[Marxism] Obamagate, or John McCain may select Marxism List Moderator as running mate

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jun 30 15:27:09 MDT 2008


Joaquin wrote:
>It is quite obvious that there is a concerted campaign on the part of
>certain Democrats to get Obama to water down his positions even more,
>especially on Iraq. These are all the folks that supported the war
>before opposing the war that they now once again support.

That would be like breaking down an open door.

Boston Globe
Obama stance on Iraq shows evolving view
Senator saw 'obligation' in '04 to success of state

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff  |  March 8, 2008

WASHINGTON - In July of 2004, the day after his speech at the 
Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, 
Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United 
States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to 
make it a success.

"The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster," he said at a 
lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an 
audiotape of the session. "It would dishonor the 900-plus men and 
women who have already died. . . . It would be a betrayal of the 
promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely 
destabilizing from a national security perspective."

The statements are consistent with others Obama made at the time, 
emphasizing the need to stabilize Iraq despite his opposition to the 
US invasion. But they also represent perhaps his most forceful 
language in depicting withdrawal from crisis-ridden Iraq as a 
betrayal of the Iraqi people and a risk to national security.

Obama spoke out passionately against the war in 2002 as an Illinois 
state senator, while many in Congress were silent. But his thinking 
on how to resolve the crisis in Iraq evolved.

During his 2004 Senate race, he supported keeping troops in Iraq to 
stabilize the country. But starting in 2005, as violence engulfed the 
country, he grew increasingly disillusioned.

Now, Obama's views about the war have become a campaign issue, as 
Hillary Clinton - who voted for the war's authorization - has 
questioned whether Obama has been consistent in opposing the war.

Her husband, Bill, said Obama's depiction of his longstanding 
opposition to the war was a "fairy tale." And yesterday, news of an 
Obama adviser's comments that his promise to withdraw troops within 
16 months represented only a "best-case scenario" further fanned 
questions about his Iraq views.

Yesterday, Obama struck back, declaring that Clinton "doesn't have 
any standing to question my position on this issue." And he added 
that, "I will bring this war to an end in 2009, so don't be confused."

In 2004, while supporting the Democratic presidential nominee, John 
F. Kerry, Obama endorsed Kerry's view that the United States had too 
much at stake in Iraq to withdraw at that time. Since joining the 
Senate in 2005, Obama has taken incrementally tougher positions on 
Iraq, even as he sought to hear from a wide variety of voices about 
what should be done there, according to aides, advisers, and 
transcripts of his speeches.

In November of 2005, after it had become clear that US troops faced a 
raging insurgency, Obama argued in a speech before the Chicago 
Council on Foreign Relations that the US military should scale down 
its presence, but that US troops were "still part of the solution" in Iraq.

"We have to manage our exit in a responsible way," he told the 
council, "at the very least taking care not to plunge the country 
into an even deeper and perhaps irreparable crisis."

In January of 2006, Obama took his first trip to Iraq, staying two 
days, and while there he heard conflicting views on whether US troops 
should stay or go.

He expressed frustration with the failure of Iraqi leaders to resolve 
key disputes, telling reporters that "if we have not seen significant 
progress over the next few months, we need to have an honest 
conversation with Iraqis as to what our investment is."

But 2006 unfolded as a year of sectarian bloodshed, deepening Obama's 
conviction that the US effort was being squandered. He began to call 
for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops. By that time, the 
call was far from unusual, however; other senators had called for a 
phased withdrawal earlier.

"The notion that the United States can't be more committed to the 
future of Iraq than Iraqis became much more of the prominent view" 
among Democrats and even some Republicans in 2006, said Rand Beers, a 
former foreign policy adviser to Kerry.

By November of that year, voters across the nation expressed anger 
over Iraq, handing control of Congress to Democrats.

A month later, the Iraq Study Group recommended reducing US military 
support for Iraq's government if its leaders failed to make progress 
on achieving political agreements.

An author of that report, Benjamin Rhodes, later joined Obama's 
campaign as a foreign policy adviser, and Obama adopted some of the 
group's language in his 2007 bill calling for all combat brigades to 
be withdrawn by March of 2008.

As Obama mulled a presidential run, he began to reach out to a series 
of military leaders, including those who did not agree with him on Iraq.

When Richard Danzig, a former Navy secretary, organized two meetings 
for Obama with retired military officers, Danzig asked whether he 
should invite officers who opposed Obama's views. The answer was yes, 
Danzig recalled.

"One of the attractive things about Obama is the desire to get a 
range of views and process them himself rather than get a homogenized 
product or exclude people who aren't in sympathy with him," Danzig said.

In a separate meeting, Obama asked General Anthony Zinni, a critic of 
the war effort, what should be done in Iraq. Zinni told him: "I don't 
think you can abandon Iraq. The region is too important."

Despite those views, Obama's foreign policy advisory team began 
working on a detailed plan for bringing US troops home and managing 
the potential humanitarian crisis that could follow.

Obama's campaign set up a working group on Iraq, headed by Colin 
Kahl, a security studies professor at Georgetown University. In July 
2007, Obama's top advisers and Iraq specialists, including Kahl, 
produced a memo that shaped Obama's core Iraq views, made public in a 
Sept. 12 speech: to bring home one to two combat brigades each month, 
with all brigades out in 16 months, and keep only a small number of 
troops in Iraq to protect US diplomats and launch limited, targeted 
strikes on Al Qaeda.

But this week, Obama adviser Samantha Power caused a stir when she 
told BBC's "Hard Talk" that Obama "will revisit" the plan when he 
becomes president.

"You can't make a commitment in March of 2008 about what 
circumstances are going to be like in January 2009," said Power, who 
resigned from the campaign yesterday over separate comments insulting 
Clinton. "He will, of course, not rely upon some plan that he has 
crafted as a presidential candidate or a US senator. He will rely 
upon an operational plan that he pulls together in consultation with 
people on the ground."

Obama insisted yesterday he would stick to his plan. But Walter 
Russell Mead, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said 
voters should expect Obama's views on the war to shift.

"If you look at Obama's stands, he has taken different stands, or 
differently nuanced stands, based on his perceptions of the changing 
realities on the ground," Mead said. "As a rational human being, [if 
he is elected president] nine months from now, he'll have to do the 
same thing. He'll have to look carefully at the situation as it is, 
and make the best policy calls that he can."  





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