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Obama's Iraq

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Dumb Obama
In October, Obama gives a speech at an antiwar rally in Chicago  opposing the invasion of Iraq, saying, "I am not opposed to all wars.  I am opposed to dumb wars."
Obamaís Plan
In February, 2007, when Barack Obama declared that he was running for President, violence in Iraq had reached apocalyptic levels, and he based his candidacy, in part, on a bold promise to begin a rapid withdrawal of American forces upon taking office.  At the time, this pledge represented conventional thinking among Democrats and was guaranteed to play well with primary voters.  But in the year and a half since then two improbable, though not unforeseeable, events have occurred: Obama has won the Democratic nomination, and Iraq, despite myriad crises, has begun to stabilize.  With the general election four months away, Obamaís rhetoric on the topic now seems outdated and out of touch, and the nominee-apparent may have a political problem concerning the very issue that did so much to bring him this far.

In January 2007, Obama outlined a plan to begin "redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007" and "remove all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008."

Obamaís plan called for the remaining combat brigades to be pulled out at a brisk pace of about one per month, along with a strategic shift of resources and attention away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan.  At that rate, all combat troops would be withdrawn in sixteen months, or, by March 31, 2008.  In hindsight, it was a mistake -- an understandable one, given the nature of the media and of Presidential politics today -- for Obama to offer such a specific timetable.  In matters of foreign policy, flexibility is a Presidentís primary defense against surprise.

Obama, whatever the idealistic yearnings of his admirers, has turned out to be a cold-eyed, shrewd politician.  The same pragmatism that prompted him last month to forgo public financing of his campaign will surely lead him, if he becomes President, to recalibrate his stance on Iraq.  He doubtless realizes that his original plan, if implemented now, could revive the badly wounded Al Qaeda in Iraq, re-energize the Sunni insurgency, embolden Moqtada al-Sadr to recoup his militiaís recent losses to the Iraqi Army, and return the central government to a state of collapse.  The question is whether Obama will publicly change course before November.  So far, he has offered nothing more concrete than this: "We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."
Losing Touch With Reality
Even the Washington Post recognizes that Obama has lost touch with reality, referring to Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan as "The Iron Timetable" -- observing that whether the war in Iraq is being lost or won, Barack Obama's strategy remains unchanged -- retreat -- surrender -- bug out!
Obama's Pleased
Obama said he was "pleased with the progress taking place" in Iraq and said that it was his impression that among Iraqis there was "more optimism about what is happening."

"You see the activity taking place, the people in the shops, the traffic on the streets, clearly thereís been an enormous improvement," he said.

Of course, if Obama's widely praised judgment were followed, there would have been no surge and al Qaeda in Iraq and the Mookie al Sadr would be running things.

Obama is now going to have to admit the surge worked and victory in Iraq is at hand.  The trick now, is for him to figure out a way to take credit for it.
Against The Surge


Obama still opposes the surge -- even if it worked  ( 1:02)

Here is video of Barack Obama from Iraq, in an interview with ABC News, saying he would NOT support the "Surge Strategy" if he had it to do over again.  This is the very "Surge Strategy" that has undeniably transformed Iraq.  But Obama says he would still oppose it because . . . well, just because. (There are two other videos here, illustrating the stupidity of Obama's position)

There's another interview with Katie Couric who presses Obama on the surge and he hums and haws and squirms, but absolutely refuses to admit the surge has been successful.  (I will try and post it later in the day)

The question becomes, do we really want to elect someone to lead this country, who is so breathtakingly arrogant, that even after learning he was wrong, refuses to acknowledge reality?

Obama and his supporters on the left are invested in the defeat of our own forces to the political damage of Bush.  It means everything to them.  They would risk losing everything before they give the president a dime's worth of credit.

America is at war in the mideast, but the dhimmicrats are at war with Bush.  It's that simple.

Obama would rather lose a war
Redstate notes that John McCain has gone and said one of the things you are not supposed to say in American politics:

"This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

Mainstream media liberals like Joe Klein and Obama flacks like John Aravosis headed for the fainting couches at the suggestion that Obama was willing to lose the war in Iraq in order to win this election.  But the facts are the facts, and they show beyond any doubt that Obama chose to pursue defeat in Iraq instead of a strategy that is leading us to victory:

1.  Obama's public statements from 2004 through 2006 recognized that withdrawal from Iraq would lead to defeat and disaster.

2.  In early 2007, when President Bush announced the "surge" strategy to try to win the war, leading Democrats -- Obama included -- publicly concluded that the war was lost and accordingly opposed the surge.

3.  Obama went further and rolled out a plan to begin drawing down troops in May 2007, leading to a full withdrawal by March 2008.  There was no pretense that this was to be a victorious withdrawal; Obama stated in his press release that "no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war" and that he was proposing to "reverse the President's dangerous and ill-conceived escalation of the Iraq war" and "bring a responsible end to this war and bring our troops home". The press release made no mention of victory or even honor.

4.  Obama's opposition to the surge and calls for an immediate commencement of withdrawal proved popular with his supporters in the Democratic primary and helped him win the nomination of his party.

5.  John McCain, by contrast, supported the surge on the grounds that it would lead to victory.

6.  It is now obvious, and so broadly conceded that Klein paints it as beyond dispute, that the surge has succeeded and will lead to victory in Iraq.

7.  Had we followed Obama's strategy instead of McCain's, it is equally clear that we would have lost the war, as the Iraqis could not have done it without us.

While Aravosis calls McCain's statement "a brutal lie," he does not take issue with any of those facts.  Meanwhile, Ann Althouse delivers a devastating rebuke to Klein for his insistence that it is out of bounds to present America with the facts of Obama's choice and the necessary consequences of that choice.

Since Obama has NO EXPERIENCE at anything except running for office, he has based his campaign on his superior judgment.  Obama has been wrong about Iraq for 5 years.

If Obama had his way in 2003, Saddam and Sons would still be torturing, killing and poisoning Iraqis; they would still be shooting at Coalition aircraft over the "No-Fly Zone"; they would still be pursuing their weapons of mass destruction goals; they would still be building palaces with Iraq's oil money, instead of its infrastructure; and they would still be a threat to their neighbors.

More recently he was against the Surge when it was proposed; he was against the Surge when it was implemented; and now that the Surge has been successful, he's STILL against it.

And let's not forget Obama's selection of friends and associates.
But, The Surge Works
Related to the above, Randall Hoven, writing in American Thinker, notes that the "Surge" in Iraq sure appears to have worked. let's look at the results to date:

1.  US troop and Iraqi civilian fatality rates are at their lowest points since the war began in 2003.

2.  Today Iraq has legitimate elections, a constitution and a functioning parliament.  It is considered more politically free than virtually any country in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait.

3.  Gross Domestic Product has almost tripled, from $20.5B (US dollars) in 2002 to $60.9B in 2008.

4.  Oil production in each of the last three months (May-July 2008) has exceeded the peak pre-war estimated rate of 2.5 million barrels per day.  Oil exports now bring in about $7 billion per month, and rising.

5.  Pre-war, only 4 to 8 hours of electricity were available per day nationwide, on average.  In July 2008, electricity was available an average of almost 12 hours per day, an improvement of 50% to 200%.

6.  There are more than twice as many registered cars, more than 10 times as many telephone subscribers and more than 50 times as many internet subscribers.

7.  Under Saddam, Iraq had no commercial TV or radio stations and no independent newspapers or magazines.  Zero.  Today it has dozens of TV stations and hundreds of radio stations, newspapers and magazines.

8.  More children are in school, and more doctors, judges and security personnel have been trained and are being trained.

In addition to the above, the White House has reported that the Iraqi government achieved "satisfactory" progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks as set by Congress and the President.

With results like these, who can deny the "Surge" is working?  Well, Obama, that's who.
X Number Of Troops
Ed Morrissey wrote about this a few days ago when Obama ducked Katie Couricís question by torturing the distinction between tactics and strategy.  According to The One, the president sets the strategy: Most troops out in 16 months but some left behind for various missions.  The generals supply the tactics: To carry out those missions responsibly, we need X number of troops.  What does X equal?  Why, itís Ö "entirely conditions-based":
Bob Novakís column this week cites unnamed Obama advisors as saying this could mean leaving as many as 50,000 troops in place.  According to a recent essay by Colin Kahl, who runs Obamaís working group on Iraq, in the "near term" they might keep as many as 12 brigades there for "overwatch," i.e. support, duties.
Obama finally abandoned his dangerous insistence on an unconditional withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by making clear that for the foreseeable future, troop levels in Iraq will be "entirely conditions based."   This latest shift in Senator Obamaís  position is welcome, but it is obvious that it was only a lack of experience and judgment that kept him from arriving at this position sooner.
Obama Comments On Surge


Obama comments on the "Surge"  (01.09)

and don't miss the last 10 seconds -- definitely Commander in Chief material

I'm Committed
Politico blog is wondering about a trip that has nothing to do with the cost of fuel. I am wondering about Barack Obamaís planned trip to Iraq.

Is it necessary?  Why?  What is he going to learn from it?

Besides, as he said last Thursday and documented below, "I am absolutely committed to ending the war."   He also said that he would call his Joint Chiefs of Staff in and give them a new assignment and that is to end the war.

Notice, he's not absolutely committed to winning the war -- just ending it.

How's he going to do that.  Blow a whistle and call time out? This ain't B-ball, Barry -- it's a war -- you win it or you lose it.  Armistices don't work.  Ask the French.  Ask the Israelis.  Ask the Koreans.

Because Obama is a logical guy, he said there was a logical reason for him to go to Iraq. He was going to talk to military people there, he said, and "continue to refine" his Iraq policy.

"I am going to do a thorough assessment when Iím there," he said at a news conference last week in Fargo, N.D.  "When I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, Iím sure Iíll have more information and continue to refine my policy.

How do you refine, "I am absolutely committed to ending the war?"  -- and remember, he can't give the Joints Chiefs a new assignment to end the war.  They're not in the chain of command, as explained below.

So let us get this straight once and for all and stop all this frenzy: Barack Obama is going to Iraq because he does not intend to change his mind about Iraq.

An Obama trip to Iraq is nothing more than a political stunt.
Obama Demands End To Negotiations
Here is an excerpt from Susan Duclos' 15 September blockbuster article on Obama's attempted manipulation of GIs troop withdrawals from Iraq for his own political purposes.

Iraqi government sources have revealed to the New York Post that Presidential candidate Barack Obama demanded Iraqi officials stop negotiations with the Bush Administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Fearful that the success in Iraq would harm his political aspirations, Obama sought to keep U.S. troops in Iraq so he can continue attacking the Bush Administration for not imposing a timetable for withdrawal.

And from the New York Post:

Maliki's advisers have persuaded him that Obama will win -- but the prime minister worries about the senator's "political debt to the anti-war lobby" -- which is determined to transform Iraq into a disaster to prove that toppling Saddam Hussein was "the biggest strategic blunder in US history." [...]

Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive" war - that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America.

Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense. To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.

In a brief press conference back in June, Obama admitted to this outrageous act.

"He said he told Zebari that negotiations for a Status of Forces agreement or strategic framework agreement between the two countries should be done in the open and with Congress's authorization and that it was important that that there be strong bipartisan support for any agreement so that it can be sustained through a future administration. He argued it would make sense to hold off on such negotiations until the next administration."

Obama Says Our Commitment In Iraq Is Changing
Julie Pace says Barack Obama will set a course Monday for the nation's changing mission in Iraq as the military prepares to end its combat operations there.

In a speech at the national convention of the Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta, Obama was to address the progress being made to meet his deadline of drawing down all combat troops by the end of the month.  A transitional force of 50,000 troops will remain to train Iraqi security forces, conduct counterterrorism operations and provide security for ongoing U.S. civilian efforts.

"Make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing, from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats," Obama said in excerpts released ahead of the speech.

Obama has said all U.S. troops will be gone from Iraq by the end of next year.
Obama's Credit-Grab
The New York Post asks, how's this for hubris: Obama extolling his "new strategy" in Iraq -- even though it never would have succeeded had his original vision prevailed?  Obama struck a triumphal tone this week about the Iraq mission coming to an end -- but shunned the word "success."  He spoke of "ending" the war, but took pains to avoid context.

Sen. John McCain rightly called the address "small-minded" and "bizarre."

Indeed, Obama couldn't bring himself to give a shred of credit to the man who most deserves it: George W. Bush whose surge -- and Gen. David Petraeus' on-the-ground leadership -- created the conditions for Iraqis to take full control of their country, allowing Obama last year to introduce his "new strategy."

At the time, then-Sen. Barack Obama said of the surge: "20,000 troops is not going to make a difference."  A year later, he responded to Bush's State of the Union Address by declaring that "tonight we heard President Bush say that the surge in Iraq is working, when we know that's just not true."

Obama's lack of graciousness even barred him from noting that his speech occurred 20 years to the day after the invasion of Kuwait.  He couldn't offer even a small nod to the first President George Bush, who led the liberation of Kuwait, but that's a minor quibble measured against Obama's overweening hypocrisy.

Obama scorned the strategy that produced the outcome he's now celebrating with a straight face.  And he won't say one kind word about his predecessor, no matter how warranted.

If any president has shown less class than Obama, it's hard to say who.
Obama Will Take Credit For Iraq Victory
If Barrack Obama had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be funding Terrorism from Baghdad.  Instead we now have a semi-democratic ally where we once had an enemy.  Tonight, watch him take credit for the victory.

It's important to remember that Obama vehemently opposed the troop surge in Iraq, and simply abiding by the "Status of Forces Agreement," signed by President Bush doesnít make you the guy who brought the troops home.

Obama vehemently opposed the troop surge in Iraq  (00:45)
From The New York Times (8/22/07) -- "Obama Sees a 'Complete Failure' in Iraq"

Senator Barack Obama said that even if the military escalation in Iraq was showing limited signs of progress, efforts to stabilize the country had been a "complete failure," and American troops should not be entangled in the sectarian strife.

"No military surge, no matter how brilliantly performed, can succeed without political reconciliation and a surge of diplomacy in Iraq and the region," Mr. Obama said.  "Iraqís leaders are not reconciling.  They are not achieving political benchmarks."

Related:  Robert Gibbels lies about Obamaís position on the Iraq Surge (with video) -- then Gibbels refuses to answer Gretchen Carlson's question, "Will Obama credit Bush," 5 times?  Then he insults her.  He's as classy as his fuehrer.
A Limp And Boring Speech
Paul Mirengoff says Obama's speech from the oval office, only his second, was surprisingly limp.  With three momentous subjects to cover -- Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S. economy -- Obama struggled to say anything new or interesting.  It isn't just that the soaring rhetoric of 2008 has disappeared; Obama is now affirmatively boring.

In "turning the page" on Iraq, the Great Speechifier could find no words with which to give meaning to our epic struggle there.  Let's give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume this is because he thinks the struggle had no meaning, except as it related to domestic politics in the U.S.  But then why give a speech about it?

Perhaps the idea was to signal our resolve going forward.  The best he could do on this front was to say that after our troops leave at the end of 2011, we'll still have diplomats, aid workers, and advisors on the scene.  But we have diplomats, aid workers, and advisors all over the world; what if Iraq needs more than that, given all of its challenges?  If Obama signaled anything in this speech, it was his lack of interest in Iraq's past, present, and future.

In his speech, Obama was his slippery self when it came to President Bush.  He acknowledged that Bush is patriotic and cares about the troops -- how big of Obama -- but gave him no credit for the surge, or for liberating Iraq, and the region from Saddam Hussein (who went unmentioned).

Despite the fact that Afghanistan has become Obama's war in a way Iraq never did, Obama displayed no great interest in, or true sense of commitment to, that action either.  In ten short months, Obama once again pledged, we will begin pulling out of Afghanistan too.  These words can only comfort our terrorist enemies and cause sleepless nights for anyone in Afghanistan who has ever supported us.

When it came to the economy, Obama had nothing new to offer.  So instead, he provided America with a pep talk, exhorting us to "honor" our troops by "coming together" with a great sense of urgency to "restore our economy."

Presumably, this means rallying around Obama's unpopular domestic agenda.  In any case, Americans are unlikely to be impressed by a guy whose answer to our economic woes sounds something like "hug a soldier and hope that some of his grit rubs off."

Related:  Obama takes total credit for Iraq -- are you surprised?

Related:  More Iraqis approved of U.S leadership under President Bush than Obama, says Gallup Poll.

Mr. Cut 'n' Run used the word "victory" only once, and not in the context of a military victory, saying, "In an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory through the success of our partners and the strength of our own nation."

Sadly, in his address to the nation last night, Obama said he called President Bush, but he didn't publicly thank him or give him credit for the successful Bush Surge -- the successful surge that Obama vehemently opposed -- and the reason Obama is announcing the end of combat operations.

And, if combat operations are over in Iraq, why do 11 "combat" brigades remain?  And 5 thousand special operations forces, including Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, will continue to hunt, and kill al-Qaida and other terrorist fighters.  Despite Obamaís declaration of an end to the combat mission in Iraq, combat almost certainly lies ahead.

Obama's speech?  Words, just words.

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