Why Iraq Is Non-Issue in 2008 Political Campaigns

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The Washington Post ran a commentary today by Peter Beinart of the Council on Foreign Relations about how Iraq has become the non-story of this political campaign.

Beinart's theory is that as the death total wanes, the campaigns for president here are shifting to other issues that favor candidates other than those whose credentials on national security were the main thrust of their campaigns.

So in this new Iraq-less world, Hillary Clinton does less well — and we're seeing that in Iowa — and Giuliani might do less well, and we might see that as well.

Beinart's theory also explains why Huckabee is doing better and Obama is doing better, because the race is more about personality and some of the issues of the '90s, and less about national security.

Beinart may be right. It's an interesting theory. My question is: How long will Iraq last as a non-issue?

Bush just rehired Paul Wolfowitz, one of the neocons the left so loves to hate. It appears we may be in Iraq for longer than even Bush supporters expected, Iraq is going well, and that seems to be such a big deal I can hardly imagine the war going away completely as an issue.

But more than all that, I question whether it's really true that Americans no longer worry about the war and, more particularly, terrorism against us here at home. Pardon me for sounding a tad hawkish, but it strikes me that all that nasty stuff still lurks in the backs of the minds of many, many people.

We fly on planes which terrorists are forever scheming against, we watch oil creep to a $100, we see an eerie calm in a place where it didn't seem possible, and we all have to wonder: Is this just a pause in the storm, the eye of tranquility while more thunder-boomers wait over the horizon?

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not going to be comfortable with anybody — Democrat or Republican — whose main qualification is something other than keeping us safe.

That's My Word.

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