Obama and Decisions of War and Peace

Andrew Sullivan has posted another statement from Barack Obama from 2002 in which he showed he understood the problems of invading Iraq. He also made it clear he would have voted no on the Iraq War Resolution. This is why he stands a chance of beating Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

The question isn’t whether or not someone has apologized for their vote, or now says they will get us out of Iraq. This is a matter of fundamental judgement. At the time of the IWR vote it was clear that invading Iraq was unnecessary and would lead to disaster. Obama realized this while Clinton and Edwards did not. As Obama has said, “The authorization vote is relevant only because it gives an insight into how people think about these problems and suggests the sort of judgment they apply in evaluating a policy decision.”

My main concern is not over how they voted or what they say about their vote now, but whether I trust the candidate to make the right decision over matters of war and peace in the future. Obama comes out far ahead of Clinton and Edwards on this test. In 2004 I supported John Kerry despite disagreeing with his vote because Kerry spoke out before the war warning, as Obama did, that the difficult part would be after Saddam was overthrown should we go to war. Despite his vote, Kerry made it clear before the war began that his vote to authorize force as a last resort did not justify going to war in the absence of evidence that we were threatened by WMD. Unlike Edwards and Clinton, Obama and Kerry were saying this before the war began, and didn’t wait until a majority of voters shared this view. Obama also realized that giving such authorization to Bush would be a bad precedent to set and would be a mistake.

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