Lieberman: Obama shows “inexperience” over Georgia

August 13, 2008

TEANECK, N.J. – Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Lieberman slammed Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday over the Russian invasion of Georgia and said that the Democrat still wasn’t experienced enough for the White Housejoe.jpg.
“We’ve got a real clear choice to make. And I say it respectfully to Sen. Obama because he’s a gifted young man. But he’s not ready to be president on Jan. 20th of 2009,” Lieberman, of Connecticut, told a fund raising event for Republican hopeful John McCain.

“As the Russians move into Georgia as aggressors, and if you read the statements from the beginning, from Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, one had a kind of moral neutrality to it that comes I think from inexperience.

“The other’s — Sen. McCain’s — was strong and clear and principled and put America where America always want to be, on the side of freedom,” he said while introducing McCain.

Lieberman sits in Congress as an Independent after he lost the Connecticut Democratic primary election in 2006 but won actual re-election running as a third party candidate.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Lieberman applauds McCain)

22 comments

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On the contrary, it is McCain’s blustering response to the Georgia that shows how dangerous McCain would be in foreign affairs.

Foreign policy shouldn’t be led by machismo posturing. McCain was acting like a loose cannon. A cannon with a temper that could lead to world nuclear annihilation.

This is not just my opinion. Get away from the pundits, and listen to the real foreign policy specialists. McCain’s call against Russia would be disastrous.

Obama, gave a better measured response.

Posted by Joshua | Report as abusive

Now, I don’t know most of the details involving the georgian conflict, but it seems to me that there is a third entity being ignored.
THE BREAKOFF STATES.
What about their freedom?
Get beyond the conservative buzzwords and really look at the situation.
Georgia is a breakoff state from the USSR (effectively russia) and russia has not forgotten it. Now, a section of georgia is unhappy with the way things are run and what to break away.
Don’t they deserve their freedom?
And if they want russia’s help, why is russia in the wrong for offering it.
Of course it’s more complicated than this, of course russia is not in the right.
But i remind you that we were once a breakoff state, as was most of the world at some point.
I don’t know what exactly is going on in georgia, i have not heard any reliable news reports with a good deal of information.
I do know, however, that it is much more complicated than russia as the big bad guy bullying poor little georgia because georgia is too western.
And if it is, why aren’t we in there militarily helping out georgia like we pledged to do?
I am sick of the US political machine.
I don’t support Obama, but i find it painfully obvious that most of the claims against him are completely illegitimate.
People criticize him for being too young, and mccain for being too old.
Obama doesn’t have enough foreign policy experience, which is obviously so important. Clearly, all of the current experience in the white house is to thank for our wonderful global position.
I want to hear about how mccain’s experience is going to add up to more than what he’s doing now, which is spewing empty words.

Posted by Gandharva | Report as abusive

Well, we can’t all be rabid Zionists like Joe Lieberman. He’ll say and do anything to ensure that the U.S. keeps Israel’s enemies antagonized.

Posted by Gary Christenson | Report as abusive

Gee, Joe lets attack Russia! Lets ignore the facts and run around showing how agressive we can be. Could it be that our old enemies are on the side of freedom and we are once again backing the wrong side? Can you tell me why the South Ossetians went north, thru Russian lines, to escape the shelling? I, for one, am tired of Republican militaristic crap.

Posted by duke | Report as abusive

This Liberman has no moral authority so speak on behalf of anyone! he is just another moral midget.
By Joe Conason:
Despite his boundless pretensions, Sen. Joe Lieberman is not and has never been a font of foreign policy wisdom. His opinions derive as much from expedience and vanity as any consistent worldview. He will say whatever serves his ambitions at a given moment.

Running against antiwar Democrat Ned Lamont almost two years ago, for instance, he promised Connecticut voters that we were on the cusp of victory in Iraq. “I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops,” he said in October 2006, “and by the end of the next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home.” Within weeks after winning that election, of course, Lieberman was joining with Sen. John McCain, his friend and ideological ally, in support of sending 30,000 additional American troops to Iraq — and bringing exactly none home. why does Mcain sorround himself with loosers?

Posted by braggingrights | Report as abusive

Although Obama’s response did show a lack of understanding of the situation, Mc-Sames response would have resulted in a Nuclear annihalation of the world.

Russia let it already know it does not have the capabilities of precision strikes, therefore it WILL use Tactical nukes in response.

And everyone forgets that Georgia started this all by bombing the capital of South Ossetia. The Ossetias en masse ran for the Russian border where they knew they would be safe from the Georgian ethnic cleansings.

But even then, Russia did not respond until their militairy peacekeepers, that are there on UN mandate, got bombed.

Posted by Jan Wensveen | Report as abusive

I think most of us here in the US have now broken the Republican code. I have listened to both McCain and Obama and I would tell you that McCain is a master of stating the obvious. I think that although Obama was on vacation, his response was not very different. McCain tried to get out in front of this issue, but it was to me, kind of akin to trying to lead a deer with Kentucky windage. He just was kind of throwing darts.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Obama’s response shows that he is willing to take the time that is necessary to understand a situation before he becomes a blathering idiot like McCain. All of these skirmishes in the breakaway nations of Russia are complicated, and we and NATO make them even more complicated by involving ourselves as the aggressor. Georgia stuck its head into the mouth of a Lion. Case closed. Leave S. Ossetia alone. They are allies with Russia, not the United States and Russia will protect them. We need to honor S. Ossetia as a sovereign nation if this is what their people want.

Posted by Lyndon | Report as abusive

I agree with Lyndons response. The NATO council put off the question of accepting Georgia into NATO for these very reasons. I think in this case France and Germany proved to be the more prudent members of NATO, imagine where we would be if Georgia was part of NATO
(although we may ave averted this whole crisis had this been the case.)

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

McCain will only expand the imperial military aggression of the Bush/Cheney regime.

Obama will offer a measured and reasoned response to any military event that comes up.

I vote for reason and sensibility over blind ignorant chest thumping militarism.

Vote for Obama, vote for freedom, vote for America!

Posted by Neal | Report as abusive

I agree with the other poster, it seems the breakaway states WANT to be part of Russia but Georgia won’t let it happen. I think the US should put some more focus on why these states want to leave Georgia and that they should have the freedom of choice. I agree think this is a deeper issue than just “evil Russia picking on the nice little villagers” like our networks and gov’t are trying so desperately to portray. I use to worry about McCain being elected and us diving into another idiotic war with Iran like we have with Iraq, that’s nothing now. He sure sounds ready to go toe to toe with Russia, who’s signing up for that battle?

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

To the contrary, Obama’s response was nonsensical and meaningless. It had all of the value of Rodney King’s “Can’t we all just get a long.”

Reagan proved that when dealing with Russia you need to call a spade a spade.

Posted by IndyEsq | Report as abusive

Here is what the main stream media is not reporting.

Russia planned this invasion for more than three weeks and did invade on flimsy reasons. Protecting Russian citizens when in fact Russian sponsored separatist gorillas to attack across the board into Georgian villages to which Georgia (classic trick) responded giving the Kremlin the reason to invade. Noting that they did this while the world was preoccupied watching the opening of the Olympics it was however a masterful attack. Heavy handed 10,000 troops, tanks, armored personal carriers, artillery and air cover. Meanwhile Georgia has all of 7 aircraft.

It’s easy to be an arm chair General on this one after the fact. But take a look at the Russian troops and then go look at any troops serving in IRAQ not the same level of professional troops to say the least. The Russian air force has lost at least 7 aircraft and not hit any major military targets instead hitting apartment buildings etc.

This is not your grandfathers Russian army.

I have not heard anything substantive out of Obama either. This is a test and every one on our side is failing miserably across the board. We have the best air power in the world use it in a limited fashion and deny Russia that upper hand at the minimum. Even if we do not engage we can harrass etc.

The only signs of hope are that BUSH/US airlifted 2,000 of Georgia’s troops from Iraq back home, go get em boys.

I hope we support them with at least some Abrams A-1 tanks, artillery and hopefully some depleted uranium rounds (look it up) that would roll the Russians right back out in short order. 10,000 vs 2,000 requires the US to provide air cover to deny Russians from wiping out the Georgians completely.

This is just another example why the UN is worthless what did they do, nothing.

Posted by Rebel Vonrasta | Report as abusive

Lieberman is a joke, John McCain is a joke, the Republicans are a joke. I’ve had just about enough of them all–and there is nothing they can say or do for me to change my mind…watch out for my foot.

Posted by Crystal | Report as abusive

I can’t believe what I’m reading. Is there no memory of WWII? How long did Europe and the US turn an appeasing eye away from Germany because they were afraid of the conflict? They opted to believe to Hitler’s words (“really, I’m going to stop after Poland”) rather than his actions. One by one countries fell while the world stood by and hoped he’d eventually stop. Yes, we’re tired of world conflict. Russia knows this and with bravado is marching on into Georgia despite agreeing to a cease-fire and Georgia’s repeated pleas for help. So at what point does the world take action? 2000 dead in Georgia so far? Destroying pipe lines? Bombing civilians? Would we even care if they took Georgia? Not from what I’m reading here. I understand that nuclear capability is frightening but Georgia aside, to what lengths could Russia hypothetically go before it would justify the world’s reaction? From what I’m reading here, virtually nothing.

Posted by Kelli Anderson | Report as abusive

Good post Kelli but would you wanna go over to fight for Georgia freedom and to prevent a hypothetical moment of history repeating itself? Maybe send your son or nephew or brother or husband? We’ve learned fighting for “Iraqi Freedom” was stupid and we’d learn fighting for “Georgian Freedom” would be even more stupid because it’d be such a stronger foe.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I totally agree with Michael. I’ve just done a 1 year pump in Iraq, and to say the least…was a waste of my life. I promise, nobody in the military right now wants to go to war with Russia. The main people that are always quick to go to war are NOT the ones who have to go. True, I did sign up for this, but not to fight other’s people’s wars. I swore to “Defend the Constitution of the United States and Obey all orders from the President of the United States” Not fight for a country smaller than North Carolina…I mean, lets be for real. This is Russia we’re talking about and sad as it is to say, 2,000 or THEIR civilians dieing isn’t worth me and whoever else going to war with RUSSIA!!!!! They aren’t attacking us, there is no direct threat…why go to war…We went to war with Hitler because he bombed our supply ships…those were direct attacks!!! We went to war with Japan because of Pearl Harbor…that was a direct ATTACK!!! You have to remember history…Why did we go to North Korea???? Why did we go to Vietnam???? Those weren’t our fights…and it was very bloody…and who is always first to go in and last to leave…the United States Marine Corps…So…with that being said, before you make comments about going to war…Think about that Marine having to make that advance before anyone…Think about that guy on the ground that has to fight for his life. This is not a video game, this is not some fantasy world where the good guy always wins. This is a world that is cruel and most of the time, the good guy dies and the scum bag escapes “Scott Free” with his life. There are billions of solutions to this besides war. This is coming from a Marine, we all want to get some, but we all would rather fight the “Good Fight”.

Posted by A U.S. Marine | Report as abusive

Senator Lieberman has to be an honorary member of the Knesset. I am just waiting for him to advocate the release of Jonathan Pollard. Just think, if Senator Lieberman had been elected as VP. . . Can you imagine?

We essentially do not have a standing army. We are bogged down on two fronts with National Guardsman, whose main job is protect the country domestically. I don’t think Senator Lieberman is fit to lead or even offer guidance — to anyone, including John McCain.

Posted by Anne Arkey | Report as abusive

I’m Russian living in NY and I find it extremely cynical that this complex human tragedy has become an apparent “lucky break” for Mr McCain in his campain. Obama is not experienced enough because he is not blaming Russia hard enough? Shut up ! Is it some kind of barking competition??? Whoever is more agressive with Russia and more close friend with Saakashvili gets to be the one most experienced in the US foreign policy?? I’ve been reading some Russian media and this what they are saying, now US senators will be competing with each other in blaming Russia …. think about it

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Its the oil stupid.

The Israeli news source DebkaFile:

“The conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region….The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.
Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.” (Paul Joseph Watson, “US Attacks Russia Through Client State Georgia”)

Posted by pj | Report as abusive

McCain gets red in the face and reads Wikipedia from the teleprompter, and people declare him ‘READY’ because he is bellicose and rash? I would much rather have commander in chief who is looking at the whole picture and at America’s interests. We have soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan, and McCain wants to threated Russia!!!?? He’s losing his grip.

Posted by katharine | Report as abusive

You are all incorrect. Approximately 17% of the breakaway population is Russian, the rest are two other groups with the predominance being Geogian. I disagree with both Obama and McCain on their response to this. Georgia did initiate this, and the Russians moved in to protect their “people”. I wish America was so decisive then perhaps we would have far fewer conflicts and countries like Iran who are willing to taunt, challgene and antagonize us. I guarantee now that other nearby countries will think twice before they screw with the Russians again. Now if California hispanics decide to join Mexico in a few years will we happily say well it is their right? I think not. Georgia also has a right to protect their own too which do make up a majority. This is far more complex than the press makes it out to be and only if you have been there like I have and know the people will you truly understand the dynamics. But the real bottom line is we and nato supported Kosovo in their bid to separate from Serbia, even though the ethnic cleansing began with ethnic albanians who were illegal aliens in Kosovo and killed Serbs, we supported their independence so why can’t the Russians do the same. I guarantee that is their position. We screwed up in Kosovo and let the Muslims once again brutalize serbs and when the Serbs responded and kicked their asses, we went in and supported the initial agressors. Here Georgia was the initial agressor, and we are condeming the Soviets for responding. As you can tell I am speaking for both sides here, that is because their is no clear right or wrong, except what we did in Kosovo which was clearly wrong.

Posted by Addison | Report as abusive