That brief statement of Barack Obama's last month seems every bit as risible as Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook", after one reads the article on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Obama wrote for the student newspaper his senior year at Columbia. The New York Times rediscovered the student article on Independence Day and seems to want to spin it as a sign of the president's deep nature.
He railed against discussions of "first- versus second-strike capabilities" that "suit the military-industrial interests" with their "billion-dollar erector sets," and agitated for the elimination of global arsenals holding tens of thousands of deadly warheads.
The student was Barack Obama, and he was clearly trying to sort out his thoughts. In the conclusion, he denounced "the twisted logic of which we are a part today" and praised student efforts to realize "the possibility of a decent world." But his article, "Breaking the War Mentality," which only recently has been rediscovered, said little about how to achieve the utopian dream.
Unfortunately that sorting out process hasn't exactly progressed in 26 years. Obama's plans for a nuclear free world today are just as chock full of high sounding rhetoric and wishful thinking and just as bereft of details as they were when he was a senior at Columbia as to exactly how one is to accomplish such a lofty goal in a world of rogue nations. Conveniently forgotten by The Times is that all the nuclear freeze movement predictions Obama supported about the shape of the future were wrong. Instead of leading to a nuclear Armageddon, the increases in defense spending under Reagan led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern block.
Obama seems determined to continue to pursue the policy goals he held as a student instead of learning from two decades of subsequent real world events. What is even more disturbing is how people like Richard Lugar continue to give Obama high marks for "being a good listener" and a "serious student" as they patronizingly give him a pass on the implementation of workable plans.
Most Americans outgrew their student mode shortly after they had to earn a living for themselves in jobs that had more quantifiable performance criteria than community organizing, Obama naive? Throw in sophistic, jejune and purblind to everything isn't a neat fit into ideological cubby holes that haven't change in two decades and you'll be on the right track. Frank Gaffney sums it up in Commentary:
"If the implications were not so serious, the discrepancy between Mr. Obama's plans and real-world conditions would be hilarious," said Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a Reagan-era Pentagon official who directs the Center for Security Policy, a private group in Washington.