Speeches from the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Remarks to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Fellow citizens—I am not known as a quiet man. But I hope you will allow me, for a moment, to bring quiet to this great hall.
Because at a time when young men and women are dying for our country overseas, America faces a question worthy of silent reflection. And the American people are watching to see how we answer it. What is the best measure of a person's capacity to protect this country? There are often moments of great importance that go unnoticed in the unruly course of history.
And six years ago, there was a moment of great clarity and foresight. And if the world had known to listen, perhaps today there would be less heartache and sorrow. In October 2002, on a small stage before a small crowd, Barack Obama gave a speech that was barely noticed at the time.
In the midst of great fervor—brought about by an administration that questioned the patriotism of anyone who disagreed with it—Barack Obama called the coming war what it was: “a war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.” He was right!
Barack's words were prescient and brave. “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 strengthen the recruitment arm of Al-Qaida.” He was right!
He said: “a successful war against Iraq would require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” He was right!
Instead, Barack Obama urged President Bush—who’s never in the mood to be urged in a direction other than his own folly—to finish the fight with bin Laden and Al-Qaida. He was right!
Six years ago, in this simple but forceful speech, Barack Obama did more than just challenge President Bush. He offered a detailed vision for foreign policy—including the vigorous enforcement of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty—condemnation of human rights abuses even among our allies—and a commitment to reconciliation between Pakistan and India. He was right!
At the same time, there was another voice. After 9/11, John McCain turned his sights toward Iraq—a country that had nothing to do with 9/11—and called for a full-scale invasion. Barack Obama foresaw chaos. John McCain said we'd be welcomed as liberators, and that Iraq would pay for its own rebuilding. John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right!
Barack Obama was among the first to call for a timetable for responsible withdrawal. But John McCain, to this day, condemns the idea. The Iraqis are calling for a withdrawal timetable, but John McCain would keep us in Iraq for 100 years. John McCain is wrong. Barack Obama is right.
And Barack Obama saw the foolishness of embracing Pakistan’s Musharraf. John McCain thought we should support the dictator and let him take care of the Pakistani terrorists. Musharaff is now gone, and the terrorists are stronger than ever. John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.
With America fighting two wars, the 9/11 terrorists still at large, Iran pursuing nuclear weapons
and Russia in Georgia, America needs a president who gets it right the first time. That president will be Barack Obama. With a vision of foreign policy that has ranged far beyond Iraq, Barack Obama has found a kindred spirit in another leader of great strength and wisdom—Joe Biden.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must fight the terrorists—not where we imagine them to be, but where we know them to be—like Afghanistan and Pakistan. We must lead a global effort to secure loose nuclear materials, not where we imagine them to be, but where we know them to be, in Russia, and the countries of the former Soviet Union.
It's time we had a president committed to fighting poverty in the Third World and ending the genocide in Darfur; who leads international efforts to stop global warming, strengthens our friendship with Mexico and Latin America, and stands behind Israel with full-time diplomacy to achieve peace in the Middle East; a president who ends the global scourge of AIDS in our time and sets an example of moral leadership by following our constitution, shutting down Guantanamo, and ending torture.
We must do all of this, not because we imagine these are American ideals, but because we know they are.
And ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe it’s time to finish the job and get bin Laden. We don’t need another four years of more of the same. It’s time for the change America needs. This is the judgment and vision of Barack Obama. This is the preparation he has to be President of the United States. And this is the man we need to return our country into the goodwill of other nations and the grace of history. Thank you, and God bless our country.
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