About a month ago our commander-in-chief proclaimed that Middle East has witnessed a “Teutonic shift“. Assuming that it was not a goof (Obama is known for his deep knowledge of the European history – for example he is famous for re-discovering the long-lost “Austrian language“), he was right on the money. Indeed, with the advancement of Moslem Brotherhood (a largely secular group according to Obama’s administration) in Egypt, recent re-unification between PLO and Hamas as well as success of jihadists in Libya, the Middle East is starting to look more and more as Nazi Germany. Now, granted, Teutons were a German tribe well before Hitler, but many people in Europe would not doubt recognize the meaning of Obama’s description.
In general, this president showed us all an example of a
“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided…” 2008
“We should never seek to dictate what is best for the Israelis and their security interests. No Israeli prime minister should ever feel dragged to or blocked from the negotiating table by the United States.” 2007
“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. ” 2008
Last but not least, Obama’s famous speech about the Iraq war. It sounds so different today – so out-of-place. One thought surely creeps in – “Did he say Iraq or Libya, Hussein or Kaddafi?”
don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history…
I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
By the way – the best thing about Obama is not just his sincerity and how he strives to uphold his principles. What I admire about him is that he first collects all necessary information, analyzes it, and then makes a decision. Here is a quick example – follow the sequence.
1.Libyan people rebel against Muammar Kaddafi.
2. At first, the rebellion appears to go quite successfully, but then Kaddafi counter-attacks.
3. After 2-3 weeks of weighting the odds, when the rebels’ position appear to be untenable, president Obama launches a war against Libya.
4. A few days later, president Obama asks CIA to find out and inform him who are the rebels that he went to war for.
As an engineer, I find this sequence puzzling – but then, I deal with real world, not community organizing. BTW, speaking of community organizing – can someone send me the job description for a community organizer? I’ve read Obama’s memoirs, and he went into details explaining what he did for year in Chicago – but I still don’t understand what was his actual responsibility.