Today, Barack Obama announced several cabinet appointments. The media, ever enthralled by the drama that engulfs the Clintons, have focused on the choice of Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State. But another selection will surely be more news worthy in the coming months.
Barack Obama owes a lot to the voters of the anti-war Left, who responded enthusiastically when he denounced and promised to abandon the Iraq operation. They were his margin of victory in the early caucus and primary contests that ensured his nomination.
Throughout the campaign Candidate Obama appealed to the emotions that united the Democrat Party’s diverse coalition of Leftist causes: hatred of George Bush, and hatred of Iraq. A thousand times he denounced the Iraq operation as “failed policy” and promised he would order a scheduled, 16 month withdrawal, regardless of any objections from military advisers. He said John McCain would bring “more of the same” failed Iraq policy.
But today, President-Elect Obama has picked current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, an outspoken opponent of his timetable for withdrawal, to continue serving in the new administration. In his announcement he said of Robert Gates:
Two years ago he took over the pentagon at a difficult time…
Well yes! Gates’ first action was to order radical changes in strategy and tactics for the Iraq operation, including military, political and economic initiatives, plus a temporary increase in troop strength that would become known as “The Surge.” Nobody is more to blame for making this “a difficult time” than Barack Obama.
When Senator Obama could have seized the opportunity to be an idealistic, visionary leader in the cause of Liberty, and American success, he deferred to the defeatist dogma of those in his party who needed failure in Iraq, to vindicate their position, that “Bush’s war” was an irreversible disaster. Then-Senator Obama fell back on the simplistic chants of the anti-war Left in a TV interview:
I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.
A few days later he said:
We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality — we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, I don’t know any expert on the region or any military officer that I’ve spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.
In July, 2007 as the intense combat phase of the new strategies and initiatives was in full force, and the troops deserved unqualified support from the home front, Senator Obama appeared on The Today Show and said:
My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now.
Obama repeatedly tried his best prevent success in Iraq, first by introducing legislation that would have aborted the surge just as it began, and by twice voting to withdraw funds for the Iraq operation, even as US troops were engaged in daily combat. Throughout the campaign he promised that if elected he would withdraw all combat troops on a predetermined schedule, regardless of the consequences.
Fortunately for America, President Bush and Secretary Gates prevailed over Senator Obama and his allies in Congress and now America is positioned to withdrawal from Iraq in victory, leaving behind a brand new democracy in the heart of the middle east.
Today, even as he renominated Robert Gates to continue to lead the military Obama repeated obsolete campaign slogans:
As I said throughout the campaign i will be giving secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office: responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraq control.
Obama, reflecting the emotions of the anti-war Left, and unwilling to acknowledge any benefit from replacing a noxious, terror-sponsoring dictatorship with an allied democracy, still uses the word “end” rather than “win” or “succeed,” or “prevail.” Otherwise, his goal, a successful transition to Iraqi control is no different than the goal Gates has pursued under the Bush Administration.
Under Mr. Gates’ leadership the US and Iraq have just reached an agreement, ratified by the Iraqi Parliament, that calls for US troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011, or more than twice as long as Obama has insisted would be his pre-scheduled sixteen month timetable, which he did not mention in today’s remarks.
This appointment certainly leads to some interesting questions:
Will President Obama try to impose his sixteen month withdrawal timetable? That seems out of the question, now. If that were his plan he would not have renominated Gates.
Will the anti-war left give President Obama a pass and quietly go along with three more years of US troops stationed in Iraq? Or, will there be protests and pressure on Congress to override Obama’s plan for three more years of “Bush policies”?