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The Appeal of Obama



Reading today's newspaper, there has been a lot of ink and a lot of TV time for the Senators who questioned David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker about the progress of the Iraq War.

I watched much of it on C-SPAN, in the middle of the day. Obama was the only person to say anything creative the whole day, as far as I could tell. This was his argument: If the surge has been a "success," then if the same level of violence could be maintained without US involvement -- i.e. Iraqi forces maintaining the current level of "fragile" and "reversible" peace -- then could the mission be declared a success.

Obama's analysis was that of a creative lawyer and critically-thinking academic. "I'm trying to get a sense of what we could call success," he said (paraphrase), and insinuating that the current stated goals for Iraq are pie-in-the-sky: it's quite apparent that after five years, Iraq is never going to be 1) a democratic ally of the US and Israel; 2) free of Iranian influence; and 3) peaceful and functioning like a Western developed country.

Democratic President candidate Barack Obama is the only person who has suggested a reasonable goal for success in Iraq. He is the only politician prepared to admit that Iraq will never look like we want it to. He's the only leader who can do what is necessary for the benefit of both Iraq and the United States: reach a reasonable level of violence, declare victory, and leave Iraq -- and focus on building our country instead of flushing taxes and deficit down a toilet.
 
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