Shifting Iraq stance shows Obama’s not ready for job - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Shifting Iraq stance shows Obama’s not ready for job

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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 11:30 pm | Updated: 10:01 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A goldfish is said to have the shortest memory, one swim around the bowl and everything is brand new, never been seen. Dogs seem to have memory issues as well, but their memory revolves around time. If you leave a dog for five minutes or five hours they act just as excited to see you no matter what the time span is.

Apparently, Barack Obama is counting on the fact that the American voter has the memory of a goldfish and the exuberance of the family dog. Not for the moment Obama walks through the door but rather when he blatantly shifts his policies, greeting the words as though they are the first of their kind.

I have never been a fan of the war in Iraq, but I do have a personal stake in the war. I have family members who have seen combat action, and I have a son-in-law who has his boots on some of the most dangerous real estate in that country. So I pay very close attention to what is going on there, what promises are being made regarding the war, what the candidates’ plans of action are. I have to say that I have never seen anything like what I am seeing and hearing now.

Obama has muddied the waters so badly on this issue that I am swimming around lost in the murky water of changing strategies, altered realities and an overall obfuscation of something that in its reality is simple. No matter your view on the war in Iraq, the one thing that cannot be avoided is that we are there and exiting the country before securing democracy would be disastrous.

McCain has never been a fan of the war but he did advocate on behalf of the recent surge strategy, which at the time came at a steep political cost to him. Obama, on the other hand, has bankrolled his campaign on disagreeing with the war and the surge strategy. Obama has in fact been bellicose when it comes to denigrating the Bush administration, the war and the surge — that is, until recently. Obama now applauds the reduction of violence in Iraq, acknowledging a success from the surge. Obama also now wants to employ a similar tactic in Afghanistan by increasing numbers there by three brigades.

McCain has a similar Afghanistan strategy, but his involves increasing the number by only two combat brigades. Obama has also adopted a wait-and-see strategy when it comes to exiting Iraq. That sits in sharp contrast to his campaign promise of a guaranteed phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq, starting on the day he takes office.

Lives are at stake here — the lives of our soldiers and the men, women and children of Iraq. This isn’t some political football that we can just kick around.

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell said of Iraq, before we entered that country, “If you break it, you own it.” Well, the one thing that is more than obvious is that we broke it, now we own it. Not even Obama can avoid that despite his campaign promises.

It is a time where judgment is key. McCain has shown he has the foresight and Obama has shown that he simply does not. His is a “Johnny Come Lately” kind of realization. While others saw the painful wisdom in Powell’s philosophy and planned around that, Obama simply said, “I don’t want to play.” Well, now he is in the sandbox and not playing isn’t an option.

I am not advocating for John McCain this time around; as I have stated in the past, I am no fan of either of these two candidates for various reasons. What I am saying is that when it comes to being the commander in chief, McCain looks like he has the wisdom of advanced thought while Obama is still playing catch-up.

Eric L. Burton lives in the East Valley. Visit his Web site at

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