Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 16, 2008
WAR/POLITICS: "I've Never Said That Troops Should Be Withdrawn"

He was against withdrawal before he was for it. H/T. This was April 2004. Note that by early 2007, Obama had moved in the direction of calling for precipitous withdrawal just as the Bush Administration was moving in the opposite direction, increasing our active troop presence....the facts went one way, the Democratic primary voters went the other, and that's where Obama followed. (If you are keeping score, this replaced the subdued, cautious Obama of 2004 with someone more like the Obama who in 2002 pandered to his audience by singling out the Jewish members of Bush's national security team for blame them for the war).

Judgment.

Fast forward to 2008, and is Obama willing to reconsider his position in light of changed facts on the ground? Even Bush, stubborn as he is, agreed to do that in late 2006, when he acceded to the "surge" and accompanying change in counterinsurgency tactics. But Obama refused to even visit Iraq, afraid of what he might learn there (he's taken a similar approach with his refusal to educate himself about Afghanistan). Until this:

So, now, caving to political pressure from McCain, Obama has had to agree to go visit Iraq and Afghanistan. And, in a modest concession to reality, he's now using improved conditions on the ground (as a result of the policy McCain championed and Obama opposed) to justify...continuing to argue for doing what the Democratic primary voters wanted. At the same time, he apparently had to engage in yet another round of Obama-and-his-advisers-disavow-each-other, as Obama today stressed his commitment to withdrawal to the Iraqi foreign minister after this report came out on Friday:

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign managers had reassured Baghdad that if Obama is elected he will not dramatically change Washington's policy towards Iraq and will take into account the opinions of the commanders in the field.

Zebari noted that this reassurance is important, in light of the widespread impression that Obama is expected to completely overturn current policy.

Whatever this is, it's not leadership.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:48 PM | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

John McCain's foreign policy is to be like the boy in the nursery rhyme sticking his finger in the hole in the dyke (resist the segues in to dark humor) indefinitely. That really is his Iraq strategy: no definition of victory, an indefinite costly presence, and no explanation for how that presence will be casualty-free, his favorite word of the week. Meanwhile our money and manpower is like the finger plugged into that hole while true dangers gather around in other parts of the world. Now that's true leadership.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at June 16, 2008 10:51 PM

Can you point to one time, since the Dem debates/primaries started, where he said he would not visit Iraq? Come on, just one, that's all I ask.

You say he refused, so it must be true. Right?

Just the one.

And..

Oh no! You mean, things may have changed in Iraq from 2004 to 2007? Wow. Next thing you know, my decision to bring an umbrella in 2 days is changed by the weather report... over the next 2 days.

and

"singling out the Jewish members of Bush's national security team for blame them for the war"
I missed that noted Orthodox man, Karl Rove. Yes, he should have read out EVERY person who had flawed judgement. Just curious, were there other speakers before him who mentioned those names, and he changed it to avoid repeating the same lines, never good in public speaking?
Did he take into account the crowd had no doubts of either Cheney or Rumsfeld, and felt like adding different names so they would know them in the future?

Could it be Wolfowitz was in the news, and he wanted to link poor past judgement with current?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,63639,00.html

Or that the concept of the Neocon had started to rise in the 9 months prior, and these 2 were the main names serving in the administration?
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=FE331629-25A8-4BD4-96B3-BB3042E1C9A3

So many questions about context and information, so few answers - just point away!

Posted by: Dave at June 17, 2008 12:56 AM

When McCain pressed Obama on traveling to Iraq, Obama argued that it would be "a political stunt" and that "we don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge." That was pretty unambiguous, unless you would contend that his statement should be subjected to Clintonian parsing.

Did he take into account the crowd had no doubts of either Cheney or Rumsfeld, and felt like adding different names so they would know them in the future?

That's gotta win some kind of spin award. Remember, this was 2002. Cheney and Rumsfeld were both still quite popular at the time, so it became fashionable for war opponents to blame a shadowy cabal of "neocons" that was, at least at the time, limited almost exclusively to the Jews in the national security apparatus. (Hint: if you want to avoid charges of anti-Semitism, don't cite Joseph Sobran). A side benefit was that the "neocons" meme allowed war opponents to characterize supporters as exclusively limited to men without military experience, whereas Rumsfeld had been a Navy pilot. Obama knew damn well what he was doing.

Posted by: The Crank at June 17, 2008 9:59 AM

“Oh no! You mean, things may have changed in Iraq from 2004 to 2007?”

Cute. So now that things have changed from 2007 to 2008, he’ll adjust his stance again? Or not? Help us out here.

Also recall that Obama was caught secretly assuring the Canadian government that his threats to renegotiate trade was just campaign b.s.

Posted by: CJ at June 17, 2008 1:57 PM

"That was pretty unambiguous, unless you would contend that his statement should be subjected to Clintonian parsing."

No - what he argued was that traveling together would be a political stunt.
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/27/mccain-how-about-traveling-to-iraq-barack/
The quote from there is "Yesterday, McCain challenged Obama to accompany him on a visit:"
The quote you mention was directly in response to a joint visit, not a visit. So, still looking.

"(Hint: if you want to avoid charges of anti-Semitism, don't cite Joseph Sobran)."
I didn't - the article is by David Harsanyi, who I'll go out on a limb and say he's not an anti-Semite, if you've read his writing. He used Chris Matthews' comments.

"Obama knew damn well what he was doing."
First, at antiwar protests, neither Rumsfeld nor Cheney were popular, and were often mentioned. Both were regularly protested when they traveled.
Really, one google news archive search.

Second, you're absolutely right that neocon bashing was in vogue, right or wrong (now, we know), and this part of the speech was likely an extension.

Lastly - if you want to bash a shadowy cabal, but many of the people who are active in the administration are Jewish - what do you end up with? Say their names, you're an anti-Semite. Don't say their names, it's a buzzword that leaves you sounding not up to the facts.

Posted by: Dave at June 17, 2008 2:30 PM

So let me get this straight Crank. Obama several years ago criticizes a couple of neocon members of the Bush administration who happen to be Jewish while also taking to task the WASPY Rove, so this means he is either Jew-baiting or antisemetic. Yet the Con attacks on Obama's "terrorist fist bump" or his "baby mama" or problems with "hardworking" white blue collar voters are not racist in origin. Yet riiiiiight.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at June 19, 2008 12:28 PM
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