Summary: As I said during the campaign, Obama ran as a pro-war president — for both Iraq and Afghanistan. And so it has proven to be. Folks who thought otherwise were either not paying attention — or letting their hopes overrule their minds.
- A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012, 1 March 2008
- How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008
- These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 13 September 2008
Text of today’s message
Today’s we have more evidence that Only our amnesia makes reading the newspapers bearable (from my post of 30 April 2008). James Taranto, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web feature, notes an interesting contrast between two editorials of the NYC grey lady.
- “Barack Obama for President“, the endorsement of Obama by the New York Times, 24 October 2008
- Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality“, editorial in the New York Times, 3 December 2008
1. “Barack Obama for President“, the endorsement of Obama by the New York Times, 24 October 2008 — Excerpt:
The unnecessary and staggeringly costly war in Iraq must be ended as quickly and responsibly as possible.
While Iraq’s leaders insist on a swift drawdown of American troops and a deadline for the end of the occupation, Mr. McCain is still talking about some ill-defined “victory.” As a result, he has offered no real plan for extracting American troops and limiting any further damage to Iraq and its neighbors.
Mr. Obama was an early and thoughtful opponent of the war in Iraq, and he has presented a military and diplomatic plan for withdrawing American forces. Mr. Obama also has correctly warned that until the Pentagon starts pulling troops out of Iraq, there will not be enough troops to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
2. Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality“, editorial in the New York Times, 3 December 2008 — Excerpt:
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.
But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.
… military planners are drawing up tentative schedules aimed at meeting both Mr. Obama’s goal for withdrawing combat troops, with a target of May 2010, and the Dec. 31, 2011, date for sending the rest of American troops home that is spelled out in the new agreement between the United States and the Iraqi government.
That status-of-forces agreement remains subject to change, by mutual agreement, and Army planners acknowledge privately that they are examining projections that could see the number of Americans hovering between 30,000 and 50,000 — and some say as high as 70,000 — for a substantial time even beyond 2011.
… There always was a tension, if not a bit of a contradiction, in the two parts of Mr. Obama’s campaign platform to “end the war” by withdrawing all combat troops by May 2010. To be sure, Mr. Obama was careful to say that the drawdowns he was promising included only combat troops. But supporters who keyed on the language of ending the war might be forgiven if they thought that would mean bringing home all of the troops.
They “might be forgiven” for paying attention to the New York Times (we’re all frequently guilty of stupidity, and hence should forgive it in others).
For another perspective on this see “Liberals voice concerns about Obama“, Carol E. Lee and Nia-Malika Henderson, Politico, 8 December 2008.
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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:
- About President Obama – useful articles
- about the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars – my articles
- Iraq & Afghanistan Wars – other valuable reports
- Iraq War – Goals and Benchmarks
Forecasts on the FM site about the “defense” policies of the Obama Administration:
- How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other, 7 February 2008 — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.
- What do blogs do for America?, 26 February 2008 — As our problems reach critical dimensions and our economy sinks into what is (at best) a severe recession, our national leadership will likely move into the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern.
- A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012, 1 March 2008 — What is next in Iraq? None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future. Obama has been quite explicit about his plans.
- Our metastable Empire, built on a foundation of clay, 3 March 2008 — We can elect leaders with vast ambitions (foreign for McCain, domestic for Obama), but can no longer afford them.
- Secretary Gates would be a hero – if speeches could reform DoD, 6 May 2008
- I was wrong about SecDef Gates – here is a more accurate view of him, 7 May 2008
- America gets ready for new leadership (or is it back to the future?), 14 November 2008
- “Don’t Let Barack Obama Break Your Heart” by Tom Engelhardt, 21 November 2008