March 19, 2008

Obama war speech

Ethan Hahn writes:

Did you see this speech? Man, was I thrilled when I read it. I think he's dead wrong on Iraq, misreading the current situation and married to a foolish policy of withdrawal - but if you look past the gratuitous and inaccurate rips on Bush and McCain, and the Iraq situation, it's a fantastic speech. He's engaging the Bush administration big-picture policy everywhere else. A surge in Afghanistan; strength with Al Qaeda in Pakistan, while supporting the moderate middle and democracy, along with increased engagement; military training missions across the world, supporting failed states, growing the military, standing tough against Iran (using the same ideas McCain used on Hugh's show the other day)...I still support McCain because he's on the same page, but without the artificial deadline in Iraq, and without the crazy economic populism (well...LESS crazy economic populism) - but this was a great speech...

What do you think?

It's a good speech. [You can read it here] And since I've criticized him for lack of substance, I should commend him for putting some real positions on the table.

If I were McCain, I'd thank him for his candor and make a counter-speech, billing it as a debate-at-a-distance, without pesky moderators! That would be interesting.

I don't find it very convincing; there's too many things in the speech that anyone would like to do, including Bush, but that are very hard. Make NATO more nimble? How likely is that? The problems of NATO are just the problems of Europe writ small, and there's not much the President can do about it.

"...Now is the time to meet the goal of cutting extreme poverty in half, in part by doubling our foreign assistance while demanding more from those who receive it.." Well, if you are really interested in cutting poverty you have to do things like allow poor third-world countries to sell their crops in the developed world. Tough stuff, especially if you are a protectionist. I bet McCain could do it better than Obama. But I could be wrong.

And of course I think he's simply wrong to say that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the "central front" in the war. But it's good that he's taken positions. As always with Obama one wonders if he really means it.

Posted by John Weidner at March 19, 2008 8:37 PM
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