Wednesday, February 27, 2008
By Rowan Scarborough - Members of Washington's military and defense establishment are expressing trepidation about Sen. Barack Obama, as the Illinois senator comes closer to winning the Democratic presidential nomination and leads in national polls to become commander in chief.
But his backers, including a former Air Force chief of staff, say the rookie senator believes in a strong military, and with it, a larger Army and Marine Corps.
"Any military person who concludes he's a left-wing, hair-on-fire, Kumbaya child of the '60s has sadly misunderestimated him, to use George Bush's term," said retired Gen. Merrill McPeak.
Still, the mostly conservative retired officers, industry executives and current defense officials interviewed by The Washington Times cite Mr. Obama's lack of experience in national security. They also point to his determination to pull American combat units from Iraq at a time when a troop surge has reduced violence, damaged al Qaeda and allowed the Iraqi government to progress toward Sunni-Shia-Kurd reconciliation.
"We're very concerned about his apparent lack of understanding on the threat of radical Islam to the United States," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who is pro-Iraq war and a Fox News analyst. "A lot of retired senior officers feel the same way."
Mr. Obama also has stirred concern in national security circles by pledging to talk to the leaders of rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea, without preconditions.
His urging of the Bush administration to conduct air strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan without its approval is privately derided inside the Pentagon as the way to ruin relations with a good ally. Pakistan will not allow U.S. combat troops to operate on its soil....(Click here for remainder of article).
Obama, Paul net most military workers' donations
By Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul have little in common politically, except their opposition to the Iraq war.
Both top a new list of presidential candidates receiving campaign contributions from people who work for the four branches of the military and National Guard, according to a study released Thursday by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama, an Illinois senator, brought in more donations from this group than any White House contender from either party. The Democrat announced Wednesday his plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2008.
Paul, a Texas congressman and the only GOP presidential hopeful who supports an immediate troop withdrawal, comes in second.
"Paul and Obama are talking straight to soldiers, and what they are saying is resonating," said Larnell Exum, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, who gave $500 to Obama. Exum, who works for the Army as a congressional liaison, is a Democrat but voted for George Bush in 1992.
The center tallied money from donors who list the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and National Guard as an employer. Overall, these donations are miniscule: Obama got 44 contributions worth about $27,000 and Paul 23 for about $19,300. Republican John McCain, an Iraq war supporter and Vietnam prisoner of war, was third with about $18,500 from 32 donors.
In 2004, military personnel contributed $1.2 million to presidential and congressional candidates, the center said. This year, those donations are about $200,000....(Click here for remainder of article).