Boosting Obama

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  1. Sean has a point. Obama was calling for withdrawal when the situation was chaotic. Do you think al-Maliki would have said this two years ago? No.
    Oh since you are putting such a high value on what Maliki is saying maybe you should read what he said about the “stupid invasion.”:
    SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, the war and its consequences have
    cost more than 100,000 lives and caused great suffering in your
    country. Saddam Hussein and his regime are now part of the past.
    Was all of this worth the price?
    Maliki: The casualties have been and continue to be enormous.
    But anyone who was familiar with the dictator’s nature and his
    intentions knows what could have been in store for us instead of
    this war. Saddam waged wars against Iran and Kuwait, and against
    Iraqis in the north and south of his own country, wars in which
    hundreds of thousands died. And he was capable of instigating even
    more wars. Yes, the casualties are great, but I see our struggle as
    an enormous effort to avoid other such wars in the future.

  2. Terry Ann — I’m already on record w/ my feelings on the surge and Barack Obama.  However, your comment begs the following question:  Has al-Maliki been expressing his gratitude prior to the der Speigel interview? I really don’t know (though one would think we in the US would have heard a LOT about it.)
    I find it funny, though, that you’re calling me out for paying attention to al-Maliki. Is he best ignored?
    Meanwhile, via the trackback above, I’m amused that, for the second time this week, I’ve been grouped with the liberal blogs. Must make life really easy for folks who can only see left and right. Or red and blue. Or black and white.

  3. @Polimom,
    Actually al-Maliki has not called for timetables until recently and Bush has recently basically agreed to them. See this article:
    The difference between talking about withdrawal now and two years ago is that
    Iraq is in a good position now. If we leave 16 months from now, Iraq will be secure. If we would have started the withdrawal process two years ago, Iraq would
    not be secure. That’s a HUGE difference and that’s why al-Maliki hasn’t asked for
    withdrawal until recently.

  4. Oh… I definitely agree that al-Maliki’s talking about timetables now because he can. And I also thought it was a bad idea to pull out; I supported the surge.
    But that’s not what I was asking about. In your comment, you referenced my line about the “stupid invasion”, and then quoted al-Maliki’s reference to exactly that in the der Spiegel interview (though al-Maliki was FAR more polite).
    I suspect his reference to Saddam Hussein, coming as it did in the midst of an enormous boost for Obama’s stated position, was an attempt to soften what can only be taken as a smack upside the GoP candidate’s position.

  5. I was only using his own words as a defense to what you called a “stupid invasion.” It’s convenient to pick parts of an interview to solidify your points. I was just pointing something in the interview that Sen. Obama and you wouldn’t agree with.
    Also, since you supported the surge: Then why did you have a problem with Sean pointing out that Sen. Obama was wrong on that point since you basically agree, no?

  6. Terry Ann — My problem with the entire “surge” talking point that McCain and surrogates are using is that they’re consistently presenting it as if the surge happened in some kind of vacuum.
    Obviously it didn’t, and I’m thoroughly unimpressed by McCain’s selective emphasis, and likewise by the way it’s being parroted by his supporters.
    Since I belong to the “we broke it” school of thought, I’m thrilled that the situation is so very improved for the Iraqis. Ecstatic, even. But saying that somebody applied glue to the shattered Iraq pieces doesn’t mean shattering it was a good idea.

  7. @Polimom
    Ok, point taken. But doesn’t it bother that many in the Democratic Party (including Obama) didn’t care applying the “glue” part even if you think they were right shattering it wasn’t a good idea in a the first place?

  8. Terry Ann —
    IMO, the Democrats were bumbling about all over Capitol Hill after the 2006 elections. There was much ado about a “mandate”, and how everybody wanted the war in Iraq to end… and I think reality jumped up and bit them right on the nose. The Dems were all over the map, and that “mandate” was a myth. Had the Democrats — including Obama — shown any ability to affect the situation legislatively, we (you and I) would be having a much different dialogue today. However, I don’t know what, exactly, we’d be discussing. The entire Iraq question has far too many variables.
    Am I bothered specifically about Obama? Not so much because he opposed the surge. Lots of people did — just as many folks supported the war. Furthermore, since he had a much different view in 2004 (link), I suspect he was one of those who went to the “other side” out of compassion.   But I’m guessing.
    The situation in Iraq then was hideous, and I have more than one post out there about my concerns for troops caught in the cross-fire of what was then seen as a civil war in the making. (I also agree, btw, that we totally dropped the ball in Afghanistan.)
    I’d like to see Obama give more credit to the surge itself for the changes Iraq has finally seen. But I’d also like some reality injected into the conversation. The conditions have changed, many times, in the 5-year course of this war. It should be beyond evident that a person would be an out and out idiot to rigidly adhere to positions taken under radically different circumstances, or with better or more current information.

  9. Terry Ann — the arguments from those who opposed the surge in late ’06 / early ’07 weren’t monolithic. I’m projecting the “compassion” possibility, I freely admit — but if there was any argument that would have persuaded me to oppose the surge, it was that 20,000 troops seemed far too few, and that those additional Americans would simply be more folks caught in the chaos. Furthermore, the suggestion that our presence there was part and parcel of the problem was not a radical one.
    My personal compassion meter ultimately said that the Iraqi people were more important at that moment in time.
    That said — you’re certainly free to interpret Obama’s position as you wish. Many people have.

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