At a rally in Austin, Texas on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama mocked Vice President Dick Cheney’s comments to ABC News that called British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq good news, and evidence that parts or Iraq had been stabilized. In contrast to Cheney’s rosy spin, what Blair actually said was, “What all of this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be. But it does mean that the next chapter in Basra’s history can be written by Iraqis.”

“Now if Tony Blair can understand that, then why can’t George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?” Obama asked the thousands of supporters who braved a rainy day to hear him speak. “In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.”

“Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we’d be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we’re in the last throes. I’m sure he forecast sun today,” Obama said to laughter from the crowd. “When Dick Cheney says it’s a good thing, you know that you’ve probably got some big problems.” Beneath the humor, Obama is making a strong point, which is that everything says about the war is usually wrong.

Public comments such as the ones Obama made would have been unthinkable from the time after 9/11 through the 2004 election. The Iraq war has had the unintended consequence of emboldening and empowering the Democratic Party. The administration, and their words about Iraq, has become so devoid of credibility that they are now viewed as a joke.  The Iraq war dragged the GOP down in 2006, and it will likely do the same thing in 2008, if some people in power don’t wake up and smell the coffee.


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