There was a paragraph in P-E Obama’s remarks today that caught my attention. It shows, in just a couple sentences, that when it comes to foreign policy, he’s pretty darned clueless.
As I said throughout the campaign, I will be giving Secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office: responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control. We will also ensure that we have the strategy – and resources – to succeed against al Qaeda and the Taliban. As Bob said not too long ago, Afghanistan is where the war on terror began, and it is where it must end.
It takes a ton of leadership to give our soldiers pretty much the same mission they’ve had for the last couple years. The only difference is that President Bush told the military to win the war while Obama just wants it to end, whatever that takes. Luckily for the people of Iraq, we had a George W. Bush, who could hand over a process that, at this point, it would be very difficult for a naif like Obama to mess up. All he really has to do is to let the process work just the way it’s been working and…mission accomplished!.
The real clunker, though, is that last sentence. I have a tough time believing that Gates said what the President-Elect said he did, but even if he did, Barack Obama should have been smart enough not to repeat it. The War on Terror did not begin in Afghanistan any more than World War II began in the Pacific. I can’t imagine President Eisenhower nor President Truman making such a ridiculous statement and there’s no way in the world the American people would have accepted it if they had.
However, the thinking behind a sentence like that reveals a lot about the P-E. It’s the kind of statement you’d make if you believed that we started the War on Terror. To believe that, though, you’d have to believe that 9/11, the Khobar Tower bombings, the bombings of the embassies in Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, and the other attacks on US citizens and property were something other than warlike attacks, even though the Islamists openly declared war on us long ago. Obama’s statement is an awfully naive way to look at the threat of Islamism and a grave insult to the thousands of Americans the Islamists murdered before we got into the fight.
I think we’re fortunate that, by all indications, neither Robert Gates nor Hillary Clinton share that mistaken and dangerous view. It’s a shame that Barack Obama holds it, though. He’s smart enough to know better.