Obama, Superman, and Iraq: What to do? What to do?

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Because I like to know what people on both sides of the political fence (and some perched atop it) are doing, saying, thinking (well, are saying they’re thinking), I sign up for all sorts of newsletters and updates. Not only did this get me a lot of “holiday” greetings emails, but I also receive the fan/follower releases sent straight to my mailbox instead of having to go check all the relevent sites. Nice.

I’ve written a couple of blog posts recently about Barack Obama, and because his recent mailing seems more substantive than anything I’ve read of his or seen him say in the past, I felt it only fair to post it here (below) and comment accordingly. If your eyes are glazing over and rolling to the back of your head, feel free to skip this one!

We all know what a mess things are in Iraq, of course, and most of us want a speedy resolution, one that entails the return of our troops (or at least most of them–no matter what anyone says, we’ll be there for decades) and stability (i.e. safety for those remaining troops) in Iraq. Stabilizing the region has been bandied about as a useful goal, but frankly, I doubt that’s going to happen after the long history over there, and I certainly don’t think we’ll be able to bring it about, nor that we should. Not our business.

Of course the whole thing wasn’t really our business, and we can gripe and bemoan how we got to be there and what was wrong with our going until the cows come home. Won’t matter, and is to my mind actually counter-productive. All that time and energy spent on recriminations is pointless and would be far better spent working out the current situation. You know the one, the one that exists today. Unless someone has a time travel machine or the ability (like Superman) to fly super fast around the planet and turn back time, we’re stuck in the here and now.

In an earlier post, I wrote that we didn’t know that Obama was against the initial war in Iraq because he wasn’t a senator then and didn’t vote. Well, he wasn’t a senator then, and he didn’t vote, but he does provide a link to an address he made to some group or other in Illinois in 2002 opposing the war. That’s good to know. Being a bit of a cynic, though, I do wonder if that would have held up if he had been a senator. Not that it wouldn’t, it’s just that as a senator, he would have been privy to a great deal more “inside” knowledge, all that stuff that got a bunch of Democrats to vote for it and turned out to be not so much the way things were. That’s impossible to know. But I would imagine (and certainly hope) that more information would make a difference, one way or the other. Heck, he may have been more opposed than he was on the outside looking in, who knows?

With the release of the Iraq Study Group’s findings, McCain, in particular, is calling for more troops to go over and just get it done. And there are murmurings that the President feels the same way. Obviously, this is not a popular opinion with the folks who are adamantly opposed to our being there in the first place, to the way it all happened. And while I do think we should never have gone in, we did. It’s done. The big question to my mind remains, what do we do now? I’m not totally opposed to sending over more troops . . . IF they have the numbers, support, equipment, military (i.e. not the White House) command and strategic planning freedom (not carte blanche), and everything else they need to carry out a clearly defined mission quickly and efficiently. As they are very unlikely (one place where “never” might just be an okay word choice) going to get that from us, the idea is neither viable nor tenable.

And frankly, it looks like Obama agrees. He says, “Now we are faced with a quagmire to which there are no good answers. But the one that makes very little sense is to put tens of thousands more young Americans in harm’s way without changing a strategy that has failed by almost every imaginable account” (the italics are mine). This qualifier, this statement that trooping up without changing the earlier and current strategy, suggests to me that he sees far more than I had previously thought and is really watching what he says on the off chance he ends up in the White House in ’08. The American public may see this as opposing the war, getting the troops out, but he can (and may) come back and say, yeah, but you know what, I was commenting not on the trooping up but on the unworkable strategy we set out with.

And we all remember that one, right? Shock and awe. Botched bunker bombings. The mistaken belief we’d be cheered and greeted with love and joy as we had been in a totally different situation in Kuwait. Inadequate supplies, armor, troop numbers. The hands of the planners tied by Congress.

Obama is right that the status quo cannot hold, and he is right to say that the solution over there isn’t a military one, not in the case of the current civil war. But what he can’t do or at least hasn’t done is offer an alternative solution. His phased redeployment (as I discussed in the abovementioned post) is not concrete, has no end date and is dependant on the military command’s input and recommendations. It’s a political statement to make people at home happy, but it’s not a solution. It’s not even phased redeployment because it’s dependant on the Iraqi’s believing (being tricked into thinking) we’re leaving when we’ve all but told them we won’t. Sike/Psyche. Like when your kid is screaming a blue streak at the mall, and you threaten to leave him or her there. At some point your kid learns that’s an empty threat. My guess is that Iraq is one step ahead of our “I’m leaving you here if you don’t act right” strategy.

We can’t do what needs to be done, and we can’t just leave. So we struggle in this mire. It’s embarrassing. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s a damn shame.

_____________________________________________________

The following is the text I received via email and is also available on his website at http://www.barackobama.com/main.php:

__________________________________________________________

As the New Year approaches, we are told that the President is considering the deployment of tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq in the desperate hope of subduing the burgeoning civil war there.

This is a chilling prospect that threatens to compound the tragic mistakes he has already made over the last four years.

In 2002, I strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq because I felt it was an ill-concei
ved venture which I warned would “require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” I said then that an inva
sion without strong international support could drain our military, distract us from the war with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and further destabilize the Middle East.

Sadly, all of those concerns have been borne out.

Today, nearly three thousand brave young Americans are dead, and tens of thousands more have been wounded. Rather than welcomed “liberators,” our troops have become targets of the exploding sectarian violence in Iraq. Our military has been strained to the limits. The cost to American taxpayers is approaching $400 billion.

Now we are faced with a quagmire to which there are no good answers. But the one that makes very little sense is to put tens of thousands more young Americans in harm’s way without changing a strategy that has failed by almost every imaginable account.

In escalating this war with a so-called “surge” of troops, the President would be overriding the expressed concerns of Generals on the ground, Secretary Powell, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and the American people. Colin Powell has said that placing more troops in the crossfire of a civil war simply will not work. General John Abizaid, our top commander in the Middle East, said just last month that, “I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.” Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff have expressed concern, saying that a surge in troop levels “could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda” and “provide more targets for Sunni insurgents.” Once again, the President is defying good counsel and common sense.

As I said more than a month ago, while some have proposed escalating this war by adding thousands of more troops, there is little reason to believe that this will achieve these results either. It’s not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own. Moreover, without a coherent strategy or better cooperation from the Iraqis, we would only be putting more of our soldiers in the crossfire of a civil war.

There is no military solution to this war. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won’t be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurd to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace. In fact, adding more troops will only push this political settlement further and further into the future, as it tells the Iraqis that no matter how much of a mess they make, the American military will always be there to clean it up.

That is why I believe we must begin a phased redeployment of American troops to signal to the government and people of Iraq, and others who have a stake in stabilizing the country – that ours is not an open-ended commitment. They must step up. The status quo cannot hold.

In November, the American people sent a resounding message of change to the President. But apparently that message wasn’t clear enough.

I urge all Americans who share my grave concerns over this looming decision to call, write or email the President, and make your voices heard. I urge you to tell them that our soldiers are not numbers to add just because someone couldn’t think of a better idea, they are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and friends who are willing to wave goodbye to everything they’ve ever known just for the chance to serve their country. Our men and women in uniform are doing a terrific job under extremely difficult conditions. But our government has failed them so many times over the last few years, and we simply cannot afford to do it again. We must not multiply the mistakes of yesterday, we must end them today.

May this New Year bring a turn in our policy away from the stubborn repetition of our mistakes, so we can begin to chart a conclusion to this painful chapter in our history and bring our troops home.

Sincerely,
U.S. Senator Barack Obama
U.S. Senator Barack Obama

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20 thoughts on “Obama, Superman, and Iraq: What to do? What to do?

  1. Well the government is hiring lots of contractors to rebuild over there, I think they should have a bigger policy on security contractors. You can’t tell me people in Europe wouldn’t go and do that if they were going to make money. The money could be paid with the oil funds until the country is stable. I think we are toting way too much on the shoulders of the United States. Like you said, we are stuck between a rock and hard place.

  2. I suppose the real argument now is not whether or not we should be there but how we move ahead from here. There are pros and cons for both sides. I think now that there is a government we should let them get on with it. See what they can do, re-evalute our support.

    This Obama sounds a bit too good..I think the pic of him standing next to superman is appropriate…like he is the good guy against all evil. I think he sounds to good to be true, even a bit niave. Kinda like his platform is a dream we all have for the country but is of course not attainable. I checked out his website. He is definately good v. evil…but I can read through your lines BBB…I still say we are not ready for black in the white house nor is the world…let alone this young superman!

  3. Heloooooooooo…I posted this a while agao…Hellll….Amber knocks on fuzz’z monitor to see if anyone is home. Leave that stain alone in your carpet and come reply to my comment here…

  4. Pris, I know what you mean about so much of the burden being on us. I guess that’s because it was all our bright idea in the first place; others only agreed half-heartedly, except perhaps Tony Blair.

    OMG, BBB, you are too much. You know anything you say is good with me, even if you are being typically wrong-headed (LMFAO at that one; wish I could see your face when you read it. Make me giggle just thinking of it).

    Okay, for your comments, you’ve really nailed my main complaint with Obama: not only is he an unknown and untried quantity, but he’s got this air of perfection about him or even of being a savior of some kind that makes me balk. I tend to balk at anything that seems too good to be true, so that’s no surprise.

    Unlike you, I think we could have a black president, I just don’t think it should be Obama. Not in ’08 with so little experience and knowledge. Maybe next time. But the country may decide differently and vote for him on the basis of . . . well, smoke being blown up our you know whats, smooth talk, and a handsome face. And plenty of people who have never voted in their lives will dash to the polls BECAUSE he’s black, don’t forget that. Just as I wouldn’t vote for a woman BECAUSE she’s a woman, it bugs the crap out of me that people would vote based on race, either for it or against, actually. But it happens. It’s our world, our country. Guess it’s worth a bit of aggravation in the end.

  5. Amber composing herself before she types….vote on basis of race…Heck yeah!!!! Race is everything in politics eventhough no one admits it or that is it politically correct to discuss. First, woman are the weaker sex…no denying this. (Easy fuzzy don’t faint here with frustration!)….emotionally woman are not strong emough and racially, well, we all know I am a white supremist! There I said it! Like it or leave it! The USA needs a white president to keep the power, the illusion playing out. Whether we like it or not, white people hold the power card. Its like suggesting that the Italian’s have a Greek President. It doesn’t work. The USA is synonymous with white culture and white folk…end of story. To loose white leadership would in the end cost American a great deal more then a few upset rednecks. OMG…did I just write this! The voices are making me do this!

  6. ps..I thought you liked Obama…sorry, I must have read it wrong…or read into more like it! LOL…yeah…savior is a great way to describe him!

  7. tears are literally rolling down my face as I respond, and I mean tears of laughter. You crack me up, you really do. I see what you are saying and why, and to some extent I agree with you, but at the end of the day, everyone is not inferior to the white male. Good grief, Woman, have you taken a look at all the white males out there? Geez, I’d like to hope I have a bit more intellect and strength than a lot of them! But I digress, your point about white guilt playing in here is sound, and I think that it’s actually healthy for people to shake that off. Maybe not to the degree of white supremacy, but just to even the playing field and not give hand outs on the basis of race or gender.

    No. Definitely not for Obama. My last two posts were pretty strong about it, and I thought it only fair to offer this newer, somewhat stronger statement of his. Doesn’t change my mind, though. I still think he’s got little to offer at this time.

  8. everyone is not inferior to the white male…LMAO…I am laughing so hard…that is exactly what I was saying…how silly is that! Let me rephrase myself…

    ermmm..ummm….everyone is inferior to the white Christan male in global politics, however woman are superior in the kitchen and in the bedroom, oh yes…in the laundry room and nursey….

    If I laugh anymore I just may pee my pants….

    This will only be funny too you and me…I am sure the other women on your blog with want to tar and feather me…I mean no harm…

  9. To any other woman reading fuzzy’s blog, please let me state that my response directly above was simply sarcasm…nothing more….

  10. tying a pink apron around my waist, as I don my string of pearls and high heels to begin my day of vacuuming and dusting before cooking a gourmet feast and sexually satisfying my nonexistent mate . . . roflmfao You are TOO too much, Amb. So we’re good for sex, cooking, and cleaning? Well, one out of three ain’t bad. LOL

    Okay, okay, my sides are aching. Would that the world were as I wished it, rather than as you see it. I agree that people vote on race and gender, and I truly believe that people vote for good hair and nice smiles. Makes me nauseous, but it’s true.

  11. Yeah…nice hair and smiles…why else did Reagan and Busch get even….even peanut guy had a great smile..not much on looks but piercing smile.

    Amber hands Fuzzy newspaper and slippers she forgot to give to nonexistent mate.

  12. teehee . . . and shouldn’t a martini be in my third hand? Or am I supposed to carry the paper in my mouth like a dog? Sigh.

  13. OMG…paper in mouth like dog…do I temp the gods and reply to that…can I control my typing response,the urge to top sarcasism with more sarcasism…..no….I dare not!

  14. Think I’ll pass on this one. American politics is not my specialist subject. I have enough trouble working up the enthusiasm to be interested in my own country’s politics. Only because year after year it’s the same tired old crap. I can sometimes be encouraged into political debate, but I have to be in the right frame of mind.

  15. OMG, Mitch, how hilarious! I was just at YOUR place and did a similar back peddle on the subject of music. Teehee. I kind of like that it worked out like that . . . Huggs to you.

  16. Carrot on a stick?
    Our vote is very powerful. The only problem is the idiots in DC counts their votes as being more so.
    If you don’t vote to make things better, shut up!

  17. I vote. However my blog friends may or may not, in either case, it is not your place on my page to tell anyone (myself included, obviously) to “shut up.” I’d thank you to be polite or stop posting here.

  18. Please allow me to appoligise as I was not speaking to tell you or any of your friends to shut up. Thankyou for calling me on this as it is the farthest thing in my mind to be rude in that way. I will use this as a learning experience to be more considerate of people and how I say things.

  19. Oh, Heyman, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I misunderstood you!! I’m sorry if I was too harsh, but I got it all wrong; I’ll learn from this as well and not be so quick to jump to conclusions in future. Huggs.

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