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From DailyKos, regarding why Clinton has lost the party's nomination (her support of the invasion of Iraq) and why Obama's stance defines his values and beliefs:

When Sen. Clinton stood up to speak on the war on Oct 10, 2002 the war was not a controversial issue among the establishment of this country. Many of the same pundits who escoriate her in the mainstream media today were braying in support of Pres. Bush. After 9/11, the Senator from New York had to be tough on terrorism. Pres. Bush had an approval rating of 64%, down from a high of 88% a year earlier, but still quite respectable. Even VP Cheney was at 54%. [...]
The anti-war protests appeared anemic due to the biased media coverage in the aftermath of 9/11. Quite a few Liberal Members of Congress protested the war, but they were marginalized as the `loony left' by compliant elite opinion makers. As in the letter which the DLC wrote to the members of Congress calling on them to support the President.So it was quite easy to make the decision to support the war. She did not find it necessary to read the NIE: she already knew most of the experts personally and knew their views. That much of the evidence for WMD in Iraq was fabricated was obvious to most experts, but it is doubtful that Sen. Clinton ever even questioned it. The important thing was not to get caught on the wrong side of history, when many of her colleagues even on the Democratic side of the Senate was going to vote for it. [...]

So [in 2002] who could have known that this war was a dumb war? Only people who paid attention, even without any secret information available to Federal Government officials.  Who knew that it was not Saddam Hussein but his mortal enemy the Al Queda that had carried out the attacks of 9/11, in spite of Cheney's claims? Everyone of course. But that was not enough for the pundits, the Congress or Sen. Clinton to oppose a war on Iraq. They let the confusion of Hussein and Al Qeada stand. It was not lack of knowledge, it was lack of courage to act on what they knew. It was not only Sen. Clinton that failed. Most of the establishment of the country went along, to their everlasting shame: Judy Miller was the worst but opinion makers like  Thomas Friedman,  Jonathan Alter,  establishment news sources like the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, all went along.

How did a minor American politician, a mere State Senator in Illinois, get it right when all these towering giants did not? It is not that Barack Obama  had better information. It is not even because  he was smarter. He simply had the courage to say what he knew to be true. He would, strangely, trust that the people he was addressing were adults.

As Sen. Clinton noted, she brings many years of experience to the table as does Sen. McCain. Sen. Obama brings a speech he gave in 2002. Here is the text of that speech:

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I don’t oppose all wars.

And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

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.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

Only a few seconds of the film of  that speech that survives. The words repeated by-some of his supporters- are powerful, even if delivered without Obama's special diction.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I agree. Sen. Obama's anti-war stance in 2002 was gutsy. I remember opposing the war in 2002, in Portland, and some people still giving me a lot of crap for it. Even in Portland, there was a group of people who would basically regard you as a traitor for saying the war was a bad idea.

Sen. Clinton's (and other Democrats') 2002 vote for the Iraq War resolution did not help. It reinforced the notion that only a left-wing fringe was opposed to the war.

Some people say that a candidate's stance on the war doesn't matter because the issue facing us now is different. I disagree. A candidate's 2002 stance illustrates something important about their judgment.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
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