Come Again?

Petulant just sent me this video of Barack Obama on The Today Show this morning, in which David Gregory interviews the senator about the major policy speech he plans to give today on Iraq. Just watch the first minute (the transcript of the relevant bit is below):

David Gregory: Meredith, thank you. Senator Barack Obama, who is running for president, will deliver what he is calling a major policy speech today on Iraq. Senator Obama, good morning to you.

Barack Obama: Good morning, David.

DG: You heard Secretary Rice say that there was progress in Iraq that cannot be ignored, and she spoke about when, not if, the United States prevails in Iraq. Do you see it that way?

BO: Well, look, I think it's important to understand that, after two days of testimony, here's the bottom line: That, having put an additional thirty thousand troops in, and continued the same course that we're on, we are now back to the horrendous levels of violence that we were back in June of 2006. So there's no doubt that we’ve seen some measured progress in Anbar province, primarily because the Sunni tribal leaders made a political decision there that they would work with the coalition forces. We've seen a very modest reduction in violence in Baghdad, partly because entire neighborhoods have essentially been ethnically cleansed. Those are all positive things.

Zuh?! As Petulant says, "WTF? Ethnic Cleansing is a POSITIVE THING! Ok Obama! Make that a bumper sticker and you will be President. America has a long tradition of loving ethnic cleansing!"


If I were feeling generous, I'd suggest that Obama was just referring to the "modest reduction in violence in Baghdad" as a positive thing, but I'm not feeling generous. I'm feeling like someone who thinks that if Obama knows the reduction in violence is attributable to ethnic cleansing, then no matter how you slice it, saying that it's a positive thing is horseshit. I'm feeling like someone who sees a candidate desperately attempting to split hairs—war bad, but these wee little slices of the war good—to avoid taking a brave, hardline, antiwar stance (despite claiming he's taken one "since before the war"), because that stance draws nasty, unfair criticism from people who will never vote for him anyway. I'm feeling like someone who constantly hears the muddled nonsense (just like this) a person who refuses to be brave inevitably comes out with (just like this). I'm feeling unimpressed. Not generous.


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