Obama Is a Chickenhawk

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Every time I write about Barack Obama I get a lot of letters, and the most typical goes something like this:

Dear Justin,

I read your column regularly, and generally agree with what you have to say, but I think you’ve got Barack Obama all wrong. Yes, I know, he went before AIPAC and kowtowed; he pledged to do "anything — and I mean anything" to stop Iran’s nuclear program. He acts "tough" and says he’s going to invade Pakistan; he gets in Russia’s face. But that’s all a show: you see, he has to do this stuff or else he won’t get elected. Once he’s safely in office, he’ll do the right thing.

Sincerely,
John Q. Reader

This is an amalgam, but true to the spirit of the many pro-Obama missives I’ve received. They express a sentiment that is very widespread, so much so that it doesn’t seem to matter, much, what Obama says he’s going to do, because, in any case, his fans and supporters will simply insist on projecting their own hopes, desires, and views onto him. This, by the way, is a feature of most all successful populist insurgent candidates: they are blank slates merely waiting to be written on by anxious voters, who know only that they are sick of what is, and pine for what ought to be.

As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, in this instance — because we’ve certainly been through the mill these past eight years, and deserve some relief — I have to say that this attitude is profoundly irrational. After all, why shouldn’t we take Obama at his word? If he says he’s going to "curb Russian aggression" — you know, like one might curb one’s rather-too-aggressive dog — and get up in Putin’s face, is he lying? When he solemnly pledges to go after the Iranians if they insist on deterring Israel’s nukes with an arsenal of their own, is he speaking in Pig-Latin?

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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