Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Barack Obama Was Right About Iraq Before it was Fashionable

In 2002:

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 even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. 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.


Imagine having a wise, responsible, and inspiring president. The more I learn about Obama, the more I like him. Let the conservatives call him Hussein Osama. Let the racists lament that he's not "really" black. Let FOX report breathlessly that he's an al-Qaida sleeper agent and that -- gasp -- he smokes!

The majority of Americans will see him for who he is and the promise he holds for a return to reasonableness in government. He may never reach the 30% of Americans who still support President Bush but I think he has a great chance to win the general election.

21 comments:

jewish philosopher said...

Obama is very young. I think we'll get Hillary in 2009.

beepbeepitsme said...

I think that Obama won't be elected to the top job because he is black, or african american depending on the term which people prefer.

Does this mean that I think he shouldn't be elected because he is black? No. I just don't believe that the american public have the ability to vote for a black man. I don't think they have the ability to vote for a jew either, or a woman.

The vote will go to a white, middle class man who professes god belief, but who doesn't appear "too radical" in his god belief.

This will happen regardless of whether the best candidate is black, a jew, or a woman. I don't have faith that the american public will be able to vote outside the stereotypical concept they have of a president.

Yes, I know that Condi is black and a woman, and she also WASN'T voted in, she was appointed. I also know that Powell is black, but ALSO appointed, not voted in.

And of course there are women who are voted into office all the time. But the top job? Not going to happen. Americans, and probably Australians, are too male-white centric to give anyone else a shot at the top job.

A white male represents their preferred religious icon and their religious ideology.

asher said...

I can't understand why you give this guy a pass just cause he's black...well, half black.

I purposely watched his interview on 60 Minutes in the hopes of finding out something about this guy, and I was pleasantly pleased to find he had nothing to offer. Both he and his wife are graduates of Harvard Law School and neither of them practiced law. His wife was asked if she was worried about her husband's safety if he was elected president and her incredible answer was "Well, Barack is a black man and he can be shot just going down to the gas station" That's about the most racist statement I've heard in some time. Hey, I'm a white guy and I can get shot going to the gas station too. But then again, she went to Harvard Law School.

Well, he's just your usual american citizen: white atheist mother, Kenyan father, raised by white grandparents in Hawaii and used cocaine and pot.

Why not just look at all the legislation he's introduced while he's been in the senate....you'll be amazed.

JA, ask yourself this. If Barack were white and had the same educational and governmental background would you feel the same?

How condescending.

Jewish Atheist said...

I can't understand why you give this guy a pass just cause he's black...well, half black...

JA, ask yourself this. If Barack were white and had the same educational and governmental background would you feel the same?


What about my post or my past could possibly have given you the idea that I support him because he's black. As I wrote in my post, I support him (not to the exclusion of other Dems, necessarily) because he seems wise, responsible, and inspiring. He seems like a young Clinton without all the personal problems and triangulation.

If he were white, it would make no difference to me except I wouldn't have to worry about racists not voting for him in the general.

Since you brought up his half-blackness, maybe you can explain this to me -- why is it that people on the right feel the need to constantly point out that he's "only" half-black? With Limbaugh calling him a "Halfrican American" and basically every right-winger on the net seizing every opportunity, what's the point?

Well, he's just your usual american citizen: white atheist mother, Kenyan father, raised by white grandparents in Hawaii and used cocaine and pot.

I didn't know that the religion or nationality of candidate's parents was so important! Also, I didn't know that Hawaii wasn't in America. Finally, who gives a shit if he used cocaine and pot in his youth? At least he had the balls to admit it unlike the current idiot-in-chief.

asher said...

JA,

Point well taken. I mean if he's only half black why is he a member of the congressional black caucus or even advocates it's existence.

Once again, please tell me exactly why you think this guy would make a good president. What is his vision for America? Why has his governmental experience impressed you so? How does he shine forth as the best choice for president of the this country?

Jewish Atheist said...

Point well taken.

Thanks!

I mean if he's only half black why is he a member of the congressional black caucus or even advocates it's existence.

Because in America being half-black has always been equivalent to being black. "Blackness" is only an abstraction to begin with, so there's no sense in trying to come up with what makes someone "objectively" black, but being half-black never mattered to racists so I don't see why it should matter to those fighting discrimination. I suspect there's more to your (and Limbaugh's) pointing out that he's half-black than just wondering about his membership in the black caucus.

Once again, please tell me exactly why you think this guy would make a good president. What is his vision for America? Why has his governmental experience impressed you so? How does he shine forth as the best choice for president of the this country?

I think he would be a good president because he's so clearly an inspiring leader with good judgement. Maybe something will turn up which convinces me otherwise, but so far, I think he's great.

I'm not saying he's the best choice in America. Of the major Democratic candidates, though, he has by far the most charisma. He takes bolder stands than Clinton, doesn't come off as slick as Edwards. He'd be much less polarizing than H. Clinton. He's much more inspiring than Gore. As far as Republicans, I disagree with them on too many important issues to support any of them over any reasonable Democrat. I admire Gingrich for his intellectualism and Rudy for his liberal social views, but I couldn't vote for either of them. McCain I neither respect nor could support.

On the single most important issue of the last 6 years, Obama was the only one of the current major candidates who was correct. He not only made the right decision, but he was even right about why it was the right decision.

Anonymous said...

Condi for president!

beepbeepitsme said...

The chances of Condi being elected for the top job are even less. She is black AND a woman.

asher said...

JA,

Talk about a stretch.

The Black Caucus is an organization of only folks who are black. However, if you are white and represent a majority black constituency you are not admitted. Therefore, it has nothing to do with representing blacks in america but only race preference for it's members. That's why it was brought up.

Laura said...

"I mean if he's only half black why is he a member of the congressional black caucus or even advocates it's existence. "

Because in this country and in our current time, people have the privilege of defining which portions of their multi-faceted identities they choose as defining characteristics. He has the right to identify as black. He also has the right to identify as any other number of identity markers he carries with him, male, christian, Kenyan, Hawaiian, Harvard graduate... We all have a multitude of identities that comprise who we are.

On to Obama. I've liked him from the get-go, from when he was an obscure nobody from the Ill. state senate. I'm behind him all the way. I don't care what his "chances" are. I am concerned for how his campaign will turn into scripted bullet points though. I hope he doesn't go too far down the road of "image management"

Anonymous said...

But she talks really really well and will get lots of kudos if she pulls off her Iran policy peacefully. Plus, black women aren't seen with the same racist gangster image as black men and I think her not having a husband/children would make people who are hesitant of voting for a woman see her as less of a weak woman.

Jewish Atheist said...

Asher:

I agree that the black caucus's non-admission of whites is probably wrong. However to say, "it has nothing to do with representing blacks in america" is absurd.


Anonymous:

Nobody as intricately involved in the current administration as Condi has a chance. Bush's failures are hers too.

Stephen said...

I think Obama has a chance, partly because of the Oprah factor. Oprah is the darling of millions of white American women, and she has basically endorsed Obama's candidacy.

I think Obama has a similar ability to appeal to white Americans. But I'm Canadian, so I might be assuming too much.

I don't know enough about him to say whether he's the best choice for the Democrats. But I'm impressed by what I've seen so far. The Democratic nomination looks like it will come down to a white woman or a black man, which is simply fascinating!

Stephen said...

btw, Andrew Sullivan linked to a very interesting piece on Obama's view on the role of religion in public policy.

asher said...

JA,

Did you hear the last "Obamination"? This very eloquent man said the 3,000 military men who died in Iraq were lives that were wasted. When caught in saying this he backtracked and said it was written different, uh, it was a botched joke, uh, he didn't quite mean that, uh,

Hey, the guy has been in politics his whole life and had the time to write to two books..Give him a break.

beepbeepitsme said...

RE stephen

"The Democratic nomination looks like it will come down to a white woman or a black man, which is simply fascinating!"

Fascinating it is. But for the very reason that the democratic candidancy is between a black man and a white woman, probably means that neither will win.

Americans vote for white, middleclass men historically. I hope I am wrong, but the odds aren't in their favour.

Jewish Atheist said...

Did you hear the last "Obamination"? This very eloquent man said the 3,000 military men who died in Iraq were lives that were wasted. When caught in saying this he backtracked and said it was written different, uh, it was a botched joke, uh, he didn't quite mean that, uh,

I think he believes (as I do) that their lives were wasted, but it's not exactly something you say publicly. You don't want to tell grieving mothers and wives and husbands that their loved ones died in vain, even if it's true.

Laura said...

The "wasted" comment is a touchy subject. I agree, I think he believes that all of the resources we have spent on this war, human life, money, natural resources, would have done much more good elsewhere. If I spend $50 on something that I later see as a mistake, and now think that $50 should have been spent on something more productive, then I have wasted that money.

I don't think he meant disrespect to the families. I think he simply meant that the lives lost in Iraq could have done much more good someplace else - oh, I dunno, like maybe Afghanistan...

At least he hasn't called anyone a "major league asshole" yet.

Scott said...

Does anyone else find it interesting that if Hilary wins we'll have 24-28 straight years of Bush/Clinton rule?

I think I'd vote for Obama just to avoid such an oligarchy. Not that Obama is all that different from Bush or Clinton, but still when the system is so blatantly closed I think it'd be good to vote for a new name just to put out the appearance that we actually have some control over this whole thing.

Babushka said...

You have this quote attributed as "In 2002". Can you tell me more specifically where I can find it? Was it a speech? What date and where? What it a memo or written document?

Thanks!

Jewish Atheist said...

Here you go.