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Old 07-05-2008, 02:38 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
oh ... the surge, the surge ... i've had a long planned post on this subject, but it's a long weekend and i've better things to do. the only quick thing i'll say is that when you pay people not to kill you in a city that has already been effectively ethnically cleansed and barricaded, yes, violence does go down. but, as ever, it's far, far more complicated than that.
If Baghdad or any other Iraqi city has been ethnically cleansed, it would not have multiple ethnic groups still living within yards of each other. Good examples of what ethnically cleansing really is can be found by looking into the Bosnian conflict. The Iraq Study Groups report which criticized the administration specifically stated that the idea of partitioning Iraq was absurd and simply unworkable do to how mixed ethnically the country still was in provinces north and south as well as in Baghdad. That was in late 2006, just before the start of the surge.

More importantly though, Bosnia shows that even when real ethnic cleansing does occur, it does not reduce violence. Much of the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia occured durring the first year, yet the most deadly years of the conflict were the ones that followed that first year.

Most of the Sunni Awakening groups sprung up in the more rural area of Sunni majority Iraq. Such groups did not play a significant role in Baghdad like they did in Anbar province.

Secondly, nearly half of those in the Awakening groups have never been involved with any insurgent or Al Quada groups in the past.

Third, these groups, half of which are not former insurgents, are being payed to secure their neighborhoods, gain intelligence, fight insurgents and members of Al Quada. The intelligence they have provided has helped the US and Iraqi military to capture or destroy Iraqi insurgent groups and members of Al Quada. This is classic counterinsurgency strategy and the United States military has been trying to set up such Sunni groups since 2004. The challenge now is to start integrating many of these groups into formal military and police units.


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what's hard is what this has done for McCain. as conditions "improve," how does he continue to justify staying? if conditions "worsen," then he was as wrong today as he was in 2005 as he was in 2003.
The rapidly improving conditions are what helped John McCain win the Republican nomination and why the general public trust him more on Iraq than they do Obama. Nation Building and counterinsurgency exercises take years to successfully complete and often involve unfortunate set backs. The goal is to develop the country's security, economic and political structures to the point that foreign military forces are no longer required to help out with most or all of these issues on the ground. Despite improving conditions, if you leave prematurely, the situation could start to reverse itself. If there is a setback and conditions worsen, then you have to adjust and try to stop the situation from sliding backwards, then push foward again. Setbacks are probably inevitable, but they don't signify that the overall policy has failed or that its time to leave. Afterall, the goal here is security and stability, and leaving because of a setback or when things get bad, certainly won't improve security or increases the chances of stability.

The Bush administration has always maintained that withdrawal will occur when the Iraqi's have developed the means to handle their own internal security on their own. Its not smart to remove a US brigade from Iraq that is providing a critical security need, if the Iraqi's have yet to develop something that can effectively replace the role that US brigade is currently providing in Iraq.



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now, as for Obama, to say that he's anywhere near the Bush position is hilarious. i will say that since the 2006 election, which was a smack in the face of the president, Iraq Policy has fallen from the hands of Cheney and Rumsfeld and into the far, far smarter hands of Patraeus and Gates. i think people underestimate just what a moderating influence Gates has been, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Obama kept him as SecDef when he wins in November. it's laughable to make the comparison that the Bush of 2004 and the Bush of 2008 are somehow the same person. we have a defeated, smashed president dazed by a shocking 23% (!!!) approval rating, and he's rightly ceded power and control of Iraq to the adults in the room -- Gates and Patraeus. Obama has made a complete and sharp contrast with the Republicians and McCain on this issue, and it will be this contrast upon which much of the election will fall.
Do you know what Bush's fundamental position on Iraq has been? Its that as the Iraqi's stand up, US military forces will stand down and come home. In standing up, we mean Iraqi forces being able to perform the same functions as a particular US brigade does in a certain part of Iraq. It means political institutions and government being able to provide Iraqi's with the services they need. It means an economy that is able to grow and develop because the security situation has improved. Thats the same position that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gates, and Patraeus have had. The only places where they have disagreed are on specific tactics and troop levels at particular points in time. From fundamental strategic point of view, they are all firmly on the same page. If anything, Gates and Patraeus are further to the right than Rumsfeld on Iraq since Rumsfeld wanted to maintain troop levels while Gates and Patraeus wanted to increase those troop levels. Contrast with Barack Obama and the Democrats who in January 2007 wanted all US combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008!

Their collective view is opposite the Democratic view of the past few years which has wanted all US troops out of Iraq "NOW" regardless of the consequences. The debate among democrats is only about how fast to withdraw troops, 6 months vs. time periods as long as 16 months. No consideration was given to the consequences or a pre-mature withdrawal. No consideration as to whether the Iraqi military was ready to replace US forces. No consideration given to whether the Iraqi police force was ready. In fact Democrats would site their failure to be ready as another reason to get out as soon as possible. To Democrats, Iraq was a conflict that the US military would never be able to help solve. Iraq was a "Civil War", and we needed to get out as soon as possible. Just bring all the US troops home now, and the Iraqi's will have to sort or fight things out on their own. How to withdraw all US troops from Iraq before Bush left office was goal of the 2006 Democratic congress. Barack Obama's plan in January 2007 was to have them all out by March 31, 2008. Congress attempted to pass multiple spending bills with conditions that would force the President to begin withdrawal. Such a withdrawal was never tied to improvements on the ground or the growing capabilties of Iraqi forces. It was withdraw US forces now regardless of what the conditions were on the ground in Iraq.

Barrack Obama and the Democrats all opposed Bush, Gates and Patraeus on the Surge. Their policy on Iraq for most of the past 18 months has been directly opposite of the policy supported and being implemented by Bush,Gates and Patraeus. But if because of the huge success of the Surge, Barrack Obama is now willing to withdraw US troops from Iraq based on conditions on the ground rather than to simply just withdraw as he and his Democratic colleagues in congress so vigorously tried to do for 18 months by trying to attach withdrawal timetables(with nothing to do with conditions on the ground) to every single spending bill, then this will signify a sinificant change in Barrack Obama's views and move toward Bush administration policy.

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as far as Obama goes, he is maintaining his commitment to a prudent, cautious, orderly withdrawal strategy that does not jeapordize whatever small and highly reversable gains that have been made in the reduction of violence over the past year. he will not stick to a game plan irregardless of empirical evidence. this is what Bush has done, this is what "last throes" Cheney has done, this is what "stuff happens" Rumsfeld has done. do we really want Obama to be the anti-war version of these walking disasters?
The gains that have been made in Iraq are anything but small. Talk to any US military forces or diplomatic personal that have been on the ground in Iraq the past 18 months and they will tell you that the changes have been unbelievably dramatic. Look at the casualty figures for both US troops and Iraqi troops and civilians. Casualty figures for both have been reduced by 80% to 90% in just the past 18 months. The military reports that violence is down to 2003 levels. Iraqi per capita GDP is nearly as large now as neighboring Syria. Iraqi oil production is about to surpass pre-war levels. The Iraqi's have an elected government that is making substantial progress on nearly all of the 18 political, economic, and security Benchmarks. The progress has been so rapid and substantial, that even someone like Murtha who was even more anti-surge than Barrack Obama now admits that its working.

Barrack Obama's game plan in January 2007 when Iraqi sectarian violence was near its peak in Baghdad was to withdraw all US combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008 and he supported all of congress's attempts to force the President to withdraw without any regard for the consequences or conditions on the ground in Iraq. His plans and idea's on Iraq were the direct opposite of Bush, Gates and Patraeus plans for Iraq. He was a strong opponent of the surge which has helped to bring about very rapid progress in Iraq, more rapid than was previously thought possible.

Bush's initial plans for withdrawal from Iraq prior to the invasion were to have more than half of US troops out of Iraq by the summer of 2004. That plan of course changed with the rise of the insurgency. In changed again after the Shia Mosque bombing in 2006 increased sectarian violence in Baghdad, which brought about the surge. Now because of the success of the Surge, Bush may withdraw 1 non-Surge combat brigade by the end of 2008. Bush has constantly changed troop levels on the ground in Iraq over the past 5 years to respond to properly respond to the situation on the ground. Bush more than any other Democrat has been analysing the emperical evidence and making sound decisions based on that. Its the Democrats and Barrack Obama who have been wedded to "Out Of Iraq Now" for so long and finally might be coming around to the Bush strategy of withdrawal only has conditions on the ground permit.

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the goal remains withdrawal as soon as is prudent and possible. the goal is not the creation of 60 permanent bases in Iraq and the continued American presence -- and empire by any other names -- in the middle of the most volatile region in the world.
The goal of Barrack Obama and the Democratic congress in January 2007 was not only to prevent the Surge from happening, but to force President Bush to withdraw all US combat Brigades by March 31, 2008. Prudent and possible were not part of their formula, at least not when it relates to conditions on the ground. They wanted US troops out of Iraq yesterday, but now they might be moving towards the Presidents and the military's position that pre-mature withdrawal is a mistake and withdrawal should only occur when the Iraqi's are ready to start handling their own security in various parts of the country on their own. No one has ever been interested in creating an "Empire" and the United States has not created any bases in Iraq that can't be removed or given to the Iraqi military. The Bush administration and McCain only want a continued American presence in Iraq based on the Iraqi's need for such a presence. Barrack Obama and the Democrats have wanted withdrawal now regardless of Iraqi needs siting the conflict as a "Civil War" that the United States military needed to be removed from as soon as possible.


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so all we can fault Obama for is a bit of election year cynicism (or just realism?). shocking. and he's yet outflanked McCain on another position. what STING and his irrational ilk kept screaming about was "precipitous" withdrawal and the chaos that may or may not follow. Obama has said he won't do this, but he has said he is commited to withdrawal. he does not want an indefinite occupation.
Obama in January 2007 when Iraqi sectarian violence was at its near peak, and the Iraqi military and security forces were much less developed than they are today, wanted to withdraw all US combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008. He never backed off from that position during that time nor did he ever suggest that such a timetable would ever be tied to conditions on the ground in Iraq. Just about everyone though has picked up on what might be changes on Obama's position on this over the past few weeks.

Bush has never been interested in an indefinite occupation. The initial plans for Iraq called for a sharply reduced US presence in Iraq by the summer of 2004, but that changed when the insurgency started to grow.

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he has now shrewedly framed the Iraq question: do you want to prudently withdraw, or do you want indefinite occupation?
Actually, he is lying about the position that Bush, the Republicans, and the US military have had since the start of the war, and appears to be in fact adopting their true position on Iraq. Barrack Obama has never been closer to "As they stand up, we'll stand down" as he is now.

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what reason is there, then, to vote for McCain?
Well, he has his current opponent abandoning his former opposition to the withdrawal only as conditions on the ground permit, and appearing to join him in supporting US military operations in Iraq for as long as they are needed and necessary for security and stability there.

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and you thought Bill Clinton was a master strategist?
Bill Clinton had no problem abandoning the left wing of his party when it suited him and moving to right. If Barrack Obama wants to do the same so he has a better shot at winning in November, thats a smart move, and the country will be better off if he sticks to some of the positions that are indeed to the right of the views of his most loyal supporters and far to the right of Senator Obama's voting record in the Senate if he should win in November.
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:44 PM   #392
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It doesn't matter, Obama is not going to go out to appease the netroots and any policy towards Iraq will be geared towards the national interest and that presidents legacy; each of which is not served by a removal of troops without some degree of stability, the point where American troops are more of an impediment to stability than being the barrier against genocide kicking off is coming and all the politicians are having to deal with that.

I think it's interesting to note how your views seem to have evolved along with Obamas on the issue of the surge.

never have i once said that i wanted an immediate withdrawal. i want a withdrawal, but always with nuance.

how have my views evolved in regards to "the surge"?
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:46 PM   #393
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[q]Their collective view is opposite the Democratic view of the past few years which has wanted all US troops out of Iraq "NOW" regardless of the consequences. [/q]


herein lies the problem. you're entire post is premised on this fundamental misunderstanding. you've fabricated a position, and then rebutted it.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:01 PM   #394
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[q]Their collective view is opposite the Democratic view of the past few years which has wanted all US troops out of Iraq "NOW" regardless of the consequences. [/q]


herein lies the problem. you're entire post is premised on this fundamental misunderstanding. you've fabricated a position, and then rebutted it.
Sorry but its not fabircated. Its been argued in here time and again, and listed in a million newspaper and journal articles over the past 18 months. Its a fact that in January 2007, when Iraqi sectarian violence was at its peak Barrack Obama opposed the Surge, and proposed his plan to begin immediately withdrawing all combat bridages from Iraq with the withdrawal to be complete by March 31, 2008. You can pretend that is a frabication all you want to, but its not.

I've always supported a withdrawal from Iraq, only when the Iraqi military was sufficiently developed to handle the security situation on the ground. That definitely was not your view or many other peoples view in here a year or two years ago or perhaps even now.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:53 PM   #395
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I, for one, would like to see if you could find any posts by FYM regulars arguing for the immediate withdrawal of troops regardless of the consequences. I don't think you'd find much, if anything.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:00 PM   #396
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I, for one, would like to see if you could find any posts by FYM regulars arguing for the immediate withdrawal of troops regardless of the consequences. I don't think you'd find much, if anything.
Most people in FYM have been advocates of withdrawal for some time. Yolland even started a thread about ways the Democratic congress could force the Bush administration to immediately start withdrawing troops. The position advocated by most of the regulars in here has never been "as they stand up, will stand down". There have been all kinds of responses like, we need to get out now before more of are people are killed in this failed enterprise, or the claim that the US military is causing the sectarian violence, Iraq is a Civil War and the United States military can't help solve Iraq's problems. There have even been claims that the United States has lost the war, the surge has failed etc etc.

The fact is, Barrack Obama, the Democrats and most people in this forum wanted all US combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. Most people in here were upset and frustrated at the new Democratic congress's inability to force the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops back in early 2007 and were opposed to the surge. I was concerned about the surge myself, but for different reasons. I thought it was too limited a response and would overstretch the active component of the US military. I wanted to see a larger infusion of troops from the National Guard combat brigades which were not being used at that time, because of rules about how often they could be deployed in any 5 year period. As it turns out, active US army has been able to handle the build up without the strain I thought would occur and Gates did finally remove the rules that limited the use of National Guard combat brigades even though few of them have yet to be deployed again.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:17 PM   #397
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Most people in FYM have been advocates of withdrawal for some time. Yolland even started a thread about ways the Democratic congress could force the Bush administration to immediately start withdrawing troops. The position advocated by most of the regulars in here has never been "as they stand up, will stand down". There have been all kinds of responses like, we need to get out now before more of are people are killed in this failed enterprise, or the claim that the US military is causing the sectarian violence, Iraq is a Civil War and the United States military can't help solve Iraq's problems. There have even been claims that the United States has lost the war, the surge has failed etc etc.

The fact is, Barrack Obama, the Democrats and most people in this forum wanted all US combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. Most people in here were upset and frustrated at the new Democratic congress's inability to force the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops back in early 2007 and were opposed to the surge. I was concerned about the surge myself, but for different reasons. I thought it was too limited a response and would overstretch the active component of the US military. I wanted to see a larger infusion of troops from the National Guard combat brigades which were not being used at that time, because of rules about how often they could be deployed in any 5 year period. As it turns out, active US army has been able to handle the build up without the strain I thought would occur and Gates did finally remove the rules that limited the use of National Guard combat brigades even though few of them have yet to be deployed again.

That pretty much sums it up.

MoveOn and the DailyKos people would not have been full hog behind Obama before if he was saying it the way he is now.

I kept hearing Obama will have the troops home in 18 months.

.

I did find it odd though, when he would talk about this he would often include. "I want to be as careful, getting out as we were reckless getting in."
One might have assumed that was why he said 18 months, and not 3 months.

But a "careful" getting out could be widely interpreted, when it suited another purpose.

5 years is careful. Is ten years "more" careful?

I almost posted that he never intended to keep his word on the 18 months.

Because that would be "reckless" and not "careful'.

But, I knew it would turn into one giant "piss storm".
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #398
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That pretty much sums it up.
I side with Strongbow and deep on this one, interesting analysis from both. Our probable next president is making a fundamental shift in policy. And if he's serious about it, it's good for this country and for Iraq. The "McBush" surge has made too much progress to abandon.

Maybe when Mr. Obama makes a trip to Iraq, or is able to meet privately with U.S. commanders, we'll see the refined strategy he will sell for the general election.
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:29 PM   #399
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Most people in FYM have been advocates of withdrawal for some time. Yolland even started a thread about ways the Democratic congress could force the Bush administration to immediately start withdrawing troops.
Link please?
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:35 PM   #400
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Link please?
Since I'm not a paying member of the forum, you'd be able to find it faster than I could. The thread involved a discussion of the options that were available to the Democratic congress to start bringing troops home from Iraq despite the Presidents opposition to such a policy. It has to be from late 2006 or early 2007. If the thread was not started by yourself, then it at least involved this discussion.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:21 PM   #401
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The only thread I ever started on Iraq was back in September 2005, in which I posted without comment a news roundup from the Christian Science Monitor about foreign fighters in Iraq. No one responded to it.

The only post I can find that even remotely resembles what you're describing is one from near the end of a long, general-discussion Iraq thread, in which I posted a news article about the then-newly announced 'surge.' My only comment, citing a link to a related story (whose text I did not post), was:
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slate.com has a decent concise overview of the pros and cons of the various (oppositional) ways the Democrats--and in all likelihood a few Republicans--might react...should they choose to do so.

What do you think Congress should do?
Nice piece of work getting out of that I "started a thread about ways the Democratic congress could force the Bush administration to immediately start withdrawing troops" as part of my allegedly being part of this "most people in FYM" who "have been advocates of withdrawal for some time." It would certainly be news to me if I ever at any point "advocated for" an immediate withdrawal, or for that matter any other stance on how best to manage our Iraq strategy, as I always have been and remain ambivalent on that.

If you're going to frame another poster like that, then best be prepared to back it up.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:54 PM   #402
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The fact is... most people in this forum wanted all US combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.
The fact is you're wrong. I certainly didn't ever advocate removing all troops by a certain date. Irvine certainly didn't. As you no doubt learned by now, yolland certainly didn't. In fact, I can't recall any regular poster here stating that they wanted all US combat brigades out by March 31, 2008. If I can't recall anyone who matches your premise, and you can't cite any specific examples that match your premise, then I'm inclined to believe that your premise is wrong.

Irvine is right - you're fabricating a position and rebutting it.
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:07 PM   #403
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The only thread I ever started on Iraq was back in September 2005, in which I posted without comment a news roundup from the Christian Science Monitor about foreign fighters in Iraq. No one responded to it.

The only post I can find that even remotely resembles what you're describing is one from near the end of a long, general-discussion Iraq thread, in which I posted a news article about the then-newly announced 'surge.' My only comment, citing a link to a related story (whose text I did not post), was:

Nice piece of work getting out of that I "started a thread about ways the Democratic congress could force the Bush administration to immediately start withdrawing troops" as part of my allegedly being part of this "most people in FYM" who "have been advocates of withdrawal for some time." It would certainly be news to me if I ever at any point "advocated for" an immediate withdrawal, or for that matter any other stance on how best to manage our Iraq strategy, as I always have been and remain ambivalent on that.

If you're going to frame another poster like that, then best be prepared to back it up.

Well, maybe I have you confused with someone else. I was just recalling something from memory. Have you ever done that before?
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:26 PM   #404
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Well, maybe I have you confused with someone else. I was just recalling something from memory. Have you ever done that before?
His name is Barack, not "Barrack". If you start fact checking your posts rather then hurling confused accusations, you should probably try learning his name, too.
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:29 PM   #405
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The fact is you're wrong. I certainly didn't ever advocate removing all troops by a certain date. Irvine certainly didn't. As you no doubt learned by now, yolland certainly didn't. In fact, I can't recall any regular poster here stating that they wanted all US combat brigades out by March 31, 2008. If I can't recall anyone who matches your premise, and you can't cite any specific examples that match your premise, then I'm inclined to believe that your premise is wrong.

Irvine is right - you're fabricating a position and rebutting it.
I never said that Yolland did that. I thought that Yolland had either started or at least discussed ways that the Democratic Congress could through the legislative process start withdrawing US troops despite Bush's opposition to any such withdrawal at that time.

As for yourself, and Irvine, if you supported Barrack Obama's policy position on Iraq, then its not a stretch to say you supported having all US combat brigades out of Iraq by March 31, 2008 since that was a key part of Barrack Obama's plan on Iraq. If you went to any rally's calling for the United States to withdraw, start withdrawing immediately, or to be out by a certain date, is it to much of a stretch to say that you also supported that idea as well? I did see a post by Dreadsox all the way back in August of 2003 specifically calling for the troops to come home, although this may have just been more of a general feeling rather than a genuine policy proposal.

Listen, if you were always for the surge, and only withdrawing US troops when conditions on the ground were stable enough to do so and the Iraqi military was ready to handle things on their own, I guess I made a mistake. I didn't think you supported Bush administration policy on Iraq. I thought your position on Iraq was closer to Moveon.org, Murtha, Obama, or Code Pink than George Bush.

I'm happy that you and Irvine are opposed to any sort of timetable on Iraq and fully support the presence of US combat brigades within Iraq as long as it is necessary for the security and the stability of Iraq.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure Irvine was for moving all US troops into Kurdistan and dividing Iraq into 3 states. If he is not for that anymore, thats good too.
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