Link via Karl, who wonders what Obama could possibly mean here after his stirring testament at Saddleback to what a “real bad person” Saddam Hussein was.

The Illinois senator’s opposition to the Iraq war, which his comment clearly referenced, is well known. But this was the first time the Democratic presidential candidate has made a comparison between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Russia’s recent military activity in Georgia.

“We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies,” Obama told a crowd of supporters in Virginia. “They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.”

Here’s a newsflash, champ: Russia’s foreign minister did indeed invoke a case of U.S. military action in his Journal op-ed the other day, but it wasn’t Bush and the Middle East that he had in mind. I don’t begrudge the guy his leftist cant, but at least put some meat on the bone. How, precisely, would Russian actions have been different if we hadn’t invaded Iraq? Georgia and Ossetia have been fighting since Obama was in his 20s. Are we playing another game of Time Machine here, in which the war somehow becomes a justification even for misfortunes that preceded it?

Exit question: Does it really matter if we lead by example given that, according to Dan Quayle aspirant Tim Kaine, Obama’s already capable of bending Russia to his will?

Update: A commenter wonders where the McCain campaign ad is for this. Good question. For all the liberal pants-wetting over how negative McCain’s supposedly been, his attack ads (with the notable exception of the Landstuhl one) have been notably mild. No Rezko, no Ayers, no Wright — just Britney and Paris. I guess they’re saving the heavy armaments for after the convention.