Democratic keynote speaker Barack Obama calls for missile strikes on Iran

By Tom Mackaman
1 October 2004

In an interview with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune published September 26, Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama said he would favor the use of “surgical” missile strikes against Iran if it failed to bow to Washington’s demand that it eliminate its nuclear energy program. Obama also said that, in the event of a coup that removed the Musharraf regime in Pakistan, the US should attack that nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Obama, the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, is being hailed as a “rising star” in the Democratic Party. In his Tribune interview, he said explicitly what is implicit in repeated statements by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and other party leaders. They have frequently attacked the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq on the grounds that it is diverting attention from supposedly greater threats, in particular Iran and North Korea.

Obama told the Tribune, “[T]he big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to, if any, are we going to take military action?”

Answering his own question, Obama said, “I hope it doesn’t get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I’d be surprised if Iran blinked at this point.”

Obama advanced a racist argument for attacks on Iran and Pakistan. Making a comparison between the “Islamic world” and the Soviet Union, he argued that the religious outlook of Iranians and Pakistanis made them less prone to compromise and reason and more warlike.

He said: “With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain. I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations.”

In the case of Pakistan, the Senate hopeful added, “I think there are elements within Pakistan right now—if Musharraf is overthrown and they took over—I think we would have to consider going in and taking those bombs out, because I don’t think we can make the same assumptions about how they calculate risks.”

Due to scandal and political turmoil in the Illinois Republican Party, Obama is virtually assured of victory on November 2. When Republican nominee Jack Ryan dropped out of the race on June 25 due to a sex scandal, the state Republican Party scrambled to find a replacement.

After several prominent conservatives, including former Chicago Bears football coach Mike Ditka, refused to run, the party finally recruited the fascistic radio talk show host, frequent presidential candidate, and resident of Maryland, Alan Keyes.

Keyes, who has never lived in Illinois, quickly turned his campaign into something of a farce, issuing homophobic statements and attacking the so-called “moderate” wing of the state Republican Party. According to one poll, Obama has built more than a fifty-point lead on Keyes.

Obama’s statements underscore the Democratic Party’s acceptance in principle of the “Bush Doctrine” of preventive war—a doctrine that contravenes international law and provides a rationale for US military interventions against any country deemed an obstacle to US imperialist interests around the world.

The African-American Democrat is being groomed for national leadership. His speech at the Democratic convention, a homily on hard work, individual responsibility and the American dream, would have been well received at a Republican convention not so many years ago. But in 2004, Obama is passed off as a “progressive” politician.