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9/10/2008 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

I’m totally tired of hearing the "experience" argument in relation to the candidates for president and vice president.

You know who are the most experienced individuals we could possibly get as president: Jimmy Carter and George Bush I. Although they’ve got plenty of experience, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are precluded by a constitutional amendment from serving a third term as president. I don’t think anyone wants to have any of these experienced people as president again.

Experience is of very little importance. What’s most important is judgment. Harry Truman was a failed haberdasher and an obscure senator when Franklin D. Roosevelt chose him as his running mate.

Truman didn’t have much experience, but he had exceptionally good judgment and was among our best presidents.

So I don’t worry about the inexperience of Sarah Palin or Barack Obama. It’s judgment that counts.

The judgment of both John McCain and Sarah Palin must be questioned.

Both swallow the conservative nonsense that government is bad and as a corollary, private business is good. In fact, government can be bad or good and private business can be bad or good.

McCain has always opposed federal subsidies for ethanol, but that’s the only way this business is going to get off the ground. In fact, it’s a national security issue. We must do everything we can to wean ourselves from foreign oil. But the conservative ideology dictates that government subsidies are bad, in and of themselves, period.

National security isn’t even considered because of ideological reasons. For the first time in history McCain has seen to it that the platform of a major political party has called for removing federal mandates for using renewable fuels. That Republican Party platform strikes at the heart of the ethanol industry.

But it should come as no surprise. McCain has always been opposed to federal farm programs. He backed George W. Bush twice on vetoes of the 2008 Farm Bill, which both houses of Congress overrode both times. He has never been a friend of the farmer.

My greatest fear of McCain is that he wants the US to expand its empire. That includes indefinitely spending more blood and treasure in Iraq, a place we should never have invaded in the first place.

McCain says Obama wants to surrender, but he will stick it out and "win" the war in Iraq. This is an unwinnable war. McCain wants us to continue spending $10 billion per month in Iraq, money we can’t afford to squander. Additional military personnel will join the more than 4,000 US military personnel who have already lost their lives.

The medical care for the 100,000 or so wounded is not cheap either, but it’s an expense we are obligated to bear.

McCain brags about the surge working. Well, of course it worked. It would have worked even better if more troops had been put into the surge.

But I predict that all this sacrifice is for nothing. We can’t afford to stay there indefinitely and when we leave, there will be religious war between the Sunnis and Shiites. Democracy doesn’t stand a chance in Iraq. We can’t impose it. Only a brutal dictator will be able to impose peace in Iraq, as Saddam did. But the religious war will have to come first.

We need to cut our losses and get out of Iraq. McCain, I think, exercises poor judgment in gambling that we should stay George W.

Bush’s course in Iraq.

Here are some quotes from an opinion piece by Ned Lamont which appeared in the Grand Forks Herald on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008:

"In his speech (at the Republican convention, US Sen. Joe) Lieberman castigated the ‘cut-and-run crowd’ and saluted the success of the surge in Iraq. Five years after the unfurling of the Mission Accomplished banner, a trillion dollars later, with tens of thousands of dead and wounded, our military stretched thin and Iran resurgent, Vice President Dick Cheney flew unheralded into Baghdad under the cloak of darkness, donned his flak jacket and choppered into the Green Zone. After a short briefing, he slipped out the same way and announced from Jordan that the surge had been a success.

"About the same time, Iranian bad boy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was welcomed with flowers and marching bands at Baghdad International Airport. A fleet of black BMWs paraded the Iranian delegation along the most dangerous highway in the world. There, Ahmadinejad was greeted by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi cabinet. At the first of four public news conferences, the Iranian leader saluted the ‘brotherly ties’ between Iran and Iraq and loudly denounced America, as our Iraqi allies stood by. That night, Ahmadinejad spent the night in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Not a shot was fired or an IED exploded in Baghdad during his stay.

"We salute the heroic efforts of our troops and the uneasy truce in Iraq. But we have empowered Iran, allowed Afghanistan to spin out of control and watched as the price of oil skyrocketed and the dollar slipped, along with American prestige in the region and beyond.

"Sen. Lieberman, John McCain and Obama all put country before party; but, in the decision to invade Iraq, Obama’s opposition was right, and history will show that McCain’s support for war was wrong."

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