Senator Obama this morning said that he wants a foreign policy that is “tough, smart, and principled.” This afternoon, I ask: was it tough when Senator Obama voted to order U.S. forces to retreat from Iraq on a fixed timeline—regardless of the recommendations of our military commanders, regardless of conditions on the ground? Was it smart when Senator Obama opposed the surge and predicted that it would fail to improve security? Was it principled when Senator Obama said that he would order U.S. troops to retreat from Iraq, regardless of the humanitarian consequences for millions of innocent Iraqis—even genocide? Was it tough and principled when Senator Obama said he would be open to changing his plan for Iraq after going there and talking to General Petraeus—only to change that position a few hours later after being heatedly criticized by organizations like Moveon.org? I say respectfully, the answer to all of those questions is no.
Senator Obama also said this morning that he wants a foreign policy that recognizes that we have interests “not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London.” But what Senator Obama does not seem to recognize is that—in an interdependent world—what happens in Baghdad affects our interests in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London. What Senator Obama does not seem to understand is that—had we taken the course he had counseled and retreated from Iraq—the United States would have suffered a catastrophic defeat that would have left America and our allies less safe not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London.