Tuesday, February 12, 2008

... for President

Looks like the next 30-45 days will be the home stretch for the two Democratic contenders for their party's Presidential nomination. Reading newspapers, online sources, blogs, etc. the reasons that many voters give (at least publicly) for preferring one candidate over the other are sometimes weak. An example is those that feel that a big differentiator has been the candidates' relative stances on Iraq, and/or that either candidate has shown any real leadership on this subject...

One freely criticized the war when 'on the outside' as an Illinois state senator. Then (now an 'insider'), when in a position to do more about it as a U.S. Senator, he was much more restrained, somewhat more equivocal, ramping up criticism as things went from bad to worse. The other, an 'insider' in a position to have an impact, cravenly went along then came out against the war only when it was clearly safe to do so! The difference is thus a matter of degree, neither has shown much real leadership in this area. If being more correct on Iraq is a predictor of suitability for the Presidency, then may I humbly suggest that this blogger, although in favor of removing Saddam all along, has shown himself as much (if not more) on the mark as either of the two candidates, viz:

  • In September 2002, while in favor of removing Saddam, agreed that significant skepticism was legitimate re how the administration was "making its case." See OPED29 - Making "the case" against Iraq
  • Also in September 2002 OPED30 Beyond Making the Case called for tactics that would have reduced the subsequent unrest e.g. avoiding any damage to civilian infrastructure; not targeting "regular" army but freezing troop concentrations in place until they could be moved to "surrender zones" (as opposed to bypassing them to race to Baghdad, allowing them to melt away, often with stocks of weapons that could then be used against the U.S.); articulation of a clear end game; guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Iraq; etc.
  • In March 2003, before the onset of the war, decried the foolishness of the administration as it had frittered away the world-wide reservoir of good will, used bogus arguments and shoddy intelligence, etc. See OPED34 Mistakes Along the Way
  • On March 25th, 2003, five days after the start of the war, and a good two weeks before the fall of Baghdad OPED37 Victory? attempted to define 'victory.' It stated that this would be hard to define and even harder to attain, and that "the U.S. administration can not content itself with military success, it will have to also achieve positive results in the political arena". It stated that some of the factors that needed to be included to ensure 'victory' were a) the need for solid evidence of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons to be found, b) a post-Saddam government carefully crafted and balancing the influence of Iraqi emigres with acceptable internal parties, c) that there be follow up to address other conflicts in the region, in particular the Israel-Palestinian conflict, d) that the U.S. not remain in bed with the monarchies, dictatorships, military regimes, and semi-democracies in the area, but begin the delicate task of encouraging movement towards democracy in these countries, etc.
  • In July 2003 OPED38 Aces are Low lamented the wishful thinking that Iraq had arrived at yet another "turning point."
  • As far back as March 2002 OPED21 Straight Talk on Hazar Qadam pointed out the flaws in the (then) quasi-cult status of Donald Rumsfeld.
  • In November 2006 OPED44 What to do in Iraq pointed out the mental adjustments that needed to be made by the administration if it wanted to show progress in Iraq.

So, bottom line, on the issue of Iraq this blogger's record is as substantive as that of Senator Obama (see pages 5 and 6 of Obama Opposed the War from the Beginning). The difference of course is that this unknown blogger's opinion is a web page with perhaps 10 hits/month, while Senator Obama is a sitting U.S. Senator. However, each had the exact same impact on the course of actual events i.e. nil!

P.S. Just kidding re the vote, as an immigrant am not eligible :)

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