Obama Misses a Golden Opportunity- Again

by | May 17, 2008 | Stress Blog | 8 comments

As was the case with his earlier exchange with John McCain regarding “al Qaeda in Iraq”, Barack Obama was served up a another softball by the Republican Party, and couldn’t hit it out of the park. Hell, Obama barely could bunt back to the pitcher’s mound . When Bush made a thinly veiled reference to Obama during his speech in Israel as an appeaser of terrorists, Obama’s lame response was that he has stated “over and over again that I will not negotiate with terrorists like Hamas.”

Obama could have pointed out the Republican’s long tradition of negotiating and appeasing ‘terrorists’, beginning with Reagan’s selling of TOW missiles to Iran and his quick exit from the quagmire in Lebanon when Hezbollah bombed the Marine barracks. But really, what Obama needed to point out is that similar statements were made about the PLO, which is now considered a “partner in peace”. Yesterday’s terrorist is often tomorrow’s ally.

Obama could also have pointed out the El Salvador example of how a stalemated conflict with ‘terrorists’ can successfully be resolved through negotiations. The right-wing government in El Salvador refused to negotiate with Communist guerillas a.k.a ‘the terrorists’ in the 70s and 80s, believing massive amounts of U.S. military aid would allow them to eradicate the problem by force. But in the 1990s, the Salvadoran government finally decided there was no military solution, and so decided to bring the terrorists to the negotiating table. The result? 16 years of relative peace and prosperity, and the ‘terrorists’ have channeled their anger into trying to win elections, not into sabotage and murder. Israel is in a similar position. Despite the fantasies of the Neocons and Likud, there is no military solution to Hamas or Hezbollah.

Why can’t Obama drive this point home?