Barack Obama stands up in the face of General Petraeus
It's a Matter of Record. In Chicago, on October 26, 2002, then Illinois State Senator Barak Obama spoke out publically, in opposition to granting Bush authorization to launch an un-provoke invasion of Iraq. In light of Bush's current Iraquagmire, particularly prescient were these words:
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.Last night in Clinton [!] Iowa, Senator Obama, once again, said what needed to be said:
. . . .Conventional thinking in Washington lined up for war. The pundits judged the political winds to be blowing in the direction of the president. Despite – or perhaps because of how much experience they had in Washington, too many politicians feared looking weak and failed to ask hard questions. Too many took the President at his word instead of reading the intelligence for themselves. Congress gave the President the authority to go to war. Our only opportunity to stop the war was lostThe last seven years is proof that we Americans ignore consistent political foresight at our peril.
. . . . There is something unreal about the debate that’s taking place in Washington… The bar for success is so low that it is almost buried in the sand. The American people have had enough of the shifting spin. We’ve had enough of extended deadlines for benchmarks that go unmet. We’ve had enough of mounting costs in Iraq and missed opportunities around the world. We’ve had enough of a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged.
. . . . I opposed this war from the beginning. I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed it in 2003. I opposed it in 2004. I opposed it in 2005. I opposed it in 2006. I introduced a plan in January to remove all of our combat brigades by next March. And I am here to say that we have to begin to end this war now.
. . . . Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now. We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year.
. . . . Some argue that we should just replace Prime Minister Maliki. But that wouldn’t solve the problem…The problems in Iraq are bigger than one man. . . .
. . . . The president would have us believe there are two choices: keep all of our troops in Iraq or abandon these Iraqis. I reject this choice . . .
. . . . I’m here today because it’s not too late to come together as Americans. Because we’re not going to be able to deal with the challenges that confront us until we end this war. What we can do is say that we will not be prisoners of uncertainty. That we reject the conventional thinking that led us into Iraq and that didn’t ask hard questions until it was too late. What we can say is that we are ready for something new and something bold and something principled.