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Senator McCain On Iran; Senator Obama On Iraq And FISA

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Senator McCain talked about Iran with Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Would you like to see Germany reduce trade with Iran?

McCain: I think we have to punish Iran to force them to abandon their current course.

SPIEGEL: Would you be willing to talk to people like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

McCain: As long as Iran continues to announce its dedication to making the state of Israel extinct and as long as the country continues to pursue the use of nuclear weapons, I will continue to say that is not an acceptable situation. I will work with other democracies in order to find incentives and punishments for the Iranians.

SPIEGEL: Is war a legitimate instrument of politics?

McCain: Every nation has the right to defend itself. That is a fundamental right.

By contrast, Gabriel Schoenfeld reminds us of Barack Obama’s announced policy on withdrawal from Iraq:

Here is the sum and substance of it, as presented in an issue paper posted on his website:

Bring Our Troops Home: Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

In today’s FISA debate, Senator Obama voted against giving immunity for the telecommunications industry, which faces dozens of lawsuits for providing personal information to intelligence agencies without warrants., and then skipped the final vote on the FISA authorization.

The contrast between the two likely nominees on all aspects of the war –Iran, Iraq, surveillance of terrorists– is already sharp, and will remain so over the next nine months. Conservatives upset over the McCain victories have to keep their focus on the war. Senator Obama could make Jimmy Carter look like Truman.

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