Obama detonated another nuclear bomb blunder for Democrats this past Tuesday.
Obama, aware his campaign is dead, is pursuing a scorched earth policy and seems determined to provide Ripublicans with Naderite talking points for the general election campaign. Ripublicans eager to distance themselves from Bush’s responsibility for the Iraq War will parrot Obama and say everyone was to blame for the Iraq War – blur the issue – spread the blame to Democrats by quoting Obama. Obama’s noxious Naderite phrase “That is why it is not enough to change parties.” must be condemned.
There are those who offer up easy answers. They will assert that Iraq is George Bush’s war, it’s all his fault. Or that Iraq was botched by the arrogance and incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Or that we would have gotten Iraq right if we went in with more troops, or if we had a different proconsul instead of Paul Bremer, or if only there were a stronger Iraqi Prime Minister.
These are the easy answers. And like most easy answers, they are partially true. But they don’t tell the whole truth, because they overlook a harder and more fundamental truth. The hard truth is that the war in Iraq is not about a catalog of many mistakes – it is about one big mistake. The war in Iraq should never have been fought.
Obama is simply wrong with his Naderite talk. Obama is the one pushing a lie for personal political benefit. Iraq is Bush’s war. Bush employed the massive powers of the American presidency to force the Iraq war. Bush wanted the Iraq War and exploited the emotions of the American public to push through his Oedipal war. There were other forces pushing for war – such as the neo-con establishment and right wing news outlets that supported the war. Democrats such as John Edwards co-sponsored the Iraq resolution that Bush exploited to push his Iraq war. But it was George W. Bush who as president demanded war and signed off on the war. Subsequently, by refusing to cooperate with Democrats who want to end the war, it has become a Ripublican Party war too.
In a separate section of his speech Obama more or less acknowledges the nonsense he is spouting:
But we’ve paid a heavy price for having a President whose priority is expanding his own power. The Constitution is treated like a nuisance. Matters of war and peace are used as political tools to bludgeon the other side. We get subjected to endless spin to keep our troops at war, but we don’t get to see the flag-draped coffins of our heroes coming home. We get secret task forces, secret budgeting, slanted intelligence, and the shameful smearing of people who speak out against the President’s policies.
There is one person to blame for the Iraq War. John Edwards, co-sponsor of the Iraq resolution demanded by Bush, is not to blame for the Iraq war. The neo-cons are not to blame for the Iraq war. Dick Cheney is not to blame for the Iraq war. Donald Rumsfeld is not to blame for the Iraq war. The right wing press is not to blame for the Iraq war. The Pentagon and the American military is not to blame for the Iraq war. The Congress is not to blame for the Iraq War. The State Department and Colin Powell are not to blame for the Iraq War. The Iraq War is George W. Bush’s war. Bush was aided and abetted by all of the above, but it was George W. Bush who bears the ultimate responsibility and it was Bush that pushed and demanded and insisted, against all reason, that America have an Iraq War.
Barack Obama might not know it, because he is so inexperienced, but there is a sign on the president’s desk in the Oval Office that says “The Buck Stops Here”. The President is responsible. And George W. Bush is responsible for the Iraq War. Bush listened to his lunatic advisors and Vice President and neo-cons and Ripublicans that wanted war. Bush demanded War. Bush pushed for United Nations and Congressional actions to get his War. Bush as Commander-In-Chief ordered the military to commence the War.
Obama, like Nader wants to create a moral equivalency of blame, the “No difference between Republicans and Democrats” charge. Nader was wrong and Obama is wrong. Bush and his criminal administration lied repeatedly about the need for war. They faked intelligence and lied to a sad, mournful and fearful American public by suggesting links to the 9/11 attacks and Iraq.
The American public on October 10, 2002, a little over a year after the 9/11 attacks and less than 1 month before the 2002 elections was susceptible to Bush’s manipulations and lies. Bush and his administration lied to the United Nations. Bush set up Feith at the Pentagon to push through his war. Generals opposed to Bush’s War and anyone who opposed Bush’s War were removed and attacked. Big Media, especially the New York Times were fed lies and these once respectable news organizations happily regurgitated the lies to the American public. Colin Powell fed lies to the American public and the United Nations and the public believed that then respected public official.
Obama is to his everlasting shame smearing Democrats and apportioning to Democrats blame for the Iraq War which belongs exclusively to George W. Bush.
Obama’s latest “big speech” on Tuesday was a dud. Obama did not anticipate the Associated Press publication of an analysis of many of Obama’s Iraq war related claims on the same day Obama delivered his speech. Let’s compare Obama’s speech with what the Associated Press wrote.
Obama, touting his alleged courage in opposing the war:
Five years ago today, I was asked to speak at a rally against going to war in Iraq. The vote to authorize the war in Congress was less than ten days away and I was a candidate for the United States Senate. Some friends of mine advised me to keep quiet. Going to war in Iraq, they pointed out, was popular. All the other major candidates were supporting the war at the time. If the war goes well, they said, you’ll have thrown your political career away.
The Associated Press
But nobody should accept at face value the Illinois senator’s claim that he was a “courageous leader” who opposed the war at great political risk.
The truth is that while Obama showed foreign policy savvy and an ability to keenly analyze both sides of an issue in his October 2002 warnings on Iraq, the political upside of his position rivaled any risk.
And, once elected to the U.S. Senate two years later, Obama waited months to show national leadership on Iraq.
Even now, as he hopes to ride his anti-war credentials to the White House, Obama’s views on how to end the conflict differ little from those of Democratic rivals who voted in the fall of 2002 to give President Bush authority to wage war.
Obama likes to say he feared his anti-war views would hurt his Senate candidacy in 2002. He may have felt that way, but there was little reason for concern.
First, his strategy for winning the Democratic Senate nomination hinged on his ability to form a coalition among blacks and so-called lakefront liberals in Chicago, hardly a pro-war constituency. His rivals for the nomination also would criticize the war.
In the general election, Obama might have had to regret his remarks if the war had been going well in 2004. Still, he was never too far out on a limb:
_ Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois voted against Bush on Iraq in 2002 and breezed to re-election shortly after Obama’s signature speech.
_The Chicago Sun-Times published an October 2002 poll under the headline “Illinois is not ready for war.”
Can Obama be believed? He claims courage and risk taking. A non partisan observer quoted by the Associated Press states that Obama’s Iraq postion in 2002 was “Not risky at all.”
The “courage” lines in the speech were contradicted by the Associated Press article. But the most quoted and applauded lines (applauded by Obama supporters and Naderites) from Obama’s speech are these:
But it doesn’t end there. Because the American people weren’t just failed by a President – they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts. By a foreign policy elite that largely boarded the bandwagon for war. And most of all by the majority of a Congress – a coequal branch of government – that voted to give the President the open-ended authority to wage war that he uses to this day. Let’s be clear: without that vote, there would be no war.
Some seek to rewrite history. They argue that they weren’t really voting for war, they were voting for inspectors, or for diplomacy. But the Congress, the Administration, the media, and the American people all understood what we were debating in the fall of 2002. This was a vote about whether or not to go to war. That’s the truth as we all understood it then, and as we need to understand it now. And we need to ask those who voted for the war: how can you give the President a blank check and then act surprised when he cashes it?
Does anyone at his campaign vet Obama’s speeches? Do they ever stop to consider how his speeches inflict wounds on Democrats and on Obama himself were he ever to get the Democratic nomination? Does Obama understand words? Obama says Bush and the media and the foreign policy elites failed the American people – that is not true. Big Media and foreign policy experts and the C.I.A. and the State Department and many others failed the American people – that is true. But Obama wants to blur the line and lump everyone with Bush as failing the American people. Again, these other people and organizations failed to stop the War, but It was and is George W. Bush’s War.
Ripublicans will spend millions of advertising dollars in attempting to tie Democrats to responsiblity for the Iraq War. Ripublicans will quote Obama “Let’s be clear: without that vote, there would be no war.” Is Obama right? Without “that” vote would there be no war? Is Obama lying? Is Obama stupid? Let’s look at the facts:
George W. Bush was determined to go to war. If congress had voted against the Iraq resolution it is doubtful that Bush would let that legality stop him from committing the armed forces to war.
But most importantly what would have happened if Congress had voted against the Iraq resolution? Even if we assume that Obama is correct and that the Iraq resolution was not about more inspections but indeed a War Resolution, is Obama right that “without that vote, there would be no war.”? Let’s further assume that Bush would have respected the Congress and not gone to War without the Congressional O.K. – is Obama correct that “without that vote, there would be no war.”?
Let’s go to the facts. As we noted the Iraq resolution vote occurred on October 10, 2002. Over 70% of the American public supported the idea of going to war with Iraq. The vote on October 10, 2002 took place a little over a year after the 9/11 attacks. Americans were still in full shock, mourning and anger about the attacks. There was a “war fever”. Even Big Bloggers supported the war and denounced those who opposed the war. Bush lied repeatedly. Colin Powell, then respected, went to the United Nations with C.I.A. Director George Tenet, then respected, and pushed for war. There was a “war fever”.
Congressional elections were less than a month away.
Is Obama right that “without that vote, there would be no war”? Or is it more likely that war opponents would have been decimated in the elections a few weeks later and the subsequent Congress would have voted to plunge the United States not only into an Iraq War but also back in history before the New Deal and before the Progressive Era? George Bush wanted war and nothing was going to stop him from having his war.
Obama’s other big line of the speech was the oft-repeated mantra “And we need to ask those who voted for the war: how can you give the President a blank check and then act surprised when he cashes it?” Don’t Obama campaign officials understand that if this line is correct that Obama has signed all the additional checks? When did Obama ever oppose funding the Iraq War and stop signing checks before announcing he wanted to be President? As the Associated Press reported,
Once elected, Obama didn’t force the issue in the Senate. His first floor speech encouraged Democrats to drop challenges to the 2004 presidential election “at a time when we try to make certain we encourage democracy in Iraq.”
His first major address on Iraq came in November 2005, when he said U.S. forces remained “part of a solution.”
In his speech, Obama attacks Washington in the same way Ripublicans attack Washington. Instead of building respect for government, instead of buidling respect for the federal government, instead of demanding a well run government cleansed of cronies and incompetents, instead of demanding a return to good government and a return to actual diplomacy, instead of condemning Ripublican hatred of the “central government” echoing the Confederacy, Obama joins Ripublicans in their hatred of the Federal Government. The problem is not the Federal Government, the problem is Ripublican control of the Federal Government which they don’t believe in and in fact despise and want to diminish if not destroy.
Obama’s version of his own history is at odds with the facts of his history. Obama’s Tuesday speech led to a stunning and underreported confession.
In his speech Obama said: I will always tell the American people the truth. I will always tell you where I stand.
Always tell the American people the truth? – Obama was lying. After his flowery speech Obama was interviewed by Candy Crowley of CNN. Crowley asked Obama why years ago Obama said he did not know how he would have voted on Iraq if he’d been in the U.S. Senate. Obama essentially confessed to lying, of course with Obama his lies are high-class flowery lies.
CROWLEY: I want to talk about your Iraq speech, because have you also said since then that you’re not sure what you would have done had you been in the Senate because you weren’t privy to the intelligence.
OBAMA: The only time when I said I’m not sure what I would do if I were in the Senate was right before the Democratic convention, when we had two nominees that obviously I did not want to be criticizing right before they got up and received the nomination.
CROWLEY: But you didn’t mean it?
OBAMA: So — well, no. What I’m suggesting is, everybody had difficult choices to make. And I — and these were difficult choices.
Uh, it’s called lying, Barack.
Obama was even lying while he was lying. Was this lie “The only time when I said I’m not sure what I would do if I were in the Senate….” Obama thinks that by confessing to a deceptive calculation he can get himself out of the corner he painted himself into while attacking others for political calculation while confessing to political calculation.
No, Barack, it was not the only time:
You know, I think very highly of Hillary. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she’s the most disciplined–one of the most disciplined people–I’ve ever met. She’s one of the toughest. She’s got an extraordinary intelligence. And she is, she’s somebody who’s in this stuff for the right reasons. She’s passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children. So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I’m always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test.
Obama constantly talks in flowery terms about being able to get 16 Ripublican votes against the war. But Obama is not in the Senate cloak rooms trying to get the job done. He is not even voting these days. He was absent for the Feingold vote yesterday. Obama AWOL again – so much for getting 16 votes.
Obama has supported Reid-Feingold twice before. But to say this is a pattern with Obama is an understatement. He didn’t vote for the Lieberman-Kyle legislation either. In addition, on my radio show today, Chase Martyn mentioned that Obama plans to also skip out on a barbecue this Saturday where all of the other candidates will appear. He doesn’t seem to want to be caught standing next to his opponents. Evidently, the plan is to market Obama as above and beyond his colleagues. They don’t want a side by side comparison if they can control it and keep it from happening. He began skipping out on events at the first of the year and I called him on it. I took heat for it too. Nobody else seems interested.
Obama is not interested in getting the job done for Democrats. Obama is in Ripublican gift giving mode.