Monday, July 28, 2008

Obama's Flip-Flops, Surging!

In an interview Sunday on Meet the Press, Barack Obama was asked by host Tom Brokaw about comments he made on January 10, 2007 - the day President Bush's surge strategy was announced. Obama remarked at the time:
I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there, in fact, I think it'll do the reverse."
When Brokaw asked him about this quote, Obama replied:
I mean, I know that there's that little snippet that you ran, but there were also statements made during the course of this debate in which I said there's no doubt that additional U.S. troops could temporarily quell the violence.
"The problem with this response is several fold", notes Peter Wehner in Commentary Magazine. "First, Brokaw could have played many additional "snippets,” all of which were of Obama opposing the surge and indicating that it would fail."

A couple of examples:
In July 2007, long after the surge was announced, Obama claimed, "My assessment is that the surge has not worked." And in November 2007, two months after General David Petraeus testified before Congress about the considerable progress we had made because of the surge, Obama argued it was making the situation in Iraq potentially worse: [Here's what Obama said:]
"Finally, in 2006-2007, we started to see that, even after an election, George Bush continued to want to pursue a course that didn't withdraw troops from Iraq but actually doubled them and initiated a surge and at that stage I said very clearly, not only have we not seen improvements, but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."
Wehner continues:
So Obama’s anti-surge “snippet” was in fact an accurate representation of what he said and believed at the time, and for a long while after that.

As for Obama's statement that "during the course of this debate" he has maintained that "there's no doubt that additional U.S. troops could temporarily quell the violence:" What Obama doesn't say is that he made that claim in a
debate in 2008, a year after the surge was announced and well after it was clearly succeeding.

In fact, Obama made his “quelling the violence” statement in an attempt to deny his initial prediction that the surge would cause sectarian violence to worsen. What Obama did in yesterday’s Meet the Press interview, then, is to provide a misleading answer to a previously dishonest answer, in an effort to cover up his spectacularly wrong prediction.
Wehner deduces several conclusions from Obama's obfuscations, among them:
Obama has completely obliterated the core early promise of his candidacy: that he would turn the page on American politics....Obama has not only turned out to be a practitioner of the "old politics;" he has, as a young, first-term senator, come to embody it...

In addition, Obama’s comments about the Iraq war being a “distraction,” when combined with his votes against funding American troops on the battlefield ... call into question whether Obama was ever serious about winning the war or was bothered in the least by losing it.
Indeed, by playing his game of old-style politics and hindering America's efforts to secure Iraq, it is Barack Obama who's become the real distraction in the war against terror.

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