Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quote in Question from: Clinton Challenges Obama on Foreign Experience

The Article, “Clinton Challenges Obama on Foreign Experience,” was published in the New York Times on November 21, 2007.

Statement from the article: Mrs. Clinton, who this week in Iowa has been making an issue of Mr. Obama’s experience, said the next president would face two wars and fraying alliances. She said she had traveled broadly and had “met with countless world leaders” and knew many of them personally.

“Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges that the next president will face,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I think we need a president with more experience than that.”

My opinion: Meeting with countless world leaders and knowing them personally does not constitute experience when facing two wars and fraying alliances.

Historical references do not state that one’s social contacts makes them a master in war and foreign policy. George Washington, the first American President, was the leader of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. Working directly under Washington was Major General Nathaniel Greene. Greene was a talented soldier and natural-born leader. He was born the son of a Quaker and ostracized from his family due to his interest in the militia. He was a self taught military man – learning war tactics on his own. I am pretty sure that Nathaniel Greene cannot claim that his social contacts within the Continental Army made him the Major General of the Continental Army in charge of the troops on Long Island in 1776. He did that on his own through hard work, perseverance, and intelligence.

George Washington was known to quote the following passage from his favorite play, Cato: “It is not in the power of man to command success; but you have done more-you have deserved it.” Hillary Clinton must have read this differently. Perhaps she read the quote as: It is not in the power of man to command success; but you have met military leaders and knew them personally-you deserved it.”

I suspect that Barack Obama is not teaching himself military tactics at night. I also presume that he will not be a stellar Commander in Chief, although, Hillary’s claim that he does not have the experience that she has is ludicrous!

Source of information: McCullough, David, 1776. Simon & Schuster (2005).

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