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An Admission of Sorts: The Surge Worked

John on January 14, 2009 at 9:37 am

You’ll recall of course that during the campaign, Obama stuck to his 16-month timetable to the point that even the Washington Post called it a “foolish consistency“:

BARACK OBAMA yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: “They said we couldn’t leave when violence was up, they say we can’t leave when violence is down.” Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency. Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might “refine” his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.


The message that the Democrat sends is that he is ultimately indifferent to the war’s outcome — that Iraq “distracts us from every threat we face” and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences. That’s an irrational and ahistorical way to view a country at the strategic center of the Middle East, with some of the world’s largest oil reserves. Whether or not the war was a mistake, Iraq’s future is a vital U.S. security interest. If he is elected president, Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.

But at the time, the only reality Obama was concerned about was his election. He had two pressing problems. One, he had to continue to appease the far left with his rapid pullout talk. And two, he could not admit that the surge had worked and thus hand John McCain a victory. On the second point he became particularly Clintonian:

CROWLEY: Obama and his two fellow senators on the Iraq trip agree that military and political progress has been made since the surge began, but Obama, hit repeatedly by McCain for opposing the surge, balked at calling it a success.

OBAMA: I believe that the situation in Iraq is more secure than it was a year and a half ago. I think that the definition of success depends on how you look at it.

Well, apparently things look pretty different this close to inauguration, because today Obama has VP-elect Biden walking all his timetable nonsense back:

Since the November election, however, the U.S. and Iraq have signed a new security agreement that provides for all the more than 140,000 U.S. troops to leave by 2012, despite concerns among senior U.S. commanders that Iraqi forces might not be ready by then to ensure stability.

Biden, a Democrat from Delaware who has been a frequent visitor to Iraq as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the agreement sets out a new strategy between Iraq and America, according to al-Dabbagh.

He said that Obama is committed to withdraw but he wants the withdrawal to be a responsible one. Obama does not want to waste the security gains that have been achieved,” al-Dabbagh said.

In other words, the surge worked and Obama’s not dumb enough to squander it. I guess that’s an admission of sorts.

So the difference between Obama and Bush/McCain on Iraq redeployment is what again?

[HT: Gateway Pundit for the last article]

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Category: Foreign Affairs |

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