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Obama's Op-Ed on Iraq

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Obama's New York Times Op-Ed on Iraq was upstaged by the New Yorker magazine's cover cartoonObama's New York Times Op-Ed, in which the presumed Democratic presidential nominee lays out his Iraq strategy, may have been upstaged today by the New Yorker's satirical terrorist cover. Even without that distraction, however, many in the blogosphere still think the piece falls flat. Can't say I disagree -- Obama doesn't say much new:

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. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

For those of you already yawning, Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 blog provides an abridged version. Some highlights:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki... should seize... the United States...

As president, I would pursue... a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq...

...[T]hey deserve... Senator McCain...

The National Review's Pete Hegseth raises a valid question about Obama's timing:

Why now? Why would Sen. Obama — or any legislator, for that matter — write such a piece before visiting the country for himself, seeing the situation with his own eyes, and speaking with commanders and troops who actually know what’s going on?

At the Huffington Post, former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chaffee argues that the key to Obama's Op-Ed lies in the Pakistan angle:

A regional approach is crucial to our success in Iraq, but it is also vital to our success on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And whenever you're dealing with Pakistan, you're automatically dealing with India. So the next op-ed won't be easy for Sen. Obama. I suppose the tragic folly of the Iraq War is that everything else is now more difficult because of it.

At The Fix, Chris Cillizza tries to divine Obama's ultimate agenda:

Is Obama's speech a sign of strength? A symbol that, unlike past Democrats running for president, he will not run away from engaging the Republican nominee on national security and military policy?

Or is it an attempt to reframe his past position to bring it more in line with where the American people are when it comes to the future of the war in Iraq?

What do you think about Obama's Op-Ed?

Yes or no, tell us why below.

-- Amina Khan


Comments () | Archives (6)

The comments to this entry are closed.

gary d

Because any time table, even Obama's' is better than no time table. As far as waiting to speak out until after his trip to Iraq, how long is he staying? How many years under how many changed "objectives" would Obama have to stay and experience until he would know for certain that getting out, now, is the only course worth pursuing that doesn't brand his presidency with the Double I -- ignorance and incompetence.


Obama wrote well and bravely in his NY Times essay outlining what he would do in Iraq. As usual his language is plain, concise, and unambiguous. Tackling a sensitive issue openly and early show bravery. Charisma means an unbroken series of successful gestures. Obama rocks.


especially if obama hasnt visited iraq and seen what's been going on, nor had a debate or confrontation with mccain about what to do with the situation over there... then it's sort of lame.

and finally there's media payback time to obama with new yorker's turban-wearing obama and his militant-looking wife.

but, that shouldnt really be anything to the man who defeated the clinton. yet, i hope they get their due share of media trashing.


John McCain: ""I think we need to do whatever is necessary and that could entail more troops.""

Well now, that's specifically vague.

'm glad he outlined it for me in such exact terms.

Todd Feinburg

You're totally missing the point and blowing the coverage of this very big story. Barack is making official what he teased two weeks ago. His plan is no longer to withdraw the troops blindly over 16 months - it is to do so until events on the ground or commanders on the ground indicate this is a bad idea. Check out his website, you'll see that this paragraph has been eliminated:

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.

This represents an utter betrayal of the (faux) stance he took to outflank Hillary.

You can read about it here.


Tim Cavanaugh

It might work as a Blowback.



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