Obama's Lack of Historical Knowledge Clouds His Iraq Position

For a man educated at Columbia and Harvard, his lack of knowledge is surprising.

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For a searing analysis of Barack Obama's current position on Iraq, you can't do better than this editorial from the Washington Post. The final sentences sum it up:

Indeed: The message that the Democrat sends is that he is ultimately indifferent to the war's outcome—that Iraq "distracts us from every threat we face" and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences. That's an irrational and ahistorical way to view a country at the strategic center of the Middle East, with some of the world's largest oil reserves. Whether or not the war was a mistake, Iraq's future is a vital U.S. security interest. If he is elected president, Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.

"Ahistorical" is a good word, for Obama seems surprisingly lacking in his knowledge of history for a man educated at Columbia University and Harvard Law School. At one point in the campaign, he cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemy leaders. In my reading, I have missed the descriptions of the Roosevelt-Hitler summit and the dialogue between Truman and the leaders of imperial Japan. Perhaps Obama had in mind the pictures of Roosevelt sitting next to Josef Stalin at Tehran and Yalta or of Truman sitting next to him at Potsdam. But the Soviet Union was our ally at the time of those meetings. Is it possible that Obama doesn't know this?