Candidate Obama: Americans Have A Right To Know Before Government Takes Military Action

Barack Obama speaking at the AFL-CIO Presidential Forum on August 7, 2007:

“But the fact of the matter is that when we don’t talk to the American people – we’re debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have a right to know,  It is not just Washington insiders that are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to how we’re going to shift our foreign policy,”

I guess that debate must have taken place in silence in the weeks before the President signed us up for yet another foreign conflict.

H/T Jeff Dunetz

FILED UNDER: Africa, US Politics, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tano says:

    The headline says “take military action”. The video refers to “shift foreign policy”. Maybe the larger context around the video clip offers a justification for your title, but you don’t share that with us. From what you present here, there is no mention of taking military action. Whazzup with this?

  2. Ben Wolf says:


    I understand your point, but it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to include new military actions as shifts in foreign policy. Candidate Obama (whom I voted for) campaigned for transparency and open debate on matters of national significance.

    That’s not what we got.

  3. anon says:

    I’m a bit confused about the implication of this article. So I take it you didn’t pay attention to that whole 1-2 week UN/NATO debate about action in Lybia? And what about the people being murdered by a ruthless dictator for finally having the guts to stand up and take action? Side note, the US isn’t running the show anymore. Command and Control is in NATO/Canadian hands now. The US is providing logistics support not combat command and control. Keep up.

  4. JKB says:

    anon…What about the protesters being gunned down in Syria by foreign Iranian Republican Guard? Or the 16 million North Koreans who may starve if we don’t seen more food aid. Aid which Amnesty International says is used as a weapon to shore up the political and military and reward supporters which starving dissenters. Shouldn’t we be bombing those government forces? Shouldn’t we be establishing a no-fly zone over North Korea so we can air drop the food directly to the starving populace?

    But you are correct, the US is providing logistic support by transporting US bombs in US aircraft into Libya where gravity takes over for the final delivery. Or is it your contention that non-US special forces are painting the targets?

    And by the way, delegating command of the US military to some foreign commander does not relieve the Commander in Chief of his responsibilities for US forces. You can delegate authority but not responsibility, not even to an international steering committee of foreign ministers or even a bunch of corrupt UN bureaucrats, or even some confused NATO hot potato command structure.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Holy crap, Obama did something worth writing about and bad?