Thursday, April 09, 2009
From yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
President Obama surprised the world yesterday with an unannounced visit to Baghdad, where he met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and praised the courage and perseverance of America's troops. But the most pleasant surprise has been Mr. Obama's near-about face on Iraq since becoming President.President Obama seems to have learned some good lessons from his immediate predecessor -- such as the unannounced visits to a war zone, which can be very effective at inspiring the troops and the local population alike. (As I recall, President Bush's first such visit, at Thanksgiving in 2003, was widely dismissed as a stunt. Perhaps things are in a different light now.)
Speaking to GIs in one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces, Mr. Obama ticked off America's accomplishments in Iraq: "From getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections -- you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement."
. . .
Prior to his Iraq visit, the President was asked by a Turkish student whether his Iraq policies were fairly close in substance to George W. Bush's. "Well, just because I was opposed at the outset, it doesn't mean that I don't have now responsibilities to make sure we do things in a responsible fashion," Mr. Obama replied. We'll mark that down as a "yes."
Mind you, it would be nice if President Obama could continue the vital aspects of George W. Bush's presidency and policies, but refrain from continuing to denounce them at every opportunity. But that's okay -- given a choice between walking the walk and talking the talk, I'll take the former, thanks.
UPDATE: President Obama is likewise learning about the usefulness of warrantless wiretapping and such -- something he campaigned against heavily -- and even some of his biggest fans are starting to get worried:
Again, the gulf between Candidate Obama and President Obama is striking. As a candidate, Obama ran promising a new era of government transparency and accountability, an end to the Bush DOJ's radical theories of executive power, and reform of the PATRIOT Act. But, this week, Obama's own Department Of Justice has argued that, under the PATRIOT Act, the government shall be entirely unaccountable for surveilling Americans in violation of its own laws.Hope and Change, ladies and gentlemen.
But we're still using euphemisms here: "the gulf between Candidate Obama and President Obama is striking". How big a gulf will it have to be before "Obama Lied" bumper-stickers start proliferating?
Not long, I guess...
UPDATE II: Perhaps I was too hasty in describing this as I did. There are reports that it wasn't a surprise visit after all:
Nevertheless, about that “surprise visit”.I have no idea if this is true or not; I haven't (yet) seen it reported by other sources, although it was picked up by HotAir and Instapundit.
It wasn’t. The visit was communicated a full 24 hours in advance and a small contingent of soldiers - not screaming hoards - were rustled into a meeting place at Camp Victory.
Got this email from a sergeant that was there.
“We were pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up.”
Take a look at the picture at AP and notice all the cameras are the same models? Coincidence? I think not.
I'd like to think that this is a nasty rumor. If it isn't, it's a sickening level of cynicism and opportunism, coming from a sitting President of the United States. After all, President Obama pledged to those who did not vote for him: "I will be your President too". Giving preferential treatment to those who voted for him -- merely to get a better photo-op -- when all of them had sworn to fight and die at his command, would be nothing short of revolting.