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Obama's Refusal To Go To Iraq

8:28 AM, Jun 5, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Our friend Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and is now chairman of Vets for Freedom, has an outstanding op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal regarding Barack Obama's refusal to visit Iraq. A taste:

Mr. Obama has dismissed the value of such trips, suggesting they are stage-managed productions designated to obfuscate, not illuminate, the truth… That Mr. Obama apparently doubts his ability to distinguish spin from reality, and to draw bad news out of subordinates, does not bode well for his possible future as our nation's chief executive. As I'm sure he will discover, if he wins the White House, these are among the most important skills for a president to possess…

What also struck me was this spot-on passage:

In fairness, there are a number of Democrats who visit Iraq frequently - namely Sens. Joe Biden, who has made eight Iraq trips, and Jack Reed, with 10 trips. Mr. Obama's absence and cynicism stands in stark contrast to their serious approach. It is especially problematic given his intention to become our next commander in chief.

What has happened to the party of Jefferson and…well…Jefferson that Joe Biden, he of the garrulous nature who's seldom facetious, has become one of its more serious members? The GOP has certainly fallen on hard times, but by many metrics things look equally grim for the guys on the other side of the aisle.

On a more serious note, when Barack Obama has discussed historical events, he has shown a curious refusal to allow actual facts to interfere with his preferred narrative. Hence, he had Khrushchev sitting down with Kennedy at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and his uncle storming the gates of Auschwitz with Joe Stalin's army. The fact that he hasn't read enough books to be president was bad enough, but one could reasonably argue (as my liberal friends invariably do) that he'll hire smart advisors who know about this boring stuff.

But Obama's dogmatically inflexible views on Iraq suggest that what we have here isn't a knowledge deficit but rather a character flaw. Obama knows what he wants to know and what he thinks he needs to know, and he doesn't feel the need to do any more learning. He applies this sense of himself not only to historical events but to the most pressing present-day matters as well. For a Commander in Chief with no military experience and no discernible connections to the military except the actions of his forebears in World War II, one can hardly imagine a greater deficiency at a time of war.