From Iraq with Love

I can’t get over the media circus surrounding Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Never mind that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) didn’t even whiff the rarified air of the network anchors on his multiple trips overseas. We’ll just chalk that up to another instance of media bias. But something deeper is being established here.

Apparently, Obama’s handlers have deluded themselves into believing their guy can transform into some über-diplomat simply by visiting the country for a few hours. Need to burnish some foreign policy credentials for your presidential campaign? No problem, just hit the road to the remotest regions of the world and voilà — instant international policy expert.

I’m not saying that Sen. McCain is completely innocent of such tactics. Many in Washington were scratching their heads while he was traipsing through the jungles of Colombia last month — burning precious time reserved for the campaign trail. But then came the freeing of hostages held by the FARC Colombian rebels, and McCain looked, well, presidential.

Perhaps these moves are more sophisticated than they first appear. Maybe Americans appreciate the fact that their candidates are traveling beyond the confines of America and seeing the world firsthand. Perhaps … but do not be deceived, these are trips staged to the finest detail, with little left to chance and happenstance. Sen. Obama knows this, and has treated it as such — an extension of his political campaign. Why do you think the network anchors are along for the ride? It’s surely not because of the news quotient that the “surge” is working.

And while I’m on the subject, would the senator from Illinois please stop trying to ride both sides of the troop withdrawal issue? For as long as I can remember, Democrats have chided, goaded and even threatened the government of Iraq into a timetable in order to get them to “take more responsibility” for their security situation. For months, these individuals were practically insulting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his ability to lead, implying they knew what the prime minister needed to turn the ship of state around. And now, when Maliki hints a timetable is in his country’s best interests, Sen. Obama is all too eager to sit down and praise the Iraqi leader’s prescience and wisdom on the matter. Somebody cue the commercial …

Never mind that all of Maliki’s statements have added the corollary that when the conditions are right, and the entire country is stabilized from a security perspective, then a timeline is appropriate and in order.

The old saw that politics stops at the nation’s shores no longer seems to apply in today’s campaigns. Only the voters can decide if that’s a good thing or not. I just wish the candidates weren’t so politically opportunistic about it.


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com .

More in Presidential Campaign

With Jeb Bush as president, another era of unwinnable wars?

Read more »