Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's the war, Stupid!

Back in 1992, so the story goes, the presidential contender who shot to victory had a sign hanging in his office to remind him to stay on message with the electorate:

"It's the economy, Stupid!"

So what’s the message in 2007? Some would like to debate about whether we should describe the deaths of thousands as a “waste” or a “sacrifice.” I can see the arguments on both sides of the issue, but let me be blunt: the body bags look the same however you describe them. This is not the question on which we should be concentrating.

Frankly, I’m less concerned with the correct way to label the slaughter on the killing fields of Iraq and more concerned with bringing it to an end.

We saw clearly in the last election how staying on message played a pivotal role in swaying votes. That’s not just a lesson for leaders but for all of us. If you are supporting Barack Obama for president, consider yourself drafted. Like it or not, you’re an ambassador for the cause. What comes out of your mouth when you’re asked the question, “Why are you voting for Barack Obama?” matters. So here it is in a nutshell:

“It’s the war, Stupid!”

Of all those running for office in 2008, Barack Obama was the only one who declared from the start that this war was wrong. Lately, a variety of contenders have noticed the body count. Some have even apologized for casting the fatal vote and admitted going to war was wrong. Here’s the thing that separates Obama from the pack: he knew it five years ago.

Tell your friend, your co-worker, the barrista in Starbucks who asks you the billion-dollar question that one of the reasons you’re voting for Barack Obama is because he had the wisdom to see ahead of the curve.

We need more from a future president than an apology for lack of foresight. I applaud those who have admitted their mistakes, but I’ll sleep better in my bed knowing the next Commander-in-Chief is not someone prone to wage war first and apologize later. We’ll all be safer with a president who has a better grip on foreign affairs than that:

someone who will exhaust every option for dialogue;

someone who will examine every piece of intelligence;

someone who will offer us a better choice than “waste” or “sacrifice.”

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