Obama's Iraq Foreign Policy in his own words

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posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:53 PM
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Some long quotes here, they are necessary given the way we are to debate these issues. I suggest you read the link below and not just my Cliff notes.


Can a staff member fix my link? Thanks.

obama.senate.gov...




Month after month, and then year after year, I’ve watched with a heavy heart as my deepest suspicions about this war’s conception have been confirmed and exacerbated in its disastrous implementation. No matter how bad it gets, we are told to wait, and not ask questions. We have been assured that the insurgency is in its last throes. We have been told that progress is just around the corner, and that when the Iraqis stand up, we will be able to stand down. Last week, without a trace of irony, the President even chose Vietnam as the backdrop for remarks counseling “patience” with his policies in Iraq. ......

When I came here and gave a speech on this war a year ago (Nov 2005), I suggested that we begin to move towards a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraqi soil. At that point, seventy-five U.S. Senators, Republican and Democrat, including myself, had also voted in favor of a resolution demanding that 2006 be a year of significant transition in Iraq.

....But it will not be easy. For the fact is that there are no good options left in this war. There are no options that do not carry significant risks. And so the question is not whether there is some magic formula for success, or guarantee against failure, in Iraq. Rather, the question is what strategies, imperfect though they may be, are most likely to achieve the best outcome in Iraq, one that will ultimately put us on a more effective course to deal with international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and other critical threats to our security.

There is no reason to believe that more of the same will achieve these objectives in Iraq. And, while some have proposed escalating this war by adding thousands of more troops, there is little reason to believe that this will achieve these results either. It’s not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own. Moreover, without a coherent strategy or better cooperation from the Iraqis, we would only be putting more of our soldiers in the crossfire of a civil war.


Here is the first part of Obama's Iraq strategy:


The first part of this strategy begins by exerting the greatest leverage we have on the Iraqi government – a phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq on a timetable that would begin in four to six months.

The second part of our strategy should be to couple this phased redeployment with a more effective plan that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead, intensifies and focuses our efforts to train those forces, and expands the numbers of our personnel – especially special forces – who are deployed with Iraqi as units advisers.....

The third part of our strategy should be to link continued economic aid in Iraq with the existence of tangible progress toward a political settlement....

Finally, we have to realize that the entire Middle East has an enormous stake in the outcome of Iraq, and we must engage neighboring countries in finding a solution.....

This includes opening dialogue with both Syria and Iran, an idea supported by both James Baker and Robert Gates. We know these countries want us to fail, and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region – and within their own countries.



Let's review Obama's Iraq policy with the ability of the hindsight it now affords us.

In Late 2005 Obama was urging Troop removals in the midst of the worst of the Shia / Sunni warfare, while Iran was actively help causing mayhem in Iraq. Would this have been a sound military / Political decision for the U.S. According to him, by Nov of 2006, there were no good options left for the U.S. in it's Iraq policy. In fact he urges against the "surge" policy as it:


there is little reason to believe that this will achieve these results either. It’s not clear that these troop levels are sustainable for a significant period of time, and according to our commanders on the ground, adding American forces will only relieve the Iraqis from doing more on their own. Moreover, without a coherent strategy or better cooperation from the Iraqis, we would only be putting more of our soldiers in the crossfire of a civil war.


Obama's own stated desires in Iraq would have been:

1. Redeployment of US Ground forces in 4-6 months-- This would be regardless of if it placed Iraq into full fledged Civil War. The timeline of 4-6 months would be flexible if a political settlement happened between parties in Iraq or US forces were put in danger. This withdrawal would be done regardless of Iraq government requests to the contrary. To me, this is basically washing our hands of Iraq.

2. A refocused training of Iraqi Troops.- This would be problematic given the simmering hostilites of the Shia and Sunni Groups in 2005/2006. You would bascially be arming and training and being "embedded" with one side in a Civil War once a Civil War had errupted or was about to erupt, while at the same time you removed your own ground troops from the field.

3. Economic Aid would be hinged on Political progress-- This is after we have removed the majority of our Troops , armed one side of Civil war and then we would be cutting off Economic aid to the side in the Civil war we would be arming? I am not really following this.

4. In the midst of a US troop "redeployment" we would hold a regional conference where we would then ask for Iran and Syria's help in keeping Iraq stable. Other countries would be invited as well but we would make a point of involving Iran and Syria.

I don't follow this timeline, if we have removed most of our Troops, armed and trained one side in a potential Civil war and then withhold economic aid dependent on political progress to the side we have trained and armed. We would then ask Iran and Syria, who have at the very least helped or turned a blind eye to insurgents, weapons and supplies crossing into Iraq from their borders, to then "help us out". I don't see how this whole progress would have provided for a more stable Iraq in 2005/2006. To me it seems more like a recipe for allowing a Civil War to erupt and getting U.S. troops out of the way.





Let's here from you as you critique Obama's Policy in Iraq. Keep it specific to Obama's own words and speeches.

I have more from Obama in his speeches with regard to Iraq, but this seems to be a big enough chunk, since it is the whole basis of his "Change" from politics as usual. Obama has made his Iraq policy the linchpin of how he would be different from everyone else.

Have at it.




[edit on 11-9-2008 by pavil]

[edit on 11-9-2008 by pavil]

Mod edit: Fixed link.

[edit on 11-9-2008 by GAOTU789]




posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 03:59 PM
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Well, a few five years on, we have not trained an army or police force. In fact we dismantled both..... at the same time!!!! Praise the G W Bush for that one.

A few years ago we could have believed that there was some hope, but events dear boy, have conspired otherwise.

Britain's getting out, so is the US, the whole project from its inception was a disaster. Fancy getting rid of both security wings (police, army) at once.....



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:46 PM
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Here's a point I would like to make.

If where Obama stands on this issue is based on his proven misguided judgement, why would I waste my time believing his other views on this same issue are not just as misguided? I say proven because he has admitted to being wrong on the surge, saying the surge worked after being against it. His first reaction to Georgia as a foreign policy emergency was to equivocate, which he now has changed to say we must stand firm with Georgia.
His first response is always wrong and we do not know why he changed to the correct point of view later. Was it because someone more knowledgable than him made him see his error or was it because the polls indicated which direction to take?

[edit on 11-9-2008 by SectionEight]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:19 PM
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reply to post by SectionEight
 



That's why I chose his speech from this time frame (Nov. 2006). It gives you a chance to see what his thought process was at the time. He lays out his view of what should occur in Iraq and how he envisioned getting there. Personally I don't see how cutting back troop levels, then arming and training one side would not be a mixture for all out civil war during the time frame in question (2005-2006).



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:22 PM
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The first plus that I give Sen. Obama is that he was against this war. That fact in it of itself shows what kind of judgement he has.

I dont see a problem with the plan he was proposing at the time you refer because we where really getting blasted left and right by AQ and the local groups. Granted my opinion is biased giving the fact that I was there in 2005 and 2007 and haven't been back since.

The surge has work but a great part of that is because the Mahdi Army agreed to a cease fire and the locals finally had it with AQ and started to fight them and supporting the coalition forces. The Iraqis finally stepped up to the plate as Sen. Obama had envision.

The current platform that Sen. Obama presents for Iraq call for A Responsible, Phased Withdrawal which is the right approach to end this unnnecessary mess that we have been put through for the last 5 years.

[edit on 11-9-2008 by Bunch]

[edit on 11-9-2008 by Bunch]

[edit on 11-9-2008 by Bunch]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:34 PM
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Originally posted by redled
Well, a few five years on, we have not trained an army or police force. In fact we dismantled both..... at the same time!!!! Praise the G W Bush for that one.


While true both the Army and Police of Saddam's regime were dismantled, today the picture is looking pretty good.


s of March 2008, the 180,000 soldiers of the Iraqi Army are organised into 105 battalions split into 13 divisions (1st-14th, the designation 13 not being used).[39] The 13 divisions are split into four commands. The Baghdad Operational Command falls under the direct command of the prime minister in the National Operations Center, while the other three commands fall under the command of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command. Each Iraqi army division has four line brigades, an engineering regiment, and a support regiment. In 2009, a field artillery regiment will be added to each division, with an artillery battalion added to each brigade.[40]


2008 Iraqi Army Events:
* March 25 – The Iraqi Army launches its first solely planned and executed high-profile division-level operation, Operation Charge of the Knights in Basra. The IA receives Coalition support only in air support, logistics and via embedded advisors. Also, a British infantry brigade stationed in Basra were ready in a tactical overwatch role but did not need to intervene.

* April-June – Two brigades of the Iraqi Army 11th Division, supported by US forces, move into the southern third of Sadr City in an attempt to stop rocket and mortar attacks on US bases and the Green Zone. Following a month of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army agrees to let Iraqi forces into the remaining portion of the city. On May 20, troops from the Iraqi Army 3rd Brigade of the 1st QRF division and a brigade from the 9th Division move into the northern districts of Sadr City and begin clearing operations.

* May – Iraqi army forces launch Operation Lion's Roar (later renamed to Operation Mother of Two Springs) in Mosul and surrounding areas of Nineva province.

* June – The Iraqi Army moves troops to the southern Maysan province. Following a 4 day amnesty for insurgents to turn over weapons, the Iraqi Army moved into the provincial capital Amarah.

* September – Iraq seeks 36 F-16’s, the most sophisticated weapons system Iraq has attempted to purchase so far. The Pentagon recently notified Congress that it had approved the sale of 24 American attack helicopters to Iraq, valued at as much as $2.4 billion. Including the helicopters, Iraq has announced plans this year to purchase at least $10 billion in U.S. tanks and armored vehicles, transport planes and other battlefield equipment and services. Over the summer, the Defense Department announced that the Iraqi government wanted to order more than 400 armored vehicles and other equipment worth up to $3 billion, and six C-130J transport planes, worth up to $1.5 billion.


Numbers on Police are harder to gauge I have seen estimates of over 300,000 police as of this year. This number is probably not that accurate.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by Bunch
 


If we had started to unilaterally withdraw troops in 2005 or 2006 would the simmering hostilities between the Shia and Sunni erupted with further bloodshed or would they have reached common ground, in your opinion?

Remember, this was the time of mass killings of Shia and Sunni by the other sides death squads.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 06:01 PM
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Hmm, here something I just found:

www.nytimes.com...


The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.


So Obama in July of 2008 acknowledges that Iraqi security forces wouldn't be able to assume security for Iraq until 2009. So what would have happened in 2005/2006 with Iraq not being able to maintain it's own security and our Troops for the most part removed in his allotted 4- 6 months?

Obama now acknowledges that it will take 16 months to redeploy the combat forces we have in Iraq, why did he insist on the 4 to 6 month unrealistic goal initally?

[edit on 11-9-2008 by pavil]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by pavil
reply to post by Bunch
 


If we had started to unilaterally withdraw troops in 2005 or 2006 would the simmering hostilities between the Shia and Sunni erupted with further bloodshed or would they have reached common ground, in your opinion?

Remember, this was the time of mass killings of Shia and Sunni by the other sides death squads.



The Shiite and Sunny rift was created and exacerbated by AQ, and it took the BOTH sides 2 years, 2 YEARS!!! to realized that, and in the meantime we where there fighting and getting slaughtered by Shiite, Sunnis and AQ. AQ was killing Shiite, Sunnis while acting like they were in the best interest of the Iraqis.

I might sound insensitive but at that time I couldn't care less if that country went to hell, to me I was already in hell. Now that they apparently are tired to fight each other is that you have seen progress, they could ahve done that a long time ago.

It was a civil war, and we got caught in the middle of it, that was unexcusable.


[edit on 11-9-2008 by Bunch]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by Bunch
It was a civil war, and we got caught in the middle of it, that was unexcusable.


However it wasn't a full blown Civil War. It could have eaisly escalated into that, given the appropriate power vacuum. I agree, it did take the Iraqi's time to realize who was really the enemy. I would contend that without the major U.S. presence there at that time, the Sunni and Shia killings would have ramped up to full blown Civil War between the two sects of Islam.

Obama's plan would have had us packing up while the killings escalated.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 07:53 PM
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Does it matter anymore the policies in Iraq? or only matters to the private interest invested in Iraq at the expenses of tax payer money.

We have to reconsider that no matter if Presidential candidate McCain or Obama gets into the white house, already the Government of Iraq has told its wishes of having the US out of their nation.

So the matter here is how any of the presidential candidates will honor that rather than looking which one will force American presence in that nation.

After all its our own soldiers the ones that are the target here in hostile environment that doesn't want them there.

I will welcome any Presidential candidate that will pursue the over due withdraw of our troops out of that nation.


[edit on 11-9-2008 by marg6043]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 07:56 PM
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Originally posted by pavil
Obama's plan would have had us packing up while the killings escalated.


Please do tell me, what right do we have to be in the middle of a civil war, while taking bullets from the 2 sides and an agitator!?

This is the hypocrisy of this entire war! It was all about the oil! Why we dont go to Africa where there is women and little girls getting raped, fathers getting killed with machetes in front of their families as I type this right now?

Where is the outrage from this war bent administration? Where is the outcry from the GOP?

Do we really care about the Iraqis but no the Africans? What make the Iraqis so special? This was a War of choice, a War of greed and revenge, it was supposed to be a "SLAM DUNK" remember that?

Do you really think that Saudi Arabia and all the arab states would have sat idle and watch Iran a persian nation take charge of Iraq?



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
Does it matter anymore the policies in Iraq?


Sure it does.

Obama was all for withdrawing forces without even consulting the Iraqi Govt. starting in Mid 2005. If we had done that the results probably would have been catastrophic for Iraq and for U.S. policy in the region.

It matters when a candidate makes their Iraq policy one of the defining things about them. Looking back at their proposals to see if they were right; McCain was for the Surge when it was a very unpopular idea, Obama was was from withdrawal of troops well before that and said the Surge would not work.

If you are to judge a candidate by the decisions they would have made if they were in power, Obama probably would have presided over a major Civil War in Iraq between the Shia and Sunni as U.S. troops withdrew. The Iraqis at that time (2005/2006) were not able to provide security for their own country without our help. We see the current results of the Surge. The Iraqi Army is starting to assert itself in operations with only air support from us now.

You tell me which candidate made the right decision at the right time.

That's why it matters.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by Bunch

Originally posted by pavil
Obama's plan would have had us packing up while the killings escalated.


Please do tell me, what right do we have to be in the middle of a civil war, while taking bullets from the 2 sides and an agitator!?

.......

Do you really think that Saudi Arabia and all the arab states would have sat idle and watch Iran a persian nation take charge of Iraq?


Well we made the problem in Iraq by overthrowing Saddam. You fix problems you make, not run away from them.

As for your part about Darfur ( I assume), I am all for protecting the people of that region with military support, since it seems nothing else will protect them. However the UN drags it's feet. I don't see the Democrats doing much about it other than lip service eitherr. I think it's a shame we can't have a bipartisan policy toward Darfur. That's a whole other thread though.

Also if Iran were to move against an Iraq with no U.S. troops the only nation in the region that could really stop them would be Egypt. The Gulf nations do not have large standing armies.

[edit on 11-9-2008 by pavil]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:20 PM
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Things has changed now, the Iraqi government wishes the troops out of that nation and even has come out with a time frame.

So actually the issue is not so much as what the candidates policies are but if they are going to respect the wishes of the government of Iraq.

Like I said I welcome any candidate that will bring our troops home.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by pavil
 


Ok, so it seems that you like to take the clock back a lot, so lets take the clock back to the case for the war.

McCain voted for a war of lies, greed and revenge, so what does that means? That he either is an incompetent Senator who couldn't do his homework, or that he likes war.

Obama was opposed to the war.

Who has better judgement using your logic then?

I rather vote for someone that uses war as a last resort than someone doesn't take the time to analyze the information presented to him or worst yet votes for a War just for the sake of it.

[edit on 11-9-2008 by Bunch]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 08:51 PM
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reply to post by Bunch
 


To be perfectly frank with you, given the intelligence at the time and Saddam being in power in Iraq after 9/11, the U.S. is safer with him taken out of power. Could things have gone better after toppling him, sure, our post invasion plan wasn't the greatest. I don't want to debate that here as I have done that elsewhere.

I wish to stay focused on Obama's plan for Iraq in this thread. It is his major point of foreign policy. Please try to keep your comments focused on Obama's policy either pro or con. There are tons of other threads for other discussions.

If we had taken Obama's advice in 2005/2006, Iraq would not have been able to provide security for all Iraqis. At the time, sectarianism was running high and the possibility of Civil war was high as well. To have us withdraw combat troops at that time would have given both sides carte blanche to scale up to full blown civil war. It seems so far that the Surge has capped any movement towards Civil War by everyone's estimation, so Obama was incorrect on that decision as well.

We must succeed in stabilizing Iraq, just packing up and letting both sides go after each other is hardly valid policy IMO.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 09:13 PM
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reply to post by pavil
 


So let me one more time explain to you whats Sen. Obama's plan for Iraq


A Responsible, Phased Withdrawal
Barack Obama believes we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

Under the Obama plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. He will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.


www.barackobama.com...

Thats the plan and you can go to the link and see more of his foreign policy vision and proposals.

You are trying to make this about judgment when in fact it was Sen. McCain that supported this war and this republican administration that got us into this mess that has costed the lives of thousand of innocent men, women and chlidren from Iraq and thousands of this countries more valuable resource, the men and women that put on the uniform and trust their Senators and Commander in Chiefs to make wise, informed decisions with our lives. Obiously that didnt work here.

It seems to me that you have open this thread just to smear Sen.Obama but without discussing the obvious, which is the people that got us here in the first place. To me is a disingenous attempt to try incite debate or exchange of ideas.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by Bunch

It seems to me that you have open this thread just to smear Sen.Obama but without discussing the obvious, which is the people that got us here in the first place. To me is a disingenous attempt to try incite debate or exchange of ideas.



Sorry you feel that way, as I explained in my OP, I chose his earlier Iraq policy statements as we now have the ability of hindsight to judge how valid they were.

If you wish to debate the merits of going into Iraq in the first place, create a thread or search for one. This thread is not the place for that.

I have quoted verbatim from writings of Barack Obama, how can I be "smearing" him with his own policy ideas in his own words? Do you feel I have mischaracterized Mr. Obama's policy writings? Read it fully before you state that, I have asked all to do that. Please tell me where I have misquoted his ideas.

Yes I am aware what his current policy on Iraq is. It is different from his policy that I refer to in his policy articles. He was against the Surge, even when it has been almost universally acknowledge to have lessened the chances of Iraq descending into Civil War and given the Iraqi people time to collectively "get their act together".

I am glad you made it through two tours over there (I assume you were in the armed forces from your prior posts) and I thank you for your service, I have many friends that have made it back as well, thankfully.





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