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Thursday, 31 May 2007

Comments

Bryan

The man doesn't get it.

I was concerned with a couple of his statements about Iran that indicate he doesn't understand the dynamics or history of the situation, and now he has added Syria to the mix.

There is no reason to consider either country as an outright adversary, both offered and delivered assistance after 9/11 and were ignored and then were pressured by the Shrubbery to do things they can't do.

Nothing about Israel-Palestine which is the root of all the other problems.

He just doesn't get it - a bigger stick is not the answer to foreign policy problems.

Incertus

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened.

I suppose I can see why you'd worry about that sentence, but I tend to think you and Jerome are both overreacting, if only because I tend to trust Obama (or any Democrat, for that matter) more to seriously respond only if we're in imminent danger than I would any Republican.

A lot of any process is a matter of trust--does Obama seem to be the kind of guy who would go off at a second's notice? Not to me--he was against the Iraq war from the beginning, after all, and nothing he's said up till now has made me question his judgment when it comes to use of force, at least not yet. Just because Bush was an utter douchebag doesn't mean Obama will be with the same power--and he will have it. Any president will. That's why elections matter, after all.

Think back to Clinton in Bosnia--the UN wouldn't back him and NATO didn't want to until he made it clear he was going in regardless, and that wound up being the right thing to do. But Clinton had earned our trust. Bush shat on it. Obama hasn't, not yet, and in the most important military conflict of our generation, he was on the right side at the beginning.

I haven't settled on a candidate yet, but I certainly haven't ruled Obama out, and this does nothing to make me think any less of him.

Michael

I'm afraid I can't go that far, Brian. The fact that you have a "D" after your name is no guarantee of moral rectitude, and it certainly doesn't automatically bestow infinite wisdom or military genius (as witness Joementum, alas). Plus, as Bryan noted in the first comment, his whole idea is ass-backward. It's the old conundrum of the man with a hammer seeing everything in terms of how he can use his hammer to solve it.

Besides, if Obama had done more than just read a few briefing memos on the swathe of problems he discussed in the Foreign Affairs piece, he should have seen that military solutions are the least likely to work and should therefore be the last to be tried--and then only when all else has failed. So we need a bigger, beefier military why? We already spend more on national defense than most of the rest of the world combined, and we still can't secure our borders or the safety of our citizens abroad. I've come to the conclusion that maybe, after 60 years of the military-industrial complex, it's time to try looking for alternative solutions.

On top of all that, the problems our military is going to be facing on the short-to-medium-term horizon are actually far more likely to require smaller, more flexible, and considerably better-trained and -equipped forces than we currently have. Where was that proposal in Obama's vade mecum? And where, for that matter, was his call to eliminate the criminally stupid "Don't ask, don't tell" policy that keeps costing us some of our best personnel simply because they happen to be sexually attracted to people with the same gender as their own? More men and more toys won't accomplish anything--especially if we don't fix some of the structural and ideological problems plaguing the military first.

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