Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama's speech on national security

Speech (video and text) from the speech Sen. Obama gave recently - pretty powerful stuff.

This comes on the same day that a Wasington Post/ABC poll shows Obama ahead by 8 points.

"Our men and women in uniform have accomplished every mission we have given
them. What's missing in our debate about Iraq - what has been missing since
before the war began - is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq and
its dominance of our foreign policy. This war distracts us from every threat
that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our
security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the
resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century. By any
measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy
for keeping America safe.

"I am running for President of the United States to lead this country
in a new direction - to seize this moment's promise. Instead of being distracted
from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them. Instead of
pushing the entire burden of our foreign policy on to the brave men and women of
our military, I want to use all elements of American power to keep us safe, and
prosperous, and free. Instead of alienating ourselves from the world, I want
America - once again - to lead. "

The Iraq situation is only one of many things Obama touches on in this speech - it's worth reading in full. In fact, what we're being distracted from in continuing with Iraq is what he focuses on more:

"For all of our power, America is strongest when we act alongside strong
partners. We faced down fascism with the greatest war-time alliance the world
has ever known. We stood shoulder to shoulder with our NATO allies against the
Soviet threat, and paid a far smaller price for the first Gulf War because we
acted together with a broad coalition. We helped create the United Nations - not
to constrain America's influence, but to amplify it by advancing our values.

"Now is the time for a new era of international cooperation. It's time for
America and Europe to renew our common commitment to face down the threats of
the 21st century just as we did the challenges of the 20th. It's time to
strengthen our partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the world's
largest democracy - India - to create a stable and prosperous Asia. It's time to
engage China on common interests like climate change, even as we continue to
encourage their shift to a more open and market-based society. It's time to
strengthen NATO by asking more of our allies, while always approaching them with
the respect owed a partner. It's time to reform the United Nations, so that this
imperfect institution can become a more perfect forum to share burdens,
strengthen our leverage, and promote our values. It's time to deepen our
engagement to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, so that we help our ally
Israel achieve true and lasting security, while helping Palestinians achieve
their legitimate aspirations for statehood."

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