September 26th, 2007

The Vermont Connection: Obama’s Foreign Policy Advisor Due to Ship Out for Iraq

by Philip Baruth

Just imagine, for a second, that you’re a foreign policy advisor for a major Presidential candidate — for the sake of clarity, let’s say that you’re the chief foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama. And imagine that even as you’re advising Obama on a strategy to pull the US out of Iraq, you’re simultaneously an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.

mark lippert

Then imagine that you get called up for active duty, quickly shipped off to California’s Coronado Naval Base, and there you begin training to join a Navy SEAL team now operating in Iraq.

Something like an ironic nightmare, more or less, except without the waking up part.

Of course, this scenario is no idle hypothetical: this is the current life of Mark Lippert, one-time Leahy policy advisor and Vermont political organizer. And the Wall Street Journal captures his singular story in an article that hit stands last weekend.

Lippert now lives, essentially, in two parallel dimensions.

So on the one hand, Obama is emailing on a daily basis, messages like, “I miss you, brother.” And on the other, Lippert is a uniformed professional whose first allegiance is to President George W. Bush.

Bush being the guy Obama has been castigating since Day 1 for creating “the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation.”

Why Lippert’s head has failed to explode thus far, VDB has no idea. It makes our own head throb badly just thinking about it.

Especially having to put it in the most explicit terms, as Lippert does when he sums up the situation, very carefully noting none of the odd cross-currents: “My job is to serve my country and to execute the decision of the commander-in-chief.”

The Journal story on Lippert is excellent, full of sharp, human detail, and we recommend it today if you have the time.

And we here at VDB wish Lt. Lippert both an uneventful tour of duty and a safe plane ride home. Particularly as he and his intended are due to be married, here in Vermont, sometime next year.