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
Can a staff member fix my link? Thanks.
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
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]