Purging the Surge

From the New York Daily News:

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama‘s campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence.

“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks – not U.S. military muscle – for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama’s campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an “improved security situation” paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s’ “hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice.”

Here’s some of the comparison of the old vs. new:

New Obama Website: “The Removal Of Our Troops Will Be Responsible And Phased” And Would Be Done In 16 Months. “The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 more than 7 years after the war began.” (Obama For America Website,http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/, Accessed 7/15/08)


Old Obama Website: “Obama Will Immediately Begin To Remove Our Troops From Iraq.” “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” (Obama For America Website, Accessed 7/3/08)

New Obama Website: Problem Is “Inadequate Security And Political Progress In Iraq.” “Inadequate Security and Political Progress in Iraq: Since the surge began, more than 1,000 American troops have died, and despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge. Our troops have heroically helped reduce civilian casualties in Iraq to early 2006 levels. This is a testament to our military’s hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics, and enormous sacrifice by our troops and military families. It is also a consequence of the decision of many Sunnis to turn against al Qaeda in Iraq, and a lull in Shia militia activity. But the absence of genuine political accommodation in Iraq is a direct result of President Bush’s failure to hold the Iraqi government accountable.” (Obama Fo r America Website,http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/, Accessed 7/15/08)


Old Obama Website: The Surge Is Part Of “The Problem.” “The Problem — The Surge: The goal of the surge was to create space for Iraq’s political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq’s civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq’s political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.” (Obama For America Website, Accessed 7/3/08)

Obama’s position on Iraq has been my main reason for criticizing him. To me, his judgement in the past on the war has reflected, not a fact based understanding of the situation on the ground, but rather a feelings based opposition based on media reporting, and the publics displeasure with the war.  For instance:

Obama in the New York Times yesterday: “Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism.”

Petraeus at a DoD briefing in April 2007: “Iraq is, in fact, the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign and we devote considerable resources to the fight against al Qaeda Iraq.”

Has Obama even taken the time to discuss Iraq with General Petraeus? No. I thought McCain had a decent quote responding to Obama’s op-ed from the NYT the other day, published before Obama has visited Iraq or conversed with general Petraeus:

“In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.”

Given that Obama doesn’t really have much in the way of experience – his main platform has been his judgement. Well, what about launching his campaign at unrepentant terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn’s house? What about convicted swindler Tony Rezko? What about describing Jeremiah Wright as, “he’s like a father to me” – and then claiming he’s “not the man you knew” two weeks later when Wright reconfirmed his racist American hating rhetoric?

Unfortunately, his decisions in the past really haven’t given me much reason to trust his judgement – and his blanket condemnation of the surge is just another example of that.

Obama may give some great speeches, but does anybody else have any outstanding examples of Obama’s judgment?


3 Responses to “Purging the Surge”

  1. Liz Says:

    I guess this just proves what we already know: talk is cheap.

  2. Dems on Meet the Press: Kerry and Lieberman « What The Crap? - whatthecrap.us Says:

    […] Judgment? Seriously? Here’s a little more on Obama’s judgement. And here. And here. Also, note how Kerry talks about Medicare being a disaster… So why then would we want to […]

  3. Ari Says:

    I never trusted him. Barack Obama was saying the surge wasn’t working when everyone else was saying it was. George W. Bush had the courage conviction to go through with a risky strategy that paid of big time. Obama has neither the courage to do what he thinks is right nor the convictions to follow them

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