Obama Changes Tune on Iraq Withdrawal

Soren Dayton notes that Barack Obama, who yesterday argued that we should start a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq starting in just a few days, vehemently argued against a similar proposal by John Kerry in June 2006. Here’s what he said then:

But having visited Iraq, I’m also acutely aware that a precipitous withdrawal of our troops, driven by Congressional edict rather than the realities on the ground, will not undo the mistakes made by this Administration. It could compound them.

It could compound them by plunging Iraq into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis.

We must exit Iraq, but not in a way that leaves behind a security vacuum filled with terrorism, chaos, ethnic cleansing and genocide that could engulf large swaths of the Middle East and endanger America. We have both moral and national security reasons to manage our exit in a responsible way.

As John McCain pointed out in his VMI speech yesterday, that’s all still true.

Now, Obama might honestly believe that the passage of ten months with no end yet in sight simply means it’s time to pull the plug. While I disagree, that’s a perfectly defensible position. But he definitely needs to explain his radical change of position. Given that he’s articulate (and clean!) that shouldn’t be a problem for him.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Barack Obama, who yesterday argued that we should start a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq starting in just a few days, vehemently argued against a similar proposal by John Kerry in June 2006.

    So, either things have gotten better in the past 10 months (like many GOP talking heads said would happen 10 months ago) and we can withdraw, or they haven’t gotten better in the past 10 months, and our current strategy isn’t working.

    As John McCain pointed out in his VMI speech yesterday, that’s all still true.

    Good point. And after all, McCain is a US Senator and Presidential candidate, he should know better than Obama who is just a…oh wait.

    BTW, isn’t McCain here admitting that our direction in Iraq isn’t working? Wasn’t he saying 10 months ago that things are improving? Looks like everyone is changing their minds.

    But don’t worry, in just 10 months I’m sure things will be stabilized, no need to be as hasty as Obama. Sings: Tomorrow, tomorrow, you’re always 10 months away!

  2. floyd says:

    Pinochiobama strikes again! The strings were less visible for a while there!

  3. Michael says:

    Pinochiobama?

    That’s too long and doesn’t roll of the tongue, it’ll never catch on.

    Try something with only 2 syllables next time.