Vote for Obama - Iraq

Every election is important, from school board to county supervisor, from local ballot initiatives to the quadrennial circus of the presidential election. This one is no exception.

On each of the most pressing issues facing this country today, there is a clear choice between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

This is the first in a series of blog posts detailing why Barack Obama is the candidate best suited to lead this country through the next four years. They are guaranteed to be tumultuous. It will require a steady, thoughtful, and charismatic leader like Barack Obama to navigate us through these treacherous waters.

Iraq

The United States has been at war in Iraq for five years. George Bush, with the blessing of John McCain, took this country to war in Iraq under false Map of Iraq: This map of Iraq is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Map of Iraq: This map of Iraq is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.pretenses and has prosecuted the war in a ridiculously naive and illogical manner. The negative financial and geopolitical effects (which we are now only beginning to comprehend) will play out over the next 50 years.

Barack Obama recognizes the fundamental truth that there is simply no way to "win" this war militarily. The military component of this war was won easily by brave and committed soldiers just days into the conflict. Once the Hussein regime was evicted, the Bush administration had no plan for picking up the pieces and rebuilding civil society. A clear indicator of this lack of foresight was the complete absence of a defined exit strategy. Nobody considered how we would determine when the war was over.

Rebuilding Iraq economically and politically, knitting the social fabric back together, can only be done by the citizens of Iraq. They will require extraordinary amounts of assistance in these ventures, some of which will be military. The rest must be a cooperative effort of countries around the world dedicating expertise, money, strong diplomacy, and humanitarian aid.

Barack Obama will start withdrawing troops on a responsible schedule. This is not a retreat - the military has accomplished its mission. Yet they cannot, and should not be expected to also be responsible for diplomacy, political persuasion, and security as an occupying force. It is dangerous and irresponsible to ask our servicemen and women to remain in harm's way serving a now undefined mission for an indeterminate length of time. Barack Obama is much better positioned to restore the United States' diplomatic influence, remake the tattered "coalition", and lead the rebuilding Iraq.

John McCain repeats the mantra that we cannot pull troops out of Iraq until we have "won the war." Yet he can't define what those parameters are. At a cost of $10 billion every month, he proposes to continue mortgaging our children's future indefinitely.

Iraq is the fundamental issue of this election. The country is staggering under unprecedented debt. Our military forces are stretched too thin to serve as a "stick" in negotiations with other rogue nations. Every day that the United States militarily occupies Iraq reduces the diplomatic capital we have to spend dealing with North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambition, Venezuelan posturing, Israeli/Palistinian peace making, Russian imperialism, and India-Pakistan aggression.

This is no place for a maverick (McCain) and most certainly no place for a fundamentalist neophyte who believes she Alaska is the United States' first line of defense against Russian aggression.

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