Tuesday, February 05, 2008
black is the light that shines on my path, black is the color of freedom:
I hope you'll vote for Barack Obama today.

It won't surprise readers of this blog that I'm primarily interested in national security. And there the choice is relatively straightforward. Barack Obama recognizes that the security of the United States depends on promoting justice abroad. Strength -- military strength -- is a component of justice, as Obama's willingness to contemplate using force in a dire circumstance in Pakistan demonstrates. But it's much, much more than strength. It's the strength of the wise, the courage to correct one's mistakes, to offer dignity to a world that will not accept American leadership that humiliates it -- but would accept American leadership that respects the aspirations of mankind. During the Bush years, we've mired in a cynical and pointless debate about promoting freedom abroad. Obama is the only candidate who understands that we should really be promoting justice. No justice, no peace.

Obama is the only candidate the marry strength and justice and wisdom. His foreign policy starts with ending the most disastrous national-security mistake in recent American history; and then it proceeds to undo its deep-seated ideological foundations. When faced with that prospect, especially from the most electable candidate in the race, nothing else will do.

Beyond that, there are some serious problems with Hillary Clinton. First, she would lose to John McCain, and the Hundred Years War would continue for at least eight more years. Second, I write today in the Washington Independent that Clinton's Iraq position is a morass of cowardice and opportunism that will doom her presidency -- not that she'll make it to the White House.
None of this should be surprising when considering Clinton’s evolution on Iraq. Indeed, Clinton set herself up to run for president as both a pro-war and an anti-war candidate—depending on the contingencies of the war and the politics of the moment.

Clinton’s statements during October 2002 have received much attention. But what she’s said in the intervening years demonstrates a vertigo-inducing lack of clarity. Her position tracked the political zeitgeist elegantly: cautiously in favor of the war before it started; enthusiastically in favor of it during its first year; overtaken with doubt during 2004; nervously against withdrawal in 2005; cautiously in favor of withdrawal ever since—and all without so much as an acknowledgment of her myriad repositioning. At no point did she challenge the prevailing assumptions behind the war.

Looking at Clinton’s statements during critical moments in the war underscores her obscurantism on the most important issue of U.S. national security—a stance that makes sense only in the related contexts of strategic confusion and political expediency.

The choice is yours: cynicism or, finally, redemption. Choose wisely.

Update: For an example of how a professional chooses between presidential candidates, read Ezra.

--Spencer Ackerman