Posted by lex, on July 3, 2008
It was wrong in 2004 for Republican Party operatives to paint as unpatriotic Democratic politicians who in good conscience found themselves opposed to the ongoing effort to liberate Iraq. Wrong in its own right, and wrong tactically, as it energized the latter party to view the war as a Republican affair rather than a national one, the winning of which would only serve to reward their political adversaries. The coalescence of that view – combined with the efforts of a sympathetic press wedded to the distribution of pornographic violence – demoralized our populace, inspired our enemies, prolonged the campaign and contributed to untold thousands of deaths overseas. That view – better that the country should lose the war than Bush win it – was wrong too. Just as it was always wrong for a party of progressive liberalism to agitate against the liberation of an enslaved populace.
It was wrong for Barack Obama to admit that a little bit of genocide might be acceptable when it came right down to it. It has been wrong of him to insist that all American combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraq within 16 months of his inauguration, regardless of the facts on the ground and despite the fervent desires of the democratically elected and hard pressed Iraqi government.
It was right of him today to admit that the situation in Mesopotamia has changed markedly since he first formulated his opinion on troop levels. It was right of him, having won the support of his hyper-agitated base, to move towards a more sensible position supporting both the aspirations of the Iraqi people and the long term strategic interests of the country he aspires to lead.
Having done so, it was irresponsible for Republican Party operatives to joyously claim that Obama had “flip-flopped” on the issue. As though coming around to reason was in itself somehow contemptible. Which attack in turn caused the Democratic Party candidate to “clarify” his position: He will end the war under whatever terms possible, so long as he does so within a defined time frame. Lose it, if need be.
His moderation should have been greeted with warm approbation by the political right. They should have welcomed him alongside them into the light. Because winning the war in Iraq has to be more important than winning the election at home. It has to be. We’ve come too far, spent far too much in blood and treasure, to walk away from success, to risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at this moment. Everything trembles in the balance.
That was true in 2004 and 2006. It will be true in 2008 as well.