Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I'm Not Ready to Make Nice

Atrios highlighted this one:

Whatever one thinks about Obama generally, this notion that opposing the Iraq war back when it was the most awesome war ever wasn't a big deal really pisses me off. It was a big deal, and I'm tired of the few courageous people such as Bob Graham who did oppose it getting written out of the script. Those were crazy days, and the "crazies" who stepped way out on that limb to yell "stop" deserve our praise and admiration for it.

The entire anti-war movement hasn't just been marginalized, it's been largely erased from our political narrative. It existed. It marched. It gave speeches. And some even cast their votes in Congress.

From a discussion I had with a Hillary supporter:

...she supported it without looking at the NIE file, yes, that she did do.

And people are right to talk about that.

To the extent that she supported it, she's complicit.

At the same time that she was saying that, Obama was running for office in Illinois.  In a time-period where the pressure to "be patriotic" was tremendous, he had the guts and the judgment to say:

I don’t oppose all wars.

And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perles and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Roves to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

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.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Queda, thru effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

The entire speech is available at Lawrence Lessig's site.  

Let's be clear here.  There was as much pressure on Obama to support the war as there was on Hillary.  She had access to intelligence that he did not.

He made the correct decision.

She did not and she is STILL NOT WILLING to say that she was wrong.  She has to qualify it, to equivocate, to say well if I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have done it.

That's the point.  Obama has the judgment part down cold.  Hillary does not.


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