Barack Obama … hawk?

posted at 12:00 pm on November 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

During the primaries, Barack Obama derived energy from the anti-war Left of MoveOn and Code Pink, criticizing the Iraq War and defending his inexperience as secondary to the poor judgment shown by those who voted to authorize it.  The issue dropped off the radar screen in the general election due to the financial crisis and the success of the surge in Iraq.  Now, however, the same hard-Left supporters who boosted Obama over early favorite Hillary Clinton for the nomination wonder whether Obama may be a hawk in sheep’s clothing:

Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama’s national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.

The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war. …

Aside from Clinton and Gates, the roster of possible Cabinet secretaries has included Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), who both voted in 2002 for the resolution authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq, though Lugar has since said he regretted it.

“It’s astonishing that not one of the 23 senators or 133 House members who voted against the war is in the mix,” said Sam Husseini of the liberal group Institute for Public Accuracy.

I’m not sure why they find this so surprising.  Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate, a man who also voted to authorize the Iraq War, and until the primaries had continued to argue for it.  That selection should have sent a pretty strong signal that Obama either wanted to take his administration in a conventional, inside-the-Beltway direction, or that he needed a court jester to keep himself amused on slow days.

The best takeaway quote reported by Paul Richter comes from Kevin Martin of the left-wing activist group Peace Action.  He’s not quite willing to blast Obama:

“There’s so much Obama hero worship, we’re having to walk this line where we can’t directly criticize him,” he said. “But we are expressing concern.”

We’ll give Martin a Petard Award for that not-quite-revelation about the silliness he and his allies on the Left created over Obama.  The “hero worship” that keeps him silent exists because fools like Martin inflated Obama into something more than what he is — an untested, inexperienced politicians whose physical attractiveness and undeniablly excellent oratory substituted for substance.

I wonder what Jodie Evans thinks of all this?  The Code Pink founder bundled cash for Obama and helped harness the energy of her organization for his election.  Richter didn’t interview Evans for this story, which is a shame; it would have been very entertaining indeed to hear her spin Obama’s reliance on pro-war Democrats in the incoming administration.  I’d say that her Code Pink associates may have a few questions for Evans in the coming days.

Meanwhile, welcome to Washington, where it’s almost always a case of “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  Obama needed to impress the Left to get the nomination, and now he needs to shed himself of the albatross in order to govern.


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It means President Joe Biden. Now do you see the conundrum?

KillerKane on November 20, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Not sure… is mental incapacity even mentioned as a reason for the seccesion? Who decides he is mentaly incapable?

In the past, the President has always voluntarily given up ower when incapacitated (even signed documents to do so)… but what happens if its not voluntary? I think the only way out is impeachment… but you can’t impeach for that… only high crimes or misdemeanors…

Romeo13 on November 20, 2008 at 1:41 PM

I never hold anything against the war-related decisions of Inouye. Ever.

MadisonConservative on November 20, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Normally I would agree with you, as Dan has a long and distinguished record serving the people of Hawai’i-he was my Senator when I lived out there, and he’s done a lot for the state.

However, Dan started going around the bend when the evil Bush “stole” the 2000 election. He even showed solidarity with the pro-Gore drones who tried to get the Electoral College to make Prince Albert the new President. It was sad to watch.

Del Dolemonte on November 20, 2008 at 2:04 PM

But wasn’t BusHitler killing innocent Iraqi’s just by breathing? When did this Diplomacy thing happen? I didn’t read about it in any newspapers or hear it on MSNBC or CNN. Are you sure you have your facts straight?

Have you not SEEN my screen name? The MSM (including Fox) are hacks and they should all be killed. What people forget is the remarkably symmetry within the MSM on the war these past 5 years. In 2003 everyone, and I mean EVERYONE bought into Bush Admin propoganda that:
1. There were WMDs and we knew where they were.
2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.
3. The war would be quick and reconstruction would mostly be paid for with Iraqi oil.
4. We would be greeted as liberators.
They then embedded media INTO the military, making unbiased reporting on the people who are keeping you alive in the warzone pretty much impossible.

Then when everyone who said “the war will be long and hard and no one likes being occupied by an outside force” were proven right, the media line shifted. Suddenly we were massacring civilians despite the fact that the initial invasion saw the lionshare of civilian death during our air strikes. Suddenly every civilian death was our fault, even though Al-Qaeda was responsible for huge amounts of civilian death. Suddenly we had destabilized the region, when really rival factions were mainly trying to fill a vaccuum (that we created mind you).

And yes, the diplomacy of the surge did alot to stop that factional crap. Don’t get me wrong. The war in Iraq proves to me that you can not install a Democracy in another country unless the people decide they want to install a Democracy. Frankly, I’m not sure if it’s succesful yet. We’ll see what happens in the future. But the question I have is whether or not 4,000 lives was worth setting up a fledgling democracy in another country. I don’t think it was, others will disagree.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:06 PM

t also baffles me that the far-left would want to “negotiate” with Al Qaeda… You know the people who murdered 3,000 Americans in cold blood… eyes roll..

Illinidiva on November 20, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Anyone who’s at all familiar with the surge knows what I meant. We didn’t negotiate with Al-Qaeda. I bet ten bucks you don’t actually know about the diplomatic component of the surge and who we negotiated with. Sheesh.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:10 PM

OK! I’ll bite! We negotiated with the Sunnis. Is that right Mr. Death? Or is it Mr. Hack?

Vince on November 20, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Prediction:

“Draft Ned Lamont” telethon coming soon to the Kos losers network.

jeff_from_mpls on November 20, 2008 at 12:51 PM

No, wait! Howard Dean just became available!

YEEEEEEEEEARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

SuperCool on November 20, 2008 at 2:24 PM

2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Golly, here I thought the whole premise of the Preemption Doctrine was to prevent threats from materializing before they reached the threshold of imminence.
Damn.
Thanks for clearing that up.

Bruno Strozek on November 20, 2008 at 2:29 PM

1. There were WMDs and we knew where they were.

Fact, as admitted by his own air marshal. Why the heck do you think Saddam spent such a long time stalling weapons inspectors?

2. 2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.

No one said an attack was imminent, plus which, the definition of WMD’s isn’t limited to nuclear weapons.

3. The war would be quick and reconstruction would mostly be paid for with Iraqi oil.

Again, who the heck said this?

4. We would be greeted as liberators.

I’ll admit opinions of the war aren’t uniform among the Iraqis either – but if you think every Iraqi or even most of them are in opposition to our presence there you’re incredibly short sighted.

Ryan Gandy on November 20, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Whoomp! Der it iz!

“Petard.”

A common word these next four years?

locomotivebreath1901 on November 20, 2008 at 2:32 PM

and undeniablly excellent oratory substituted for substance.

I still have to disagree with this.

Listening to him gives me a headache – even when he’s saying something I agree with. He has an odd speech cadence that has him ending every 3-4 words with downward inflection. When I listen to him I always get the feeling that he’s speaking to a small child and I just happen to be in the room too. He’s definitely got a unique oratorical style, but, I don’t necessarily think it is a good one.

As far as substance goes, I think everyone (even his supporters) would be hard pressed to come up with anything he’s said that’s memorable besides (and I paraphrase) “granny was a typical white woman”.

We all know his skills off-prompter, so I…uhh….won’t….ummmm…get into that…uhhhh…that…uhhh…that one.

JadeNYU on November 20, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Hopefully, Sen. Lugar won’t take the bait to join an Obama Administration. We’ll need his vote for filibusters!

Why does Obama want to hire a hawk? To invade Pakistan! When you’ve made your political career out of criticizing the invasion of a country of 25 million people to depose a brutal dictator and set up democracy over a period of five years, Big Bad Barack has to outdo Bush, by invading a country of 130 million people with nuclear weapons, to smoke big bad Bin Laden out of his cave.

“Reckless and naive”, said Hillary Clinton. But that was the primaries! Now it’s time for “Change”, and she’s in the Cabinet. How about Joe Lieberman for Secretary of Defense?

Steve Z on November 20, 2008 at 2:37 PM

DTMH says:

Those of us on the left who’ve paid attention to the whole campaign knew that Obama was a hawk. He wanted to “surge” in Afghanistan before anyone else did and it troubled me. Primarily because the troops need a break. Seriously. Nearly a decade of war and it’s just time to get people home. Get their injuries and psychological scars attended to. Get them back to normal life.

Obviously you know nothing about warfare – never let the enemy rest. What you suggest is the biggest failure a general can make: failure to pursue.

MSimon on November 20, 2008 at 2:54 PM

The real question is whether this will damage the Big Spender-Moonbat coalition. If it does, so much the better. And if the Moonbats go off to form their own Peace-At-Any-Price Party, it might splinter the left-of-center vote, too.

We can only hope.

njcommuter on November 20, 2008 at 3:15 PM

a capella on November 20, 2008 at 12:37 PM
upinak on November 20, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Please do not confuse poor “death” with any questions he can’t answer or logic he cannot compute. He’ll just run off to other threads and we will not be able to laugh at him. Yea, he loves to be a bomb thrower but isn’t brave enough to stay and defend his positions. Are ya, death? Been waiting for responses to my posts to you on another thread, but alas, “crickets”. Please come back with another liberal talking point as you usually do, until someone defeats that point with truth and logic. At which time you run from the discussion, just as libs usually do.

Would love to stick around to hear from ya death, but I have a life and won’t be back til tomorrow morning. Have a good day all, even you death:)

Jvette on November 20, 2008 at 3:21 PM

thuja sez: I’m delighted by the direction Obama has taken foreign policy, as we all should be.

Do you get the feeling that his national security briefing was devoid of nuance? That his eyes were opened to what’s really going on out there? The world’s not a nice place, Mr. Prez-elect, and throwing your arm around Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s shoulder — and shining your dazzling smile on Chavez — is not gonna make ‘em swoon.

Paul_in_NJ on November 20, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Does anyone have a link about Obama’s reaction to his first CIA briefing? I’ll bet it was like that Simpsons episode with Troy McClure taking the kid into a slaughterhouse. The kid emerged pale and completely horrified.

KillerKane on November 20, 2008 at 1:12 PM

I’ve only been looking for a clip of Barry’s look while he was turning the corner into the presser after his first CIA briefing, but Before he tried to compose himself and step up to the podium to speak.

No luck. Not yet anyway.

I Do remember the “aaands” and “uhs” coming as fast and as furious as ever when he Did start speaking though.

Teddy on November 20, 2008 at 4:02 PM

2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Show me IN CONTEXT where Bush said an attack was imminent by Iraq.

Chuck Schick on November 20, 2008 at 4:12 PM

Does any one else think that it’s a little messed up that nobody can get presidential briefings before they are finally elected? Even if they are already Governers and Senators? It seems to me like it would make more sense if they started getting these reports when they get the party nomination. That way they can actually understand what the job entails and make honest promises regarding national security and foreign policy.

It’s like interviewing for a job, but you will only be told your duties once you are selected.

justfinethanks on November 20, 2008 at 4:41 PM

Does any one else think that it’s a little messed up that nobody can get presidential briefings before they are finally elected? Even if they are already Governers and Senators?

justfinethanks on November 20, 2008 at 4:41 PM

How to put this delicately: most candidates for president are narcissistic blabbermouths with little or no chance of ever being in a position of ever acting on the information. A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing when in the hands of morons who can do nothing but harm.
For further clarification Google “Dennis Kucinich” .
Sadly, you may also do the same with “Joseph Biden”.

Bruno Strozek on November 20, 2008 at 4:54 PM

That conservatives are attempting to define Barack Obama’s Presidency before it has even started shows how desperate you guys are for message dominance. You guys have lost that game already; try again in four years.

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Meet the new boss….

Same as the old boss…

- from “Will get fooled again”

drjohn on November 20, 2008 at 6:42 PM

That conservatives are attempting to define Barack Obama’s Presidency before it has even started shows how desperate you guys are for message dominance. You guys have lost that game already; try again in four years.

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!! Now we have to deal with criticism and it stings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chuck Schick on November 20, 2008 at 7:02 PM

Obama is like a bad old folk song-

He’s a hawk when he has to be
And a dove when he can.
He’s half white, and half black,
And he’s not quite a man…

(Imagine it sung by Buffy St. Marie, with a really annoying warble.)

profitsbeard on November 20, 2008 at 7:02 PM

Oh happy day.
Pass the popcorn.

HornetSting on November 20, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Why is it that the Left only hears, what they want to hear?

Romeo13 on November 20, 2008 at 12:11 PM

“…..Huh?, Wha…? …Did you say something?..” The Left

Red State State of Mind on November 20, 2008 at 7:07 PM

That conservatives are attempting to define Barack Obama’s Presidency before it has even started shows how desperate you guys are for message dominance. You guys have lost that game already; try again in four years.

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

I hope you are kidding….but, if not…..
Where the hell have you been for the past year? You must be one of the 52 million that can’t find their a$$ with two hands and a flashlight.
I think Baracky finally got a sobering look at the world as it really is, not what he thinks it is with unicorns and hearts.

HornetSting on November 20, 2008 at 7:11 PM

Sweet, I read about this,
If it is true. I hope they like the taste of bus tires. It better be a big bus because thats a lot of loony lefty’s going under. Instead of a person, is he going to mow down the groups that supported him.
It’s all about “The One” not “The We”

Tin Lizzy on November 20, 2008 at 7:11 PM

Keep it up O-man. You just might get my vote in 2012.

Obama/Palin 2012

:)

Sapwolf on November 20, 2008 at 7:22 PM

No surprise…he already said we would be in Iraq til 2010 and we know the Generals think longer. In the end we will be there far longer and likely permanently to some extent.
Obama supports the Afghan war and chasing down Obama. The anti-war types got used.

Jamson64 on November 20, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

You got the wool pulled over your eyes. No surprise. By the way WHO IS HARRY REID?

Jamson64 on November 20, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Obama supports the Afghan war and chasing down Obama.

Lol. ;)

The anti-war types got used.

I can only wonder how many of them will be seeking psychiatric help in the next two years.

Ryan Gandy on November 20, 2008 at 7:56 PM

2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Show me IN CONTEXT where Bush said an attack was imminent by Iraq.

Chuck Schick on November 20, 2008 at 4:12 PM

President Bush never said Iraq posed an “imminent threat”.
As a matter of fact he said just the opposite stating that
even though they did not pose an imminent threat,we could not afford to wait until they did.

As usual,it is a democrat who is doing what they accused a Republican of doing.

It was Rockefeller and John Edwards who claimed Saddam posed an imminent threat.

Baxter Greene on November 20, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Hmmm… interesting question… just what happens Constitutionaly if the President has a Nervous Breakdown?

Romeo13 on November 20, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Nothing unless the 25th Amendment is invoked.

3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

malclave on November 20, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Have you not SEEN my screen name? The MSM (including Fox) are hacks and they should all be killed. What people forget is the remarkably symmetry within the MSM on the war these past 5 years. In 2003 everyone, and I mean EVERYONE bought into Bush Admin propoganda that:
1. There were WMDs and we knew where they were.
2. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.
3. The war would be quick and reconstruction would mostly be paid for with Iraqi oil.
4. We would be greeted as liberators.
DeathToMediaHacks on November 20, 2008 at 2:06 PM

I despise the liberal media machine as much as anyone,but calling for them to be killed makes you sound like a code pink/moveon activist.

1. There were WMDs and we knew where they were.

The UN,Germany,France,Australia,Britain,CIA,Pentagon,Democrats,Republicans
all stated that Saddam had WMD, was not cooperating with
inspections,and Sanctions were a joke.
The fact a few people dissented from this view is the case in all intelligence.There is no “absolute proof”.
Hind sight judgment is real easy when you are not the one having to decide how to protect millions from jihadist hell bent on your destruction.
The case for Saddam was made well before Bush came into office.It was left for him to clean up,which he did.

. An attack was imminent and potentially nuclear.
I just addressed that one in an earlier post.

President Bush never said Iraq posed an “imminent threat”.
As a matter of fact he said just the opposite stating that
even though they did not pose an imminent threat,we could not afford to wait until they did.

As usual,it is a democrat who is doing what they accused a Republican of doing.

It was Rockefeller and John Edwards who claimed Saddam posed an imminent threat.

Baxter Greene on November 20, 2008 at 8:10 PM

The war would be quick and reconstruction would mostly be paid for with Iraqi oil.

There were people who stated this,but it certainly was not
President Bush.
Bush maintained over and over again that this would be a long and difficult struggle against the jihadist and their
ideology(including his speech with the “mission accomplished”banner).Bush’s whole speech revolved around the difficult task of standing the Iraqi people up and their representative government.
The “quick”part was in reference to the overthrow of Saddam
which was done in a quick manner.
The insurgency and lack of planning for it is what turned Iraq into a mess that democrats used to ride to power on.

Iraq is standing up and paying for their own way of life with their oil money more and more everyday.
The constant harping of “blood for oil”,”Haliburton conspiracies”,”Bush is an imperialist”,has made it virtually
impossible for their to be any “direct” payments or favors made with oil.But we are investing in every aspect of Iraq and will reap the same rewards as an economic and security ally like we have with Germany and Japan.
I guess Bush is supposed to apologize for not making all this happen to everyone’s time constraints.
reading history on the length of time it took Japan and Germany to settle down and become productive allies might help understand the difficulties involved in this process.

We would be greeted as liberators.

We were greeted as liberators in many areas in the Kurdish
areas and many places in Iraq,there are reams of videos of this available on military websites.
The CNN,MSNBC,CBS crowd tucked all this away with their 9/11
video footage because it goes against their “the world was better off with Saddam” liberal drivel.

The fact that we turned our backs on them in the first Gulf war which lead to incredible amounts of slaughter that liberals tend to ignore,kept many Iraqis from wanting to help and associate with coalition troops.
This combined with bad post war planning and the constant drumbeat of “surrender” from democrats here helped build the
insurgency and made it very difficult for coalition troops to get any cooperation from the Sunni to reject al-qaeda and
from the Shia to reject Iran/muqtada al-sader militas.
Not until Bush proposed the surge with the democrats in control,did most of the population see that we were not going to run until the job was done(yes some of the awakening had already started,but this had happened before in 06 only to fail.)

We have won the war in Iraq,you anti-war types are just going to have to get over it and slap another “save Darfur”,
“free Tibet” bumper sticker on your car,it has accomplished so much so far.

Baxter Greene on November 20, 2008 at 8:51 PM

That conservatives are attempting to define Barack Obama’s Presidency before it has even started shows how desperate you guys are for message dominance. You guys have lost that game already; try again in four years.

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

And your dominant message is…what? We’re just filling the void AKA Clinton III.

ddrintn on November 20, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Baxter Greene’s sanity got my vote.

And to Nonfactor (how appropriate a name) :

That conservatives are attempting to define Barack Obama’s Presidency before it has even started shows how desperate you guys are for message dominance. You guys have lost that game already; try again in four years.

Nonfactor on November 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Somebody has to define The Empty Suit’s tenure! He really seems a little clueless and panicked.

Moreover, since we have so little information, I wish someone would define Him.

IlikedAUH2O on November 21, 2008 at 12:08 AM

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