President Barack Obama, in his speech on Tuesday night on the Iraq war mission and pull out of troops, attempted to play both sides and it came off pretty miserably. He did not seem comfortable giving an argument for a war he campaigned against, but he found ways to slip in liberal Democratic issues, which had little to do with the accomplished mission in Iraq.
Mr. Obama was against the war from the outset, and he must not only tell all Americans that the mission in Iraq is over but also deem it successful, so he can grab credit for himself as the president who pulled us out of the war. This is a very convenient strategy before the mid-term elections, but he makes it clear to those who were against the war that he did not like the idea of going there in the first place, so noting success in Iraq was not explicitly made in his speech.
A number of political watchers wondered if Mr. Obama would even give an ounce of credit to President Bush for doing the heavy lifting and tough decision making during the majority of the time the U.S. was in Iraq. Instead, he mentions Mr. Bush as someone who loves the troops and loves the country but nary a word about Mr. Bush’s commitment to the surge and Mr. Obama’s opposing the surge, which ended up being successful in the end.
Remember, it was Mr. Obama who wanted the troops out of Iraq by March of 2008. He said if he had the power to do so he would have cut off the funding if it could stop the surge.
At one point in the speech, he goes back to what he knows best, and that is campaigning. He talks about providing health care and benefits for our vets, but this is the same president whose administration said at one point that military vets should use private insurance for their health care. The administration quickly moved away from that position. CNN Reported in 2009:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.
But the proposal would be “dead on arrival” if it’s sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.
Murray used that blunt terminology when she told Shinseki that the idea would not be acceptable and would be rejected if formally proposed. Her remarks came during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs about the 2010 budget.
No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.
The groups also cited an increase in “third-party collections” estimated in the 2010 budget proposal — something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.
sked about the proposal, Shinseki said it was under “consideration.”
“A final decision hasn’t been made yet,” he said.
Currently, veterans’ private insurance is charged only when they receive health care from the VA for medical issues that are not related to service injuries, like getting the flu.
Charging for service-related injuries would violate “a sacred trust,” Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis said. Davis said the move would risk private health care for veterans and their families by potentially maxing out benefits paying for costly war injury treatments.
The president railed against how much we spent for the war and about how it “short-changed” Americans at home and contributed to record deficits.
Somehow Obama and his allies always find a way to work jobs into anything they legislate or talk about, because the unemployment numbers continue to be dismal. This is just their way to make it seem like they are doing something when in fact, nothing has changed.
He used the speech as a venue to talk about our education policy and our energy policy. While it can be said that our dependence on foreign oil is certainly part of our middle-eastern policy debates, why is the president even mentioning education reform in his speech? He said:
That effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we haFve also understood that our nation’s strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.
Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.
And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it is our turn. Now, it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for -the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.
Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.
All of this is interesting selective amnesia. Nevermind about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the massive auto-bailouts, the unpopular health care legislation, and the failed stimulus package among other things this administration does not want to talk about. Mr. Obama blamed the war in Iraq as a reason for why we are sitting in a bad economy.
Here is a reminder for the president. We were in Iraq and Afghanistan when the stock-market was soaring and unemployment was around five percent. This was after the attacks of 9/11 when the stock-market plunged. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on Monday stating the eight years of the Iraq war cost less than the much touted and much failed Obama stimulus package (h/t Fox News).
Campaigning about domestic policies is what Mr. Obama knows best. He will always go back to them, even if it is to the exclusion of more important issues at hand, but the American people are not buying it now. And the administration will see that at the polls in November.