Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barack Obama on Iraq - Change You Can Count On.

Where Does Obama Stand After Several Years Of Contradictory Statements And Failed Leadership On Iraq?


Today, Obama Is Scheduled To Give A Speech On The Fifth Anniversary Of The Iraq War:

"[W]ednesday, March 19, 2008, Five Years After The Iraq War Began, Sen. Barack Obama Will Deliver A Major Speech On The War In Iraq And Our National Security In Fayetteville, N.C." (Ben Smith, "Moving On From Race," The Politico's "Ben Smith's Blog," www.politico.com, 3/18/08)


Obama Introduced Iraq Withdrawal Legislation, Then Warned That Insurgents Would Wait Us Out:

"[O]nly After Mr. Obama Opened A Presidential Exploratory Committee Did He Introduce Legislation To Withdraw American Combat Brigades From Iraq By March 31, 2008." (Jeff Zeleny, "As Candidate, Obama Carves Antiwar Stance," The New York Times, 2/26/07; S. 433, Introduced 1/30/07)

At The Same Time That He Supported Withdrawal, Obama Warned That Iraqi Insurgents Would Just "Lie Low" Until American Troops Leave. Obama: "What the militias are essentially doing is they've just pulled back. They've said as long as there's these increased troop presence, we'll lie low, we'll wait it out. As soon as the Americans start leaving and redeploying into other areas, we will come back in..." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 3/19/07)


Obama Warned Against A "Precipitous Withdrawal ... Driven By Congressional Edict":

Obama Warned Against A "Precipitous Withdrawal ... Driven By Congressional Edict." Obama: "[H]aving visited Iraq, I'm also acutely aware that a precipitous withdrawal of our troops, driven by Congressional edict rather than the realities on the ground, will not undo the mistakes ... It could compound them. It could compound them by plunging Iraq into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 6/21/06, p. S6233)

Obama: "A Hard And Fast, Arbitrary Deadline For Withdrawal Offers Our Commanders In The Field, And Our Diplomats In The Region, Insufficient Flexibility To Implement That Strategy." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 6/21/06, p. S6233)


11 Months After Being Elected To The Senate, Obama Gave His First Major Foreign Policy Speech On Iraq, Which Repeated Ideas Already Voiced By Other Democrats:

"[Obama] Campaigned Strongly Against The War In His Bid For The Senate In 2004, But When He Arrived In Washington He Waited 11 Months To Deliver A Major Speech On Iraq." (Jeff Zeleny, "As Candidate, Obama Carves Antiwar Stance," The New York Times, 2/26/07)

Obama's First Major Address On Iraq Repeated Ideas Already Voiced By Other Democrats. "In his campaign, Obama forcefully opposed the war, yet it wasn't until late November that he delivered his first major Iraq policy address. And by the time he reached the lectern at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, other Democrats already had articulated many of the same ideas about not immediately withdrawing troops from Iraq." (Jeff Zeleny, "The First Time Around," Chicago Tribune, 12/25/05)


Obama Said He Did Not Know How He Would Have Voted On The Iraq War And Claimed There Was "Not Much Of A Difference" Between His Position And The President's Position:

Obama Said He Didn't Know How He Would Have Voted On The Iraq War Resolution. "In a recent interview, [Obama] declined to criticize Senators Kerry and Edwards for voting to authorize the war, although he said he would not have done the same based on the information he had at the time. 'But, I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports,' Mr. Obama said. 'What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made.'" (Monica Davey, "A Surprise Senate Contender Reaches His Biggest Stage Yet," The New York Times, 7/26/04)

Obama Said There Was Not Much Of A Difference Between His Position And The President's Position On Iraq. "'On Iraq, on paper, there's not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago,' Obama said. 'There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage.'" (John Kass, "Obama's A Star Who Doesn't Stick To The Script," Chicago Tribune, 7/27/04)


Obama Said He Would Have Opposed Funding For The War If He Were In The Senate:

Obama: "Just this week, when I was asked, would I have voted for the $87 billion, I said no. And I said no unequivocally, because, at a certain point, we have to say no to George Bush. If we keep on getting steamrolled, we are not going to stand a chance." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks To The New Trier Democratic Organization, 11/16/03)


Obama Calculated The Political Risks Of Opposing The War, Then Gave A Speech In Line With A Key Constituency:

Obama Considered The Political Implications Before Deciding To Publically Oppose The War. "Moreover, even [Obama's former campaign manager Dan] Shomon concedes that Obama discussed the politics of his speech beforehand. 'what about the people that are for the war?' Obama asked him. 'Am I gonna have damage politically?'" (Michael Crowley, "Cinderella Story," The New Republic, 2/27/08)

Obama's Anti-War Views Were In Line With The Liberal Voting Block He Needed To Support His 2004 Senate Run. "With war looming in the fall of 2002, Obama was preparing a long-shot run for an open U.S. Senate seat ... Obama's best shot at the Democratic nomination involved consolidating a coalition of lakefront liberals and African Americans. ... [T]hough it may have been unpopular to oppose the war in Washington, that was not the case among liberals in Chicago-- among the first cities to pass an antiwar resolution." (Michael Crowley, "Cinderella Story," The New Republic, 2/27/08) .