This is a man who was called naive, inexperienced, had no idea what he was talking about when he was talking about the war, yet here, 6 years ago he made some of the most profound statements I have ever seen. If only congress had listened to him, if only the American people had listened to him more and objected, instead of a rush to war in Iraq like we did.
How different would things be right now?? Would we have captured Bin Laden? Would be be in the financial shape we are in?? Would our military be in the shape it is in right now?? What would our standing in the world be?? So many questions, that can't be answered, because no one listened to this voice among others who said we shouldn't rush to war in Iraq.
No, he wasn't the only one. He wasn't even the loudest. I am not saying he was. Sen. Byrd, WV was another who said we shouldn't go to war in Iraq, along with 20 other Democrats, 1 Republican and 1 Independent that voted against the resolution. In the House there were 126 Dems, 6 Reps and 1 Ind. against. Barack was still an Illinois State Senator, he wasn't in the US Senate at the time so even though he made this great speech, he didn't get to vote.
I am just saying that he seems to have had some sense even then of the direction this war was going to take. He talks about just exactly what may happen, detailing things that are almost prophetic in nature. Here is a state senator, with no experience in foreign affairs, no military experience, unless you count what time he spent at his grandfathers knee possibly, yet he seems to know more about what is going to happen and tells us more than all the so called learned men in Washington DC. Military, Pentagon, White House Foggy Bottom and Capitol Hill combined. But, instead of listening to the 157 combined voices, in congress, Barack Obama and the voices of the people who protested against this war, the elected leaders ignored those voices and invaded Iraq anyway. How disastrous it has proven to be.
The cost, in money and in blood has been very high. The money is nothing, the blood is priceless. It can never be made up. Between what lives have been lost and what lives have been scarred forever, physically, mentally and emotionally. Families have been torn apart, some never to be whole again. What a price we as a country have paid. And here we are, 6 years later, still paying that price, hopefully, soon it will be over, if Barack does what he has said he will do and I feel he will, as soon as he possibly can. He will start to bring this mis-guided war to an honorable end. It can't be too soon for most people.
Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama Against Going to War with Iraq
October 2, 2002
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 tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not -- we will not -- travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.