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Thursday, September 4, 2008

O'Reilly Vs. Obama I

O'Reilly showed part one of his interview. It was a fairly short segment and it focused on foreign policy. Here is a link to the video.

Here is some analysis. First, Barack Obama says there is a GWOT, however he appears to catalogue our enemy. He identified Al Qaeda and the Taliban specifically as part of the GWOT. He went on to say that there all sorts of other networks all over the world included in the enemy. This is reasonable. There are dozens if not hundreds of terrorist groups.

What was interesting was when asked if Iran was part of the GWOT, he gave a qualified answer. He said they were but a different part. He catalogued terrorists in Sunni and Shia. Of course, tactically it is important to treat Shia different from Sunni but I am not sure that you can divide the GWOT into Sunni and Shia terrorists. He then alluded to the war in Iraq being a distraction even though Saddam was a Sunni just like Al Qaeda. He makes a very confusing distinctions that he never explained fully and unfortunately O'Reilly didn't follow up.

Obama said that the military option would always be on the table when dealing with Iran. He said that we haven't "exhausted" our diplomatic options. He made some vague allusions that we haven't put enough pressure on the Europeans. This is, to me at least, a critic's mentality. The Bush administration has been working with the Europeans for much of the last two administrations. On Iran, my partisan analysis is that he has a naive idea that he can apply "pressure" that folks over decades have tried and failed. This is nonsense. The Europeans have no will, and the Iranians are determined to create this confrontation. I came away with the notion that Obama's diplomatic ideas with regard to Iran are as naive as I have always thought they were.

He insisted that Afghanistan is the center of the GWOT. He agreed with O'Reilly that without the cooperation of Pakistan we are going to have great difficulty in winning there. With regards to Pakistan, once again, I took away that he has a naive critic's mentality. Once again, he said that we aren't "putting enough pressure on the Pakistani government". He said we offer them military aid but don't ask for "enough democratic reforms" in return. First, he really doesn't know what Bush asks for in private. Second, Pakistan is an extremely complicated place. The notion that if we put more Democratic pressure that complicated country will suddenly straighten up is naive.

On UBL, he said that he wouldn't send in ground troops but would take any shot at him, from the air I suppose, that he got. Of course, this is exactly the same as the current policy and so while he's spent the last four years criticizing George Bush for not getting UBL, it appears that he will have the exact same strategy.

On Iraq, he did finally acknowledge that the surge has succeeded. Here is the relevant portion.

I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated,” Obama said while refusing to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”

Now, O'Reilly gave him a bit of a lifeline here. O'Reilly said that he believed that history would be with him that Iraq was in and of itself a mistake. (a point I disagree with and will address in a future post) Giving him that lifeline, O'Reilly then challenged him to admit that he was wrong on the surge. Obama refused and justified his refusal by saying that the Iraqis have not done enough politically. This is ironically absurd. Only days ago the Iraqis took over Anbar. This is the latest Iraqi progress. They have now either completed or are well on their way to completing 15 of 18 of the original benchmarks. More importantly, Maliki recently took on the Sadrites in Basrah. This operation was lead by Iraqi troops. Within a month of this operation, he sent in troops to lead an operation in Mosul against the remnants of AQI. They're near an oil sharing law, regional elections, and de Baathification. I would say that compared to the body Barack Obama currently occupies, the Iraqi government has made plenty of progress.

Here is ,part 2, and part 3, and part 4

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"unfortunately O'Reilly didn't follow up"

You could say that over and over and over. It was just like the Clinton interview.

Bill asked a good questions. Obama gave an answer suited for the audience (which contradicts previous positions) and Bill let it go.

In fairness, bill did try to follow up on the "The surge will never work," but Bill let him off the hook.

Obama gets a B+ for his performance.

Bill gets a gentlemen's C