Sweet column: Obama regrets "wasted" soldier death remark.

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DURHAM, N.H. -- In his first stumble, White House hopeful Barack Obama on Monday took back words from the day before, when he said the lives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq were "wasted."

Following his Springfield launch on Saturday, Obama wrapped up a three-day swing in the key primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, ending at a University of New Hampshire rally where he assailed the "trivialization of politics" where "it is all about who makes a gaffe."

In this case, that would be Obama, the Illinois Democrat.

During his first press conference as a presidential candidate at Iowa State University, Obama, discussing his opposition to the Iraq war, said the war "should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and on which we've now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.''

• Sweet blog: Continuing coverage

He immediately realized he made a mistake, he later told a reporter. Even the most severe war critics in Congress have been very careful to praise U.S. troops and say nothing that could upset mourning families.

Reaches out to families
Obama, in an interview with the Des Moines Register right afterward, told the paper, ''I was actually upset with myself when I said that, because I never use that term,'' he said. ''Their sacrifices are never wasted. . . . What I meant to say was those sacrifices have not been honored by the same attention to strategy, diplomacy and honesty on the part of civilian leadership that would give them a clear mission."
By Monday, reporters covering Obama making his first visit as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire, asked Obama, campaigning in a Nashua home, if military families deserved an apology.

"Well as I said, it is not at all what I intended to say, and I would absolutely apologize if any of them felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown. You know, and if you look at all the other speeches that I've made, that is always the starting point in my view of this war.''

At a rally in the gym at the university here -- not quite the stemwinder Obama delivered for University of Illinois at Chicago students on Sunday night -- Obama made a similar point about the Iraq war deaths, talking about the need to "bring that war to a close."

Those who died, he said, were "extraordinarily brave soldiers."


Sen. Obama has apologized for his "3000 wasted lives" accidental mis-speak at Iowa State Univ. and one hopes it won't have legs. Sen. Biden's recent faux pas seems not to have had. Nevertheless, a video splice of Sen. Obama's comment is almost certainly in the vaults of Republican 527's and the RNC as well, ready for playback in a future "swift boat" ad.

he's right. While our soldiers are brave and should be honored, Geo. Bush wasted their lives.
Nothing's going to change the fact that geo. bush started a war that shouldn't have been started. We, the people of this country trusted him, and he lied to us. We should be ashamed and we are ashamed. We're also very disappointed in the main stream media for not reporting what is the truth.

But the bottom line is all the resources put into this fiasco in Iraq, whether people, dollars or equipment have been wasted. Think what we could have done for education or health care in this country if we put the billions that have been "wasted" in iraq into those areas.

Get off the guy's back, and report the truth...........for once. Just like lives were wasted in Vietnam, they've been wasted in Iraq. I feel deeply sorry for all the families affected by Geo. Bush's Iraq folly.

Quit dancing around the point and get a spine.

Explain to me why we come down ten times harder on politicians for making a gaffe like Obama did, than we do on the President who ordered this war and the politicians who support pouring more American lives into the cauldron of somebody else's civil war? We see now that Hosni Mubarak was correct when he warned Bush before the invasion that he was "opening the gates of Hell." American politicians are scrutinized for what they say, but we ignore what they do until it blows up in our face.

Lynn Sweet-
In your column of Feb 13, titled Obama regrets saying soldiers' lives 'wasted'
Apologizes for remark in Iowa campaign stop you talk about how the Senator stumbled and later took back his statement, then went on to apologize. I'm curious.At what point did he apologize? You quote the aspiring Senator as saying "I would absolutely apologize if any of them felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown.". That is not an apology. He said he WOULD apologize IF any of them felt.... Those are pretty big qualifiers. As a veteran, I'm offended. Will the Senator write to me to apologize? Or did he mean if the 3000 servicemen who have given the ultimate sacrifice were offended?

Instead of giving him a pass (and hoping you can follow him into the locker room) you should press him to see if he actually believes the soldiers are wasting their lives or not. Then ask him to apologize without the qualifiers. You are doing the electorate and the military a disservice.

"...I would absolutely apologize if any of them felt..."
It's not like Obama to misspeak. He usually is concise and clear and chooses his words carefully.
Also, I hope his quote wasn't meant as an apology because it, like too many from others, was a non-apology.

So!Obama has finally spoken the words, that our fighting men and women who have given their lives in the war on terror in Iraq,were "wasted". Why is anybody surprised at that?He apologised shortly thereafter because he said what he "really" felt in his extreme lefty liberal heart and soul, but couldn't hold it in.He was sorry he got caught, that's all.Kind of like the criminal scumbag apologises, but doesn't really mean it, after butchering a family with an axe in a bid to save his useless life when making a statement to the sentencing judge.Hussein Obama doesn't have this former democrat fooled.In fact, none of the beauties in the democrat cabal running for the presidency have me fooled. What a stupid and gullible country we have become when such people are even considered for the highest office in the land.Osama and his low-life lice infested sand fleas must be overjoyed at the prospect of Obama or Clinton being being our next president.The shame of it all. Wake up you idiots!!!

"Osama and his low-life lice infested sand fleas" are overjoyed that George W. Bush is President. Dubya has provided them with a gold mine of recruiting tools -- which Al Qaeda and the Iraq insurgents desperately need to replenish their ranks of suicide bombers. Osama Bin Ladin and his cronies hoped to get the U.S. bogged down in a never-ending war in Afghanistan; Bush invaded the wrong country, but as we've seen, the terrorists are happy to seize the opportunity in Iraq. Bush's reckless prosecution of this war is playing right into our enemies' hands.

Saying the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq we "wasted" is more than a mere gaffe or slip of the tongue that should be swiftly swept under the rug as routine. Senator Obama remarks indicate his true ideology with rewards to military service. This statement was too well planned to be a mere slip of the tongue. The statement that the United States Senator made was disgraceful, and in my estimation his open disdain for soldiers in WAR is treasonous.

Sen. Obama was right the first time, the sacrifices of soldiers and their families are wasted when they are sent to fight and die for a series of lies.

What's wrong with calling a spade, a spade? However brave, those soldiers lives were wasted without just cause. Sen. Obama need not apologize I'm sure those families agree.

You're beyond Anger Management dude--perhaps some Zanax will defuse the situation. Look, the man was right; it just wasn't PC to be that blunt. Sadly, these lives have indeed been wasted. And as more truth is revealed about the true genesis of this invasion, it will eradicate all doubt that this was a legit endeavor, and hopefully criminal indictments will follow. Then, his words will be appreciated for the bitter-hard reality they really are...

Like the Prime Minister of Australia said, Bin Laden and his boys are going to be praying to allah that Hussein Obama gets elected. Because he is already on record that if elected he will spend big time money on the problems in Darfur. So that means less money on protecting the homeland from Bin Laden. My suggestion to anyone who works in Sears Tower is to find another job in another building if Hussein gets elected President in 08.

Boy did Barry show his anti military , and disrepect for the sacrifice the volunteers bravely make evry day. Wasnt this the same Idiot Barry "Bambi" Obambi who said he couldnt run for president because he had no expierience while his free rein is over and he is exposed for the shallow idiot he is. He is a communist and thinks america is the problem. He wants us to retreat and let Iran take Iraq thus certainly setting up a WW3 in 5-7 years where millions would die, with a nuclear armed Radical Islamic Iranian Empire, Nice Jimmy Cartesqe international policy. He calls the Aussie PM Bush's buddy, whats this hallow idiot going to do when Bush(who is the only one dummer than Obambi) is gone, he has nothing to beat on. We have a responsiblility to grab the bull by the horns and finish the job that knucklehead Bush started, but the election of Bambi crybaby Obambi would be worse than JImmy Carter policy at home or abroad. Obambi is on a path to show not only Illinois what an extreme commie and idiot he really is,but the whole country. He will be so exposed that he will be forced to take his Hyde Park Senate seat back as the only electable office he could win, even the embarassing Illinois GOP will be able to defeat this foot-in-mouth horses beind when he is done self destructing. Why did Dick Turbin want him to run, because they knew he isnt ready for prime time, and it will bring him way back to earth. He is a broken record, "Bambi why do the Cub stink, Bambis response "Bush!" ....hollow like a log in a swamp. Before I handle the mantle of Lincoln to this BOZO I hesitate until October when he will be out of the race by then, McGovern, Carter '80, Obama, Mondale.....if he wins the Democratic Primary thats whose company he will keep in election result history.

Sweat, instead of fantasizing about following him into the locker room, pay attention to what the Empty Suit actually says. This is the third bozo gaffe in three days.

First, he compares himself to Lincoln. Say no more.

Next, he lips off to the PM of Australia. (Wait, isn't it Lib-Left Scripture that Bush didn't use enough "diplomacy" with our allies? This is Obama's foreign policy vision - insult our war allies?

THEN, he tells the families of volunteer American soldiers who lost their lives in active duty for their country that their "lives were wasted". Wasted by comparison to, say, working as a "community activist" and state senator, right? Maybe what the affirmative action Prince needs is to go back into the world and get a real job for a year or two.

As a VietNam vet, I don't like hearing those remarks. Sorry, but JFK and LBJ's adventures (then Nixon later) got 58,000+ of my fellow Americans killed. It brings up very very bad feelings. I wish Obama would have just kept his mouth shut. Just say I'm bringing everybody home if elected. Better yet, he said he was looking into complaints Illinois vets had with the VA. Remember? So why has he not carried out his word on that?

Perhaps, the better word would have been "squandered". The lives of those who have died in Iraq were not wasted. They upheld all that is best about this nation and made the ultimate sacrifice in serving us. They and their families deserve our honor and respect. However, the administration is squandering the blood shed by our troops in Iraq because of mistakes made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a host of other incompetents in the White House.

Let's not forget that this is the same group who talked about the several thousands of deaths as not being all that significant of a number. I think that shows their thinking and that's not a good thing for the welfare of our troops over there.

I was a teenager during the Viet Nam war when my Dad was over there for a tour of duty. I remember whenever there was a report in the news about casualties where he was stationed that there was always that feeling in the gut thinking that he might be dead. And then, more than a few years later, I read McNamara's comments that he knew we couldn't win the war the way we were fighting it, but that he just couldn't bring himself at the time when it would have made a difference to speak out publicly about it. In my view, the blood of all those good people who died in Nam are on his hands.

I think that eventually we'll be saying the same about this administration. People are going to die in wars, but you ought to do your best to make sure that you succeed in the cause for which they died.

I'm surprised that Obama , who by his own words is affectionate with the vernacular, didn't say, "Their sacrifices are never wasted...What I meant to say was THEY were wasted, everybody does a little blow, right?"

All military personnel and their families should feel completely insulted. The "audacity of stupid remarks" should be the new mantra for the democrats. Is he now using John Kerry as a speech writer?

"Just say NObama"

What some of you people don't get is that he said their "lives" were wasted, not the 'war action' or 'military effort' was wasted. There is a big difference. Ask any number of soldier’s families if their loved one's life was wasted.

And, It is really funny how people are actually using the word audacity now. Just because Obama has used it over and over again, these other socialists are picking up on it and using it in everyday conversation (most of the time improperly) like they know what they are talking about, and think that it makes them look smart.

I admit that quote was not a good think to say while running for the President of the United States. But, let's be honest people anyone, and I mean anyone is better in the White House than the Bush administration that has lied to the American people. At least what Obama said was true, but said it in a wrong choice of words.

Obambi regrets getting caught showing his true feelings! Thats all this NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME WANNABE is! Obambi ,"Dont make fun of my ears!"

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Lynn Sweet

<Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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