Obama Hints At Changing His Iraq Withdrawal Timeline

ImageWhile speaking to reporters in Fargo, ND today, Barack Obama suggested that he might not hold firm to his plan of getting all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 16 months.

“I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies,” Obama said.

Obama stuck with saying that his timeline is based on the safety of the troops, “My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything that I’ve said, was always premised on making sure that our troops were safe. I said that based on the information that we had received from our commanders that one to two brigades a month could be pulled out safely, from a logistical perspective.”

He also added an interesting little twist about troop withdrawals being based on stability in Iraq, “My guiding approach continues to be that we’ve got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.” I went back and searched pages of Obama quotes and I can’t find another instance where he mentioned stability in Iraq as one of his criteria for withdrawing the troops.

Here is what Obama said at an April debate in Philadelphia, PA, “Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission. And unfortunately we have had a bad mission. Once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberately in an orderly fashion out of Iraq, if they come to me and want to adjust tactics, then I will certainly take their recommendations into consideration.”

Iraq stability is condition that is often invoked by Republicans to justify the troops staying in Iraq. Could Obama possibility be moving his position on Iraq to the right? It seems that the movement towards making Obama less liberal now extends to his position on the war.

Much of Obama’s base of support is very liberal, and very anti-war, so it would be a major mistake for the campaign to even suggest that the troops might stay in Iraq. I know his campaign is trying to appeal to moderates, but I think that they are getting close to angering their base.

2 Replies to “Obama Hints At Changing His Iraq Withdrawal Timeline”

  1. Thanks for this post–I am shocked, really. To be honest, I was a firm Hillary supporter, but have felt confident throughout the process that should Obama be the nominee, at least I could count on him being anti-war. His statements today worry me, and leave me with many questions. You’re absolutely right, the “Iraq stability” excuse is mainly a tool of the Bush-loving right wing. If he’s doing this to “appeal to moderates,” it perhaps isn’t the best way to go, since many moderates and even centrist-conservatives now admit to the folly of this war. In sum, Obama has made some recent decisions that have disappointed me: on top of this, there was his recent promise to expand Bush’s faith-based initiatives (wouldn’t it be great if we actually had a separation of church and state??). Also, I do think that his decision to opt out of public financing could come back to haunt him–remember the Kerry-damaging “flip-flopper” ads?

    Now, I am certainly not a McCain supporter, but the more Barack moves to the right, the more neither of them looks like my candidate. Here’s to hoping Obama comes to his senses and realizes that the people at the core of his campaign really seem to believe change is on the horizon. If he disappoints them, and starts conceding to the status-quo, he could easily lose (maybe due to people choosing Nader), thus screwing us all (seriously, we do not want a President McCain!).

    Again, thanks for the post, always a pleasure to read.

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