Senator Obama's campaign made fun of John McCain for not using email (and by implication, for not knowing how to use a computer). After the most recent debate, I think Obama may not know how to use one, either. I remain undecided about the best way to stay informed about current events. I still like newspapers and cable television, but I also learn a lot from Internet news sites, even e-mail. Running for president is a busy job, but it seems that there should be time for flipping open the old laptop occasionally. If Senator Obama had done so, he would have found out a few things that Friday night's debate seemed to leave in doubt.
Take the war on terror. Senator Obama seems to believe that the war on terror is equivalent to a war on Afghanistan, saying that the war began there and that it should have been our central focus, that we took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq, that McCain was wrong when he said we would be hailed as liberators. His laptop could have told him that the war on terror is a war against terrorists and an ideology, not against a country. The 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. Using his logic, we should have attacked Saudi, not Afghanistan. Most Americans certainly want to capture Osama Bin Laden, so if Obama is certain that he is in Afghanistan, why doesn't he tell the military the location of the cave he is in so they can send a bunker bomb?
Was Iraq really taking our eye off the ball? Think back to 9/11. Options included fighting back or allowing the terrorists to murder us a few thousand at a time. Terrorists are all over the world, but they are prevalent in the Middle East. We needed a stronger presence there, to be closer to them. Afghanistan has the most hostile terrain in the world. Ask Russia. Aren't those their tanks left to rust in the mountains? Iraq, on the other hand, had a malevolent dictator who had violated fifteen UN resolutions and tortured and killed innocents daily. He had openly stated his desire to obtain nuclear weapons and had taken steps to do so, had thrown out UN inspectors, and had used chemical and biological weapons in warfare before. Let's see now ...search thousands of caves for Bin Laden in the worst terrain on the planet or invade a hostile country that is close to the heart of terrorist activity? Tough question.
McCain was wrong when he said we would be greeted as liberators? Who were those people waving and bowing as our tanks rolled through Baghdad? Who were those guys who pulled down the statues of Saddam Hussein? Sure, they did not include the people we had defeated, but I don't think that McCain or any reasonable person expected the enemy to hail us as liberators. Citizens who had been freed from tyrannical rule, however, did welcome us. True, few anticipated the strong resistance from Sunni and Shiite tribes. Few knew that Iran would supply the tribes and terrorists with weapons. But things go wrong in every war, and McCain was on target when he called for more troops. Where were you, Senator Obama? I believe you were advocating surrender.
On the subject of surrender, is it true that you sent envoys to Iraq urging delays of American troop withdrawals so that your administration can take credit for ending the war? And please explain why American lives are more precious in Iraq than they would be in Afghanistan-why you are willing to spend treasure and lives in this hostile land, but want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq?
Obama says that Al-Queda is stronger than it was in 2001. A quick glimpse at the laptop would have told you that we have just about defeated these guys in Iraq. They are on the run, unless those generals and Iraqi leadership are all wrong. Don't we want them on the defense? They were clearly on offense on 9/11/01 and the multiple other times they attacked us.
Then there was that thing about being against the war from the beginning. Obama stated that he took that position at considerable political risk. Some of my friends (who also do not seem to have computers) think that he voted against the war. I tell them he did not vote at all. It degenerates into several embarrassing "Did-too's" and Did-not's." Of course, Obama was not in the U.S. Senate during the vote, but in the Illinois State Senate. Do they vote on wars in Illinois? Since Obama is a creation of the Chicago Political Machine, which opposes the war, and since he represented a liberal constituency that also opposed the war, what exactly was the risk? If Obama had watched the U.S. Senate vote on C-Span, he would have known he was not there. He would have known that nobody cared about his opinion. Then again, maybe he does not watch television, either.
Jim H. Ainsworth-former CPA, CFP, CLU, Registered Investment Advisor, Licensed Securities Principal, was twice named one of the most influential accountants in America by Accounting Today magazine. He welcomes comments at http://www.jimainsworth.com/