Obama's War


Published April 1, 2008

Commentary Magazine - April 2008

Throughout his dramatic campaign to win his party's nomination for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama has tended to ignore the specifics of policy in favor of the generalities of emotion, centering his appeal to voters on vague promises of “change” and “unity.” But on one issue, above all others, Obama has remained fixated from the campaign's first moment, and that is the war in Iraq. By Obama's own account, the consistency of his stand on this war demonstrates more than anything else that he, a one-term United States Senator who arrived in Washington in 2005 with no foreign-policy experience, after an uneventful eight-year stint in the Illinois state senate, possesses the wisdom, the clear-sightedness, and the judgment to assume the responsibilities of the nation’s commander-in-chief.

Obama calls Iraq “the most important foreign-policy decision in a generation.” By the word “decision,” presumably, he means to refer at once to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, Congress's decision to authorize that policy, and his own early decision to oppose any such action.

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