Obama, McCain and Vets for Freedom

“I’m SPC Kate Norley and I served in 16 months in Iraq as a combat medic.  The surge worked, but Barack Obama wouldn’t know that because he hasn’t been there in more than two years.”  Vets For Freedom Interned Ad, Memorial Day 2008

I have traveled to Iraq twice since 2005.  My last trip was in January 2007 as the surge troops were coming in.  I was able to review some of the 101st Airborne troops coming in through Camp Buehring in Kuwait for the surge.  

The question that has been in the back of the minds of many Americans was brought up by the not for profit group Vets for Freedom during Memorial Day weekend.  The question is how does a 20 year “community organizer” and 2 year senator have the experience to be Commander in Chief of the United States of America?   Not only does he not have the experience, he doesn’t seem to want to go to all sources for the information to learn about the situation in Iraq.  

The McCain Campaign came back quickly with Senator Lindsay Graham serving as “second” to Senator John McCain on Face the Nation.  Graham challenged Obama to a duel of sorts. "Senator Obama keeps talking about an immediate withdrawal as soon as he gets to be president," Graham said. "I would recommend that he go back. So much has happened since 2006 on the ground. It’s been extraordinary. He’s never really had a one-on-one with General Petraeus. Go back and go to Iraq and talk to General Petraeus. Talk to the Maliki government and see how things have changed…I think if he would look at what’s happened in Iraq, talk to General Petraeus and Maliki, I think he would have a different view of what you need to do next." He even recommended that McCain join Obama on the trip, so they could share in the briefings and fact-finding.

This kicked off a week of back and forth between the McCain and the Obama campaigns on Obama and Iraq.  It was a slam dunk for McCain.  The RNC began and “Obama clock” counting the days since the senator had been to Iraq.  In addition, McCain hit a home run with this comment, “Why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the President of Iran, but hasn’t yet sat down with General Petraeus — the leader of our troops in Iraq?” This question coupled with the growing negatives surrounding Senator Obama in the polls added up to a good week for Senator McCain. 

The truth is starting to come out on Senator Obama’s work ethic at that Senate. The buzz is that he hasn’t been involved and when he arrives, he’s late and unprepared.  So I guess if he’s not a great Senator, we can count on that “community organizer” thing to get us through the challenges we face to our national security.

John McCain adopted a Hillary Clinton angle from earlier this year criticizing Senator Obama for never holding a hearing on Afghanistan despite chairing a Senate subcommittee which has jurisdiction over NATO. “He has not held one single hearing on Afghanistan, where young Americans are in harms way as we speak…This is about leadership. This is about what America is about but it is also about the qualities of a president of the United States,” said John McCain.

Finally, after not knowing how to react, the Obama Campaign, responded. Obama spokesman Bill Burton called McCain’s challenge a political stunt” in an email exchange with a liberal blog. “We don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge,” Burton told the website.

McCain and Obama continued to trade barbs throughout the week and finally Obama said he might travel to Iraq between the time he wins the Democratic nomination and the November general election.  Obama told reporters that “Iraq would obviously be at the top of the list of stops.”  Thanks for the consideration.  Maybe he should consult with his pastor on this, oh yea; he doesn’t have a pastor anymore. Obama goes on to say, “I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders. I’m not there to try to score political points or perform. The work they’re doing there is too important."
Bottom line is that Obama is not qualified to be Commander in Chief.  He doesn’t have the understanding and if you think there was a big exodus from the military in the late 70s, just wait until you see what an Obama presidency would bring and we can’t afford to lose good professional soldiers at this juncture in our history.  

Obama should take Senator McCain up on his offer and decide to learn what it is to love the military and to understand it.  For me, this is the most important issue and the reason why I don’t want to see third party candidates or disgruntled Republicans dilute Senator McCain’s strengths in this election.

On the other hand, he may be doing that to himself this week as the Senate wastes its time on global warming.