The war in Iraq is one reason the U.S. is such an environmental laggard, Barack Obama said in a CNN interview Thursday. “I think the way we have run this war in Iraq has … led us to ignore the critical needs for us to focus on a sound energy policy in this country,” Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It has left us unable to lead on critical global issues like global warming.” Americans, said Obama, “want to succeed, they want to get a college education. They want to be scientists. They want to be, you know, on the cutting edge of clean energy.” But, he said, “the dynamism and the innovation of the American people” is stifled “when we’re spending close to $200 billion a year in other countries, rebuilding those countries instead of focusing on making ourselves strong.”