January 15, 2008  ·  Lessig

I’ve seen lots of references to Obama’s October, 2002 speech at an anti-war rally in Chicago. I’ve not seen copies of the speech. Using Brewster’s Wayback machine, I was able to find a copy of the speech on Obama’s 2002 site. It is as follows:

Obama: I’m not against wars but

COLUMN FOR THE HYDE PARK HERALD FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2002
by Senator Barack Obama, D-13

The following is a speech that I gave at a recent rally regarding the situation in Iraq. The rally was downtown at Federal Plaza and several Hyde Parkers attended:

Good afternoon. Let begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil.

I don’t oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administrations pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.

I don’t oppose all wars.

And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perles and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Roves to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone thru the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what Im opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Queda, thru effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons in already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not we will not travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

  • Erik

    Glen Ford at blackagendareport.com (http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1) makes the claim (probably true, but not sure of the context) that Obama took down from his site this document in 2003 when the war was popular, and then began touting it again as the war’s popularity declined.

  • Joseph

    “… Obama took down from his site this document in 2003 when the war was popular, and then began touting it again as the war’s popularity declined.”

    That doesn’t make sense for a couple reasons. First, the pro-war chorus was already in full swing in 2002 when he gave the speech against it. Second, Obama went on record numerous times throughout 2003, 2004, and each year since, stating his opposition to war for the same reasons he gave in his 2002 speech:
    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/1/14/155912/671

  • erik

    Joseph.

    Thanks for the link. Obama’s opposition to the war certainly faded following the invasion, esp. when since he joined the senate. Still, I think that the Ford article is misleading given the statements you linked to. Keep in mind that Ford is attacking Obama from the left.

    Support for the war in the US seems to have peaked just after the invasion & declined since. Whether or not the the “pro-war chorus” was in full swing in 2002 is irrelevant to the state of public opinion at the time: they were trying to *change* public opinion. They didn’t have a great deal of success, but they did manage to squeak it by. So public support peaked just after invasion and has declined ever since. In 2002, the war was still largely unpopular: the US public had not yet been scared into it.

  • mitrebox

    Not every site change is due to political reasons. Not every site change is dictated at the highest levels of his campaign. The speech was ultimately removed by some lackey at the digression of some other lackey slightly higher up. Now weather that lackey was directed by other lackeys as the result of some focus group (which comprise mostly of lackeys) remains to be seen.

    Options for the meaning behind the removal.
    1. Routine site change -no political meaning
    2. Removed due to success of the surge, however, Barrack names possible strike within (not on) Pakistan to hit terrorists. That’ll give him foreign policy experience.
    3. Removed because it NAMES the oil companies. Big money companies don’t fear when the industry has a bad image, its never really hurt them before. But when you name names companies get nervous. Barrack isn’t accepting matching funds so he takes money from lobbyists just like everyone else. Oil gives lots of money to both parties.
    4. Removed cause maybe his grandfather didn’t actually fight under Patton or not in the specifs mentioned. Could cause problems later.
    5. Removed cause its old news. Everyone knows he’s against the war. Besides Bush and UBL everyone in the speech is gone and no longer in the media. Hurts more due the reasons above then helps.

    Further Analysis:
    On point #2 above: Republicans mention sanctions on Iran and declaring the IRG a terror org and barrack jumps all over them for war mongering, Votes against both. Isn’t launch a strike on sovereign territory of an ally of the US just a bit unilateral and gives the impression of Americans rampaging through the Muslim world? Change sure is fun. (Not saying I wouldn’t do it, just saying you can’t blame reps and then make that kind of statement.)

  • David

    I didn’t just see the word “thru” twice in that transcript. Please tell me I didn’t.

  • http://draeke.com draeke

    I hadn’t seen the speech either, despite much commentary about it. (I’m ashamed it hadn’t occurred to me to look for it myself.)

    Anyway, great post, thanks.

    Obama’s strategists should have that in the mailbox of everyone in the country because it pretty much demonstrates that his lack of “experience” doesn’t indicate a lack of vision. In my mental pro/con balance sheet, this is strong pro for Obama.

  • Poster

    I don’t like it when people use all canned, all staged material. Why can’t they go up on stage and just talk their mind, talk freely?

    Ok, this is the wrong place to rant about this, since everyone is doing this. It appears … and this speech is just an excellent example of a thoughtfully compiled collection of psychological tricks and careful wording. Why is our society so full of shit and nobody seems to care or even notice??

  • http://blog.tapuz.co.il/revolt Ishener Zaph

    This document proves that Obama has what it takes to make decisions. He saw clearly the problems within this vague war.

  • Andy

    I’m sorry, but talk is cheep.

    We’ve seen time and time again from Bush; unfunded mandates, lip service to becoming energy independent, more lip service on emission reductions, the chiding of foreign governments for lack of transparency and freedom while at home he takes away ours. Unfortunately all three of our top candidates are weak on action.

  • http://www.sam-gurgis.com Sam Gurgis

    Thanks for sharing that with us. His opinions seem to have been vindicated.

  • http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2970930 Findeton

    I read this and then went to Wikipedia. I found this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Barack_Obama#_note-55

    That is, this:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2970930

    Obama Changed Position on War Funding
    Democratic Presidential Contender Opposed War Funding in 2003 but Has Voted Four Times for Funding in Senate

    Obaja, just another politician who would sell his body to the devil just to win.

  • eorse

    I am watching MTP on NBC and I wonder what if

    Obama got Bloomberg to be his VP.

    This would drive Clintons off the wagon. I love it.

    Let us hope Obama beats the two Clintons. But, I know, this is an impossible reality.

    The power of Clintons’ attack machine is that you will vote for it, even when you do not want to do so. The reason is race, gender, and ethnicity baiting.

  • Findeton

    I’m a leftie, but truth is that Obama has approved 4 times in the senate the budget for the war. Lessig, i don’t understand why you want to censor me, do you have an agenda… ?

  • http://www.bargeldweb.de Jens

    Thanks a lot for the US insides. It is quite interesting to see the European reports about the race for the White House and then to compare it to those topics that you raise here.

  • http://www.darkbuzz.com Roger

    The speech doesn’t actually say that Obama is against the Iraq War.
    It just says that he is against dumb wars.

    The speech is back on his web site.
    http://www.barackobama.com/2002/10/02/remarks_of_illinois_state_sen.php

  • Ron

    One should consider the context of this speech before claiming that it proves anything about his vision or decision making ability. The fact is that he prepared and delivered an anti war speech at an anti war rally attended by anti war people. In my oppinion, he didn’t exactly stick his neck out here. We can only speculate what his ACTIONS would have been had he actually been a member of the senate, had to sit in on intelligence briefings, and had to cast a vote on behalf of the people of Illinois regarding the authorization of military action against Sadam Hussein. And one of those “present” votes he’s so fond of casting would not have been acceptable in that case.
    Barack’s anti war position in 2002 was, in effect, his “political lottery ticket.” It didn’t cost him anything at the time. He didn’t have anything to lose by taking that position. And if he happened to be right, the payoff would be huge for his future political career. It was a highly calculated POLITICAL move by a CAREER POLITICIAN and don’t let a career politician fool you into thinking that he’s someone who can come in and change the way the political game is played. He won’t.

  • Guru

    Two things jumps out from this speech.
    “I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.”
    Nobody even thought about this while going to the war with Iraq. Its like Barak could go into the future for a few years and see what would happen.

    “You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.”
    If you want to put an end to the war by Muslim fundamentalists, cut their income source. Without money, Muslim world cannot fund the extremism. If we can be energy independent, things will change.

    I am sure Barak is going to make America and the world a better place.

  • http://N/A Leo

    Obama made his anti war position clear BEFORE the invasion of Iraq, which was the appropriate time. After the war began, the Bush labeled anyone who was against the war “unpatriotic”, and he ruined the lives and professions of many people who spoke against him. Perhaps it was McCarthy era fear that led senators and millions of other Americans (including Obama) to support the war, post invasion. They were simply afraid to speak against it.

  • A Democrat

    It seems to me it pretty easy to make such a speec at an anti-war rally, 19 days after the congress had to cast a meaningful vote. That’s 19 days of headlines, 19 days of pundit commentary, and 19 days to measure which way the political winds were blowing.

    Whether he was right or wrong is completely irrelevant. Its an apples and oranges debate. He didn’t vote. He didn’t put himself out there for the criticism and the historical record of casting a vote. It wasn’t his job. What is noteable is that ever since he got the job of Senator, he has voted (when he did vote) with the republicans.

  • evano

    @A Democrat: While I agree with your sentiment that Sen. Obama’s speech was merely pretty words freed from the responsibility of action and delivered before a pre-selected, sympathetic audience, I do need to correct you on your use of “19 days” in your comment.

    The article Professor Lessig links to is a reprint of Sen. Obama’s speech as a column in a Chicago newspaper on October 30, 2002. However, the actual speech and rally as reported on Sen. Obama’s website and linked to by @Roger above was on October 2, 2002, the same day the Authorization to Use Military Force resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives (HJRes. 114), and a week after the corresponding bill was introduced in the Senate (SJRes 45). Still, the pundits and commentators, protesters and supporters, did not wait for the Congress to formally introduce the issue before starting their arguments, and an astute political weatherman such as Sen. Obama would have had plenty of time to dress himself appropriately for his forecast.

    There were many other Senators and Representatives (sadly not a majority) who opposed the resolutions, but it doesn’t appear that most of them felt that this one distinguishing position — along with a record and platform virtually indistinguishable from most other Democratic candidates — was enough to sustain a campaign for the US Presidency.

  • http://www.popbattery.com tony parker

    While I agree with your sentiment that Sen. Obama’s speech was merely pretty words freed from the responsibility of action and delivered before a pre-selected, sympathetic audience, I do need to correct you on your use of “19 days” in your comment

  • http://www.playoyun.net murtaza2

    It seems to me it pretty easy to make such a speec at an anti-war rally, 19 days after the congress had to cast a meaningful vote. That’s 19 days of headlines, 19 days of pundit commentary, and 19 days to measure which way the political winds were blowing.

  • Gian

    Reading these confirms my uneasiness about Obama’s rhetoric. I find him asking more for faith in him–as a preacher would–rather than instilling faith–as a true leader would. Many other “visonaries” have gone to this presidential race before him and have been slaughtered by the opossition. Both candidates should stop spending their money–join forces and recognize that it is ideas that the voting public wants to support. This would be the closest thing to parliamentary rule that the US would ever see–without an overhaul of the Consituition.

  • Dawn

    This is just phase I of the Obama campaign: base building and the democratic nomination. Phase II: details the national campaign. His campaign is a evolutionary process that will become more and more focused on hard policy outlines.

  • Eddie

    I think its pretty disingenous for Barack Obama to claim to be the only Democratic candidate to have opposed the war with Iraq before the invasion began. At a time when our nation was deeply divided and polarized, Barack Obama could have stood tall in front of the anti-war audience boldly proclaiming his opposition to the planned war with Iraq. Instead, he uses a rhetorical device to obfuscate his position:”

    “I don’t oppose all wars

    I’m opposed to dumb wars

    Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors

    Even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences

    An invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda.

    I am not opposed to all wars

    I’m opposed to dumb wars”

    Throughout the speech, Barack Obama doesn’t shy away from offering his opinion, but when it’s time to declare his opposition both loudly and clearly, he just whimpers away lamely, perhaps reminding himself to keep his eyes on the prize — the 2004 US Senate seat.

  • http://www.blackagendareport.com Bruce Dixon

    Obama very definitely DID remove that speech from his web site for a good six or seven weeks at least in the spring and early summer of 2003, when pro-war sentiment was running heavy, when he had already locked up the antiwar vote for the primary, and was tacking right to please his friends at the DLC and his campaign contributors. I know because I caught it, wrote an article on it, and Obama had to respond to it. I know because we forced him to put it back up again. Here is a recap of that exchange with links to our original dialog with Obama on the subject.

    We forced him to replace the speech and to remove his DLC tattoos, his formal affiliation with the right wing corporate pocket of the Democratic party. Read it here.

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=529&Itemid=1

  • Paul

    I find it interesting that Obama himself states clearly in the text of the article that he wrote this version down AFTER the rally! I question some of the information provided within because there are things that seem to have come to light after the debate. Either he is truly a profit (the new Mohammed??) or he’s giving everyone the run. He’s a lawyer by training, and we all know lawyers are really good at making tings seem different than they relly are. I was in Chicago during these days and as I recall, granted from memory not actual archives, that he really wasn’t very strong against the war. More of a heat of the moment political speech to a specific crowd. Sure seems like the new Slick Willy to me!

  • http://www.matrix-evolutions.com Ruth Calabria

    Ruth Calabria, Chairperson

    We endorse Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

    This is the most important election America will ever have, possibly the last if Barack Obama is not elected.

    The Evolutionary Party derives its politics from the equation for evolution shown on the flag that has been in the textbooks for the last eighty years. A mathematical elaboration of it supported by data ranging from chemical kinetics to the evening news indicates that our “war on terror” is slowly but surely escalating to World War III, a truly terrifying thought. For that reason we support Barack Obama, for he is the only real anti-war candidate.

    Hillary? Before Hillary came Bill. Let us recall Bill Clinton and his lovely first lady with a clear eye. This all smiling couple sang their song of health care so sweetly to the public but delivered, not on an increase in medical protection, but an increase in prison building and in the number of police roaming the streets, federally paid, looking for a reason to hassle the public and put those who get annoyed rather than cowed into one of those new Clinton prisons. And we accepted it all because it came from such a nice American couple with such nice smiles. Hillary, show us that your showboat is something other than a total fake.

    What the Clintons did very much pleased the conservatives, who believe in lock ‘em up law and order because our laws are made by and for the eternal betterment of the moneyed class in America. What the Clintons did took America to the highest per-capita prison population in the world, a statistic historically associated with police states like Stalinist Russia and apartheid South Africa. No, the Evolutionary Party is not saying that America is a police state, if it were, you’d have heard about it on the evening news.

    The Clinton presidency also ended social protection for out of work people, again quite pleasing the conservatives. The Clintons ended Lyndon Baines Johnson’s war on poverty and put all the homeless people you don’t see on TV onto the streets of Las Vegas and Sacramento where they are as thick as flies and can’t be missed unless you are blind. As some in the media actually are. Have you ever noticed Carol Costello’s eyes? Right out of the Stepford Wives. She is blind. You are sure of that by what she and the rest of the show your tits newscasters don’t say. Nothing that you actually see on the streets of America and on its busses and in its workplaces is ever talked about on TV.

    And you have to wonder who Carole is banging for in the front office. We are not picking on her for that reason, though. Working women all across America have to fuck for their bosses, one way or another, to get ahead in life. So it is very unlikely that Carole is alone as a CNN down on her knees newscastrix. No, we are picking on Carole and on Anderson and on the rest of the well paid greasy mouths on TV for not seeing the more stark realities we lesser people have to live with.

    And to all you middle class who don’t care if the Clintons brought us the hoards of homeless beggars that don’t exist in your life, don’t turn your head so soon. It could be you and your family next. Either as one of the homeless, when the economic realities of our trillion dollar war rob you of your job and retirement savings when the market crashes. Or as a victim of the homeless when their rage at being kicked by the police on top of being starved reaches the mass murder point. As it has in a number of other sectors in America where control is abusive, as at work and in our well policed schools.

    On a lighter note, Hillary does have a few things she can be proud of. She is a most talented actress and a profoundly adept social climber, our American Evita. But whatever Hillary’s personal accomplishments, she is never going to go against the wishes of the money class that created her and Bill and supported them as their adorable political puppets. Hillary would not show her tax returns, as Obama asked, because they would show the largess showered on the Clintons by the moneyed class. No, Hillary is not going to stop this war, whatever she may say to get elected and star her next movie: Figurehead President II.

    Of course, there are those of you that think that Hillary would never lie to us. Bill said he would never lie to us. And he said it so well that I yet don’t believe he lied to us about Monica. Monica who? That is how good an actor Bill is. He’s even a better actor than Brad Pitt. One night Bill crawled into Angelina’s bedroom in Beverly Hills with a cigar in his mouth. Hey, Angelina, he said, my wife’s going to run for president this year. Open your legs and give us your vote. Pass the popcorn, please. It’ll be another four years of that movie, but with Hillary smoking the cigar.

    Of course, transgressions are relative. Who is not totally revulsed by the smell of a public rest room fused to the Bible squeezing, boy hustling conservative senator from Idaho? Nobody has caught Bill at that yet. Still, what character is there in a first family when the head of the most powerful nation on earth sticks a penile object, not even his own, up some college kid’s vagina? If this were a movie, would they play the Star Spangled Banner during this scene?

    And doesn’t it make you wonder about the guy’s wife? Does any sane female over the age of 22 really think Hillary felt bad about Bill and Monica? Behind all the media hype that protects those who help control the little people, you have to wonder:

    A.) Is Hillary is lesbian, a married one, not that unusual in modern America. If Hillary was mad about anything with Monica, it was that she didn’t get a shot at her too. Watch one of Hillary’s lovers surface soon to clarify her tastes as to penile object.

    B.) The smiling Clintons are so phony and so slimy underneath that one would not be surprised to find that the inarguably unconfident and possibly mildly retarded Chelsea Clinton was the product of her pervert parents abusing her when she was four years old, the age she seems to be stuck in. Certainly there is as much truth in this outrageous conjecture as the Clintons being good people because they go to church on Sunday. No, what the Clintons are is not good, but likable. Likable is a banana split. You just like how it tastes. You don’t need a reason. The Clintons are an imitation banana split, very likeable, like artificial sweetener that causes cancer eight years down the line.

    You can trust what a Clinton says like you can trust what a Bush says. That whole family, George I, George II, Lady Barbara and Lady Laura, are all great actors too. And isn’t it interesting that the Bush daughters, Jenna and what’s her name, are as unconfident and inept as Chelsea. Makes you wonder if Bush uses a cigar too. But on Lady Laura, the Virgin Mary of conservatives?

    True, this skit by the one writer’s guild writer who didn’t get rehired is a bit insane. But there are a lot of people around today that are actually insane, not the least of whom are the conservatives, all of which are unbalanced emotionally because of their castration in childhood from the pains of physical punishment and strict obedience. They are inherently defective however much their endless charades from Senate podiums and on Fox News try to hide it. And dangerous when they have weapons in their grasp.

    If you want the war and the police state to end, vote for Barack Obama. Not for Hillary, who is so self-serving and devious that you wouldn’t be surprised if she teamed up with Huckabee as VP on a national reconciliation ticket. Or some such curve ball the moneyed class would use to block Obama from getting in and ending our descent into irreversible totalitarianism and worldwide war. Hopefully Obama will not be removed by assassination.

    Who are we to say such dark things?

    matrix-evolutionsdotcom

  • justme

    I would like to ask you all to hear me out on what I am about to say… We are – once again – getting duped.

    If Obama wins the nomination, McCain will be the next president. Here is why I say this:

    Republican voters are insuring that the less-experienced Obama will be the nominee by voting for him in the primaries, and once this happens, they will go back to their base in the general election and vote for McCain. They need to insure that Hillary doesn’t get the nomination because she won’t be an easy target for McCain -she can hold her own with him – Obama can’t.

    “That’s ridiculous”, you say?? To you, I ask that you look at the number of “democrats” that are voting in the primaries verses the number of republicans…. the numbers don’t add up.

    Take Wisconsin, for example: Voters DO NOT have to be party affiliated to vote in the primary – which allows republicans to vote for democrats and vice versa. Here are the results:

    Total votes for democrats: 1,099,661
    Total votes for republicans: 375,427

    The numbers make no sense……. how many of the million plus are republicans insuring a win for Obama???

    Dems are being set up for failure.

  • Regency

    Easily duped again, America.

    It’s easy to say that one is against the war when it isn’t their decision to make. It’s easy say that “dumb wars” are a disappointment when no one’s asking you to cast your vote. It’s easy to feel secure in your own righteousness and your own skin when it isn’t your state that was terrorised–3000 of your constituents that never made it home. It’s easy to say “no” to something–whichever war he meant–when History won’t hold you accountable.

    Hillary got unlucky in this one. She dared to win her Senate seat and then do something with it.

    When and if this man makes it into office, we will see for ourselves the breadth and deepth of his vision; we will see his capabilities laid bare. And when they fall far short of what they’ve promised to be, we will feel, once again, fooled and “bamboozled” by a man who knew just the lies to tell.

  • Ken B.

    Wow! Obama makes an anti-war speech at an anti-war rally while running for a democratic seat in the Illinois legislature. Way to go out on a limb, Barack. If this is his only claim to fame (as in, he’d “rather be right on day one”), then what about his self-described “boneheaded” real estate dealings with Tony Rezko? What about his behind the American people’s back dealings with Canada on NAFTA? What about his absolute lack of any exposure AT ALL to international politics? He’s a joke.

  • mark

    barracks speech, wow he’s a good liar. he’s been listening to the preacher for 20 years. he is blowing smoke up our butt for sure. wake up america!

  • smartass7577

    My question is: Would Hillary be afforded as much latitude if her spiritual advisor were a racist? If her reverend were a member of the KKK would she be able to stand up in front of the world and say we have a horrible past and I am going to lead our country to a better place? Not likely, she would be out of the race hands down! It amazes me that Obama didn’t disassociate himself from the reverend even after he knew about the comments. Surely there are more qualified African American people, that represent the best of America, who would be suitable to sit on his spiritual advisor committee. The choice is up to us America……… do we pick the candidate whose spiritual advisor wants God to Dam America?

  • Will

    I forgot that Obama was elected after the war began…I’d have to say that this speech is something that could easily be buried if the war was successful and his remarks towards Saudi Arabia and Egypt are quite hawkish… There is a HUGE difference between saying no in a small column vs. a “nay” vote on the original measure on the Senate floor and I doubt he will be the one to bring that up.

    It is better to have someone who takes an opinion (McCain or Hillary) then one who’s afraid to do so (see: his record in the Illinois legislature) and Monday morning quarterbacks the outcome.

  • dorothy

    Obama thinks this is a dumb war? He not only doesn`t know how many states in the U.S and where the Great lakes are, he doesn`t know history either….
    Why Are We Fighting in Iraq?
    This is really very interesting and informative and puts history in perspective.
    It’s really something to think about in these awful times. The writer is very
    well-versed in mid-east affairs over a period of some 20yrs.:

    Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and
    hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat, and had sunk more than
    four hundred British ships in their convoys between England and America for food
    and war materials.

    Bushido Japan had overrun most of Asia, beginning in 1928, killing millions of
    civilians throughout China, and impressing millions more as slave labor.

    The United States was in an isolationist and pacifist mood, and most Americans
    and Congress wanted nothing to do with the European war, or the Asian war.

    Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress
    unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, which had
    not attacked us.

    It was a dicey thing. We had few allies.

    France was not an ally, for the Vichy government of France aligned with its
    German occupiers. Germany was not an ally, for it was an enemy, and Hitler
    intended to set up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, for
    it was intent on owning and controlling all of Asia. Japan and Germany had
    long-term ideas of invading Canada and Mexico, and then the United States over
    the north and south borders, after they had settled control of Asia and Europe.

    America’s allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and
    Russia, and that was about it. There were no other countries of any size or
    military significance with the will and ability to contribute much of anything
    to the effort to defeat Hitler’s Germany and Japan, and prevent the global
    dominance of Nazism. And we had to send millions of tons of arms, munitions, and
    war supplies to Russia, England, and the Canadians, Aussies, Irish, and Scots,
    because none of them could produce all they needed for themselves.

    All of Europe, from Norway to Italy, except Russia in the east, was already
    under the Nazi heel.

    America was not prepared for war. America had stood down most of its military
    after World War I and throughout the depression. At the outbreak of World War II
    there were army soldiers training with broomsticks over their shoulders because
    they didn’t have guns, and using cars with ”tank” painted on the doors because
    they didn’t have tanks. And a big chunk of our navy had just been sunk and
    damaged at Pearl Harbor.

    Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in
    gold bullion in the Bank of England that was the property of Belgium and was
    given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by
    Hitler.

    Actually, Belgium surrendered in one day, because it was unable to oppose the
    German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day
    anyway, just to prove they could.

    Britain had been holding out for two years already in the face of staggering
    shipping loses and the near-decimation of its air force in the Battle of
    Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made
    the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be
    dealt with later and turning his attention to Russia, at a time when England was
    on the verge of collapse in the late summer of 1940.

    Russia saved America’s rear by putting up a desperate fight for two years until
    the United States got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany.

    Russia lost something like 24 million people in the sieges of Stalingrad and
    Moscow, 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more
    than a million soldiers. More than a million!

    Had Russia surrendered, then, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire
    campaign against the Brits, then America, and the Nazis would have won that war.

    Had Hitler not made that mistake and invaded England in 1940 or 1941, instead,
    there would have been no England for the United States and the Brits to use as a
    staging ground to prepare an assault on Nazi Europe.

    England would not have been able to run its North African campaign to help take
    a little pressure off Russia while America geared up for battle, and today
    Europe would very probably be run by the Nazis, the Third Reich, and, isolated
    and without any allies (not even the Brits).

    The United States would very likely have had to cede Asia to the Japanese, who
    were basically Nazis by another name then, and the world we live in today would
    be very different and much worse.

    I say this to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things.
    And we are now at another one.

    There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has or wants to have,
    and may soon have the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical
    weapons, almost anywhere in the world, unless it is prevented from doing so.

    France, Germany, and Russia, have been selling these Islamic nations weapons
    technology at least as recently as 2002, as have North Korea, Syria, and
    Pakistan paid for with billions of dollars that Saddam Hussein skimmed from the
    “Oil For Food” program administered by the United Nations with the complicity of
    Kofi Annan and his son.

    The Jihadis, or the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs. They
    believe that Islam, a radically conservative (definitely not liberal) form of
    Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe and
    then the world. All who do not bow to Allah should be killed, enslaved, or
    subjugated.

    They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, and purge the world of Jews.
    This is what they say.

    There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East for the most part not a hot
    war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation
    today, but it is not yet known which will win the Inquisition, or the
    Reformation.

    If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, or the Jihadis, will control the
    Middle East, and the OPEC oil, and the United States, European, and Asian
    economies the techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC.

    This is not an OPEC dominated by the well educated and rational Saudis of today,
    but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis.

    You want gas in your car? You want heating oil next winter? You want jobs? You
    want the dollar to be worth anything? You better hope the Jihad, the Muslim
    Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.

    If the Reformation movement wins, that is the moderate Muslims who believe that
    Islam can respect and tolerate other religions and live in peace with the rest
    of the world, move out of the 10th Century into the 21st Century. Then the
    troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away, and a moderate and
    prosperous Middle East will emerge.

    We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the
    Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda, the Islamic
    terrorist movements.

    We have to do it somewhere, we cannot do it just anywhere and we cannot do it
    everywhere at once.

    **** We have created a focal point for the battle now at the time and place of
    our choosing, in IRAQ….. Not in New York, not in London, or Paris, or Berlin,
    but in Iraq, where we did and are doing two very important things:

    (1) We deposed Saddam Hussein and whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved
    in 9/11 or not the issue. It is undisputed that Saddam has been actively
    supporting the terrorist movement for decades, Saddam is a terrorist. Saddam is,
    or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible for the deaths of
    probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians.

    (2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism
    in Iraq and we have focused the battle. We are killing bad guys there, and the
    ones we get there we won’t have to get here, or anywhere else. We also have a
    good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for
    democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a
    stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is
    needed.

    The Euros could have done this, but they didn’t, and they won’t. We now know
    that rather than opposing the rise of the Jihad, the French, Germans, and
    Russians were selling them arms. We have found more than a million tons of
    weapons and munitions in Iraq. If Iraq was not a threat to anyone, why did
    Saddam need a million tons of weapons?

    Additionally, Iraq was paying for French, German, and Russian arms with money
    skimmed from the United Nations Oil for Food Program (supervised by U.N.
    Secretary General Kofi Annan and his son) that was supposed to pay for food,
    medicine, and education, for Iraqi children.

    World War II, the war with the German and Japanese Nazis, really began with a
    ”whimper” in 1928.

    It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of
    China. It was at war for fourteen years before America joined in it. It
    officially ended in 1945 a 17 year war and was followed by another decade of
    United States occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries
    reconstructed and running on their own again a 27 year war.

    World War II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full
    year’s GNP adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars.

    World War II cost America more than 400,000 killed in action, and nearly 100,000
    are still missing in action.

    The Iraq war has so far cost the United States about $120 billion, which is
    roughly what 9/11 cost New York. It has also cost about 3,000 American lives,
    which is roughly 1/3 of the 3,000 lives that the Jihad snuffed on 9/11.

    But the cost of not fighting and winning World War II would have been
    unimaginably greater, a world that would now be dominated by German and Japanese
    Nazism.

    Americans have a short attention span, now, conditioned I suppose by 30 minute
    television shows and 2 hour movies in which everything comes out okay. The real
    world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly.
    It always has been, and probably always will be.

    If we do this thing in Iraq successfully, it is probable that the Reformation
    will ultimately prevail. Many Muslims in the Middle East hope it will. We will
    be there to support it.

    It has begun in some countries, Libya, for instance also Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
    If we fail, the Inquisition will probably prevail, and terrorism from Islam will
    be with us for all the foreseeable future, because the people of the
    Inquisition, or Jihad, believe that they are called by Allah to kill all the
    Infidels, and that death in Jihad is glorious.

    The bottom line here is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until
    we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away on its own. It will not go
    away if we ignore it.

    If the United States can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we
    have an ”England” in the Middle East, a platform from which we can work to
    help modernize and moderate the Middle East.

    The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility
    and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates.

    The Iraq war is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. And
    now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons
    unless we or somebody does prevent them.

    The Iraq war is expensive, and uncertain, yes. But the consequences of not
    fighting it and winning it will be horrifically greater. We have four options:

    1.We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

    2.We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as
    early as next year, if Iran’s progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it
    is).

    3.We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East,
    now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.

    4.Or we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more
    widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and
    Germany and maybe most of the rest of Europe. It will be more dangerous, more
    expensive, and much bloodier then.

    Yes, the Jihadis say that they look forward to an Islamic America. If you oppose
    this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may
    live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that
    resembles Iran today.

    We can be defeatist, as many Democrats and liberals, peace activists, and
    anti-war types seem to be, and concede or surrender to the Jihad or we can do
    whatever it takes to win this war against them.

    The history of the world is the history of civil clashes, or cultural clashes.
    All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be
    like and the most determined always win. Those who are willing to be the most
    ruthless always win.

    The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.

    In the 20th Century it was western democracy vs. communism, and before that
    western democracy vs. Nazism, and before that Western democracy vs. German
    Imperialism.

    Western democracy won, three times, but it wasn’t cheap, fun, nice, easy, or
    quick. Indeed, the wars against German Imperialism (World War I), Nazi
    Imperialism (World War II), and communist imperialism (the 40-year Cold War that
    included the Vietnam Battle, commonly called the Vietnam War, but itself a major
    battle in a larger war) covered almost the entire century.

    The first major war of the 21st Century is the war between Western
    Judeo/Christian Civilization and Wahhabi Islam. It may last a few more years, or
    most of this century.

    It will last until the Wahhabi branch of Islam fades away, or gives up its
    ambitions for regional and global dominance and Jihad, or until Western
    Civilization gives in to the Jihad.

    Remember, perspective is everything, and America’s schools teach too little
    history. The Cold War lasted from about 1947 to 1989 at least until the Berlin
    Wall came down in 1989. Forty-two years.

    Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870
    to 1945 fighting Germany.

    World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation and the
    United States still has troops in Germany and Japan. World War II resulted in
    the death of more than 50 million people, maybe more than 100 million people,
    depending on which estimates you accept.

    The United States has taken a little more than 4,000 Killed-in-Action (KIA) in
    Iraq. The United States took more than 4,000 KIA on the morning of June 6, 1944,
    the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism.

    In World War II the United States averaged 2,000 KIA a week for four years. Most
    of the individual battles of World War II lost more Americans than the entire
    Iraq war has done so far.

    But the stakes are at least as high: a world dominated by representative
    governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms–or a world
    dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, and by the Jihad, under the
    Mullahs and the Sharia.

    I do not understand why many Americans do not grasp this. Too much television I
    guess.

    Many Americans profess to be in favor of human rights, civil rights, liberty,
    freedom, and all that. But not for Iraqis, I guess. In America, but nowhere
    else.

    The 300,000 Iraqi bodies in mass graves in Iraq, not our problem. The United
    States population is about twelve times that of Iraq, so let’s multiply 300,000
    by twelve. What would you think if there were 3,600,000 American bodies in mass
    graves in America because of our president? Would you not want another country
    to help liberate America?

    ”Peace Activists” always seem to demonstrate where it’s safe and ineffective
    to do so: in America. Why don’t we see peace activists demonstrating in Iran,
    Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea; in the places in the world that really need
    peace activism the most?

    Are we not supposed to be in favor of human rights, civil rights, democracy,
    multiculturalism, diversity, etc? Well, if the Jihad wins and wherever the Jihad
    wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism,
    diversity, etc

    Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their
    own worst enemy. If the Jihad wins, it is the death of ALL OTHER “ISMS” !

  • karl

    obama is an immature turd.. you guys. he just is a kid trapped in a mans body.. he dont know what he is doing!! he is lying!! he loves war!! all little kids do!!

  • nic

    Auditioning for Commander-in-Chief

    Last week, Barack Obama was designated as the “presumptive nominee” of the Democratic Party, and Hillary Clinton endorsed him. What does it signify—and what does it NOT signify—that for the first time in U.S. history a Black person has been made the political candidate of a major political party? This is a very important question and we will be exploring it in future issues of the paper, including next week. This issue, however, we want to highlight the particular importance of Obama’s very first act after claiming the Democratic Party nomination—a speech on Israel, to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). more…

  • Lee

    Upon reading many of the blogs posted here, I must clarify something.
    Most Americans agree with the lofty words and visions for world peace that Obama so eloquently pontificates in his speeches … It’s Obama we don’t trust. those of you who hypnotically fawn over Obama take everything he says as gospel. But, you don’t even know the man. You assume that because his words are worthy, he is trustworthy. People they are just words! Obama, the man who is speaking those words has a horrible track record. He did nothing as a senator. He spent the last 20 years accepting an anti-American racist as his mentor. His associations have been with extremely unsavory people. However, you Obamabots keep trying to characterize the rest of us as disagreeing with what Obama says … when it’s Obama himself we don’t trust … nor should you!

  • Jasmine

    It is important to remember, as NPR has informed us, that this is a re-created speech. Many reporters in the crowd that day do not recall, and did not report on, Obama’s speech. Obama has also recreated a video, complete with fake crowd noise, to simulate the speech.

    The big question, before this rally, is if in fact Obama was against the war. He supposedly was told by the rally’s organizers that the event would be distinctly anti-war, and that he had to have an anti-war position to ingratiate the crowd.

    Thus he is now able to say he was against the war. We may never know if it took real backbone, or if he caved in, to hold this position.