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Obama wades into controversy with Iraq


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#16    bathory

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 09:44 AM

Homer, iirc Obama was calling for a withdrawl of something like a combat brigade a month starting this year regardless of the situation on the ground

I don't take issue with Obama wishing to consider the situation, thats the reasonable stance, thats the very same stance put forward by Bush and McCain and Hillary...

I do have a problem with his constant stance shifting when he's running for office, I mean, when people vote for him, which policy are they voting for him to put into action? the staunchly anti-iraq war instant withdrawel or the phased withdrawel based on ground conditions (sound familiar?)




#17    Startraveler

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 03:27 PM

Quote

I do have a problem with his constant stance shifting when he's running for office, I mean, when people vote for him, which policy are they voting for him to put into action? the staunchly anti-iraq war instant withdrawel or the phased withdrawel based on ground conditions (sound familiar?)


I guess that would be a good point, if a "phased withdrawal based on ground conditions" hadn't been what Obama's been saying for the better part of a year.

November, 2007:
Q. Following that up, what is your schedule for withdrawing forces from Iraq? How fast would these withdrawals be carried out? What time frame?

A. Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would be setting up. That also gives us time to make sure that we are strengthening the Iraqi forces. Obviously, I would prefer that we start this process now, but let’s assume that there are 100,000 troops when I get there, that means that we’re talking 14 to 15 months from now.

According to all the reports, we should have been well along our way in getting the Iraqi security forces to be more functional. We then have another 16 months after that to adjust the withdrawal and make sure that we are withdrawing from those areas, based on advice from the military officers in the field, those places where we are secured, made progress and we’re not just willy-nilly removing troops, but we’re making a determination – in this region we see some stability. We’ve had cooperation from local tribal leaders and local officials, so we can afford to remove troops here. Here, we’ve still got problems, it’s going to take a little bit longer. Maybe those are the last areas to pull out.

Q. If you saw that the Iraqi government, under the duress of American withdrawals, was not making progress or if sectarian violence was beginning to increase in Iraq, would you call a halt to withdrawals or proceed anyway?

A. I think that it is important to understand that there are no good options in Iraq. There haven’t been for a very long time. I’ve said previously that I would not be surprised to see some spikes in violence as we begin the withdrawal. It is not going to be a perfectly smooth transition. But I think there is a way of managing this that keeps this violence contained. Now, at some point the Iraqis are going to have to respond to a change in the security situation inside Iraq, one way or another, and those in the region are going to have to respond as well.

During that 16 months, I’m engaging in very systematic, tough diplomacy, not just with the various factions in the region, but also with Iran, with Syria, the Saudis, Jordan, with the United Nationals Security Council program members. Once it’s clear that we are not intending to stay there for 10 years or 20 years, all these parties have an interest in figuring out how do we adjust in a way that stabilizes the situation. They’re all going to have a series of complex differences and we’re going to, obviously, have to monitor it carefully about what those interests are to make sure our interests are protected. But what I don’t want to do is to make our withdrawal contingent on the Iraqi government doing the right thing because that empowers them to make strategic decisions that should be made by the president of the United States.”


Edited by Startraveler, 05 July 2008 - 03:28 PM.


#18    bathory

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 03:50 PM

so, basically, if the commanders had of said, we can't withdraw troops for 2 years due to whatever reason, he'd have said, hey no problem?

bs

his position has been one emphasising the rapid withdrawel from Iraq over approximately 16 months the moment he gets into office, even reading his comments in the quote above suggests that the timeline is fairly rigid, and that the input from the commanders will be regarding which troops in what areas can be withdrawn first.

"Now, at some point the Iraqis are going to have to respond to a change in the security situation inside Iraq, one way or another, and those in the region are going to have to respond as well."

These comments are in line with the legislation he put forward in January 2007 calling for withdrawel to being in March 08.


http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2008...aco_talk_packer

Edited by bathory, 05 July 2008 - 03:53 PM.


#19    Startraveler

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:36 PM

Quote

his position has been one emphasising the rapid withdrawel from Iraq over approximately 16 months the moment he gets into office, even reading his comments in the quote above suggests that the timeline is fairly rigid, and that the input from the commanders will be regarding which troops in what areas can be withdrawn first.


That's funny, in your last post you implied there was some inconsistency in that position ("I mean, when people vote for him, which policy are they voting for him to put into action? the staunchly anti-iraq war instant withdrawel or the phased withdrawel based on ground conditions (sound familiar?).") Always good to see a disingenuous argument abandoned.

For some reason, people often don't seem to understand that the president alone (much less a candidate) does not make policy. One can lay out his policy positions but no one should be under any illusion that those are what's going to happen. Obama's health care plan is a statement of his preferences for what health care policy in this country will look like, a framework; whatever emerges from Congress will likely look a bit (quite a bit, perhaps) different. Similarly, his statements on policy in Iraq (without having the entire defense and intelligence establishment at his command) are his preference for what happens next; the 16-month phased withdrawal is a baseline, the framework from which he will operate. Attacks on the statement that the specific number of months he's been using might have to be revised upon consultation with his commanders are prime examples of willful election-time idiocy at its worst. If you want to find examples of a candidate totally reversing positions on what he professes to believe, John McCain provides a vast number.

Let's look at bits of the article this thread is built around:

Quote

Obama, an early opponent of the war who made his stance a centerpiece of his Democratic presidential campaign, said he would not support a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq but wanted to ensure any troop withdrawal was orderly and safe.


True.

Quote

"I've always said I would listen to commanders on the ground. I've always said the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability," he told reporters on arrival in North Dakota.


True.

Quote

"That assessment has not changed, and when I have a chance to meet with some of the commanders on the ground I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies."


True.

Edited by Startraveler, 05 July 2008 - 04:36 PM.


#20    Homer

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:44 PM

bathory on Jul 5 2008, 05:44 AM, said:

Homer, iirc Obama was calling for a withdrawl of something like a combat brigade a month starting this year regardless of the situation on the ground

I have never heard him, or read any reference from him, that would indicate his withdrawal regardless of the situation on the ground.

bathory on Jul 5 2008, 05:44 AM, said:

I do have a problem with his constant stance shifting when he's running for office, I mean, when people vote for him, which policy are they voting for him to put into action? the staunchly anti-iraq war instant withdrawel or the phased withdrawel based on ground conditions (sound familiar?)

Are you suggesting there can be no ‘phased withdrawal’ if you’re ‘staunchly anti-Iraq’? I see no shifting of stances here. I see rewording, reemphasizing or perhaps clarifying earlier statements, but I see nothing related to a change in his stance. His only error that I can see was his use of a timetable. But since he was trying to be the democratic nominee, and up against what would seem to be the ‘inevitable’ Hillary Clinton, he has had to pander to the left. It’s just politics. Even though the timetables themselves were based on conversations and reports, it does somewhat limit the flexibility a president should have, and that if events forced him to alter or shelve the timetable, it would have the appearance of shifting his position. So he probably shouldn't have mentioned the timetable, but it's just politics as he was pandering to the left. There certainly is not a shift in his stance or policy.





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