By Patricia Wilson-Smith
Sometimes the nightly political news, chocked full of the sound-bite jabs candidates take at one another is just comical. Sometimes it’s even thought-provoking, and at other times it’s down right scary. At times of course, it’s all three.
Recently, every Democrat in the 2008 Presidential race came out swinging at Senator Obama when during a press conference where he gave a major foreign policy talk, an AP reporter asked whether or not he would use nuclear weapons to ‘defeat terrorism’ and to ‘kill Osama Bin Laden’. No – no, stop laughing. That was really the question. The following was his response:
“I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance, involving civilians…Let me scratch that. There’s been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That’s not on the table.”
(Hmmm…divide the first number, carry the one, multiply the mean by the deviated co-efficient) Nope – still sounds reasonable to me.
Now, I’m not normally paranoid, nor do I consider myself to be a conspiracy theorist; I also try my darndest to never be rude, but unfortunately this evening as my gorgeous son reads every word I type aloud, and nuzzles my arm impatiently, waiting for me to just stop working, I fear I’m going to have to be all three.
Is it me, or are a group of our fine Democratic friends a little too gleeful about what they are of course now trying to portray as a political mis-fire by our favorite Senator? I’ve haven’t seen a group of people this happy about the words coming out of someone’s mouth since I announced to my students that class was cancelled a few weeks back. From the Divine Ms. Hillary, to Governor Bill (“I love ya all as my Veep”) Richardson, they all had something to say about what I consider to be an intensely loaded question, one that I dare say I’ve never heard any of the other candidates OR President Bush have to answer. I’m just saying.
But listen, folks. Even I am not paranoid enough (yet) to suggest that the AP reporter with his out of the blue, hyper-hypothetical, would-you-risk-unleashing-Armageddon-on-an-entire-nation-of-women-and-children-just-to-toast-one man question was somehow planted in the audience at the press conference by the Dems or anyone else; but one has to wonder, doesn’t one?
As for the nuclear question itself, I mean, gee. I watch a lot of news coverage, and like many who oppose the war in Iraq, I’ve often wondered to myself why it is exactly that we have to fight the war on terror either in Iraq or here on our shores; I mean to say, I’ve watched President Bush repeatedly mutter the same phrase over and over again when pressed to justify why we’re still in Iraq, spending colossal amounts of money each day that could be used to rid our country of important things like illit-, uh, elitt, uh, people who can’t read or spell:
“Our immediate strategy is to eliminate terrorist threats abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.”
(Source: Every Speech George Bush Has Made In The Last Four Years)
Ah – that’s right – got it. The thing is though, abroad is a pretty, well, broad term. Couldn’t abroad mean Pakistan, where they pretend to be our friends but yet seem to have a gift for hiding their “You Too Can Be A Nut-Job Terrorist” training camps? Or couldn’t abroad mean Afghanistan, where, after all, it’s generally believed that Osama bin Laden was last detected by American intelligence? Why, my dear friends, are we NOT fighting the war on terrorism in earnest in Pakistan and Afghanistan, instead of pummeling Iraq, a people and a country, who though very grateful to be free of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime, also have been, let’s just say ‘less than shy’ about their desire to see us get out of their affairs and go on to the next botched war? And lastly, why (oh friggin’, why) hasn’t someone asked Bush (gee, I dunno) “Hey! Got any plans to actually secure the borders, or to get our brave soldiers out of that country that never ever really posed an imminent threat to us in the first place, in favor of going after the weird lookin’ bearded dude that mocked us on video after killing over three-thousand of our citizens? Oh – and will you be using a nuclear weapon to do so?!?”
Which brings us to the down right scary. Isn’t threatening to ‘win the war on terrorism’ or ‘kill Osama bin Laden with a nuclear weapon’ like threatening to get a mosquito out of your car with a wrecking ball? I mean to the normal and reasonable among us, doesn’t the very notion of annihialating an entire country just to get one man sound kind of, I dunno – creepy?
Which brings me back to my original point, if in fact I had one. To go all political on Senator Obama over a question that strains credulity is a waste of political brain power, and I’m surprised the candidates don’t see it that way. I would love for the AP to hunt them all down, one by one, hog tie them and throw them down in front of a few dozen hot lights and a camera, and force them all to answer the same question. I dare say, none of them could come up with a rational answer to such an irrational question.
Bottom line? There was nothing in Senator Obama’s remarks that said inexperience or lack of judgment to me, though that’s exactly what the feigned outrage from his Democratic opponents is meant to convey. All I heard in his response was the honest reaction of a man whose foresight in 2002 proved he is the sole voice of reason among this year’s Democratic field of contenders. Senator Obama has shown us yet again that he is a man of principle, who would think first of the good of mankind, and not go to the ugliest of extremes in answering a dopey question, not even if it means looking like less than a tough guy to impress a bunch of reporters anxious to capture any mis-step on tape so that they can blast it into ‘YouTube land’ for all eternity.
I say,”Bravo, Senator Obama”. You’d rather try every other option (including waging war in the right countries) before you’d drop an ending-life-as-we-know-it bomb on a population of innocent women and children, huh? Wow, I wish you’d made your voice heard before we got ourselves into this mess in Iraq – oh wait, you did…