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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Barack Obama Backtracks and Scrubs His Website Of Surge Criticisms

As the video above will show, Barack Obama stated in unequivocal terms on January 14, 2007, "We can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops: I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground."

There were some changes to Barack Obama's official website over the weekend, where his long standing criticisms of the troop surge have been removed and his claim that the surge would produce no progress has disappeared.

That video above also shows that in May of 2008, one year and 3 months after the surge, when results started becoming apparent to the point where military commanders were beginning to refer to the gains as "irreversible", David Axelrod, who is a top adviser to Barack Obama, claims that Obama never said that the surge would not make a difference on the ground in Iraq.

That was not the only time Obama made statements like that.

On January 10, 2007, on MSNBC, Obama stated, "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Those statements were repeated multiple times, even after General Petraeus testified and showed the surged was working as it was intended to work.

With violence down 90 percent in the last year, there is no doubt that the surge accomplished even more than the proponents of the surge had anticipated in just a year.

Politically, the Iraqi's have received satisfactory grades on 15 out of the 18 benchmarks set for them.

John McCain called for a surge in troops, repeatedly, long before the additional troops were sent, saying that the security in Iraq had to be improved before political benchmarks could be met. The surge was once described, by John Edwards, as the "McCain doctrine"

This last weekend, Barack Obama's official website was "purged" of his longstanding criticisms of the troop surge and replaced with other wording, to which his campaign, via an Obama aide, Wendy Morigi, says is normal activity to update the site as events and situations change.

(H/T to Gateway Pundit for the images)

(Click to enlarge for better reading of what Obama's site said before they purged his criticisms of the surge)

The site still does not reflect the political progress that his been accomplished, nor does it acknowledge his previous statements about the surge having virtually no chance of working.

(Click to enlarge for better reading of what Obama's site says after they purged his criticisms of the surge)

Barack Obama wrote an opinion editorial in the New York Times yesterday, where in his opening remarks, he quoted news reports that declared that the Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had called for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

Reports came out last night, that the words of Mailiki from his audio never mentioned the word withdrawal, but that Maliki's office had replaced the word "presence" with "withdrawal".

As of right now, Obama still has not acknowledge that his speech held language that was never used by Maliki and he also has never acknowledged that his belief that the troop surge could not accomplish the goals it was meant to was wrong, to which John McCain criticizes by saying, "The major point here is that Sen. Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong." McCain goes on to point out that Obama, "refuses to acknowledge that it [the surge] is succeeding."

The difficulties that the success of the surge is creating for Obama are shown in the latest polls.

Last year at this time the majority of Americans favored an almost immediate pullout, and yet since the news of the success the surge has produced has reached American families, the public is now evenly split between Obama and McCain's Iraq positions.

According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday, while Obama leads in many domestic issues, 72 percent of respondents, even most Democrats, say that McCain would be a good commander-in-chief of the military while only 48 percent say the same about Obama.

The public is also split between the two men's proposals for how Iraq should be handled moving forward.

Americans are divided on which candidate has a plan for success in the region. Exactly half of those polled said they backed Obama's plan to withdraw most U.S. forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. But 49 percent sided with McCain's position of opposing a specific timetable and letting events dictate when troops should be withdrawn. Among independents, who will be the key voting bloc in November, 53 percent oppose Obama's timeline.

On Iraq policy in general, 47 percent say they trust McCain more to handle the war, and 45 percent having more faith in Obama.

The problem with Barack Obama's op-ed, as well as his stated plans for withdrawal from Iraq are highlighted by the fact that he makes these statements before he makes his trip to Iraq. Obama has not been to Iraq in 919 days and counting. Obama has never sat down, one-on-one, with General Petraeus to find out the realities of what is happening in Iraq in present time.

This has brought out very harsh criticisms, not only from Republicans, but from a Democratic defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, Michael E. O'Hanlon, who describes himself as "livid" as he states for the Washington Post (linked above) "To say you're going to get out on a certain schedule -- regardless of what the Iraqis do, regardless of what our enemies do, regardless of what is happening on the ground -- is the height of absurdity. I'm not going to go to the next level of invective and say he shouldn't be president. I'll leave that to someone else."

John McCain will address that very point in prepared remarks for a speech he will give today at a townhall meeting in Albuquerque, where he will state his criticism about Obama's plans by saying, "Senator Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan. And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to General Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.”

It is a valid point.

How can a person that has not been to Iraq in 919 days, has never spoken one-on-one with the commander on the ground in Iraq and has not yet gone on his fact-finding mission to Iraq, actually state what his plans for Iraq are?