Ron Paul vs. Obama on the War

Obama is often touted as the true Democratic candidate for change in contrast to Clinton and the Neocon Republicans. One such change would then be ending  the war in Iraq and maybe trimming down our overseas empire–this would be a pleasant change, right?

What would you say then if I told you that Obama wants to expand the military?  He has called for 65,000 more soldiers and 27,000 Marines at a time when we are hard-pressed to maintain current recruitment levels, compromising on aptitude, health and criminal backgrounds.

I don’t blame you if you didn’t know about that. It’s easy to miss little details like military expansion with Mr. Obama, since he buries them in idealistic, appealing, but very vague language.

Here it is, though:

“But the war in Afghanistan and the ill-advised invasion of Iraq have
clearly demonstrated the consequences of underestimating the number of
troops required to fight two wars and defend our homeland. That’s why I
strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000
soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.

“But adding troops isn’t just about meeting a quota. It’s about
recruiting the best and brightest to service…”

Oh yes, he has fine words about “not just meeting a quota”, but the Army is already just doing that, looking for warm bodies, and this is without jacking up troop levels like Sen. Obama proposes. Stop loss programs can provide incentives for veterans to “re-up” on their service, but you still need people coming into the military to make numbers go up rather than stay steady. Short of the draft, how does Senator Obama intend on fulfilling these ambitious goals?

Obama has also expressed interest in taking unilateral action in Pakistan. Granted, there are Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan, but our work with Musharraf is already a sore point in a highly unstable country without a unilateral invasion of that country. Quoth the Senator:

“They are plotting to strike again. . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

Think of the possibility for blowback if Special Ops troops started assassinating tribal leaders or calling Tomahawk strikes on Pakistani camps.

When combined with the Democratic Congress’ inability to call Bush on the carpet for Iraq since the 2006 elections, I am skeptical that Sen. Obama has the will to pull us out of the Iraqi War–he is an interventionalist at heart, and he’s pledged to step up anti-terror efforts across the globe.

Unfortunately, just about all the violence in Iraq qualifies as terrorism. This means that an increase in Iraqi sectarian violence could convince Sen. Obama to commit some sort of aid to whatever passes for an Iraqi government.

If someone publicly pledges to for the military “…to stay on the offense, from Djibouti to Kandahar”, then ignoring unrest in Iraq will be mighty hard to do without looking like a hypocrite or a “softy” on terror, which are precisely the same motives that have rendered Democrats incapable of curtailing Mr. Bush’s policies in Iraq since winning control of Congress in 2006.

Ron Paul has stood against the war on a firm philosophical footing from the get-go, even as the Democrats floundered. He taught Mr. Giuliani the meaning of “blowback”, and maybe it’s time that he talks to Sen. Obama about it, and also about the ruinous effect our huge overseas military presence currently has on the economy, let alone any of the expansions Obama has called for!

Want change? Want peace? Vote for Ron Paul, and accept no substitute.

3 thoughts on “Ron Paul vs. Obama on the War

  1. Jerry

    I almost forgot; I should give a tip of the hat to Robert Kagan for his citation of Obama’s pledge to increase the military and “…to stay on the offense, from Djibouti to Kandahar”. Since Kagan is involved with the McCain campaign, I went to the original source (which is incorrectly linked on the Kagan piece) and stuck with that for my argument for the sake of simplicity (and to avoid arguing about Kagan or McCain’s own ideological baggage–that can wait for another post).

    The article, which is fairly damning, is here:

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