Let next year’s 4th of July be a celebration of America’s independence from war and Iraqi Freedom from American occupation
We are confident that despite the media reports and rumors that Barack Obama is thinking of ‘refining’ his plan to end the war in Iraq, this does not mean he is retreating from his commitment. People are asking if Obama is backpedaling to the center, willing to relax his positions to win votes. (Arianna Huffington details “Seven Things Barack Obama Should Do to Keep from Blowing It” in a recent post on Huffington Post .) Incredibly, yet predictably, the McCain campaign claims that Obama is now coming around to McCain’s  position on the war. Not bloody likely. The Republicans want to blur distinctions, but the candidates’ positions are starkly different. As Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo  lucidly points out:
One candidate believes the US occupation is the solution; the other thinks it’s the problem. John McCain supports the permanent deployment of US troops in Iraq. That is why his hundred years remark isn’t some gotcha line. It’s a clear statement of his policy. Obama supports a deliberate and orderly withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. It’s a completely different view of America’s role in the world and future in the Middle East.
Obama understands that the Iraq War is inflicting unsustainable body wounds on America’s economy, its people, and certainly on its military. This war of choice is bleeding this country to death, just like the Vietnam war of choice. • We agree with Obama that America’s priorities should be closer to home. National defense should mean rebuilding America’s social safety net, our infrastructure, energy policy, education and health care systems, public housing, and so on—precisely the programs John McCain can be counted on to vote against.
Obama supporters should not fail to reinforce the point, however. Since his cave-in on the FISA bill last month, activists have been blogging aggressively on Obama’s own campaign site, my.barackobama.com , getting in his face, telling him to hold the line on civil liberties. The bloggers’ pressure has been so strong that Obama felt compelled to respond .
We said above we’re confident, but just to make sure, we urge our readers to keep Obama focused and serious about ending the war. He will be under tremendous pressure from advisers, donors, and the media to prove he’s strong on defense, etc. (Paul Krugman  sees hopeful signs that Obama is resisting the Democratic Cringe Reflex.) The fact that he opposed the war before it started—speaking out against it as an Illinois state senator in 2002—distinguished Obama’s candidacy from the beginning. His intent to end the war is central to his promise of change from the direction of a Hundred Years’ War—and may lead to happier Fourths of July.