In a forum with active duty and former military, an Obama supporter posted a campaign speech by the Democrat presidential candidate and asked me to explain why I am troubled at the prospect of him becoming Commander-in-Chief. He also implied that as a gay man it would be better for me to vote for someone like Obama rather than McCain. If this were all I cared about I’d say that he is probably correct in that regard. However, the safety of my family and friends, as well as the nation I love, is Priority Number One for me. Who controls the institution I served in and still hold in the highest regard remains a very big concern. The following is my response (slightly edited) to this poster, using portions of Obama’s speech to explain my position:
I see a lot of the usual pretty rhetoric I expect from a politician, promises he cannot hope to actually keep, along with many proposals that he has no way of paying for. However, I’ll address three of the points made in this speech:
And I laid out a plan that I still believe offers the best chance of pressuring these warring factions toward a political settlement â€” a phased withdrawal of American forces with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31st, 2008.
By announcing a date for withdrawal, what exactly does Obama think is going to happen? How emboldened will AQI be if we just abandon Iraq? We know that Osama Bin Laden was emboldened by our retreat from Somalia under Bill Clinton, which arguably helped lead to 9/11. OBL called this a “victory”, that the USA was “no power worthy of mention”, and described our withdrawal as “America exited dragging its tails in failure, defeat, and ruin, caring for nothing”. How will a cut-and-run from Iraq prevent this from happening again?
I acknowledged at the time that there are risks involved in such an approach. That is why my plan provides for an over-the-horizon force that could prevent chaos in the wider region, and allows for a limited number of troops to remain in Iraq to fight al Qaeda and other terrorists.
Oh really? What did we do to Aideed after pulling out of Somalia? Nothing. What happened to our promises to give military aid to our ally South Vietnam when we pulled out in 1973? Why they were conveniently forgotten by a Democrat-controlled Congress. What was the result? Besides the decade-long morass the military went through until Reagan took office, our jilted ally was conquered, it’s people subjected to death or “re-education” and we saw the Killing Fields in Cambodia.
This is an empty and deceptive promise because Obama knows very well that if we cut-and-run the political will simply will not be there to go back in. Do you really thinks fanatics like Murtha will allow our forces to go back in? What are you smoking? So how messed up will Iraq become and how long will it be before we have no choice but to return and how many more lives of American soldiers will this Mulligan cost?
We must maintain the strongest, best-equipped military in the world in order to defeat and deter conventional threats. But while sustaining our technological edge will always be central to our national security, the ability to put boots on the ground will be critical in eliminating the shadowy terrorist networks we now face. This is why our country’s greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States… That’s why I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines.
That’s a very nice promise, and if he manages to also lift the ban against gays serving I’ll be happy about that. However, where’s he going to get the money to pay for all this? Did you watch his own campaign commercial I posted? Given all the social spending he’s advocating, how much is he going to cut from the military in order to pay for it? Well, that and deficit spending of course.
When it comes to defense matters, Obama is a poser and worse than a lightweight. He frankly has no earthly idea what he’s doing. All I hear is pretty words and nice sounding rhetoric. So while I would love to see DADT tossed out, that may have to wait as long as somebody like this guy is the one being propped up to be Commander-in-Chief. Well, it might have to wait unless McCain can be persuaded, strong-armed, or whatever. Bush is almost gone so whatever complaints you may have about his presidency, on some I’ll join you, they are completely irrelevant now. The question is, which candidate is best to be CiC and of those running, as much as it pains me to say, that would be John McCain. So guess who I’m voting for, however reluctantly?
— John (Average Gay Joe)