March 31, 2008
Today Is Obama's Iraq Withdrawal DayBy Lee Cary
On January 30, 2007, Senator Barack Obama introduced the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007 in a speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate. In describing the proposed legislation he said,
Obama's proposed legislation came in the wake of President Bush's announcement of the troop surge. In a statement dated January 19, 2007, Obama said,
No new progress. "Not in any imaginable way." The surge would fail, he said. Things didn't go as he predicted. Limited imagination perhaps.
But at least the Senator has been consistent during the last two years in his withdrawal position concerning Iraq. And, he's also had a consistent cut-&-paste view of the role of Syria and, more importantly, Iran as benign actors in the Iraq ordeal.
November 20, 2006 Speech: "A Way Forward in Iraq"
January 19, 2007 Statement: Senate Floor
Later though, a surprise source tossed a wrench into the Senator's notion of Iran's intent:
And then, the Elusive One himself seems to have just recently elevated the importance of Iraq to jihad.
So, Obama, Clinton and the entire Democrat Party are caught in a conundrum. The surge is working, conditions in Iraq are improving, Iraqis are fighting for their country, and the deadline for Obama's withdrawal in the face of his unrequited expectations for failure in Iraq is passing, today.
All that's left for Democrats to hope for is that our economy stalls.
If Obama is the Democrat nominee, his understanding of the use of U.S. military force, compared to that of Senator McCain, will be one focal point in the general election as we ask ourselves the question: Who shall be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
In the November 20, 2006 speech quoted above, Obama offered valuable insights into his understanding of the historical use of American arms.
"In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies." Really? When and where?
Germany, Japan and Italy became flourishing democracies "at the end of a barrel of a gun." England's freedoms would have been smothered had it not been for the gun barrels of Hurricanes and Spitfires. Singapore and the Philippines were liberated from tyranny at the end of a barrel of a gun. Israel has often defended her freedom with guns, yet today. France, Belgium, Norway - all liberated from tyranny at the end of gun barrels. South Korea is free today because of them, gun barrels. Eastern European countries are discovering democracy today because of all the unfired guns of NATO at-the-ready that helped bring about the implosion of the USSR. Iraq and Afghanistan would never have had a chance at freedom had their struggling quests not begun after the diplomats fell silent and the guns spoke. One wonders if Senator Obama's educartion at Hawaii's most elite private academy, Columbia and Harvard included any history lessons.
He began his March 18th "A More Perfect Union" speech with the opening words of the Constitution of the United States of America, a document he knows well, since he was once a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. After a bitter debate within the states, the Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789. Today, we see it as the culmination of an extraordinary linage of documents that included the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and the Federalists Papers. Obama states, "we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of...do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots."
Certainly that's true. But neither did freedom for Americans come at the end of a language event, at the successful conclusion of an exercise in diplomatic rhetoric. It came when 400 siege guns dropped 36,000 rounds into the British lines at Yorktown and Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. Nearly eight years before the Constitution went into effect.
We owe much to the framers of the Constitution, to the men of words. But we owe at least as much to Joseph Plumb Martin. He joined the Continental Army in 1776 at age 16, and stayed at the butt end of the barrel of a gun until victory. While Martin and others were engaging the British, the Continental Congress was an ongoing lesson in gross incompetence. Even Washington, who kept his political thoughts very much to himself, in a letter to a friend during particularly dire times for his army, let down his guard and asked, rhetorically, where have all the big talkers gone.
The militia came and went throughout the war, as they had families to feed. But a cadre within the Continental Army, a force of Joseph Martin's never numbering as many as in the Iraq surge, lived a hardscrabble life - fighting, losing, and fighting again. Until, at the Battle of Cowpens with Daniel Morgan, they decimated the British and their Loyalists allies (freedom does not require unity within the nation that would have it). After years of being at the end of a barrel of the gun, they'd become professional soldiers who could fire, reload and maneuver - at the same time.
Deep down, does Barack Obama believe that language and diplomacy are the primary arms in gaining freedom, and in keeping it?