Friends: The history of politics is replete with candidates (even potential candidates) saying one thing, then doing another. Also with the political establishment's ability (near infinite, it some times seems) to discover and/or to create candidates willing to perform in this role.–Please keep this in mind while reading Senator Barack Obama's November 20 speech before an outfit called the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Among the questions worth asking would be where this particular speaker really truly comes down on questions concerning war, concerning peace, and concerning American Power, above all else?
Is Barack Obama pro-peace? Is he a strict constitutionalist and advocate for international law? Is he anti-war? Or maybe (like roughly 99 percent of the rest of them) just unhappy with the course of the Americans' war over Iraq?
For example, does Obama believe the war has grown "too costly"? And to whom, exactly? To the Americans? To the Treasury? To those who want only to regroup and to fight another war one day again? Or to the Iraqis? To the international order? To the world as a whole?
Or does Obama believe the war to be "unwinable" (let us say) in Henry Kissinger's sense of complete military and political domination of the whole of Iraqi national territory? Or that maybe the current regime in the White House devoted "insufficient" resources to doing the job right? Was the war in Obama's judgment a "mistake"? Indeed. A "tragic mistake"?
Above all: Does the Junior Democratic Senator from the State of Illinois strike you as a bait-and-switcher? (Woodrow Wilson and the 1917 entry into Europe's war perhaps having been the classic example of the bait-and-switch in American history. (Always see "The War and the Intellectuals," Randolph Bourne, 1917.) Though we might also recall the Democrats ahead of the national elections of November, 1964. And what they did to Vietnam as soon as Lyndon Johnson won re-election.)
"A Way Forward in Iraq," Barack Obama, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, November 20, 2006
Barack Obama at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA Webpage with videolinks)
Barack Obama On The Issues – Defense (Obama's website)
"Obama Urges Gradual Withdrawal from Iraq," Deanna Bellandi, Associated Press, November 20, 2006
"'No good options left': Obama unveils plan to cut U.S troops in Iraq," Scott Fornek, Chicago Sun-Times, November 21, 2006
"Obama helps U.S. focus on constructive Iraq policy," Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times, November 21, 2006
"Obama: Time to stop `coddling' Iraq," Christi Parsons and David Mendell, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2006
"Obama calls for pullout in Iraq," P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2006
"Obama calls for phased pullout," Philip Dine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 21, 2006