, regarding why Clinton has lost the party's nomination (her support of the invasion of Iraq) and why Obama's stance defines his values and beliefs:
When Sen. Clinton stood up to speak on the war on Oct 10, 2002 the war was not a controversial issue among the establishment of this country. Many of the same pundits who escoriate her in the mainstream media today were braying in support of Pres. Bush. After 9/11, the Senator from New York had to be tough on terrorism. Pres. Bush had an approval rating of 64%, down from a high of 88% a year earlier, but still quite respectable. Even VP Cheney was at 54%. [...]
The anti-war protests appeared anemic due to the biased media coverage in the aftermath of 9/11. Quite a few Liberal Members of Congress protested the war, but they were marginalized as the `loony left' by compliant elite opinion makers. As in the letter which the DLC wrote to the members of Congress calling on them to support the President.So it was quite easy to make the decision to support the war. She did not find it necessary to read the NIE: she already knew most of the experts personally and knew their views. That much of the evidence for WMD in Iraq was fabricated was obvious to most experts, but it is doubtful that Sen. Clinton ever even questioned it. The important thing was not to get caught on the wrong side of history, when many of her colleagues even on the Democratic side of the Senate was going to vote for it. [...]
So [in 2002] who could have known that this war was a dumb war? Only people who paid attention, even without any secret information available to Federal Government officials. Who knew that it was not Saddam Hussein but his mortal enemy the Al Queda that had carried out the attacks of 9/11, in spite of Cheney's claims? Everyone of course. But that was not enough for the pundits, the Congress or Sen. Clinton to oppose a war on Iraq. They let the confusion of Hussein and Al Qeada stand. It was not lack of knowledge, it was lack of courage to act on what they knew. It was not only Sen. Clinton that failed. Most of the establishment of the country went along, to their everlasting shame: Judy Miller was the worst but opinion makers like Thomas Friedman, Jonathan Alter, establishment news sources like the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, all went along.
How did a minor American politician, a mere State Senator in Illinois, get it right when all these towering giants did not? It is not that Barack Obama had better information. It is not even because he was smarter. He simply had the courage to say what he knew to be true. He would, strangely, trust that the people he was addressing were adults.
As Sen. Clinton noted, she brings many years of experience to the table as does Sen. McCain. Sen. Obama brings a speech he gave in 2002. Here is the text of that speech:
Good afternoon. Let me 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 Administration’s 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 a tragedy from happening again.
I don’t oppose all wars.
Only a few seconds of the film of that speech that survives. The words repeated by-some of his supporters- are powerful, even if delivered without Obama's special diction.