March 13, 2008
Obama's Achilles' Heel
When Obama last exposed his Achilles' heel, it happened inadvertently and without warning, amidst a fawning crowd of regulars upon whom a mighty spell had fallen.
This possibly unscripted moment transpired when Obama, now revered for his uncanny ability to think on his feet, engaged in his latest ‘from the hip' repartee to an earlier remark by John McCain, in which the latter jested that the young senator may not have heard the news that Al Qaeda was indeed alive and well in Iraq.
With the irreverent chutzpah of a snickering 8 year old tattler telling on his older sibling, Obama indulged an excitable crowd of adoring fans with the rather overused and unproven refrain that -- contrary to McCain's beliefs -- Al Qaeda was not present in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion.
The argument that Al Qaeda is a brand new phenomenon in Iraq has been advanced in times past by no lesser luminaries than Senator John Kerry, who like Obama, is also renowned for a similar proclivity to engage in double-speak, and boasts of equally legitimate credentials on foreign policy matters.
Senator Obama's response places him in a rather vulnerable position when it comes to terrorism, which may very well become -- once again -- the pivotal issue in the election.
It takes a unique level of access to highly classified information to determine where a terrorist entity like Al Qaeda may currently be setting up shop; I would think it takes an equal or higher level of access to information to enable intelligence agencies to ascertain definitively whether Al Qaeda was altogether absent in a particular region of the world where terrorist activity is virtually the order of the day.
Still it would be interesting to know how Senator Obama became privy to this provocative tidbit of information, despite the fact that this theory has long been discredited by world leaders who have become presciently aware of the global outreach of the Al Qaeda terrorist cell network.
One also wonders if Obama was implying that had Al Qaeda been in Iraq our military involvement would have been justified. Presumably that was the substance of his answer to a question in which he tried to justify the peculiarly obtuse rationale for considering a return to Iraq after U.S. forces have been withdrawn, should Al Qaeda choose to re-establish bases there in earnest.
While the Democrats' alternative is also found wanting in this area, Obama's rather directionless stance on the Iraq situation -- from a man who has anchored his campaign on the mantra of "change" -- bespeaks a positively dangerous naiveté on his part when it comes to this serious global threat.
To suggest that American intervention begets more terrorism denotes a subtle endorsement of the novel diplomatic principle that a policy of retreat and noninvolvement would automatically yield better relations with the consistently volatile potentates of Middle Eastern regimes. This simple-minded sequitur continues to galvanize radical leftwing Democrats, who are already sold on the proposition that there is an inverse link between the number of terrorists in the world and the level of what is generally considered by them to be America's modest record of charity and good will through its international relations role.
It is true that terrorism did not make the headlines as frequently when the United States remained basically uninvolved in the political affairs of countries that harbored terrorist organizations. This does not mean that the latter were heretofore virtually nonexistent and suddenly sprang up in response to the United States' unjustified military intervention in other countries' affairs.
This is not only a gross misunderstanding of the reasons for the existence of terrorism, it also dishonors the sacrifices of those who have the courage to be proactive about it, and what is worse, it casts them as the culprits in front of a global audience.
By effectively engaging the terrorists, America has simply forced them to expose their clandestine operations, which only the ill-informed would deny have long been in existence. Until they reached an apex of sorts on September 11, 2001, the media had decided that such operations scarcely merited their attention. Since then, simply recycling the same old tune, that it is our fault terrorism has become such a problem around the world, no longer represents a viable argument against intervention anytime the sitting president perceives a clear threat to national security.
Thus, for all of his impressive eloquence and oratory skills -- both of which should come in handy as soon as global Jihad negotiators become amenable to discussing their demands over a cup of tea -- Obama lacks one very important asset, and that is that he is unable to provide an original, sufficiently cohesive, real answer to the crucial question of how he plans to deal with the terrorism issue.
The McCain camp has not hesitated to capitalize on Obama's diffidence masked as resolve. But they should go one step further, and challenge him to delineate a more comprehensive proposal on what he plans to do not only about the current problem of Al Qaeda in Iraq, but also that organization's well documented goal of global chaos for its enemies -- an end towards which violence is often employed as a matter of practical necessity.