Obama on Terror

OBAMA ON TERROR….I suggested yesterday that some of Barack Obama’s other comments from his big foreign policy speech were actually more interesting than his tough talk on Pakistan — but then I failed to follow that up by engaging with some of those other comments. Maybe I’ll do that later today. In the meantime, Matt Yglesias offers up this possibility:

More interesting is that Obama, unlike some of the reporters who covered the speech, refused to frame his determination to fight al-Qaida as a contrast with his dovish views on Iraq. Rather….he says that “by refusing the end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give then in 2002: a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” Opposition to the war in Iraq, then and now, in other words, is part and parcel of a commitment to a serious struggle against al-Qaida.

This is precisely right, and it’s precisely Obama’s ability to move the conversation in this direction that’s his campaign’s most underappreciated asset. It’s not just that [Hillary] Clinton took a different position on the authorization vote four and a half years ago. Rather, Obama, having established more space between his views and those of the Republicans can, in effect, punch much harder, accusing conservatives of radically misconceiving the problem.

I figure that the most interesting thing to do with Obama’s speech is to go through and try to figure out which parts are unique: that is, which parts couldn’t plausibly have been delivered by one of the other candidates. I don’t think there are very many, but Matt may be right that this is one of them. More later.

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