T Nation

Obama Tries to Delay Troop Withdrawl

Wow. And here I thought that his grand holiness, the messiah himself, Barack Obama, was going to be a new politician; one who would bring to Washington a new kind of discourse that would not reflect this sort of low politics. Oh well, at least he gives a a great speech.

Then again, hitler gave great speeches too…

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09152008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obama_tried_to_stall_gis_iraq_withdrawal_129150.htm?page=0
[b]OBAMA TRIED TO STALL GIS' IRAQ WITHDRAWAL[/b]

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence. 

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July. 

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview. 

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion." 

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says. 

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate. 

While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined. 

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet. 

Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still. 

By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June. 

Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law. 

Thus, the 2010 deadline fixed by Obama is a meaningless concept, thrown in as a sop to his anti-war base. 

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration have a more flexible timetable in mind. 

According to Zebari, the envisaged time span is two or three years - departure in 2011 or 2012. That would let Iraq hold its next general election, the third since liberation, and resolve a number of domestic political issues. 

Even then, the dates mentioned are only "notional," making the timing and the cadence of withdrawal conditional on realities on the ground as appreciated by both sides. 

Iraqi leaders are divided over the US election. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (whose party is a member of the Socialist International) sees Obama as "a man of the Left" - who, once elected, might change his opposition to Iraq's liberation. Indeed, say Talabani's advisers, a President Obama might be tempted to appropriate the victory that America has already won in Iraq by claiming that his intervention transformed failure into success. 

Maliki's advisers have persuaded him that Obama will win - but the prime minister worries about the senator's "political debt to the anti-war lobby" - which is determined to transform Iraq into a disaster to prove that toppling Saddam Hussein was "the biggest strategic blunder in US history." 

Other prominent Iraqi leaders, such as Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani, believe that Sen. John McCain would show "a more realistic approach to Iraqi issues." 

Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive" war - that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America. 

Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense. To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years. 

Yet Iraq is doing much better than its friends hoped and its enemies feared. The UN mandate will be extended in December, and we may yet get an agreement on the status of forces before President Bush leaves the White House in January.

Wait. A big part of his platform is to reduce troops in Iraq, but he tried to keep them there for his political benefit?

I just lost a lot of respect for this person, and if the media buries this, then I will lose whatever respect I have left for them.

Same here. I use to at least respect him personally, while disgreeing with him politically. But damn, this is shitty. He’s starting to make the “typical politician” look attractive.

People talk about how Bush’s folksy demeanor and the way he talks turns them off immediately. Well, Opies eletist, smarmy, I’m just so damn much smarter than though demeanor is starting to make my teeth ache. Good grief, I mean, he’s almost reaching Hillary level annoyance. And that is no small accomplishment.

I think we can all start to wrap our heads around a McCain/Palin administration.

What kind of idiot do you have to be to think Obama “is to reduce troops in Iraq”?

Besides Kucinich and Paul, not a single other presidential candidate would (nor will) have gotten American troops out of Iraq.

[quote]lixy wrote:
What kind of idiot do you have to be to think Obama “is to reduce troops in Iraq”?

Besides Kucinich and Paul, not a single other presidential candidate would (nor will) have gotten American troops out of Iraq.[/quote]

You must not have heard, he has made a big deal about how he would withdraw the troops in sixteen months. But, god forbid troops start coming home before the election. That would be very damaging to a democrat politician invested in US defeat in Iraq. So what does Opie do? he politics behind closed doors for the troops to remain in an attempt to bolster his own campaign. Priceless.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:

I use to at least respect him personally, while disgreeing with him politically. But damn, this is shitty.[/quote]

Ditto. That’s crap.

Politics as usual! Excellent find.

Sad.
Pathetic.
Transparent.

If this is true, it makes me even more likely to vote for McCain, if just to keep Obama out.

My respect for Obama has dropped even further. Still not as much as my respect for McCain has dropped since the beginning of this race, but the gap is surely closing quickly.

I think he’s done, if this is true. Whatever anti-war voters were willing to give the Democrats their vote have just seen a major backstabbing. First they discover that Obama’s Georgia/NATO stance is the same as McCain’s, and now this.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I think he’s done, if this is true. Whatever anti-war voters were willing to give the Democrats their vote have just seen a major backstabbing. First they discover that Obama’s Georgia/NATO stance is the same as McCain’s, and now this. [/quote]

The wheels are coming off the Obama bus for sure.

Be careful. There is a lot of spin in this article. It is actually very clever in how it spins everything.

[quote]
WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.[/quote]

False. The “agreement” in question is the “strategic framework” agreement, governing the continued relationship between the US government and the Iraqi government, not the “status of forces” agreement.

Obama’s position on the strategic framework agreement is not news. He has been entirely consistent in calling for the involvement of congress and in his request that the agreement be not binding to the next administration.

The article says he met in “private” as if he tried to keep some sort of shady dealings secret. Also false. Immediately following his phone conversation with Zebari, Obama in a press conference talked about the conversation and explained:

“My concern is that the Bush administration–in a weakened state politically–ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it was my administration or Sen. McCain’s administration,” Obama said. “The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that’s currently made.”

[quote]According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview.[/quote]

But Obama did not meet with Zebari in his July visit to Iraq. Zebari here is talking about a phone conversation in June. This is very misleading.

The spin is ridiculous. Obama never tried to delay withdrawal. There is no plan to withdraw from Iraq prior to January. In fact, the current Status of Forces plan, leaked to the Independent, includes plans for 50 permanent military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors.

It would be great to see the full interview with Zebari, not the little bits that have been hacked together to produce this spin piece. But I doubt nypost would release it.

Gael, are you with Obama 24/7 to know everything he did? It sure sounds like it: you are very authoritative in stating what he did not ever do. I am wondering how you have such knowledge though.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Gael, are you with Obama 24/7 to know everything he did? It sure sounds like it: you are very authoritative in stating what he did not ever do. I am wondering how you have such knowledge though.[/quote]

If you are trying to smear someone, you must back up your claims. The burden of proof rests on you. I have illustrated how the article manipulates and spins the subject – and if you wish to refute a particular point, have at it.

I was the only one here who bothered to fact check anything, while the rest obediently and cheerfully (excitedly) praised the article with choruses of “as if we didn’t already know.”

I have no real reason to defend Obama, and will not be voting for him. But this article was one of the shittiest pieces of “journalism” I’ve seen in a long time. If you are remotely informed about any of this, you will agree.

Again, the burden of proof rests on you.

[quote]Gael wrote:

If you are trying to smear someone, you must back up your claims. The burden of proof rests on you. I have illustrated how the article manipulates and spins the subject – and if you wish to refute a particular point, have at it.

I was the only one here who bothered to fact check anything, while the rest obediently and cheerfully (excitedly) praised the article with choruses of “as if we didn’t already know.”

I have no real reason to defend Obama, and will not be voting for him. But this article was one of the shittiest pieces of “journalism” I’ve seen in a long time. If you are remotely informed about any of this, you will agree.

Again, the burden of proof rests on you.[/quote]

You made claims about the article from a legitimate news orginization, and the burden of proof is on us?

What a load of bullshit.

Obama is imploding. It won’t be close.

[quote]Gael wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Gael, are you with Obama 24/7 to know everything he did? It sure sounds like it: you are very authoritative in stating what he did not ever do. I am wondering how you have such knowledge though.

If you are trying to smear someone, you must back up your claims. The burden of proof rests on you. I have illustrated how the article manipulates and spins the subject – and if you wish to refute a particular point, have at it.

I was the only one here who bothered to fact check anything, while the rest obediently and cheerfully (excitedly) praised the article with choruses of “as if we didn’t already know.”

I have no real reason to defend Obama, and will not be voting for him. But this article was one of the shittiest pieces of “journalism” I’ve seen in a long time. If you are remotely informed about any of this, you will agree.

Again, the burden of proof rests on you.[/quote]

Hmmm. The article had a named person in an authoritative position saying the things in question. I’d say that that is evidence. I don’t know why you imply it isn’t and are so sure (apparently) that it is untrue.

In contrast, your asserting that Obama never did a thing, without your having been there 24/7 to actually be able to say so with knowledge, is not evidence.

Saying that Obama denies it would be bringing up a fact of what another person says, but it could be relevant that Obama also has denied ever doing favors for the criminally corrupt serial-briber Rezko, and actually stated that he accepted money from this corrupt slumlord only because he never dreamed that Rezko would ask for anything in return, when in fact he steered millions of dollars worth of benefits from the state to Rezko during the time frame when Rezko was helping Obama so much.

So I would not take an Obama denial of something potentially disastrous to his campaign as being much or even really any evidence of anything, as my personal judgment. Of course you’re entitled to assume differently, that the credibility of Obama’s denial exceeds the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s credibility, whether you have a specific reason to consider him non-credible (as for example the above reason for Obama), for no reason at all, or for any reason you like.

[quote]Gael wrote:
It would be great to see the full interview with Zebari, not the little bits that have been hacked together to produce this spin piece. But I doubt nypost would release it.[/quote]

I agree with this much. I hate synopsis journalism.

This statement needs highlighting (since its being overlooked):

“My concern is that the Bush administration–in a weakened state politically–ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it was my administration or Sen. McCain’s administration,” Obama said.

“The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that’s currently made.”

Bush’s legacy is probably one that won’t come to light for years to come (most likely as we see the eventual outcomes of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).

The last few months have seen him wanting to become somewhat of a Diplomat. So attempting to rush some sort of troop withdrawal agreement is very plausible.

Mufasa

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Gael wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Gael, are you with Obama 24/7 to know everything he did? It sure sounds like it: you are very authoritative in stating what he did not ever do. I am wondering how you have such knowledge though.

If you are trying to smear someone, you must back up your claims. The burden of proof rests on you. I have illustrated how the article manipulates and spins the subject – and if you wish to refute a particular point, have at it.

I was the only one here who bothered to fact check anything, while the rest obediently and cheerfully (excitedly) praised the article with choruses of “as if we didn’t already know.”

I have no real reason to defend Obama, and will not be voting for him. But this article was one of the shittiest pieces of “journalism” I’ve seen in a long time. If you are remotely informed about any of this, you will agree.

Again, the burden of proof rests on you.

Hmmm. The article had a named person in an authoritative position saying the things in question. I’d say that that is evidence. I don’t know why you imply it isn’t and are so sure (apparently) that it is untrue.

In contrast, your asserting that Obama never did a thing, without your having been there 24/7 to actually be able to say so with knowledge, is not evidence.

Saying that Obama denies it would be bringing up a fact of what another person says, but it could be relevant that Obama also has denied ever doing favors for the criminally corrupt serial-briber Rezko, and actually stated that he accepted money from this corrupt slumlord only because he never dreamed that Rezko would ask for anything in return, when in fact he steered millions of dollars worth of benefits from the state to Rezko during the time frame when Rezko was helping Obama so much.

So I would not take an Obama denial of something potentially disastrous to his campaign as being much or even really any evidence of anything, as my personal judgment. Of course you’re entitled to assume differently, that the credibility of Obama’s denial exceeds the Iraqi Foreign Minister’s credibility, whether you have a specific reason to consider him non-credible (as for example the above reason for Obama), for no reason at all, or for any reason you like.[/quote]

You can do better than this. Reread the exact quotes from Zebari. They do not say “Obama wants to delay troop withdrawal.” From Zebari’s words, all we know is that Obama wants to “delay an agreement” that “regulates” our activity.

What agreement was he talking about? Was it the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) or the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA). The article doesn’t make this clear, and strips Zebari’s comments away from some context that may have helped.

In either case, delaying an agreement would not mean delaying troop withdrawal. The current planned SOFA agreement includes plans for 50 permanent military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors, a hugely costly and long term plan that Obama might not want to be bound by. Obama may also not wish to be bound by any SFA agreement that Bush rushes out the door in the final days of his presidency, although Obama’s concerns may be too late at this point.

Finally, the article acts like he did this in private, behind closed doors, which isn’t at all true. He has talked much about his concerns that all agreements be discussed with congress, that they are not rushed out the door, and that the specifics of such an agreement under this administration should not be binding to the next.

I did not say that Obama “denies” this story. I made my post yesterday, the day the article was published. I do not think Obama had even made an official statement at that time. He may have today – I will look into that. In any event, he will probably make the points I have already made. Why? Because this isn’t shady behind the scenes stuff.

Nor was I attacking Zebari’s credibility. (WTF? Read more carefully.) This was a neocon spin piece by Amir Taheri, long recognized as a Bush propagandist, in a Murdoch owned paper.

Again, from Zebari’s words, all we know is that Obama wants to “delay an agreement” that “regulates” our activity. This is not news. Any one who has been paying attention knows that Obama has been discussing this publicly for the last few months.