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More Obama on FNS

4:15 PM, Apr 27, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Chris Wallace asked Obama if he would vote to confirm Petraeus as commander of CENTCOM. Obama responded:

Yes. I think Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq. I think as a practical matter, obviously that's where most of the attention has been devoted from this administration over the last several years.

I was also a big respecter of Admiral Fallon, who Petraeus is now replacing and I think it was unfortunate that the administration wasn't listening more to the observations of Fallon that we have to think about more than just Iraq. That we've got issues with Iran and Pakistan and Afghanistan and our singular focus on Iraq I think has distracted us.

My hope is that Petraeus would reflect that wider view of our strategic interests.

Obama has no choice but to pretend that Iraq is a tactical sideshow with little relevance to our broader conflict against Islamic extremism. This is why he praises the 'good tactical job' Petraeus has done in Iraq but in the same breath falsely asserts that the general hasn't viewed Iraq in the 'wider view of our strategic interests.' Though ignored by most in the media, just two weeks ago Petraeus explained, in his opening congressional testimony, how Iraq fits into our broader conflict with al Qaeda and why success there will strike a significant blow against Islamic extremism:

As we combat AQI we must remember that doing so not only reduces a major source of instability in Iraq, it also weakens an organization that Al Qaeda's senior leaders view as a tool to spread its influence and foment regional instability. Osama bin laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri have consistently advocated exploiting the situation in Iraq, and we have also seen Al Qaeda-Iraq involved in destabilizing activities in the wider Mideast region.

Why does this matter? Obama opposed the surge and went even further by voting to cut off funds to American combat troops in the field. Had Obama prevailed, the surge wouldn't have happened, our enemies in Iraq would be on the offensive, and an energized al Qaeda leadership would be declaring victory over America.

Obama can't let this -- that the surge has been critical to our overall war -- become the narrative, so he will do everything possible to diminish the value of our gains there when talking with voters and downplay the consequences of his own reckless withdrawal policy. This is exactly what he did on Fox today.