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Obama: My Plan for Iraq (NYT Op-Ed)

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  • Obama: My Plan for Iraq (NYT Op-Ed)

    Dude can write. I find this very hard to argue with; it's a thoughtful, well-supported, conservative plan. A Republican probably could have gone with this.

    NYT

    July 14, 2008
    Op-Ed Contributor
    My Plan for Iraq

    By
    BARACK OBAMA


    CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

    The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

    In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

    But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

    The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

    Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

    But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

    As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

    In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

    Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

    As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

    In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

    It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

    Barack Obama, a United States senator from Illinois, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

    "At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed."
    – Frederick Douglass, doing an amazing job since 1852

  • #2
    Saw a long Obama commercial over the weekend. Obama talking about his life, his upbringing, family. Dude's got gravitas.

    Moon

    Comment


    • #3
      He couldn't possibly be worse than the past 8 years or McSame. And who knows, maybe he is really the shit after all?
      Dude. Can. Fly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Get ready for posts from Dooz and FAR saying that the Surge worked and that Obama should thank Bush for that.

        Ignoring the obvious fact that we shouldn't have invaded in the first place.

        Comment


        • #5
          If the economy hadn't shit the bed, I think Barry wins on the war alone. Now he needs to (A) remind the country that the war is still kind of a big problem and (B) develop an equally intelligent economic plan.
          "At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed."
          – Frederick Douglass, doing an amazing job since 1852

          Comment


          • #6
            That makes way too much sense. Must be something wrong in there.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hansolo View Post
              Get ready for posts from Dooz and FAR saying Obama should thank Bush and company for prosectuting such a clueless post war strategy that islamist extremists where roam unmolested in vast areas of the country and kill so many Sunni Iraqis that the Sunni leaders decided they would rather fight the terrorists than fight the US, especially if the US was paying.

              Ignoring the obvious fact that we shouldn't have invaded in the first place.
              fixd
              Sketch in STL
              Official Sponsor of jHonny Peralta

              I'M WITH HILLARY!

              Comment


              • #8
                Do you believe him?
                His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
                Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by moedrabowsky View Post
                  Do you believe him?
                  "No!"

                  signed,

                  TTB, Airshark, and FAR
                  “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

                  Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh no! Oh no!

                    McCain Gains
                    In Latest Poll


                    Obama's Lead Quickly Fades
                    How Close Is the Race Now?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Reggie Cleveland View Post
                      Oh no! Oh no!

                      McCain Gains
                      In Latest Poll


                      Obama's Lead Quickly Fades
                      How Close Is the Race Now?
                      Must be all of those emails circulating about Obama being a closet Muslim who sides with the terrorists.
                      “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

                      Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Razzy View Post
                        Must be all of those emails circulating about Obama being a closet Muslim who sides with the terrorists.
                        You wish.

                        It doubtless reflects his recent demonstration of being a mere mortal. Ah, hell hath no fury like LCs scorned....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Reggie Cleveland View Post
                          You wish.

                          It doubtless reflects his recent demonstration of being a mere mortal. Ah, hell hath no fury like LCs scorned....
                          I'm not sure why you are just now getting giddy about these polls. The aggregate poll results have shown that Obama has maintained a narrow lead over McCane for a few consecutive weeks now.

                          You're having an orgasm over one poll that shows a big swing in a month, when the 15-pt lead for Obama poll was an outlier.
                          “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

                          Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Reggie Cleveland View Post
                            Oh no! Oh no!

                            McCain Gains
                            In Latest Poll


                            Obama's Lead Quickly Fades
                            How Close Is the Race Now?
                            Closer than it was between Him and Hillary and John Edwards last September. McCain could gain even more in sympathy votes after Obama's speech to 76,000 in a Denver stadium, a week before McCain gives his while the opening game of the NFL is being played.

                            Obama is kind of uppity.
                            v


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ... in his La Raza speech today, McCain will needle Obama as a neophyte on foreign policy, saying he should visit South American in order to learn the value of trade: "And while it is surely not my intention to become my opponent's scheduler, I hope Senator Obama soon visits some of the other countries of the Americas for the first time."


                              The obama campaign quickly countered with a suggestion that McCain make a tour of all the NFL cities so he could keep the teams straight.

                              I am looking forward to his stop in St. Louis, when he talks about being a prisoner in Vietnam and fooling his captors by telling them his squad members were named Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Dan Dierdorf and Jackie Smith.
                              v


                              Comment

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