- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2008


Your article “Obama ups ante on Afghans, Pakistanis” (Page 1, Monday) gives a good indication that Sen. Barack Obama is ignorant of at least one part of our armed forces’ professionalism. Asked to comment on doubts about whether he will be prepared for the commander in chief’s role, Mr. Obama is quoted as saying, “The troops that I’ve been meeting with over the last several days, they don’t seem to have those doubts.”

I don’t pretend to know what Mr. Obama’s expectations were for his dialogue with “the troops.” However, the fact that uniformed service members did not express doubts about his fitness is not evidence of the absence of doubt. Rather, it is consistent with the training, leadership and commitment of those troops to maintain the proper role of the military in our republic.

These are all points that Mr. Obama’s traveling companion, Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, and himself a graduate of West Point, should have been able to explain to the presidential candidate.

By implying that “the troops” think he’s ready, Mr. Obama tacitly admits some significant weaknesses in the matter of national security. He evidently hopes that these weaknesses will not be noticed by a majority of the electorate until after November.

Debating a candidate’s preparedness to assume a president’s responsibilities is inherently political. The chattering and political classes of this nation provide an abundance of participants for this debate. Meanwhile, our military maintains a respectful distance from supporting - or opposing - any candidate.

But Mr. Obama’s assertion that a lack of criticism from an assiduously apolitical organization indicates support for his aim to be commander in chiefis arrogant and contemptible. A candidate who is truly prepared to serve as our commander in chief will have actual evidence of his preparation. He would not pretend that doubts about his readiness are nonexistent.



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