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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The "antiwar" Obama

I've written before about the bogus "antiwar" stance of Barack Obama, whose "opposition" to the invasion of Iraq was entirely founded on practicalities and not on principles:
"I am proud of the fact that I opposed this war from the start. In 2002, I said this was a bad idea. It's going to cost us millions of dollars and thousands of lives. We don't have a strategy for getting out."
Today I was listening to the recent interview he gave to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the one in which his references to Republicans as having been the "party of ideas" for "the last 10, 15 years" and his semi-explicit praise of Ronald Reagan have drawn criticism from not only Hillary (and Bill) Clinton but also, and in more analytic form, from Paul Krugman.

But while I was listening to the one-hour interview (I searched high and low for a transcript but couldn't find one, so I transcribed what follows myself), I found some very interesting comments about war. Start with this (around 21:00 into the interview if you want to view it yourself):

"I didn't come of age in the battles of the 60s. I'm not as invested in them...Even when you discuss war, the frame of reference is all Vietnam. Well, that's not my reference. My frame of reference is 'what works.' Even when I first opposed the war in Iraq, my first line was, 'I don't oppose all wars,' specifically to make clear that this was not just an anti-military, 70s love-in kind of approach, rather, that I thought strategically it was a mistake for us to go in."
So not only does Obama confirm that it was simple "strategy" and a need to do "what works" that made it a mistake to invade Iraq, not anything like, God forbid, morality or even international law, but he suggests that the opposition to the Vietnam war was some kind of hippie-dippy, peace and love opposition to "all wars" as opposed to the opposition to imperialist wars of aggression and occupation that it was.

Now combine that with this (from around 43:00 in the interview), where he talks about what he's looking for in a Vice-President. After first talking about the possibility of a "bipartisan" ticket, and how the main thing in the way might be the lack of a "serious Republican" who would agree to run with him, he then talks about the qualities he's looking for:

"I would want somebody with competence in areas where I am weaker. The obvious would be military experience. I'm very confident about serving as Commander-in-Chief in terms of my judgments in terms of what our strategic interests are, and so that's the area that I'd be concerned about, but I think having somebody who intimately understood some of the more tactical issues surrounding military deployments, or, conversely, also understands the bureaucracy of the Pentagon, because moving that and changing that can be a very difficult thing."
So evidently the most desirable criterion for Obama's Vice President is someone who can help him fight the wars he'll be glad to launch, just as long as they "work."

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