This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position
So many people in our lives say, after the fact, “I told you so”. Does it ever help your current situation or make you feel better? Or does it just make you feel bad about yourself and wish what had gone before never happened? More importantly, did it ever make what had gone before any different? We will leave you to deal with these rhetorical questions.
Obama’s approach on this issue is to use exactly that tactic, “I told you so”. To tell not only McCain, but all citizens, Republicans and Democrats (including Biden) that believed in the war at the time that he (Obama) voted against it.
But the fact is, it doesn’t matter what our decisions were 7 years ago. 9/11 happened, we reacted, it’s over, we are there. We believe the candidate that should be favored with respect to this issue is the one most prepared to deal with it in the “now” not yesterday.
Vietnam and Korea were American disasters because we did not have the conviction to attack and destroy an enemy that was vastly inferior. Iraq was not the case. The US wiped out the Iraqi Army in weeks with almost no casualties. And we proved something in the process. That wiping out a nation’s leadership leaves us, by the nature of our government, responsible for that nation. As Colin Powell put it, “if you break it, you own it“. And after billions and billions of US dollars spent, indeed we do.
But what do our politicians really want to do now, in 2008? It seems Obama wants to bail and leave it up to Iraq to solve its own problems. It seems as though John is saying stay the course, but there is little indication there is a plan as to when it will be over. With McCain it seems like we could just police Iraq forever. With Obama, we see some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light might be a bus headed right for us as we emerge.
This is a lose-lose for both sides. The Iraq war was entered into not as the Democrats would currently have you think. It was not based on a lie. It was based on 9/11, an attack on us by radical Muslims and the belief that Iraq was the most rogue of the Muslim nations and had to be held accountable for harboring weapons of mass destruction and for supporting terrorism. No one now seems to recall, but Saddam was doing his best to avoid UN Inspections and did indeed appear to be hiding military secrets. Fact is, he just turned out to be a deluded lunatic that lived in a hollowed out tunnel after the war babbling to himself.
Now, what we realize is that even if Saddam Hussein was as dire and evil as he was depicted, the result of deposing him was an unstable Iraq. Imagine an America where US troops had to circle the streets daily to maintain order. Imagine what would happen if a nation stepped into our world and destroyed our government, regardless of whether it was led by Republicans or Democrats, introducing total anarchy. Would you want that government to stay and help restore order or would you want them to get out so you could? Sounds like the latter is the answer, but the only thing protecting you from the criminal elements is the very occupation force you despise. So, as Colin Powell presciently pronounced, once you depose the government, you become the government.
One interesting cause of war is what it does to a President’s approval rating. People think this is unique to Bush, and he is the worst President ever, but facts prove otherwise.
Bush’s approval rating is an abysmal 31%, but from CNN polling director Keating Holland we find… “Bush’s approval rating five years ago, at the start of the Iraq war, was 71 percent, and that 40-point drop is almost identical to the drop President Lyndon Johnson faced during the Vietnam War,”.
“Johnson’s approval rating was 74 percent just before Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, which effectively authorized the Vietnam War. Four years later, his approval was down to 35 percent, a 39-point drop that is statistically identical to what Bush has faced so far over the length of the Iraq war,”.
America wants a fast victory, and war just doesn’t work that way, especially not occupations. The estimates at the time of the start of the war were that it would take 5 years or more to resolve things, but it is like a car payment. The first year, you love the car. The second year, you start disliking the payment and by the fourth year, you want to get rid of it.
The fact is, however, Iraq has gotten much better. A tactic called “The Surge” endorsed primarily by George Bush, against the advice of his generals and advisors, has worked. Bush sent 5 brigades of additional man power to Iraq and the violence has been reduced dramatically. Rumsfeld and General Casey were sent packing and Bob Gates and David Petraeus replaced them. And regardless of what the Democrats claim and what the public believes, in this instance, Bush was right. “The Surge” has been a huge success and that will make it very difficult for any dramatic change by a new President whether it is Obama or McCain.