Barack Obama’s position on Iraq is adjusting so rapidly, that his own website cannot even keep up with his campaign’s shifts.
This week on MSNBC, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice described Obama’s position this way:
“He has said that the best military advice he’s received leads us to believe that we can safely withdraw our forces at the pace of one to two combat brigades per month, and depending on the number of combat brigades he inherits, our best estimate is that that could be accomplished in roughly 16 months. That’s not a deadline. That’s a timetable, and obviously if Senator Obama has said on numerous occasions, he will listen to his commanders on the ground, he will follow and heed their advice as he decides how at the strategic level we must proceed. So he will do this very carefully and responsibly as he always said but he will do it.”
However, Obama’s website makes 16 months sound like a firm commitment, and never qualifies that commitment by saying it could change based on the advice of commanders on the ground:
“Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.”
Here was David Axelrod describing Obama’s position on CNN yesterday:
“The fact is that, Senator Obama introduced a plan in the United States Senate in January of 2007 that called for a phased withdrawal, with benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet, that called for strategic pauses, based on the progress on these benchmarks, and advice on the commanders on the ground and he’s always said that he would listen to the advice of commanders on the ground, that that would factor into his thinking. He’s also said we have to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. So he’s been very consistent on this point.”
But here’s how Obama’s website describes that same legislation:
“In January 2007, he introduced legislation in the Senate to remove all of our combat troops from Iraq by March 2008.”
It’s official. The Obama campaign has entered John Kerry territory when it comes to changing positions on Iraq.