The Spectacle Blog

Obama the Intransigent

By on 7.16.08 | 9:06AM

The Washington Post runs a devastating editorial against Obama's current position on Iraq. That's right, an editorial, not an op-ed. The editorial begins with a point that I've been meaning to make for awhile:

Barack Obama yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: "They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down." Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency. Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.
This is key. One of the leading arguments against the surge at the time, one advanced by Obama and many other war opponents, was that the reason we couldn't send more troops was that it wouldn't help, essentially, that we shouldn't be squandering more blood and treasure on a lost cause.

In October of 2006, Obama said, "Given the deteriorating situation, it is clear at this point that we cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve, and we have to do something significant to break the pattern that we've been in right now" Last January, when President Bush announced the strategy, Obama said, "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." He also said, "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."

Obama was completely wrong. He won't admit it. He won't alter his policy now that the facts on the ground have changed. And yesterday, he had the gall to speak from a lectern with the slogan "Judgment to Lead."

While the Post editorial board is more sympathetic to the war than, say, the NY Times, it isn't exactly the Wall Street Journal either. The fact that they are starting to come down so hard on Obama for this is a sign that he isn't wearing well.

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