Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some Flaws In The Ointment

It concerns me greatly that, while Barack Obama continues to whistle past the graveyard of his own inexperience, his opponents (Senators McCain and Clinton) are scoring deeply disturbing hits at his expense.

First up, Hillary:
At a late-night rally in Burlpe, she noted that Mr. Obama served as chairman of a subcommittee responsible for Europe and NATO and that the United States has had difficulty in getting NATO to help out in Afghanistan. “My opponent, when he talks about his foreign policy experience, he includes his chairmanship of this subcommittee,” she said.
Referring to Tuesday night’s debate, she added: “And what you learned last night is, he’s never held a substantive hearing or meeting to look at what is going on in NATO, to take a hard look at what’s happening in Europe. And in fact, the reason he hasn’t, as he said, is he got the assignment when he started running for president. Well, I don’t think that’s an adequate excuse.”
She's right: it's not. To suggest that his own ambition and Presidential plans supersede any quantitative and substantive discussion of NATO and Europe's role in hunting down what he himself admits is a grave danger to American interests, Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Taliban support it receives (in Tuesday's debate, he scored a couple of points by noting the debacle in Iraq came at the expense of hunting down Osama Bin Laden at al) is at once foolish and foolhardy. He could have held at least one meeting in the past six months, particularly during lags in the campaign, at which he could have dressed up a pig and put some make up on it and called it a discussion.

He couldn't even do that, tragically. Which brings us to the long distance encounter with John:
During the recent Democratic debate, John M. Broder and Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times write, “Mr. Obama had said in response to a hypothetical question that although he intended to withdraw American forces as rapidly as possible, he reserved the right to send troops back in ‘if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq.’ ”
Mr. McCain pounced on the remark. “I have some news,” he said at a town-hall-style meeting in Tyler, Tex. “Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It’s called ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq.’ My friends, if we left, they wouldn’t be establishing a base. They’d be taking a country, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
His debate answer was flippant and naive, to say the least, and his quick stab at clearing the air was even dumber:
Mr. Obama, campaigning in Columbus, Ohio, responded soon after. “I have some news for John McCain,” Mr. Obama said at a large rally at Ohio State University. “There was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”
True enough, Senator, but guess what?

They Are There Now!

As you so artfully described it on Tuesday night in defending your current votes "yes" on funding the Iraq invasion (I may have been under anesthesia, but damn, even I saw an opening here), "Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out."

You can't have it both ways, Barack: either you go hunt down Al Qaeda in Afghanistan while preventing its expansion in Iraq-- it exists, it is there and while it may be quiet now, it has established territory-- or you admit you have no clue as to how to engage in a comprehensive national security policy that defends our interests while assisting Iraqis in recovering from what everyone except John McCain has called a blunder, yourself included.

And stop your whining about this!