The Blog

Obama on Iraq

12:46 PM, Jul 14, 2008 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Barack Obama writes in today's New York Times:

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda - greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. [...] Iraq's leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

On a conference call this morning, Lindsey Graham called Obama's op/ed an "unbelievable, brazen effort by a politician to rewrite history." As Graham and others have noted, Obama opposed the surge because he believed it would not decrease the level of sectarian violence. Furthermore, Obama clings to his belief that Iraq's leaders have not reached "political accommodation" even though 15 of the 18 benchmarks have been met.

Obama also writes that he would leave behind "a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions". The McCain Report notes that Obama doesn't say how many troops will comprise this "residual force": "Will our withdrawal be a humiliating disaster or careful drawdown that could leave 30,000 troops in Iraq for 10 years?"

Pete Wehner's commentary on the rest of the nonsense in Obama's op/ed is a must read.