Obama was Planning Trip to Iraq

John McCain has been hammering B. Hussein Obama pretty hard because Obama has declared that the US lost in Iraq and that the surge was not working and he made these assessments even though he has not been to the country in over two years. Obama has also not spoken with General Petraeus other than to grandstand during the General’s last briefing to Congress. John McCain suggested that Obama needed to go to Iraq and see for himself. He also suggested that before Obama engages in unconditional talks with our enemies he should consider doing so with our top commanders, particularly General Petraeus.

Well lo and behold B. Hussein Obama is considering a trip to Iraq. His people say that he has been thinking about this for some time (sure) and Obama indicated that he did not want to go there just for some political stunt:

“I just don’t want to be involved in a political stunt.”

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders,” he said in the interview. “I’m not there to try to score political points or perform. The work they’re doing there is too important.”

What Obama is saying is that he would never use Iraq as a political pawn because the work our men and women are doing there is too important. No, Obama would never play politics with this important issue. Just one problem. His people stated this about his plans:

Obama’s campaign has been considering an overseas trip since last year to beef up his foreign policy credentials, but the extended fight for the Democratic nomination with Hillary Rodham Clinton has delayed those plans.

So Obama does not want to be part of a political stunt but he has been considering a trip to Iraq to beef up his foreign policy credentials. In reality, he is not going to talk to the troops or commanders and the work they are doing is not that important because B. Hussein Obama needs to beef up his credentials by going to Iraq. Obama would never play politics with this important issue but going just to beef up your creds is playing politics with this important issue.

It is also playing politics with this important issue to talk about a complete and unconditional withdraw from Iraq regardless of what commanders on the ground advise just to appease (there is that word again) the nutroots on the left fringe of the party. To decide on withdraw with little or no regard for what the real military professionals have to say is pure politics and is a move designed to win votes from those who are tired of the conflict.

I have my doubts as to whether Obama was planning a trip to Iraq or not but the fact is this little tidbit was not revealed until McCain started hammering him about it. No matter what he or his people say it will always look like McCain shamed him into going.

I wonder if he will meet with General Petraeus? I think Obama is trying to avoid the man because he will then be forced to either agree with a commander on the ground or disregard what he says. The former will tick off Obama’s base and the latter will show an arrogance toward a man who is about eight years older and has a hell of a lot more military knowledge than Obama will ever have.

McCain backed Obama in a corner with this one and it will be fun to see how this plays out. I bet Obama comes out of it with a lot more gaffes. Who knows, maybe he will come back with some more family war stories.

General Sanchez Sounds a Little Bitter

Retired General Ricardo Sanchez, who was the commanding general of all the troops in Iraq, has spoken publicly giving his opinions about the war and the way it was handled. General Sanchez is entitled to his opinion and he knows a lot more than I do about running a war but he seems to have placed blame on everyone but himself.

General Sanchez said that the war was a “nightmare with no end in sight” and blamed Congress, the State Department, the Bush Administration and any number of other government agencies. He said we did not have enough troops and equipment going in (I agree with that) and that surge was a desperate attempt to make up for misguided policies. That might be partly true because we should have had more troops from the start. However, the assessment of General Petraeus is slightly different and a bit more optimistic, probably because he has been in Iraq recently and Sanchez has been out for a little while.

Sanchez is entitled to his opinion and I think he might be a little bitter because his was a rocky command. This is not to say that he is a bad leader, I do not know him, but he had to spend part of his time fending off the problems associated with Abu Ghraib. He was eventually cleared of any wrong doing but that had to have consumed a lot of his time, time that should have been spent leading the troops in war. I can certainly understand his sentiments and his anger at the government and while I disagree with him on what actions he could have taken while in command to let his superiors know how he felt, I certainly understand why he is bitter. The problem is, General Sanchez placed blame squarely on everyone in government. He picked the administration, Congress, and other government entities. However, the left will cherry pick his comments and make the criticism all about President Bush. This statement will be used in a Democratic political campaign to blast the right:

“From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power,” Sanchez said.

And this one will be ignored:

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.”

Mark my words, the first quote will be used by MorOn.org and Democratic candidates to show how terribly the administration did and will ignore the quote that places blame on everyone, including a Congress that takes decisions based upon polls and fails to actually lead. It is unwise to give the enemy anything that can be used as propaganda and Sanchez’s words can be blasted all over al Jazeera and at the DNC (the same entity).

The interesting thing is that the very groups who will latch on to the words of General Sanchez and hail him as a truth telling hero who thinks the war is a failure and use this to claim they support the troops are the ones who attacked General Petraeus because he did not say what they liked.

I wonder if General Sanchez is thinking about running for office or if he is lining up a gig as a war analyst at some cable news network because he has come out with both barrels blazing. I am not sure Sanchez would be good for political office and I would be weary about voting for him (though he would not be running in my state anyway) based upon his admitted silence about things he thought were wrong because I think leadership involves expressing those opinions.

I wish Sanchez well in whatever he does but I think he might have done the troops more good if he had spoken up a few years ago rather than wait. I also think pointing the fingers in every direction except inward is just a defense mechanism to deflect some of the blame that certainly rests upon his shoulders.

If you fail to speak up about something that you know is wrong you are just as responsible for it as the folks who did it.

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