. . .green tea and sharing rice cakes with friends last night, there was a debate between Hillary and Obama, from what I gather. Not knowing about it until it was over is a bit of a guilty pleasure, I must confess. Still, it means I missed a very important point of contrast between both Democrat candidates and John McCain. And, for that, I'm duly chastened.
But, thankfully, the folks over at The Corner
were keeping an eye on things in my absence.
It seems that Sen. Obama related an anecdote that was passed along to him regarding our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a supposed lack of ammunition for the Afghanistan campaign as a result of our thinly-spread military personnel and resources. It turns out that the anecdote was a flagrant misrepresentation of reality, and credentialed readers of The Corner
were quick to point it out.
While military service in and of itself shouldn't be considered an absolute requirement for holding the White House, it does seem to be perfectly reasonable to ask that candidates have some semblance of knowledge as to how our military works. Of course, if you ask the typical member of the Obama or Clinton (i.e., MoveOn.org) base how the military works, you'll get an answer similar to John Kerry's Genghis Kahn soliloquy, flush with dismemberments and charred remains and bullet-riddled puppies. So, those folks won't be too disturbed by the Obama obloquy.
But, broader electorate holds our nation's military personnel in high esteem, and they won't be too keen on the idea of putting a man at the top of the chain of command who doesn't seem to have the foggiest notion of either the facts on the ground, or the ways in which our armed forces are deployed in wartime. And this is wartime.
The fact that Hillary Clinton mustered no objection to his characterization in a time when she desperately needs to draw a favorable contrast between herself and her surging opponent seems to confirm that she has no more knowledge of these crucial aspects of position of Commander in Chief than does her opponent. This should be alarming to anyone who concerned about America's presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and everywhere else in the Middle East, regardless of whether or not they're supportive of the overall mission. People of good conscience, no matter where they stand on the struggle against Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, have no interest in seeing America suffer the ignominy of withdrawal under the leadership of a person to whom military culture is as foreign as that of our enemies.
As the campaign for the presidency continues, it will become more and more evident to the average voter that the desire to withdraw our troops from the conflict in which they're currently engaged is informed as much by ignorance as it is the basic, hidebound left-liberal opposition to the projection of American power abroad, without regard to its legitimacy. When Barack Obama backpedaled on his vow to begin an immediate withdrawal of troops upon taking the oath of office -- citing the right as Commander in Chief to assess the situation -- the implication was that he would only begin the withdrawal if he judged it to be a prudent action given the specifics of the situation at hand.
But, last night, both candidates exhibited, either by commission or omission, a gross ignorance of military matters that would seem to prohibit any kind of sound judgment on the deployment of military personnel or the use of military force. This is a problem that John McCain does not have, and it will likely be the deciding factor in November.