Monday, July 14, 2008

Straight talk on Iraq from Barack Obama

One of the main reasons that underdog, Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential primary was because he consistently opposed the war in Iraq.

Last week Republicans and their allies, like Senator Joe Lieberman, began to attack Obama, suggesting he had changed his position when he said that he would listen to the generals in Iraq about how to organize a U.S. withdrawal.

Would they have preferred that he not listen to the generals on the ground about how to sucessfully withdraw our troops?

Obama has been consistent on this issue-opposing the misguided war, arguing that it has diverted resources from the real fight against terrorism, overstretched our military, increased sympathy for terrorism throughout the middle east; squandered resources needed for domestic needs, and made us less safe.

In a clear editorial today Obama writes:

...on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began...

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Despite what McCain may believe, the Iraq war which has claimed over 4000 American lives and left over 30,000 of our troops wounded, is not a figment of our imagination. And opposing this war is not whining!

No flip flop! No whining! Just straight talk from Barack Obama

Read the entire piece.

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