The Democratic Party fielded two very strong candidates in the 2008 Presidential campaign: Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is the US President today because war-weary voters saw him as the more anti-war of the two--choosing him to be the Democratic candidate and making him an easy winner over the hawkish John McCain in the general election.
There was good reason to believe that a President Obama would not continue the wars started by George W. Bush. In October 2002, then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama spoke out against invading Iraq:
· “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”
This sounded like the kind foresight and judgment that could lead America out of the insanity of the Bush years.
· “What's special about this speech isn't just that Obama opposes the war. It's that he clearly and concisely predicts several major problems with it, and his predictions have been borne out by history.”-- The Washington Monthly, 6/1/08
What happened to that wise young Senator from Illinois? Now--rather than ending Mr. Bush’s dumb wars as quickly as possible, President Obama is making them his own. His promised troop withdrawals will not begin until some later date--if ever.
· “[General Ray Odierno, commander of the multinational force in Iraq] said he will not hesitate to recommend an extension of the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American troops from the country’s urban areas if violence continues to increase.”--Bloomberg.com, 4/12/09
· “US combat troops may stay in northern Iraq after a deadline for them to pull back... Col Gary Volesky said his soldiers would stay in Mosul and other nearby cities where al-Qaeda remained a threat if the Iraqi government asked them to.”--BBC News, 4/14/09
Does that mean as long as there is violence in Iraq--we will never leave? That sounds too much like the Bush plan. What if the American people want our troops to come home now?
Where is the change we voted for?
· “[The appointments made by Obama] could just as easily have come from a President McCain ... [T]his all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators, and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign...”-- Max Boot, neoconservative activist and former McCain staffer, Commentary Magazine, 11/25/08
“[S]urprising continuity on foreign policy between President Bush’s second term and the incoming administration ... certainly nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set by Bush ...“--
· “The administration is essentially adopting the policies of the Bush administration and both Iraq and Afghanistan. And I want to commend them for it.”--Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, CNN, 3/29/09
(When these guys think you are doing a good job, you must be doing something wrong.)