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Press Release - "In Case You Missed It": "Obama's Strategy On Iraq Stuck In The Past"

May 30, 2008


"Obama's problem is that his Iraq strategy -- withdraw one or two brigades a month until all combat troops are out in 16 months -- was formulated when Iraq looked like a lost cause. If Obama were elected and stuck to his position, he would implement a policy based on conditions existing 1½ years before, not on current realities." - Chicago Sun-Times

Obama's Strategy On Iraq Stuck In The Past

By Steve Huntley

Chicago Sun-Times

May 30, 2008

...

National security, nearly everyone agrees, is McCain's strength, so the presumptive Republican nominee naturally rallies to it. National security, nearly everyone acknowledges, is Obama's vulnerability, so the Democrat has to address it forcefully.

The more experienced McCain likes to highlight the success of the military surge in Iraq, which he had advocated for years before President Bush finally embraced it after the old strategy had brought the Iraq enterprise to the threshold of defeat. The young Obama prefers to focus on what he calls the flawed rationale for the invasion and his early opposition to it.

...

While McClellan echoes Obama's criticism of Bush and McCain's judgment on Iraq, it is Obama's judgment on ending the war on which voters will increasingly focus if the Iraq news continues to be positive. Mostly it's been good for months. A year ago chaos and violence ruled, coalition forces were on the defensive, U.S. troops led all combat operations. Now violence is down dramatically. Iraqi security forces are on the offensive and take the lead, with Americans in supporting roles, in hard fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City and in Basra, achieving surprising success against fierce militias.

Obama's problem is that his Iraq strategy -- withdraw one or two brigades a month until all combat troops are out in 16 months -- was formulated when Iraq looked like a lost cause. If Obama were elected and stuck to his position, he would implement a policy based on conditions existing 1½ years before, not on current realities.

Obama, a University of Chicago intellectual, is in the unlikely position of seeming to have a closed, uninquisitive mind when it comes to Iraq. As McCain points out, the Democrat has visited Iraq just once and that was before the surge. McCain's criticism struck home as Obama now says he may visit Iraq this summer.

Obama also is busy trying to find some wiggle room in his declaration several months ago that he was willing to grant a presidential meeting without precondition in the first year of his term with leaders of rogue states like Iran. He now talks of extensive "preparations" for any summits and says no one is guaranteed a meeting.

Obama no doubt will be happier when the campaign moves on to the economy and gasoline prices.

Read The Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed Here

John McCain, Press Release - "In Case You Missed It": "Obama's Strategy On Iraq Stuck In The Past" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/291671

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