like Jesse, who hasn't been impeached for bribery like Hastings or stashed cash in his freezer like Jefferson. And hey, he speaks fairly well, so hey! Let's nominate him for president.

Pathetic.

Fresh, humurous, authen... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Fresh, humurous, authentic, charismatic, spiritual but not heavily religious, articulate, hopeful, a peacemaker, a uniter not a divider...

Of course he's not a "divider" yet. He verbally hasn't stood for anything to cause a division. Geeze, that's kinda the whole point of this post.

Lol. Moron.

I think Barack Hussein Obam... (Below threshold)
Matt:

I think Barack Hussein Obama is more of a threat to Hillary Clinton in 2008 than to the current Republican Hopefuls. He would provide a tiring, purse draining primary fight if he was truly interested. It is highly likely he is being used as a stalking horse to let Hillary know that she should start toeing the Democratic line a little more publicly. If he were to run the Clinton machine would shred him or co-opt him. He is after all a politcal light weight. A good heart and glib tongue is a great thing, but can't compete agains age, experience and visciousness. Not to acuse the good Obama of ulterior motives, but he could be using the appearance of presidential interest to build a name for himself, to hopefully put himself into a better position in the upcoming session of the Senate.

He has no demonstrable leadership experience and little political experience, and no political clout. Beating Alan Keyes on your home turf was a no-brainer.

One of the things that bothers me personally is that he identifies himself as "African American," when his mother is a "Causcasion American." It makes me think he is either ashamed of his mother, the lady that raised him after his father went back to Africa, or he is pandering for votes within the African American community.

While he is worth some good discussion in 2006, there is just no way his a contender for 2008.

epador:In March, 2... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

epador:

In March, 2005, B. Hussein Obama voted for the 'Minimum Wage Amendment' before he voted against it.

LOL.

I just love watching you 30... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

I just love watching you 30%percenters hanging on to the illusion that somehow your pretend cowboy and his posse will somehow bring a better and honest candidate to throw his hat into the ring for 2008.

It's why you are all calling Barack Hussein Obama an empty suit. You think qualifications for the Oval Office are predicated on a record of past greed, avarice, corruption and warmongering, for you, all are essential qualities for the Presidency. Problem with you is that is you forget that the other 70% want us to refrain from empire building and pay attention to the issues we have among our own citizenry. Fiscal debt, elderly care, child care, education, transportation, infrastructure, energy needs and the list goes on and on.

All your bravissimo abroad does jack for the people here in this country. A man like Barack Hussein Obama is able to connect with average people because his demeanor is not the bully on the block kind of image. His cerebral aptitude won't be doubted once he is questioned on his stance since he speaks frmm the heart not from his ********.

Oh,, I am just loving the spin......keep it coming boys......tough guys always lose out to the guy with heart.

Barack for Baghdad bureau c... (Below threshold)
914:

Barack for Baghdad bureau chief!

-Highly qualified-

"Fiscal debt, elderly care,... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

"Fiscal debt, elderly care, child care, education, transportation, infrastructure, energy needs and the list goes on and on."

Excellent list; now let's see how he addresses them. If he has some ideas, I would love to hear them, but I'm not interested in hearing "I'm for a better life for all".

"For the New Year, I want W... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

"For the New Year, I want World Peace . . ."

This passes for deep thinking with the Lee/Hugh et al contingent. If the words are Kerryesque--pseudo-intellectual-sounding, then all these little dems. get warm and fuzzy, like the Obama website.

These are the same folks who urged John Kerry on us, and to this day probably think he would make a swell Prez, what with his medals he threw over the White House fence, etc.

B. Hussein is 'humorous'? H... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

B. Hussein is 'humorous'? Hah!

MoDo wrote something about his big ears and he chases her down and gets into a catfight with her while the microphones were recording! Very unPresidential. Not a good omen, due to the slings and arrows a Presidential candidate must endure.

After a couple of years of softball questions and adoring b**wjobs from the MSM, Obama did not look very good in dealing with one of the first unflattering comments to come his way. Actually, the MSM, and those who already blindly support him, are doing him no favors by letting him get by with vague answers and cliched platitudes. He needs to learn to deal with criticism.

Obama humorous? Seems more like 'thin-skinned' to me.

For the ignorant ones on th... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

For the ignorant ones on the right here's his position on Iraq. It's pretty well laid out in detail. Disagree all you want. Criticize all you want but try reading it first. Oh, that's right most of you get your sound bites from Limbaugh and Hannty. Sorry.

A Way Forward in Iraq
November 20, 2006
Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

Throughout American history, there have been moments that call on us to meet the challenges of an uncertain world, and pay whatever price is required to secure our freedom. They are the soul-trying times our forbearers spoke of, when the ease of complacency and self-interest must give way to the more difficult task of rendering judgment on what is best for the nation and for posterity, and then acting on that judgment - making the hard choices and sacrifices necessary to uphold our most deeply held values and ideals.

This was true for those who went to Lexington and Concord. It was true for those who lie buried at Gettysburg. It was true for those who built democracy's arsenal to vanquish fascism, and who then built a series of alliances and a world order that would ultimately defeat communism.

And this has been true for those of us who looked on the rubble and ashes of 9/11, and made a solemn pledge that such an atrocity would never again happen on United States soil; that we would do whatever it took to hunt down those responsible, and use every tool at our disposal - diplomatic, economic, and military - to root out both the agents of terrorism and the conditions that helped breed it.

In each case, what has been required to meet the challenges we face has been good judgment and clear vision from our leaders, and a fundamental seriousness and engagement on the part of the American people - a willingness on the part of each of us to look past what is petty and small and sensational, and look ahead to what is necessary and purposeful.

A few Tuesdays ago, the American people embraced this seriousness with regards to America's policy in Iraq. Americans were originally persuaded by the President to go to war in part because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, and in part because they were told that it would help reduce the threat of international terrorism.

Neither turned out to be true. And now, after three long years of watching the same back and forth in Washington, the American people have sent a clear message that the days of using the war on terror as a political football are over. That policy-by-slogan will no longer pass as an acceptable form of debate in this country. "Mission Accomplished," "cut and run," "stay the course" - the American people have determined that all these phrases have become meaningless in the face of a conflict that grows more deadly and chaotic with each passing day - a conflict that has only increased the terrorist threat it was supposed to help contain.

2,867 Americans have now died in this war. Thousands more have suffered wounds that will last a lifetime. Iraq is descending into chaos based on ethnic divisions that were around long before American troops arrived. The conflict has left us distracted from containing the world's growing threats - in North Korea, in Iran, and in Afghanistan. And a report by our own intelligence agencies has concluded that al Qaeda is successfully using the war in Iraq to recruit a new generation of terrorists for its war on America.

These are serious times for our country, and with their votes two weeks ago, Americans demanded a feasible strategy with defined goals in Iraq - a strategy no longer driven by ideology and politics, but one that is based on a realistic assessment of the sobering facts on the ground and our interests in the region.

This kind of realism has been missing since the very conception of this war, and it is what led me to publicly oppose it in 2002. The notion that Iraq would quickly and easily become a bulwark of flourishing democracy in the Middle East was not a plan for victory, but an ideological fantasy. I said then and believe now that Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who craved weapons of mass destruction but posed no imminent threat to the United States; that a war in Iraq would harm, not help, our efforts to defeat al Qaeda and finish the job in Afghanistan; and that an invasion would require an occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

Month after month, and then year after year, I've watched with a heavy heart as my deepest suspicions about this war's conception have been confirmed and exacerbated in its disastrous implementation. No matter how bad it gets, we are told to wait, and not ask questions. We have been assured that the insurgency is in its last throes. We have been told that progress is just around the corner, and that when the Iraqis stand up, we will be able to stand down. Last week, without a trace of irony, the President even chose Vietnam as the backdrop for remarks counseling "patience" with his policies in Iraq.

When I came here and gave a speech on this war a year ago, I suggested that we begin to move towards a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraqi soil. At that point, seventy-five U.S. Senators, Republican and Democrat, including myself, had also voted in favor of a resolution demanding that 2006 be a year of significant transition in Iraq.

What we have seen instead is a year of significant deterioration. A year in which well-respected Republicans like John Warner, former Administration officials like Colin Powell, generals who have served in Iraq, and intelligence experts have all said that what we are doing is not working. A year that is ending with an attempt by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to determine what can be done about a country that is quickly spiraling out of control.

According to our own Pentagon, the situation on the ground is now pointing towards chaos. Sectarian violence has reached an all-time high, and 365,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the bombing of a Shia mosque in Samarra last February. 300,000 Iraqi security forces have supposedly been recruited and trained over the last two years, and yet American troop levels have not been reduced by a single soldier. The addition of 4,000 American troops in Baghdad has not succeeded in securing that increasingly perilous city. And polls show that almost two-thirds of all Iraqis now sympathize with attacks on American soldiers.

Prime Minister Maliki is not making our job easier. In just the past three weeks, he has - and I'm quoting from a New York Times article here - "rejected the notion of an American 'timeline' for action on urgent Iraqi political issues; ordered American commanders to lift checkpoints they had set up around the Shiite district of Sadr City to hunt for a kidnapped American soldier and a fugitive Shiite death squad leader; and blamed the Americans for the deteriorating security situation in Iraq."

This is now the reality of Iraq.

Now, I am hopeful that the Iraq Study Group emerges next month with a series of proposals around which we can begin to build a bipartisan consensus. I am committed to working with this White House and any of my colleagues in the months to come to craft such a consensus. And I believe that it remains possible to salvage an acceptable outcome to this long and misguided war.

But it will not be easy. For the fact is that there are no good options left in this war. There are no options that do not carry significant risks. And so the question is not whether there is some magic formula for success, or guarantee against failure, in Iraq. Rather, the question is what strategies, imperfect though they may be, are most likely to achieve the best outcome in Iraq, one that will ultimately put us on a more effective course to deal with international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and other critical threats to our security.

What is absolutely clear is that it is not enough for the President to respond to Iraq's reality by saying that he is "open to" or "interested in" new ideas while acting as if all that's required is doing more of the same. It is not enough for him to simply lay out benchmarks for progress with no consequences attached for failing to meet them. And it is not enough for the President to tell us that victory in this war is simply a matter of American resolve. The American people have been extraordinarily resolved. They have seen their sons and daughters killed or wounded in the streets of Fallujah. They have spent hundreds of billions of their hard-earned dollars on this effort - money that could have been devoted to strengthening our homeland security and our competitive standing as a nation. No, it has not been a failure of resolve that has led us to this chaos, but a failure of strategy - and that strategy must change.

It may be politically advantageous for the President to simply define victory as staying and defeat as leaving, but it prevents a serious conversation about the realistic objectives we can still achieve in Iraq. Dreams of democracy and hopes for a perfect government are now just that - dreams and hopes. We must instead turn our focus to those concrete objectives that are possible to attain - namely, preventing Iraq from becoming what Afghanistan once was, maintaining our influence in the Middle East, and forging a political settlement to stop the sectarian violence so that our troops can come home.

There is no reason to believe that more of the same will achieve these objectives in Iraq. And, while some have proposed escalating this war by adding thousands of more troops, there is little reason to believe that this will achieve these results either. It's not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own. Moreover, without a coherent strategy or better cooperation from the Iraqis, we would only be putting more of our soldiers in the crossfire of a civil war.

Let me underscore this point. The American soldiers I met when I traveled to Iraq this year were performing their duties with bravery, with brilliance, and without question. They are doing so today. They have battled insurgents, secured cities, and maintained some semblance of order in Iraq. But even as they have carried out their responsibilities with excellence and valor, they have also told me that there is no military solution to this war. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won't be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace.

I have long said that the only solution in Iraq is a political one. To reach such a solution, we must communicate clearly and effectively to the factions in Iraq that the days of asking, urging, and waiting for them to take control of their own country are coming to an end. No more coddling, no more equivocation. Our best hope for success is to use the tools we have - military, financial, diplomatic - to pressure the Iraqi leadership to finally come to a political agreement between the warring factions that can create some sense of stability in the country and bring this conflict under control.

The first part of this strategy begins by exerting the greatest leverage we have on the Iraqi government - a phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq on a timetable that would begin in four to six months.

When I first advocated steps along these lines over a year ago, I had hoped that this phased redeployment could begin by the end of 2006. Such a timetable may now need to begin in 2007, but begin it must. For only through this phased redeployment can we send a clear message to the Iraqi factions that the U.S. is not going to hold together this country indefinitely - that it will be up to them to form a viable government that can effectively run and secure Iraq.

Let me be more specific. The President should announce to the Iraqi people that our policy will include a gradual and substantial reduction in U.S. forces. He should then work with our military commanders to map out the best plan for such a redeployment and determine precise levels and dates. When possible, this should be done in consultation with the Iraqi government - but it should not depend on Iraqi approval.

I am not suggesting that this timetable be overly-rigid. We cannot compromise the safety of our troops, and we should be willing to adjust to realities on the ground. The redeployment could be temporarily suspended 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. Moreover, it could be suspended if at any point U.S. commanders believe that a further reduction would put American troops in danger.

Drawing down our troops in Iraq will allow us to redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq and elsewhere in the region as an over-the-horizon force. This force could help prevent the conflict in Iraq from becoming a wider war, consolidate gains in Northern Iraq, reassure allies in the Gulf, allow our troops to strike directly at al Qaeda wherever it may exist, and demonstrate to international terrorist organizations that they have not driven us from the region.

Perhaps most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan, where our lack of focus and commitment of resources has led to an increasing deterioration of the security situation there. The President's decision to go to war in Iraq has had disastrous consequences for Afghanistan -- we have seen a fierce Taliban offensive, a spike in terrorist attacks, and a narcotrafficking problem spiral out of control. Instead of consolidating the gains made by the Karzai government, we are backsliding towards chaos. By redeploying from Iraq to Afghanistan, we will answer NATO's call for more troops and provide a much-needed boost to this critical fight against terrorism.

As a phased redeployment is executed, the majority of the U.S. troops remaining in Iraq should be dedicated to the critical, but less visible roles, of protecting logistics supply points, critical infrastructure, and American enclaves like the Green Zone, as well as acting as a rapid reaction force to respond to emergencies and go after terrorists.

In such a scenario, it is conceivable that a significantly reduced U.S. force might remain in Iraq for a more extended period of time. But only if U.S. commanders think such a force would be effective; if there is substantial movement towards a political solution among Iraqi factions; if the Iraqi government showed a serious commitment to disbanding the militias; and if the Iraqi government asked us - in a public and unambiguous way - for such continued support. We would make clear in such a scenario that the United States would not be maintaining permanent military bases in Iraq, but would do what was necessary to help prevent a total collapse of the Iraqi state and further polarization of Iraqi society. Such a reduced but active presence will also send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria that we intend to remain a key player in this region.

The second part of our strategy should be to couple this phased redeployment with a more effective plan that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead, intensifies and focuses our efforts to train those forces, and expands the numbers of our personnel - especially special forces - who are deployed with Iraqi units as advisers.

An increase in the quality and quantity of U.S. personnel in training and advisory roles can guard against militia infiltration of Iraqi units; develop the trust and goodwill of Iraqi soldiers and the local populace; and lead to better intelligence while undercutting grassroots support for the insurgents.

Let me emphasize one vital point - any U.S. strategy must address the problem of sectarian militias in Iraq. In the absence of a genuine commitment on the part of all of the factions in Iraq to deal with this issue, it is doubtful that a unified Iraqi government can function for long, and it is doubtful that U.S. forces, no matter how large, can prevent an escalation of widespread sectarian killing.

Of course, in order to convince the various factions to embark on the admittedly difficult task of disarming their militias, the Iraqi government must also make headway on reforming the institutions that support the military and the police. We can teach the soldiers to fight and police to patrol, but if the Iraqi government will not properly feed, adequately pay, or provide them with the equipment they need, they will continue to desert in large numbers, or maintain fealty only to their religious group rather than the national government. The security forces have to be far more inclusive - standing up an army composed mainly of Shiites and Kurds will only cause the Sunnis to feel more threatened and fight even harder.

The third part of our strategy should be to link continued economic aid in Iraq with the existence of tangible progress toward a political settlement.

So far, Congress has given the Administration unprecedented flexibility in determining how to spend more than $20 billion dollars in Iraq. But instead of effectively targeting this aid, we have seen some of the largest waste, fraud, and abuse of foreign aid in American history. Today, the Iraqi landscape is littered with ill-conceived, half-finished projects that have done almost nothing to help the Iraqi people or stabilize the country.

This must end in the next session of Congress, when we reassert our authority to oversee the management of this war. This means no more bloated no-bid contracts that cost the taxpayers millions in overhead and administrative expenses.

We need to continue to provide some basic reconstruction funding that will be used to put Iraqis to work and help our troops stabilize key areas. But we need to also move towards more condition-based aid packages where economic assistance is contingent upon the ability of Iraqis to make measurable progress on reducing sectarian violence and forging a lasting political settlement.

Finally, we have to realize that the entire Middle East has an enormous stake in the outcome of Iraq, and we must engage neighboring countries in finding a solution.

This includes opening dialogue with both Syria and Iran, an idea supported by both James Baker and Robert Gates. We know these countries want us to fail, and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran's nuclear ambitions. But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region - and within their own countries.

And so I firmly believe that we should convene a regional conference with the Iraqis, Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, the Turks, Jordanians, the British and others. The goal of this conference should be to get foreign fighters out of Iraq, prevent a further descent into civil war, and push the various Iraqi factions towards a political solution.

Make no mistake - if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening. We should also make it clear that, even after we begin to drawdown forces, we will still work with our allies in the region to combat international terrorism and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is simply not productive for us not to engage in discussions with Iran and Syria on an issue of such fundamental importance to all of us.

This brings me to a set of broader points. As we change strategy in Iraq, we should also think about what Iraq has taught us about America's strategy in the wider struggle against rogue threats and international terrorism.

Many who supported the original decision to go to war in Iraq have argued that it has been a failure of implementation. But I have long believed it has also been a failure of conception - that the rationale behind the war itself was misguided. And so going forward, I believe there are strategic lessons to be learned from this as we continue to confront the new threats of this new century.

The first is that we should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today. This doesn't mean abandoning our values and ideals; wherever we can, it's in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal. But even as we provide such help, we should be clear that the institutions of democracy - free markets, a free press, a strong civil society - cannot be built overnight, and they cannot be built at the end of a barrel of a gun. And so we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of - especially freedom from want and freedom from fear - do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots; they are only realized once the personal and material security of a people is ensured as well.

The second lesson is that in any conflict, it is not enough to simply plan for war; you must also plan for success. Much has been written about how the military invasion of Iraq was planned without any thought to what political situation we would find after Baghdad fell. Such lack of foresight is simply inexcusable. If we commit our troops anywhere in the world, it is our solemn responsibility to define their mission and formulate a viable plan to fulfill that mission and bring our troops home.

The final lesson is that in an interconnected world, the defeat of international terrorism - and most importantly, the prevention of these terrorist organizations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction -- will require the cooperation of many nations. We must always reserve the right to strike unilaterally at terrorists wherever they may exist. But we should know that our success in doing so is enhanced by engaging our allies so that we receive the crucial diplomatic, military, intelligence, and financial support that can lighten our load and add legitimacy to our actions. This means talking to our friends and, at times, even our enemies.

We need to keep these lessons in mind as we think about the broader threats America now faces - threats we haven't paid nearly enough attention to because we have been distracted in Iraq.

The National Intelligence Estimate, which details how we're creating more terrorists in Iraq than we're defeating, is the most obvious example of how the war is hurting our efforts in the larger battle against terrorism. But there are many others.

The overwhelming presence of our troops, our intelligence, and our resources in Iraq has stretched our military to the breaking point and distracted us from the growing threats of a dangerous world. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs recently said that if a conflict arose in North Korea, we'd have to largely rely on the Navy and Air Force to take care of it, since the Army and Marines are engaged elsewhere. In my travels to Africa, I have seen weak governments and broken societies that can be exploited by al Qaeda. And on a trip to the former Soviet Union, I have seen the biological and nuclear weapons terrorists could easily steal while the world looks the other way.

There is one other place where our mistakes in Iraq have cost us dearly - and that is the loss of our government's credibility with the American people. According to a Pew survey, 42% of Americans now agree with the statement that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."

We cannot afford to be a country of isolationists right now. 9/11 showed us that try as we might to ignore the rest of the world, our enemies will no longer ignore us. And so we need to maintain a strong foreign policy, relentless in pursuing our enemies and hopeful in promoting our values around the world.

But to guard against isolationist sentiments in this country, we must change conditions in Iraq and the policy that has characterized our time there - a policy based on blind hope and ideology instead of fact and reality.

Americans called for this more serious policy a few Tuesdays ago. It's time that we listen to their concerns and win back their trust. I spoke here a year ago and delivered a message about Iraq that was similar to the one I did today. I refuse to accept the possibility that I will have to come back a year from now and say the same thing.

There have been too many speeches. There have been too many excuses. There have been too many flag-draped coffins, and there have been too many heartbroken families.

The time for waiting in Iraq is over. It is time to change our policy. It is time to give Iraqis their country back. And it is time to refocus America's efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won.

Thank you.

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2004 DNC Keynote Address


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Poor democrats. They have ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Poor democrats. They have so few decent choices for president (look at Kerry) that they go hog wild when they have someone who seems fairly clean and can put two sentences together. And oh cool! He's black! Yeeehaw!

But wait - accoding to the WaPo today, he's not all that "clean."

Ooops. Back to the drawing board. tee hee.

"hughie"- He said what? Lon... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"hughie"- He said what? Longest piece of BS posted yet. lol

Hugh, you are getting on my... (Below threshold)
epador:

Hugh, you are getting on my nerves with the long cut and paste. A simple URL would do. All his speeches are linkable at the voting records site I posted way way way up there.

And the speeches are meaningless blather. Like all the talk at a first date dinner, it means nothing. What he wants to do to you if and when he gets you into bed, and what he really does, well there's a world of difference from the niceties spoken at the restaurant.

But if you wanna go after what he says, he is showing the same naivety that got Carter [and the whole world] in trouble back in the eighties. He's just another surrender simian. We've barely hit the casualty levels that were predicted in the first 3 months of the war. We've gotten off cheaply so far, and to let the bastards watch us cut an' run with a bloody nose, thats not intelligence, that cowardly disaster.

Haughty Hugh, yur Huffin an Puffin sounds a mighty lot like the giant sucking sound of our civilization going down the toilet.

Putney says the Borman Six ... (Below threshold)
Nick Danger:

Putney says the Borman Six girl has got to have soul.

If is actually very easy to... (Below threshold)
superdestroyer:

If is actually very easy to determine where Obama stands, just look at the actions of Senator Durbin. Senator Obama is nothing more than Dick Durbin is a really nice package. He may be articulate and charismatic but in the end Senator Obama supports the standard Democratic boilerplate.

Senator Obama made a big deal of going to a religious convention and telling them that they were wrong. But I will believe that Senator Obama is a new kind of leader when he goes to the ABA, AFL-CIO, or the National Education Association and tells them that they are wrong and need to change. I am not going to hold by breath waiting for Senator Obama to do it.

Well Epador my apologies to... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Well Epador my apologies to you. But I have to dumb it down for the nits who have opinions about things they know nothing about. Sorry.

Oh, by the way I'm happy to be on your nerves. Oh, and isn't the world in a great place with mr Bush in charge? A disaster in Iraq, the terrorists coming back in Afghanistan, Osaka laughing at us every day, North Korea making going nuclear, Iran going nuclear, Russia going backwards, slaughter in Africa,Syria supporting terror, Lebanon about to fall apart and on and on and on. No respect, few allies. And The Decider unable to decide.

And you have the balls to criticize Carter?

An empty suit is right. An... (Below threshold)
BB:

An empty suit is right. And most people don't like the media telling them who they should get excited about.

Much ado about nada.

Talking about an to yoursel... (Below threshold)
epador:

Talking about an to yourself again Hugh? Be careful you don't lose the argument. The topic is supposed Obama, not how well you can regurgitate hate and spite you would never have developed had you developed a resistance to cult programming.

Programming Obama and his ilk (not all that dissimilar to programming that folks on the right have pointed at them) slyly and deftly pour into your all too willing eyes and ears without a filter.


There's a country north of Seoul fairly universally regimented by such tripe. Standing on the outside, its fairly easy for most of us to recognize. But unfortunately there's not much perspective for the myopic masses here, when the fearless leader isn't a person but an animal mascot of genus equus or elephus.

Having got back from Apocalypto, the opening quote rings true. [While I enjoyed the movie some, I couldn't decide if it was more like Fellini's Satyricon or Rambo. And some numnut brought their 6 year old - fortunately they figured out it was time to leave after the first practical joke involving a tapir's jewels...]

I see our society destroying itself with divisive verbiage and short-sighted greed and fears. Lord knows if we'll wake up in time to slow the decline and fall of our experiment in democracy. Certainly not if Obama is the best Equus has to offer.

Uh....Hugh? A couple talkin... (Below threshold)
Right & Loving It:

Uh....Hugh? A couple talking points to your posting of OB's speach...

"We must instead turn our focus to those concrete objectives that are possible to attain - namely, preventing Iraq from becoming what Afghanistan once was, maintaining our influence in the Middle East, and forging a political settlement to stop the sectarian violence so that our troops can come home"


"I have long said that the only solution in Iraq is a political one. To reach such a solution, we must communicate clearly and effectively to the factions in Iraq...............to pressure the Iraqi leadership to finally come to a political agreement between the warring factions that can create some sense of stability in the country and bring this conflict under control"


"Let me emphasize one vital point - any U.S. strategy must address the problem of sectarian militias in Iraq"

"Make no mistake - if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening"

"We must always reserve the right to strike unilaterally at terrorists wherever they may exist"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Great examples of your knight in tarnished armor you give to us Hugh. Guess you should have actually read the thing - from a non-sheepish viewpoint, and actually UNDERSTOOD that he said NOTHING except to give up (there are no do-overs - look at Vietnam & Somalia when we listened to the Democrats/Liberals and then compare them to WWII where we actually DID WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE TO GET THE JOB DONE - - - yeah, we nuked the buggers, we flattened cities in Italy, Germany and Japan - but guess what......we are all allies now, and have some of the strongest ties to each other as a result of mutual respect); lets have a tea party with those poor misunderstood guys who are beheading, kidnapping, and blowing up the people who are trying to improve the life over there. (This includes both us and the Iraqi people, who are still lining up in droves to join the national Police and Military forces - because THEY DO CARE!!!); I'm getting my feelings hurt, and I don't want to play anymore. It is so much easier to sit in your armchair and Monday-morning quarterback everything....but what have you DONE? Answer..........NOTHING! No sit down, shut up and watch the show. You don't deserve to play. Didn't you learn anything from watching Edwards in 2004? Simply looking the part, doesn't get you where you want to be. Suck it up.

Mark my words. 2-years of Democratic 'leadership' will energize this country so much that the Conservatives - yes the REAL Conservatives will elect another strong leader who will lead on principles and values rather than rhetoric, apathy, taxation, blame, name calling, and appeasement. Long live the Right (because we ARE)!!!

Seig Heil Right....just fol... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Seig Heil Right....just follow your leader right off that cliff.

Better off a cliff, than do... (Below threshold)
Right & Loving It:

Better off a cliff, than down a drain. Damn, I would hate to look back at history and realize that the Lefties are sending us the way of ancient Rome - appease/isolate/cower etc.

uh "hughie" I believe you g... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

uh "hughie" I believe you got "ouched".

You're dismissed from this ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

You're dismissed from this thread, Hugh.
Godwin's Law and all that...

Hit too close to home, did ... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Hit too close to home, did I?

Hugh, cut and paste don't p... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Hugh, cut and paste don't pass for brains. If he said something original, or specific, about the Middle East, that would be worth highlighting.

But, wholesale cut and paste of a generic, vague speech show you don't have much in the way of powers of discrimination, analysis, etc., etc.

Typical Hugh/Lee et al. All blather and no substance.

Michell:Did you sa... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Michell:

Did you say something or just belch as you usually do?

Will the dipshit-o-crats un... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Will the dipshit-o-crats unite behind a total zero like obama? Or will they rally behind the rotund and cankley billary? Tune-in at 11. (as in 11/2008)

Looks like Mitchell can't g... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Looks like Mitchell can't get us off his mind, Hugh - he mentions one or both of us in each of his mindless little troll comments.

I'd be honored, but he's such a stupid little twit it's kinda scary.

Yes, Lee. You're powers of... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Yes, Lee. You're powers of observation are like a laser beam.

By the way, you know that put you on the cover of Time this week? Check it out.

Mitchell, you didn't say an... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Mitchell, you didn't say anything as usual. As usual you just belched. How rude.

You're on there too, Hugh.<... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

You're on there too, Hugh.

Your cut and paste skills got you recognized. And the lack of blog etiquette.

Congrats, you're special!

"Cut and paste don't pass f... (Below threshold)
John S:

"Cut and paste don't pass for brains."

Especially if it was a published speech. In Washington that means Osama Hussein certainly didn't write it. And we have to take your word that he may have read it off a TelePrompter at some point.

A fact-based analysis of Ob... (Below threshold)

A fact-based analysis of Obama's vote against the Military Commissions Act: Porkopolis calls Bullshit on 'Rock-Star' Senator Barack Obama.

Most of the dems are destro... (Below threshold)
Thomas:

Most of the dems are destroying each other in the media, and the people on this site are dicussing the wrong characteristics of Obama. He is an african american male the american people are not ready for that yet, and we all know that's why people are making comments about his middle name and not addressing the real issue which is that he's BLACK! We should be dicussing if he does get elected what will he do about the war in Iraq, etc?




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