In 2002 and 2003: Bad Judgments of Obama about Soon-to-start Iraq War

In 2002 and 2003, bad judgments of Obama about the soon-to-start Iraq War cast doubt about Obama’s ability to be Commander-In-Chief.


  1. In fairness, Obama showed one pre-Iraq-war GOOD JUDGMENT by forecastingsome of the costs and undesireable consequences of an impending Iraq War.

  2. However, Obama showed pre-Iraq-war BAD JUDGMENT by forecasting thatAmerican lives that would be lost in such an impending Iraq War would be lostin vain.

  3. Obama showed pre-Iraq-war GROSSLY BAD JUDGMENT by forecasting that, insuch an impending Iraq War, maybe the fighting would be over in 2 to 6months.

  4. Since Obama’s pre-war bad judgment relating to the length of time of “fighting” is directly related to the presidential duties of Commander-In-Chief, ONE MAY DOUBT OBAMA’S JUDGMENT AS IT RELATES TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DUTIES OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.


The Iraq War started on March 20, 2003.

Please note that I use CAPITALIZATION to emphasize some of my own ideas, andI also use CAPITALIZATION to emphasize some of the words in quotations that Iprovide below.

In this article, I am considering two pre-Iraq-war statements by Obama:
I. Obama’s October 2, 2002 speech, and
II. An article entitled “Obama Challenges Opponents to Speak Out on War,” byThe Associated Press, March 3, 2003.

Prior to the Iraq War, Barack Obama made a number of statements, some ofwhich he has lauded as being examples of his good judgment.


However, some of Obama’s pre-war statements show, in my opinion, OBAMA’S BADJUDGMENT.

Understandably, for political purposes, Obama has ignored such instances ofbad judgment in pre-Iraq-war days. Yet, when considering examples of aperson’s judgment, it seems to me only fair to point out examples of badjudgment as well as good judgment.


More specifically, Obama gives great weight to a speech he gave at an anti-war rally in Chicago on October 2, 2002 when he was an Illinois State Senator. In that speech, he stated that he opposed the U. S. having a warwith Iraq. Obama quoted a portion of that speech in his book, The Audacityof Hope, by Barack Obama, 2006, First Edition, Crown Publishers, New York,New York, ISBN-13:978-0-307-23769-9, ISBN-10:0-307-23769-9, www.crownpublishing.com.

On page 295 of that book, Obama quoted the following portion of his October2, 2002 speech as follows:

“I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of AI Qaeda.”

In my opinion, portions of the speech that Obama quoted show pre-war goodjudgment of Obama.

However, there are other portions of the October 2, 2002 speech that, in myopinion, show Obama’s having pre-war bad judgment.

The full text of the speech can be found on Wikisource (related to Wikipedia)at the following link —

For your convenience, here is the FULL TEXT OF OBAMA’S OCTOBER 2, 2002SPEECH:

“Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars. My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.

What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars. So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color- coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non- proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair. The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. NOR SHOULD WE ALLOW THOSE WHO WOULD MARCH OFF AND PAY THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, WHO WOULD PROVE THE FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION WITH THEIR BLOOD, TO MAKE SUCH AN AWFUL SACRIFICE IN VAIN.”

IT IS THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE QUOTED FULL SPEECH THAT I AM CONCERNED WITH,and that I have CAPITALIZED. The lines from Obama’s October 2, 2002 speechthat I capitalized above are a REVERSAL IN MEANING of the following linesfrom Abraham Lincoln’s famed Gettysburg Address, portions of which I haveCAPITALIZED for purposes of comparison, and quote below.

Lincoln stated:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which THEY GAVE THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION — THAT WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


In my opinion, SUCH A PRE-WAR STATEMENT OF OBAMA SHOWS BAD JUDGMENT, unless,of course, Obama now believes that American deaths in the Iraq War have beenand will continue to be in vain. Such a belief, would be, in my opinion,another example of Obama’s bad judgment, this time Obama’s ongoing-war badjudgment.


A quotation from this article can be found at both of the following links:http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/10/22/15415/699 and
http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/barack-obamas- march-2003-public-statements-opposing-the-iraq-war/

From the article entitled “Obama Challenges Opponents to Speak Out on War,”by The Associated Press, March 3, 2003, I quote as follows.

Please note that I have provided CAPITALIZATION for words I want toemphasize. The quote is:
(begin quote)

“What’s tempting is to take the path of least resistance and keep quiet on the issue, KNOWING THAT MAYBE IN TWO OR THREE OR SIX MONTHS, AT LEAST THE FIGHTING WILL BE OVER AND YOU CAN SEE HOW IT PLAYS ITSELF OUT,” said Obama, a state senator from Chicago. (end quote)

Clearly, OBAMA’S PRE-WAR FORECAST AS TO HOW LONG THE FIGHTING WOULD LAST WASA PRE-WAR GROSSLY BAD JUDGMENT. It is now 5 years later, and the fightingstill continues.

Even, hypothetically, if Obama tacitly assumed that the time period for”fighting” in an impending Iraq War in 2003 would be virtually the same timeperiod as the “fighting” in the first Gulf War (just under 7 months, fromAugust 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991), such a hypothetical assumption wouldalso show pre-war GROSSLY BAD JUDGMENT.

A wide variety of circumstances differed between the first Gulf War in 1990-1991 and an impending Iraq War in 2003, and there would be virtually noreason for any sound thinker to believe that the time period of “fighting”an impending Iraq War would be substantially less than (2 months) orsubstantially equal to (6 months) the time period of “fighting” in the firstGulf War (just under 7 months).

Moreover, there are numerous wars, aside from World War I, World War II, andthe Korean War, in which the United States carried out “fighting”, thatObama should have known about on March 3, 2003, and he should have knownthat “fighting” in those wars spanned time periods much longer than 2 to 6months. Such previous wars include: Vietnam War (over 10 years); KosovoWar (3 years); and NATO War in Afghanistan (over 2 years by March 3, 2003).

Also, there are other wars, where the United States did not carry out”fighting”, but wherein “fighting” between opponents in those wars had takenperiods of time much longer than 2 to 6 months. Such previous wars include: Iran-Iraq War (over 7 years); Arab-Israeli Conflict (over 54 years byMarch 3, 2003); and the Soviet War in Afghanistan (over 9 years).

Since such a pre-war judgment by Obama relating to a time period of”fighting” in an Iraq war was clearly a GROSSLY BAD JUDGMENT, and since judgments about “fighting” where the United States is “fighting” (andperhaps even where the United States is not “fighting”) are directly related to the presidential duties of Commander-In-Chief, I think it is fairto say that ONE MAY DOUBT OBAMA’S JUDGMENT AS IT RELATES TO THE DUTIES OFCOMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.