Reality bites

By EDITORIAL  |  July 9, 2008

Of the future in Iraq, the study’s three authors say this: “The premise is continued engagement, not disengagement, but in contrast to the Bush administration’s current approach, America’s support to Iraq would not come for free.” Prediction: expect this to be the basis for Obama’s campaign position, cloaked, of course, in more comforting and soothing rhetoric.

Hard-line war opponents will ask, “What is Obama afraid of?”

One answer is that Obama fears the domestic political backlash that will result in some shape or form once the American public makes the leap that the withdrawal they justifiably favor means that Bush’s war, which the public once bought into, was a failure. Traditionally, American culture has not been big on failure. Contemporary culture is also not big on personal responsibility. If Obama fears being held accountable for the collapse of Bush’s war, he has good reason to be. Here in the United States of Amnesia, the guy on the spot gets the credit or the blame. And Obama, savvy pol that he is, wants as much credit and as little blame as possible.

The other answer is that Bush’s backsliding in Afghanistan, his stalemate in Iraq, and his expanded secret war against Iran has seriously destabilized the entire Near and Middle East. If Obama is indeed the next president, it makes sense for him to hedge his bets.

Those troubled by the expected Obama readjustment on Iraq should ask themselves this: who is preferable? A compromising Obama? Or a gung-ho McCain?

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