Thursday, August 02, 2007

Obama on War on Terrorism

Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton got into a little spat during the CNN YouTube debate that continues to escalate. The latest salvo was a speech Obama delivered which was broadside to the face of congressional Democrats. He basically demeaned congressional Democrats, especially on the Senate side, as rubber stamping the President's war.

I don't think Obama helped himself with this speech. As new and fresh a face as he is and as excited as he has gotten the Democratic electorate, organization still wins the day and ultimately, he'll need to depend on the very people he has demeaned. It is easy for Obama to criticize Senate Democrats now, especially since he did not have the responsibility of voting and nothing at stake. The fact is that the Bush administration is probably the most Orwellian 1984-ish administration the US has ever had and you have to battle them on both substance and perception, mostly perception. If Democrats were going to make any inroads they had to play the cards dealt them, they had to play on a field set by the current administration. Would many of the Democrats vote differently now? Yes, many admit they would in hindsight. But the situation then was what it was. It is impossible to go up against a White House that actively disseminates fear and non-truthful statements or propaganda.

Via TPM, here is expert analysis of Obama's speech.

The one point that I found extremely enlightening was Peter Bergen's comment:

While he said it was overall a strong speech, "the 9/11 plot was actually planned in Hamburg. The idea that weak and failing states are causes of terrorism is wrong. There is in fact overwhelming academic literature that demonstrates the reverse is true."

That is quite fascinating about weak and failing states. I don't think he is disputing the necessity of weak and failing states in the terrorism issue, because they do provide a base of operations. Nonetheless, the issue of causes is the more important question here.


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