Friday, September 05, 2008

Non-issue issue #2: the Iraq war

That might seem crazy at first glance- there's no issue they have more differences on. Senator Obama opposed us going to war in the first place. Ah, but going to war is no longer the question.

President Obama won't bring the troops home one day earlier than President McCain would. All the experts agree that if we leave before a viable government is in place, there will be civil war and a bloodbath. President Obama will be very risk-averse in Iraq; no way in hell is he going to have the legacy of the first black President be "the man who lost Iraq" and "the man who gave us the Middle-East killing fields".

President McCain won't leave the troops in Iraq one day longer than President Obama would. Put these reasons in whichever order you wish: McCain knows that if the troops don't start coming home soon, the nation will become ungovernable- he did live through the Vietnam years, you know. McCain knows the horrors of war personally- he's not going to leave his beloved men and women in uniform in harm's way longer than he has to.

If you've been watching the last six months, the candidates have been moving closer to each other despite their rhetoric. Obama is now talking about not leaving precipitously, and McCain is now mentioning timetables. Both of them will rely on the same State Department and Pentagon experts when in office. So hold their feet to the fire about counterterrorism, and how to balance that against our freedoms- but don't let yourself be swayed one way or the other by emotional rhetoric about the Iraq war.


Chalicechick said...

To me the big difference there is that McCain has been making a greater and greater point of the Iranian threat.

I don't think Obama has any desire to go into Iran.


Joel Monka said...

True, although Obama said on O'Reilly that he wouldn't hesitate to use force if necesary. And no, I don't know the whole context; I haven't seen it. But Iran is not the war protester's immediate concern; Iraq is.

Anonymous said...

To me the big issue is that McCain seems to have the same belligerent attitude that got us into this mess. Obama has a much more thoughtful and civilized approach.

ogre said...


Where's Obama's statement that he's willing to have American troops stay in Iraq for 100 years?

Joel Monka said...

To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever asked him about long term military bases in a peaceful Iraq- you do recall that McCain said "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.", right?

Chalicechick said...

((("as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.", right?)))

Well, I'd be happy to live in Siberia as long as it wasn't too cold.


ogre said...

Joel, the key phrase is "if necessary."

Iraq wasn't necessary--it was pretty much a presidential obsession, whim and optional war.

Now we have McCain who sings "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran..."

I just can't see those as analogous positions or outlooks.

As for McCain's caveat about staying in Iraq, that's a bit of the most egregious political hypocrisy. Staying forever if no one is looking sideways at American troops would clearly mean that there was no reason to stay. But more to the point, the GOP argument is always that it's so freakin' unstable there, and so we can't leave. So McCain's meaning is... what?--that he'll remove everyone pronto because THEY are still shooting at Americans? Please, don't make me laugh. His position boils down to "We can't leave if things are still such that people are shooting at Americans--and once they STOP, we can stay forever."

Nevermind that the vast majority of the Iraqi people have wanted us out now for a number of years... and so do the American people.... Gramps knows best (and oil counts).

Will said...

You're right, Ogre: oil counts. Right or wrong, we won't be out of there until we're comfortable that the oil supply is stable. Especially after the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Even then, we will always have a presence in the region until the oil runs out. Then the Middle East is just another Cambodia or Rwanda.

CeeJay said...

For me there is a real difference in the way the two candidates will work with our allies and with surrounding countries that, although they are not allies, have a vested interest in keeping things calm -like Iran and Saudi Arabia. McCain sees the world in a dualistic manner, either you're with us or you're against us. He has the whole world divided up into good guys and bad guys just like Bush. Most countries, like most people are a bit of a mix- not saints and not sinners. I think Obama can get cooperation from our allies and even those Bush has claimed as enemies to keep the lid on in the Middle East if we pull out. I don't think McCain can do that. He is what he claims, a maverick. Despite what he says about crossing party lines, he and Sarah Palin do seem to be pretty good at alienating people they don't agree with.