Is Obama Right?

Senator Obama states that the more than 3000 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq were “wasted”.

NBC Nightly News reports that the soldiers beg to differ.

Those who have seen Jarhead know that what’s reported from the front might not always be what the soldiers really think. The insinuation in that movie is that any time you see positive, upbeat videos of American soldiers in the front lines, it’s been carefully censored by the Pentagon, or if not, the front line commanders have exerted much pressure on the soldiers not to complain. (Along that line of thought seems to be the implied message that complaining, a trait commonly thought of as “unmanly”, is preferable to “manly” stoicism. Would that mean that having an “unmanly” armed forces is what those who think along those lines really want?)

Is Senator Obama right? After all, he’s a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Moreover, he was president of the Harvard Law Review. In other words, he’s about as educated as a man can be. Surely his education has enlightened him in a way that no mere grunt in the sands of Mesopotamia could possibly understand. After all, as Senator Kerry once sagely remarked: “You know, education–if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

I’m sure all those chicken hawk neocons are completely out of line to believe the self-congratulatory propaganda of the American military-industrial complex (run by none other than Vice President Cheney through his vise grip on all things Halliburton) could possibly be worth any more than the enlightened dismissal of the doyens of our brilliant, public-spirited intellectuals, whose Ivy League education places them leaps and bounds above the mean existence of mere mortals.

Yes, that was a bit arch and snide. I actually don’t necessarily believe that Senator Obama is a preening elitist. (For all I know he’s just a regular elitist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) The point is, I’m afraid there are people out there who probably do buy into that world view. If you see one that effuses about how magnificent this or that current darling of the media is, smile and politely remind him (or her!) to take everything with a grain of salt, including the advice of those who would tell them to take only one side’s story (such as those of the soldiers) with a helping of a salt lick.

By the way, Matteo found some interesting commentary about the rhetorical parlor game against so-called “chicken hawks” (quoting Ace of Spades HQ):

Exit question: Since Arkin asserts that the troops should not be allowed to influence the public’s opinion on the war, and since the entire left demands that anyone supporting the war become a troop himself — has the left pretty much created a Catch-22 by which any and all support for the war is illegitimate?

Campaign ’08 is well and truly under way!

(Hat-tip: Instapundit)

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

9 thoughts on “Is Obama Right?”

  1. During the course of obtaining a Ph.D. I encountered more highly educated fools than I care to remember.

    Terry Pratchett had a good line in one of his books: “stupid in the way that only very educated men can be”.

    Unfortunately, as one becomes more educated, one often becomes less ready to observe carefully before drawing conclusions.

  2. Politicians make no difference.

    The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

    We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) ever since we took on Russia in the Cold WAR.

    Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control.

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

    The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

    So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

    This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

    The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

    For more details see

  3. I wrote the following to my State’s Senator , Obama:

    How dare the Senate diminish the United States Armed Forces by characterizing their deaths as “wasted”.

    They will only be a waste if we are defeated and the Senate is one of those forces leading to defeat.

    Indeed the Senator is the one who turned their sacrifice to a waste by giving our enemies the certainty that the United States can be compelled to leave if they cause just enough trouble.

    What is the Senator going to recommend once a Caliphate is established in the Middle East and the call within Islam goes to all of the Muslims to start Offensive Jihad against the United States?

    The leadership in Washington DC makes me absolutely sick, you are endangering all our lives for your pathetic party politics.

    There is no honor in your office, and when the attacks start here, please realize your contribution to them.

    Ask Sen Boxer who’s going to pay the price for that.

  4. I’d like to know Obama’s LSAT score that got him into Harvard. The bar for a black male is much lower than it is for whites/asians, especially at elite institutions, so I’d like to know if he was really the “cream of the crop” or if his attendance was in part due to affirmative action.

    I’ve googled for his score in the past, but couldn’t find it. I can’t find his class rank either. I know he was on the law review, but I’ve heard (but haven’t bothered to confirm) that even the law review had affirmative action so am not going to take that worth a grain of salt.

    From what I’ve read from his work experience it’s hard for me to garner whether he was a hard worker or was effective in the “real world.” He had an intership at a law firm during law school and he worked as an analyst for an econ advisory firm for a very short time after he left columbia. To the best of my knowledge everything else he did was non-profit or government work.

  5. I know a lawyer here in Chicago who knew Obama a little in law school. He says Obama was smart and seemed like a pretty decent guy. This from a hardcore Republican.

    Anyway, his LSATs are ancient history. Let’s hear what he actually wants to do as president and as coimmander in chief. That ought to be reason enough to vote against him.

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