Why doesn’t Senator Barack Obama want to help the people of Iraq?

In Barack Obama’s victory speech on Tuesday night after his three state Potomac Primary sweep, he asserted something he has often while on the campaign trail as it relates to the issue of Iraq:

If we had chosen a different path, the right path, we could have finished the job in Afghanistan and put more resources into the fight against bin Laden. And instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Baghdad, we could have put that money into our schools and our hospitals, rebuilding our roads and our bridges, and that’s what the American people need us to do right now.

He repeated it again in his “economic address” yesterday (via Memeo):

It’s a Washington where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged – a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week that could’ve been used to rebuild crumbling schools and bridges; roads and buildings; that could’ve been invested in job training and child care; in making health care affordable or putting college within reach.

Clearly, the Senator believes that money the US is spending overseas in Iraq to rebuild roads, schools, and bridges in places like Baghdad would better be used here on our own roads, schools and bridges. It’s one of the reasons he wants us out of Iraq.

Yet just today, Senator Obama hailed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of his “Global Poverty Act.” What is the “Global Poverty Act”? Cliff Kincaid explains:

The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday, February 14, he is trying to rush Obama’s “Global Poverty Act” (S.2433) through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

The bill, which is item number four on the committee’s business meeting agenda, passed the House by a voice vote last year because most members didn’t realize what was in it. Congressional sponsors have been careful not to calculate the amount of foreign aid spending that it would require. According to the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no hearings have been held on the Obama bill in that body.

A release from the Obama Senate office about the bill declares, “In 2000, the U.S. joined more than 180 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit and vowed to reduce global poverty by 2015. We are halfway towards this deadline, and it is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day.”

The legislation itself requires the President “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

The bill defines the term “Millennium Development Goals” as the goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution 55/2 (2000).

Read the whole thing.

Note to the Senator: Why are all the poor people in this world entitled to billions in US aid but the people in Iraq are not? Furthermore, by your logic, couldn’t that money you want to be used towards fighting global poverty be better used here building roads, schools, and bridges? Isn’t it being just a teensy bit hypocritical to call for the US to spend mega-bucks helping to eliminate poverty worldwide while at the same time criticizing how much we’re spending in Iraq – money we’re using to train security forces, build and rebuild roads, schools, and bridges, money we’re hoping to see a “return” on in the form of a valuable ally in the Middle East for decades to come?

Whether or not he supported the war, we are there now and the US has a duty to fulfill its promises, and we promised not to leave Iraq until it was stable, secure, and well on its way to becoming a democratic state. Doing so serves in not just the short-term interests of the US, but the long-term interests as well. Any future Commander in Chief should know, understand, and believe in this. And if he envisions himself as a CIC with any sense of compassion whatsoever, he’ll stop being a hypocrite and get on board not just with helping the needy on a global scale, but also those who need us in Iraq, too.

This is one of the biggest flaws in arguments used by people who claim we should “take care of our own needs first” – most of these same people don’t mind pouring money into overseas “poverty initiatives,” don’t mind using billions of US tax dollars to fund international abortions and AIDS programs, yet when it comes to something other than their pet global projects, the money we’re using to build a stable and democratic Iraq becomes money we should “use to fix our own problems.”

Shocking, I know – I mean, I bet you never knew before now that many a liberal’s compassion is confined to whatever cause they find worthy. Anyone else needing help beyond that? Well, they’ll just have to suffer.

Related reading:

Senators Obama and Clinton desperately want the votes of the “super delegates” – even if they have to buy them.

Is Obama Bad For Business?

Uncle Jimbo had a brush with greatness at the O-man’s speech in Wisconsin Tuesday night.

Ken Blackwell writes about “the real Barack Obama.”

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