Posted by: iam0nly1 | July 3, 2008

Obama’s Iraq Backtrack

In the much discussed ABC Pennsylvania Democratic debate, Senators Clinton and Obama were asked if they would be steadfast in removing troops from Iraq even if commanders and generals disagreed. Senator Obama was adamant:

GIBSON: And, Senator Obama, your campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, “When he is” — this is talking about you — “When he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most. There should be no confusion about that.”

So you’d give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order to bring them home?

OBAMA: Because the commander-in-chief sets the mission, Charlie.

That’s not the role of the generals.

And one of the things that’s been interesting about the president’s approach lately has been to say, “Well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus.”

Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission. And, unfortunately, we have had a bad mission set by our civilian leadership, which our military has performed brilliantly. But it is time for us to set a strategy that is going to make the American people safer.

Now, I will always listen to our commanders on the ground with respect to tactics, once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberately, in an orderly fashion, out of Iraq, and we are going to have our combat troops out. We will not have permanent bases there.

Once I have provided that mission, if they come to me and want to adjust tactics, then I will certainly take their recommendations into consideration. But, ultimately, the buck stops with me as the commander-in-chief. [emphasis mine]

Well, that was the primary, and this is the general, and in classic Obama form, he’s backtracking. 

Looks like Obama’s planning on passing the buck: don’t like our new timeline, don’t like that we can’t get the troops out?…Blame the commanders. 

But if that wasn’t enough, now he’s talking about “refining” his timeline and Iraq policy. 

Senator Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot sustain a long-term military presence in Iraq, but added that he would be open to “refine my policies” about a timeline for withdrawing troops after meeting with American military commanders during a trip to Iraq later this month.

Mr. Obama, whose popularity in the Democratic primary was built upon a sharp opposition to the war and an often-touted 16-month gradual timetable for removing combat troops, dismissed suggestions that he was changing positions in the wake of reductions in violence in Iraq and a general election fight with Senator John McCain.

“I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed,” he said. “And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.

As he arrived for a campaign stop in North Dakota, Mr. Obama told reporters on Thursday that he intended to conduct “a thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy during a forthcoming trip to the country. He stressed that he has long called for a careful and responsible withdrawal of American forces, but he declined to offer a fresh endorsement of his plan to remove one to two combat brigades a month.

“My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything that I’ve said, was always premised on making sure that our troops were safe,” he said. “I said that based on the information that we had received from our commanders that one to two brigades a month could be pulled out safely, from a logistical perspective. My guiding approach continues to be that we’ve got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.” [emphasis mine]

What happened to “the buck stops here” and “the commander in chief sets the mission?” Strap on your seat belts and hold on to your seats, a much larger flip-flop is on the way. It is guaranteed that upon his return from Iraq he will have “seen the light” and come to the conclusion that we can’t pull the troops out. He’s already given us his new buzzword, “refine.” We can all expect another addition of WORM (What Obama Really Meant). I’m predicting it right now folks. But, this is a safe prediction as it was foreshadowed months ago by Samantha “Monster” Power:

In short, Obama’s consistent stance on Iraq and plan to remove the troops is what Bill Clinton always said it was; a fairy tale.



  1. […] Obama’s Iraq Catch 22 By now we are all aware of Obama’s foreshadowing of his eminent flip…er…”refinement” of his Iraq withdrawal policy. Well, it looks like the commanders and generals he plans to talk […]

  2. […] fund the war once in the Senate), and promised he would be the one to end the war. Now he’s backtracking on Iraq, and his surrogates are just as confused as the […]

  3. […] Iraq Backtrack (by iam0nly1 at Alegre’s Corner, cross posted at In the much discussed ABC Pennsylvania Democratic debate Senators Clinton and Obama were asked if […]

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