Posted by WLS:
Obama is now “restating” his plan to exit Iraq — or maybe he isn’t. He’s now topped John Kerry by being against an immediate withdrawal before he was for it — all in one day.
How do we know its a “flip-flop”? — well, start with the fact that he’s putting it out there in the afternoon before a three day holiday in the middle of the summer.
As reported here in the LAT this afternoon, Obama at a press conference in North Dakota late in the afternoon retreated from his statements earlier in the day which introduced a significant amount of doubt into whether he would follow through on pledges he made earlier in the campaign about withdrawing troops from Iraq. He’s had two news conferences in one day to address the subject — this guy is not ready for prime time.
Lets walk through a few of his earlier positions and statements:
Here is a WaPo article dated Jan. 31, 2007, about legislation authored by Obama in 2007 — the Iraqi War De-Escalation Act — which would have required the removal of all troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008 — yep, that would have been 3 months ago. This legislation was written about the same time as the President announced the “Surge” strategy for dealing with increasing violence.
During a Dem debate on September 27 , 2007, Obama made the following statement:
MR. RUSSERT: Good evening, and welcome. We have some big issues to talk about tonight, so let’s start right now.
Senator Obama, I’d like to start with you. General Petraeus in his testimony before Congress, later echoed by President Bush, gave every indication that in January of 2009 when the next president takes office, there will be 100,000 troops in Iraq. You’re the president. What do you do? You said you would end the war. How do you do it in January of 2009?
SENATOR OBAMA: ….
If there are still large troop presences in when I take office, then the first thing I will do is call together the Joint Chiefs of Staff and initiate a phased redeployment…. military personnel indicate we CAN get one brigade to two brigades out per month. I would IMMEDIATELY BEGIN that process…. The only troops that would remain would be those that have to protect U.S. bases and U.S. civilians, as well as to engage in counterterrorism activities in Iraq.
The important principle, though, is there are not going to be any military solutions to the problem in Iraq. There has to be a political accommodation, and the best way for us to support the troops and to stabilize the situation in Iraq is to begin that phased redeployment….
What I can promise is that if there are still troops in Iraq when I take office, which it appears there may be unless we can get some of our Republican colleagues to change their mind and cut off funding without a timetable, if there’s no timetable, then I will drastically reduce our presence there to the mission of protecting our embassy, protecting our civilians and making sure that we’re carrying out counterterrorism activities there.
In January, 2008, he said the following at a debate in Nevada:
OBAMA: I have opposed this war consistently. I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out by the end of 2009.
My first job as president of the United States is going to be to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and say, “You’ve got a new mission,” and that is to responsibly, carefully, but deliberately start to phase out our involvement there and to make sure that we are putting the onus on the Iraqi government to come together and do what they need to do to arrive at peace….
RUSSERT: In September, we were in New Hampshire together, and I asked the three of you if you would pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of your first term.
All three of you said, you will not take that pledge. I’m hearing something much different tonight.
OBAMA: No, no, no. There’s nothing different, Tim…. I think this is important because it was reported as if we were suggesting that we would continue the war until 2013. Your question was, could I guarantee all troops would be out of Iraq. I have been very specific in saying that we will not have permanent bases there. I will end the war as we understand it in combat missions.
But that we are going to have to protect our embassy. We’re going to have to protect our civilians. We’re engaged in humanitarian activity there. We are going to have to have some presence that allows us to strike if Al Qaida is creating bases inside of Iraq.
And now this morning, Obama says the following:
“I’ve always said that I would listen to commanders on the ground,” Obama said at the first news conference. “I’ve always said the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed.”
He added that his timeline was always contingent on keeping the troops safe.
“I said that based on the information that we had received from our commanders that one to two brigades a month COULD be pulled out safely from a logistical perspective,” he said. “And my guiding approach continues to be that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.”
Later in the afternoon Obama called a second press conference — and blamed McCain:
At his second news conference, Obama blamed Republican John McCain’s campaign for suggesting “we were changing our policy when we haven’t.”
The NYT reports on his two news conferences:
Mr. Obama said at his first news conference that he planned a “thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy when he visits the country later this summer. “I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability,” he said. “That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.”
So the Obama campaign hastily scheduled a second news conference to try to clarify his remarks. “We’re going to try this again,” Mr. Obama said. “Apparently, I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq….”
“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he said. “I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war — responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. , and again, that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months’ time.”
He added that when he had spoken about possibly refining his policies, he was referring to questions about how big of a residual force should be left behind to train Iraqi forces and conduct counterterrorism operations — not the overall timeline for withdrawal.
The last comment is just a flat lie.
Obviously he was trying to moderate his position withdrawal, and the left-wing exploded in his ear when the first press reports came out. That forced the second news conference to try and kill the story before it raged out of control.
Lets see how successful he is.