Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet's Thursday Obama clips and thoughts about a cancelled flight.


CHICAGO (O'HARE AIRPORT)--United's 7 a.m. flight to Washington was cancelled. Not good it was cancelled. Very good United sent me an e-mail and a robo-call to tell me. Got to the airport early anyway; my inner clock was already set. Rebooked for the 8:13 a.m. and am settling in at B-9. If this was a Monday or Tuesday there would be some members of Congress around. Doubt if I will see any today. But will note.

Meanwhile, leading the Obama clips on Thursday is an op-ed authored by the Illinois senator.

It was helpfully e-mailed to me by campaign spokesman Bill Burton, last seen at the Chicago Obama headquarters displaying attire from the University of California at Berkeley. It's in the New Hampshire Union Leader and warns against military action in Iran. LINK

An Obama rally in Maryland gets good reviews in the Baltimore Sun. LINK

Union Leader - Sen. Barack Obama: Five years after Iraq war vote, we're still foolishly rattling our sabers


ON THE FIFTH anniversary of the Senate's vote to authorize an open-ended war in Iraq, we should resolve to never repeat the terrible mistake of launching a misguided war. But unfortunately, the Senate risked doing exactly that when it recently opened the door to an extension and escalation of the ongoing war in Iraq to include military action against Iran.

There is no doubt that Iran poses a threat. It has armed terrorists beyond its borders, maintains an illicit nuclear program, and its leaders have issued belligerent threats that are a concern to us all. But our first and most important avenue to contain Iranian aggression is to try the tough and direct diplomacy that the Bush administration has too often disdained. Instead of encouraging that diplomacy, an amendment passed last month by the Senate could be used by the President as justification to strike Iran under the authority granted to him by the 2002 Iraq war resolution.

The amendment, offered by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, directly links the ongoing war in Iraq -- including our troop presence -- to checking the threat from Iran. The amendment opens with 17 findings that highlight Iranian influence within Iraq. It then states that we have to "transition(s) and structure" our "military presence in Iraq" to counter the threat from Iran, and states that it is "a critical national interest of the United States" to prevent the Iranian government from exerting influence inside Iraq.

Why is this so dangerous? The Bush administration could use language like this to justify a continued troop presence in Iraq as long as it perceives a threat from Iran. Even worse, the Bush administration could use the language in Lieberman-Kyl to justify an attack on Iran as a part of the ongoing war in Iraq.

As my colleague Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in opposing the amendment, "I do not want to give the President and his lawyers any argument that Congress has somehow authorized military actions."

He is exactly right. Because as we learned with the original authorization of the Iraq war -- when you give this President a blank check, you can't be surprised when he cashes it.

I strongly differ with Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was the only Democratic presidential candidate to support this reckless amendment. We do need to tighten sanctions on the Iranian regime, particularly on Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which sponsors terrorism far beyond Iran's borders. But this must be done separately from any unnecessary saber-rattling about checking Iranian influence with our "military presence in Iraq." Above all, it must be done through tough and direct diplomacy with Iran, which I have supported, and which Sen. Clinton has called "naive and irresponsible."

Sen. Clinton says she was merely voting for more diplomacy, not war with Iran. If this has a familiar ring, it should. Five years after the original vote for war in Iraq, Sen. Clinton has argued that her vote was not for war -- it was for diplomacy, or inspections. But all of us knew what the Senate was debating in 2002. John Edwards has renounced his own vote for the war, and he should be applauded for his candor. After all, we didn't need to authorize a war in order to have United Nations weapons inspections. No one thought Congress was debating diplomacy. No newspaper headlines ran on Oct. 12, 2002, reading, "Congress authorizes diplomacy." This was a vote to authorize war, and without that vote, there would have been no war.

America needs a leader who will make the right judgments about matters as grave as war and peace, and America needs a leader who will be straight with them. When I spoke out against going to war in Iraq in 2002, I knew that I was putting my political career on the line. Going to war was popular; so was President Bush. But I felt strongly that a war in Iraq would lead to an open-ended and destructive occupation of Iraq, and weaken us in the fight against al-Qaida in Afghanistan. And I felt a responsibility to say so.

Now, the Senate has once again voted for an amendment that goes out of its way to draw connections between distinct threats, and that replaces judicious policy-making with unnecessary saber-rattling. And once again, we hear that it is not really a vote for more war, it is a vote for more diplomacy.

But the way to support diplomacy is to actually pursue it, which is what I have called for in this campaign. Not the ad hoc Bush-Cheney diplomacy of not talking to people we don't like, but real, direct, and sustained diplomacy that exhausts all of our options instead of rushing to war.

In choosing their next President, the American people need to look at the judgments each of the candidates has made on war in the past, and at who has clearly learned the lessons of this disastrous war going forward.

This is not a debate about 2002; it's about the future, and in that debate I can run on, and not from, my record.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is running for the Democratic nomination for President.


Hillary is one of them. She evades, she is rash, she is wrong. Her campaign team are from the P.R. firms (Glover Park Group, Bursom and Marstellar). They are as corporate as the clients they represent: Exxon, Texaco, Union Carbide, Enron, ... The whole process has made a mockery out of jounalism.

To find a unedited unspun piece on Barack Obama in the main stream media is rare. When you do it is refreshing. As voters get to kow him concerns over age, experience, naivety disappear. Quite the contrary, Barack's sound judgment, keen intellect and depth of experience shine. No wonder so many of the best minds from from the Bill Clinton camp are now with him.

Bravo Sen Barack Obama..... way to go!

Ultimatley, the question is did you learn from your past mistake and make the right one this time around. Well, from what we are seeing infront of us, Sen. Hillary Clinton not only made the right choice back in 2002 to go to war, but also she does not seem to learn from her mistakes in the past. So, I don't think the voters this time will be fooled twice by her. If so, then shame on US people!

Thank you for the article! I agree that it is nice to have an UNEDITED statement from Senator Obama's campaign posted in the news. We need more of these from all of the presidential candidates.

People may complain that Senator Obama always brings up the 2002 Senate vote, but I think the message speaks to the heart of the public's views on politics - we want our elected leaders to take responsibility for their support of this foreign-policy debacle, and that means to vote them out! The fact that the Iran vote actually happened is only further proof that our elected leaders have failed to represent the wishes of their constituents.

I truly believe that Senator Obama is our best hope for beginning a reparation of the devastation and destabilization we've caused in our poorly-executed search for justice since 9/11. And, I truly believe that if the public is properly informed with unbiased information like this, they would also agree with this assessment as well.

well now,
will the junior senator, even if elected, show up at the white house to emplement his proposals...given the opportunity. the gentle missed significant votes in springfield as well as washington.
in addition, the war is only a segment, albeit a major one, of the responsibilities of that office. what on earth would this guy contribute to the future of this republic? i've yet to hear anything other the "a new way", "hope", "drop the cynicism" and some weirdness about a "josuha generation".

I just read an AP report that says that today (Thurs),

Hillary Clinton told a voter "that she, too, would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

She said, "I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said at an apple orchard.



She did all this damage to Barack by spewing all over the media how "naive and irresponsible" Obama was for saying he'd use diplomacy, and then now- now that Obama has been dragged thru the media mud, she follows Obama"s lead.

I wish i knew how to add a link...."google news" it, and the AP article will come right up.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 11, 2007 6:50 AM.

Sweet's Thursday Obamaville. APB Obama today. Somewhere in Chicago. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog column extra: New online Obama ad underscores crucial campaign strategy to emphasize Obama's early oppostion to Iraq war. is the next entry in this blog.

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