Stupid Changes, Obama Style - Afghanistan

Change? What change?

From before he started his campaign for President, the mantra, theme, and repetitive refrain of Mr. Obama and his supporters has been the urgent and pressing, if not dire, need for "Change!"  When Barack Obama says that the voters are calling for change, he could hardly be more right.

The trouble is that you have to propose, obtain agreement, enact, and implement specific change.  What's really bad from the point of view of someone running for office is that any specific proposal is likely to anger some people even if it pleases others.  Human nature is such that people are more likely to remember the negatives than to remember the positives, so it's to a candidate's advantage if he can stay as vague as possible for as long as possible.

Mr. Obama hasn't told us exactly what changes he has in mind.

Keeping quiet about what he plans to do is perfectly sensible; his extraordinary gift of oratory has allowed him to issue soaring calls for "change" without anyone demanding details.

Given that the debate moderators and other media folk are reluctant to push Mr. Obama for specifics and that Hillary has not been able to force him to go into detail, we voters are reduced to reading the tea-leaves of the few things he's actually done to see what he means by "Change."

Since one of Obama's signature issues is opposition to the War on Terrorism, let's see what changes he has put forward.  Although he's not the Commander in Chief and there are obvious limits to what he can accomplish, nevertheless, as a United States Senator, he is not entirely without power.

No Changes On His Watch

As it happens, Sen. Obama has more influence on the war than your ordinary Senator.  He's the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs which has oversight of NATO.  NATO is in charge of the war in Afghanistan; we aren't alone there.  What goes on in Afghanistan falls under Sen. Obama's direct purview.

In talking about the Afghan war, Mr. Obama has alleged that our soldiers are killing civilians.  He's been quoted as saying:

We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.

Killing civilians is a serious charge which, if true, would demand change.

Mr. Obama clearly disapproves of what we're doing in Afghanistan.  He's clearly calling for change.  He also chairs the committee charged with oversight of what's going on.  His position as an elected representative gives him the power to look into the details and enact change.

Congressional committees can call witnesses, subpoena documents, and hold press conferences.  The goal is to demand answers and publicly "name and shame" wrongdoers so that the Justice Department will file charges against them and encourage the others to clean up their acts.

What has he done with this power?

In the last eighteen months, Sen. Obama has called meetings of his oversight committee exactly zero times.  He has not held one single meeting of his subcommittee.  Not one.

He has the power to do something, but he's chosen to complain instead of doing something.  His complaints are empty rhetoric - they're not backed by action even though he has the power to take pretty vigorous action.

In calling for change, Mr. Obama has found a hot button which reaches a major segment of the Democratic primary voters.  It's easy to understand why he would avoid specifics - after all, it's hard to dislike a ringing call for "Change," but it's easy to dislike any proposal for any specific change.

What's sad is that Mr. Obama has ignored opportunities given him by the Senate leadership who put him in a position from which he could make changes.  Instead of changing things, he's sat on his rhetoric and done nothing.

If we can't expect the person with actual control over the relevant Congressional committee to do anything about a problem that he himself says is a major issue, how can we expect better results if he's given even more power?  He's not using the power he's got.

At least doing nothing is less harmful to the taxpayers than funding a Woodstock museum.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
You may be right about this, but Obama has a lot less experience in DC than either Hillary or McCain. And at this point, I'll take "less experience" (whatever that is) before more. DC experience gives us more of the same like the Iraq War and tax breaks for the rich.
March 4, 2008 6:53 PM
I see that you are taking the ignorant, popularized opinion that we are failing in Iraq. I'm not exactly sure how such dumbassity was propagated into the mainstream, but it's still sad to me when I see someone preaching that old message.
Now, I don't like a lot of Obama's goals and purposes, but if he's not going to do anything about them, I suppose that would make him a safe alternative to the RINO or the Hildabeast...
March 5, 2008 12:34 PM
I usually don't comment like this... But Michael's comment made me nearly wet my pants. That was the funniest thing I've seen all week.
March 5, 2008 12:54 PM
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