Barack Obama’s recent op-ed in the New York Times declares, “It’s time to end this war.” (You remember that Senator McCain tried to respond, but the Times apparently wanted to give McCain his opinion rather than allow him to express his own. Every day I read the New York Times and the Bible just to see what both sides are doing.)
Is Obama right? Is it time to end this war? Maybe it is time to begin drawing down our forces and handing-off more responsibility for security to Iraqi forces. This idea is gaining favor in Bagdad and Washington.
The problem for Obama is that withdrawal, not victory, has always been his goal. Obama wanted to “end this war” when it would have meant an American defeat. The only reason a slow withdrawal is possible now is because President Bush made the unpopular but wise decision to increase our efforts while Obama and the Democrat party tried to get us to cut and run.
This raises a larger question about Obama’s fitness for the presidency. Obama has four positions related to the war which, in my view, disqualify him for the presidency.
First, how can a serious candidate for President of the United States have a long-standing goal to end the war rather than win it? Great presidents don’t end wars—they win them. The only way the American military can be defeated is when American leaders forfeit the fight for them. And that’s exactly what Obama has wanted to do for years.
By forfeiting this war we will embolden Islamic radicals who will be free to turn Iraq into a new oil-rich haven where they will finance and launch a fresh round of terror attacks. We are fighting a suicidal enemy who will stop at nothing to end your freedom and mine. They will not be reasoned with, placated or appeased. They can only be defeated.
Obama seems oblivious to these facts. He has long been more concerned with placating head-in-the-sand liberals than defeating our enemy and protecting our freedom. Government’s most fundamental duty is to protect its citizens from harm, and Obama fails to meet the most basic requirement for the job.
Second, Obama wants to negotiate with the head of state most closely connected to the terrorists we are fighting—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Other than the goose bumps liberals get when they think they are saving the world by talking with tyrants, there is nothing good that can come out of such negotiations. Not only would they legitimize an outspoken and dangerous enemy, but they would be an exercise in futility. How could we trust any resulting agreement with Ahmadinejad?
Should the United States trust a character who denies the Holocaust and continually threatens Israel with comments such as, “Israel must be wiped off the map,” and “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.”? Obama thinks so. With that kind of judgment he barely qualifies to be the mayor of San Francisco, much less the leader of the free world.
Third, unlike President Bush, Obama will not adjust his position when the facts prove he’s wrong. Bush changed his tactics and instituted the surge. But Obama still has trouble admitting the surge worked and will not give credit to the United States soldiers who made it a success. Apparently, Obama would rather discount the brave actions of our fighting men and women than admit he made a mistake. He also persists with the absurd assertion that America is less safe since the war began. Will someone in the drive-by media ask Obama how a free Iraq and thousands of terrorists dead or on the run make us less safe?
Finally, Obama has shown no capacity to do what presidents must do to protect the country: make the least bad choice when there are no good choices available. In fact, Obama is notorious for voting “present” in the Illinois Senate rather than taking a stand at all. If there’s one thing true about the presidency, it’s that all tough decisions rise to the top. You can’t hide by voting “present.” And in those tough decisions, there are often no good choices just less bad ones.
Take the decision to go to war. Obama proudly claims he would have voted against the war had he been in the U.S. Senate at the time. But should he be proud?
I hate to rehash the facts, but it’s necessary because Obama and the Democrat party either deny or ignore them: Saddam had a terrible record of WMD use and aggressive behavior. And it was he – not coalition forces— who originally initiated hostilities when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. As a result, Saddam was obligated to obey the cease fire terms that left him in power. He had to prove to the international community that he had given up his hostile ways and WMD. It was not our job to prove he hadn’t.
But instead of signaling his repentance, Saddam’s defiant behavior required us to reopen the hostilities that he began. He violated 17 straight UN resolutions, kicked out UN inspectors looking for WMD, and continually broke the cease fire by shooting at coalition aircraft in the no-fly zone. What would a President Obama have done at the time? Passed another UN resolution? (No, that wouldn’t have allowed us to talk. How about tea at Camp David?)
Removing Saddam may have been a bad choice, but it was the least bad of the choices. It was a necessary evil to prevent a greater evil in a post 9-11 world.
Good presidents have the courage to execute the least bad choice and take the heat from the appeasers. Senator McCain has demonstrated that ability, while Senator Obama has done the opposite. He wants to end the war while defenders of freedom know we must win it.
At worst, all of this reveals Obama’s ignorance; at best, his inexperience. In either case, he’s not qualified to be the leader of the free world. The Presidency is not an entry-level position.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.