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From The Indispensable MYDD
There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage
Like many of you, I’ve gotten pretty hooked on those Sunday talk shows – I want to see what the candidates have to say to us so I tuned in to Meet the Press to hear what Senator Obama had to say in the aftermath of his speech at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa Saturday night. I have to admit I jumped around from one show to the other during the commercials, so I missed some of Obama’s session with Russert. So today I went looking for the Transcript to get a fuller, more complete picture of what went down. I have to say I was surprised at some of the things he had to say.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
MR. RUSSERT: You were not in the Senate in October of 2002. You did give a speech opposing the war. But Senator Clinton’s campaign will say since you’ve been a senator there’s been no difference in your record. And other critics will say that you’ve not been a leader against the war, and they point to this: In July of `04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of `04. And this: “I think” there’s “some room for disagreement in that initial decision to vote for authorization of the war.” It doesn’t seem that you are firmly wedded against the war, and that you left some wiggle room that, if you had been in the Senate, you may have voted for it.SEN. OBAMA: Now, Tim, that first quote was made with an interview with a guy named Tim Russert on MEET THE PRESS during the convention when we had a nominee for the presidency and a vice president, both of whom had voted for the war. And so it, it probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party’s nominees’ decisions when it came to Iraq.
I’m sorry, but did he just say the only reason he refused to stand by his principles (opposing the war) was because his party’s nominees had voted for the war resolution???? They got a pass because they were our nominees, but now that he’s running against Hillary its full steam ahead with the attacks on her vote?
So what happened in the last three years since he gave Kerry & Edwards a pass?
He joins the Senate.
He votes in lockstep with Hillary when it comes to Iraq
He declares he’s running for president.
And SUDDENLY this is the defining issue of his campaign and he goes after Hillary?
And speaking of John Edwards… why is it we never hear Obama go after John Edwards for his vote for the war?
OR for Edwards’ cosponsorship of that war resolution?
OR for going on one Sunday show after another to beat the drum for going after Saddam?
We hear plenty about Hillary’s vote for the resolution but when it comes to Edwards’ active support for that same resolution…
Ok back to the interview…
MR. RUSSERT: Some involved in the anti-movement have said that in 2004, 2005, 2006 Barack Obama voted to fund the war. Every time there was a proposal to have a fixed date withdrawal you said no, it would be a slap in the face to the American troops, it may create bloodshed and more division, that American credibility was at stake, that you were not a leader in trying to stop the war until you ran for president and got to Iowa and got to New Hampshire and had a sense of the anti-war, war fervor in the Democratic base.SEN. OBAMA: No.
MR. RUSSERT: Where was the leadership?
SEN. OBAMA: I, I, I disagree with that.
MR. RUSSERT: But you have changed in your support now of withdrawal. You have changed now in your support of cutting off funding.
SEN. OBAMA: But I haven’t changed in my opposition to the war. Look, you know, at the time when we were trying to convene a government in Iraq that would work, it was important, I think, for me and others who opposed the war to hope for the best possible outcome in Iraq.
That bolded bit up there…? If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s the same position Hillary’s held on this issue all along. And that link above showing his voting record as compared to Hillary proves that out.
MR. RUSSERT: I had asked you in one of the debates whether you’d make a commitment to have all American troops out of Iraq by the end of your first term, and you said you couldn’t do that. You said you had to fight al-Qaeda, had to make sure there was not genocide, try to secure the country. How, how many troops do you envision would have to remain in Iraq for some time to come?SEN. OBAMA: Here’s what I’d do as president: We can get one to two brigades out per month safely. At that pace, we would have all our combat troops out in about 16 months from the time we initiate it. I would like to see it start now. It is not clear that that’s possible, given George Bush’s posture. But 16 months from the time we initiate it, we could have our combat troops out.
The only troops I would have in Iraq would have a very limited mission. Number one, to protect our embassy and our civilian, diplomatic corps. I don’t want Blackwater to be providing that security; I want our U.S. military to providing–to provide that security. I’m very skeptical about the use of private contractors when it comes to our national security. The only other mission, and this is a very narrow one, would be to engage in counterterrorism activity. If al-Qaeda in Iraq is reforming bases there, we should have the capacity to strike them. That would be it. Those would be the only troops that we would deploy.
Ok hang on here… he’s claiming he’d bring out all combat troops BUT he’s going to task our folks left behind in that hell hole with the job of striking at al-Queada? If the combat troops are going is he going to go after AQ with military police?
Won’t that take oh I don’t know… COMBAT TROOPS?!
MR. RUSSERT: How many would that be?SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I’m going to leave that up to the, the commanders on the ground, because my job is to set a clear mission for them. Their job is to then tell me, “This is what we need to achieve that mission.”
MR. RUSSERT: But, but–yeah, but we have 165,000 there now. Are we talking 150,000?
SEN. OBAMA: There, there–here’s what I’ll say, Tim. We will have the vast majority of the troops who are there gone. This war will be over; there will be no permanent bases. So when I hear, for example, others say, “I will have all troops out,” well, the fact of the matter is who’s going to protect our embassy? Who’s going to protect our civilian forces? Are these folks suggesting that we’re just going to leave them to wander around the streets and rely on the Iraqi military to do that? Obviously not.
And in–there is a difference, though, between myself and Senator Clinton on a couple of these issues. Number one, she hasn’t given a firm timetable in terms of executing the withdrawal, and I think that’s a problem. I think we have to provide certainty to the Iraqi leadership, so that they know that we are serious about changing course. She’s also suggested that the mission on the ground would be more expansive than the one that I’ve envisioned. And that includes, by the way, at least in an article that she–an interview that she gave in March, that, for example, dealing with Iran and making sure they don’t have influence in Iraq would be one of the missions of our military. I think that is a mistake, and so–because what, what happens is that then presents the possibility of a mission creep, an expansion that would involve more troops than I think is necessary.
Sigh… ahh what the hell – see above.
This interview seems to be a hot topic on the net today. As Taylor Marsh points out, Obama’s criticism of Hillary for including troops to keep Iran’s influence in Iraq out is just silly. She asks (and rightly so!) what Obama will do to contain that influence… sprinkle fairy dust on them? I’ll let her wrap this thing up with something from her website today…
Obama stated the “primary difference” between Clinton and himself on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is that she wants troops in Iraq to prevent Iran from having an influence inside of Iraq, which Mr. Obama thinks “is a mistake.”According to Mr. Obama, the issue of terrorism must stay on the table, with “incursions into Iraq that are affecting the safety of our troops” needing to be — say it with me — “on the table.” So what is he going to do about those “incursions” if Iran refuses to do anything about them? Will he need U.S. troops to deal with them? If not, how’s he going to stop Iran’s incursion that is affecting our troops, fairy dust?
Oh yeah – one more thing… Can you imagine the shit-storm around here if another candidate had admitted to that their views on Iraq were no different that Bush’s? If they’d gone on Meet the Press, been presented with that statement and failed to deny or correct it????
Food for thought.