Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honoring our troops, not scoring political points

By Peter Henne

I waited until now to post this, because I knew the power of Obama's rhetoric would require some reflection. For what it's worth, his speech commemorating the official end of combat in Iraq was respectful, and appropriate.

The President tried to frame this somewhat-milestone in a somber manner, highlighting the valor of our troops without turning them into a political prop. As a progressive who believes that the use of force is occasionally required, I felt that Obama's realistic assessment of war--the "darkest of human creations," in his words--was not as triumphal as some might like, but was refreshing in a way.

I wish I could say the same of his Republican critics. I really do; it would be nice if honor and respect could prevail in a moment like this. Boehner and McConnell released confused "prebuttals," in which they claimed that Iraq has improved without Obama's help and Obama has always opposed the war; they also repeated the tired refrain about "arbitrary" deadlines. Never mind the 2011 Iraq withdrawal deadline Obama is working towards in a gradual, responsible way was set by Bush. Or that Obama has had a consistent and nuanced position on the war since it began (for a good overview of this, see the timeline Jim Arkedis put together).

And this was preceded by a ridiculous 527 ad that included such laughable attack lines as blaming Obama for failing to catch Osama bin Ladin. It isn't the inaccuracies that annoy me, as right-wing attack ads are rarely very erudite. It is the fact that today we should be reflecting on the sacrifices our troops have made in service of this country, and vowing to support those who have returned, those in Afghanistan, and the 50,000 who remain in Iraq. Instead we get a vapid and unoriginal attack on Obama from GOP "leaders," and a shameless fear-mongering ad.

I should not have expected more of the Right, but I did.

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  • Honestly, the surge was a battle for improving a War, not winning it. Thank God we are getting out, what a waste of our Youth and Treasury set on a bed of lies.

    By Anonymous Montana, at 11:36 PM  

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