With today’s foreign policy speech, he’s starting to hit harder, though still not naming names:
But it doesn’t end there. Because the American people weren’t just failed by a President – they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts. By a foreign policy elite that largely boarded the bandwagon for war. And most of all by the majority of a Congress – a coequal branch of government – that voted to give the President the open-ended authority to wage war that he uses to this day. Let’s be clear: without that vote, there would be no war.
Some seek to rewrite history. They argue that they weren’t really voting for war, they were voting for inspectors, or for diplomacy. But the Congress, the Administration, the media, and the American people all understood what we were debating in the fall of 2002. This was a vote about whether or not to go to war. That’s the truth as we all understood it then, and as we need to understand it now. And we need to ask those who voted for the war: how can you give the President a blank check and then act surprised when he cashes it?
I think we know who the “some” are here, and Obama’s exactly right. He also starts trying to push this in a more forward-looking direction:
So there is a choice that has emerged in this campaign, one that the American people need to understand. They should ask themselves: who got the single most important foreign policy decision since the end of the Cold War right, and who got it wrong. This is not just a matter of debating the past. It’s about who has the best judgment to make the critical decisions of the future. Because you might think that Washington would learn from Iraq. But we’ve seen in this campaign just how bent out of shape Washington gets when you challenge its assumptions.
When I said that as President I would lead direct diplomacy with our adversaries, I was called naïve and irresponsible. But how are we going to turn the page on the failed Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to our adversaries if we don’t have a President who will lead that diplomacy?
To try to use my decoder ring for a minute here, one thing that’s worth noting is that there’s no such thing as a “Bush-Cheney policy” of refusing to engage in high-level diplomatic talks with Iran without preconditions. You could more accurately term that the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush Bipartisan Establishment Policy. He’s saying that simply returning to the pre-Bush policies aren’t going to resolve our problems with Iran, but that we need the sort of newer policies that he and his team of people — people who had the courage and judgment to make the right call on Iraq, when the conventional wisdom and political pressure went the other way — are prepared to implement.
Then comes the nuclear stuff, which, as I said earlier, I think is the most important thing int he world and where Obama has the right position.