Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm with Barack

Barack Obama seems to stumble into truth periodically, and he's done it again recently. Michael Kinsley once defined a gaffe as a moment when a politician accidentally speaks the truth. Perhaps this qualifies.

What did he do? He didn't speak accidentally, but quite deliberately:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.

The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

Hmm ... not a bad idea. It strikes me that Obama is rather naive about Iraq - he seems not to realize that al Qaeda couldn't function in Iraq or anywhere else without support from Pakistan and the Gulf States - but he does get it about Pakistan. I wonder if he also gets it about Saudi Arabia.

Obama's speech provoked a lot of blogosphere comment: interesting thoughts from Nick Schweitzer about how everyone nowadays is an interventionist, but that Republicans are just more honest about it. (BTW, I'm not sure that's true.) The always-intelligent Ann Althouse has some sharp insights as well.

She talks about generations traumatized by Vietnam, with the conventional thinking that the Baby Boomers are that generation. But it seems to me that it was the Greatest Generation, the one in leadership that conceived and put American intervention in Vietnam in motion (there was already a war going on there), who were seriously traumatized by the unexpected and terrible consequences. We tend to think of the Boomers as all hippies and protestors, but that's far from the truth. A significant number of Boomers served in the military, some in Vietnam, in that period, and contrary to stubborn, entrenched, and widespread myth, they and their larger age cohort were no more traumatized by Vietnam than, say, the World War II or Korean War soldiers. It's just a myth. Unfortunately, the media keeps repeating it - they largely started it - and takes it for granted as obvious. But it ain't so. I'm also just old enough to remember the last part of the Vietnam war and have cousins who served there (one in heavy combat). Certainly, the Boomers experienced an exceptional level of frustration and disorientation, but that's more because of the dramatic political and social changes that happened in America between 1965 and 1980 - not because of what a subset of them experienced in Vietnam. It was about as horrible an experience as any war is, less destructive than most modern wars, and they benefited from a military that, since World War I, has become far more advanced in combat medicine, especially in limiting the mental damage that war does. Since then, they have suffered from no higher level of mental illness, suicide, or unemployment than veterans of any war before or since.

Meanwhile, I guess I'm supposed to be with Fred, but for now, Barack is my beau.

POSTSCRIPT: Speaking of Fred and Saudi Arabia, there's apparently a problem: not with Fred himself, but with his acting campaign manager, Spencer Abraham. It's not pretty. What's weird is that Abraham is a Lebanese Christian and really should know better.

Read Debbie Schlussel for more. Nice to see conservatives policing their own here. And trust me: Thompson is an online dead-end for conservatives.

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