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Old 07-11-2008, 11:53 AM   #541
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Obama's real problem with the Iraq issue

WASHINGTON - The presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama, opted to update a dated position: "When I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information, and will continue to refine my policies," he said. This is an appropriate approach, which is only stained by his previous approach - a groundless promise to bring the U.S. forces home within a year and a half after his election.

There are four options: Obama did not seriously mean his promise for a withdrawal, or he is now not being serious, or he was originally mistaken in his assessment of the situation and the desired resolution, or he is wrong now. In any case, we must be glad that Obama is a candidate who is capable of changing his view on a position whose time has past.

Maybe he did it because he recognized that his stance is not "politically" acceptable, in view of the operational successes of U.S. forces - after American voters noticed that bolstering the number of troops on the ground works. Maybe he understood that it is not "diplomatically" reasonable; from the onset, it had not been clear how he intended to suddenly get up and leave Iraq. In any case, he did something that every president must do, and that most do: He looked at the reality and changed his position.

The storm that broke out after his statements was expected: This is an election year. The skepticism is also understood: Who can guarantee that Obama will not change his mind again? On the other hand, the alternative - sticking to a policy whose foundations have collapsed - is much worse. When he visits Iraq during the second half of the month - when he will also visit Israel - Obama will be able to complete the correction: I came, I listened, I was updated, I formulated the right policy at this time.

In any case, John McCain's campaign is already attacking Obama. "You see," they say, "McCain was right in his initial diagnosis, and you were wrong." That is a correct claim. Obama will then present his diagnostic rebuttal with his earlier position: The war in Iraq should not have taken place in the first place. Most of the American public agrees, even if it has been convinced that in light of the terrible circumstances, bolstering the ground forces was the right thing at the time.

The second argument raised by McCain's supporters is more problematic, in view of the alternative mentioned above: Obama is a "flip-flopper," he is not consistent. During the 2004 elections, most of the voters thought that Democratic candidate John Kerry was inclined to this sort of inconsistency, and two-thirds thought that George W. Bush was the candidate who would not alter his views because of fluctuating political circumstances.

This was one of the reasons why Bush beat Kerry. Perhaps this is also the reason for Kerry's automatic response when he heard similar charges on the issue of Iraq being directed against Obama, whom he supports: "But it is no change whatsoever in [Obama's] fundamental determination to end the war."

This may be true, but, as they say, that is not the point. McCain will also gladly end the war if and when the results he desires are achieved. There was certainly a change in Obama's stance - for the better. It could be that Kerry is finding it difficult to come to terms with this change.

Obama's true problem in this context is neither from the right, which is going to find it difficult to back him under any circumstances, nor from the center, which understands that circumstances change and require political flexibility (alas, a CNN poll found that nearly 60 percent of the voters believe that both McCain and Obama changed their views on various issues because of political reasons, and will still give them their vote).

Obama's problem in the context of Iraq is with his more enthusiastic supporters: the liberals, the believers, the young. The ones who thought that Obama will really meet with the Iranian president unconditionally (his advisers have for weeks now been saying that there will be "preparations" necessary for such a meeting, meaning, conditions); those who believed that he, alone, will change Washington, or will put an end to global warming, or that he holds the magic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There are also those who still believe that Obama can make fundamental and lasting changes regarding America's image in the world, merely by being elected. And there are those who thought that Obama would simply leave Iraq, one bright day, simply because they have had it with that country and that war. To all those, Obama is now doing a great service: He is reeducating them, drawing them down to the ground of reality. Like every politician, much of what he promises he will not be able to fulfill. And there are also promises that he will not wish to keep.
Obama's real problem with the Iraq issue - Haaretz - Israel News
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:35 PM   #542
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Sting, I moved your post about tax policy to Dread's economic issues thread because I think it'd be better served there.
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Old 07-11-2008, 03:33 PM   #543
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very, very interesting ...

Quote:
Hagel to Join Obama on Iraq Trip


The buzz this week that Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is planning to join Sen. Barack Obama on an up-coming visit to Iraq is correct, two sources with knowledge of the trip confirmed Friday.

A spokesman for Sen. Obama declined to comment on any details or even confirm the date uncertain trip, citing security concerns. A spokesman for Sen. Hagel did not respond to requests for comment.

While it is standard practice for such trips—known as CODELS, or congressional delegations—to be bipartisan, in this highly charged election year it is likely to raise eyebrows that the retiring Nebraskan senator—a prominent Iraq War critic—is the Republican expected to join the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee on what is sure to be a closely watched visit to the region.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Sen. Hagel has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race, and he has offered kind words for both Obama and Republican rival Sen. John McCain, although the two Republicans differ greatly on the war.

Hagel’s name has also been mentioned in the chatter over Obama’s running mate—he told the Associated Press in June that he would consider a vice presidential invitation, although he conceded such an offer is unlikely. Hagel has also been discussed as a speculative candidate for a Cabinet post if Obama is elected in November.

Republicans have sought to make an issue of Obama’s scarcity of visits to Iraq a campaign issue—the Illinois senator has not visited Iraq since Jan. 2006. The Republican National Committee’s Web site features a clock counting down the days—915 current—since his last visit. Sen. McCain, in contrast, has made eight trips since the war began in 2003.

A vocal critic of both the Iraq War and the Bush administration, Hagel mulled a run for the White House last year, but opted out of the race. He announced he was retiring from the U.S. Senate in Sept. 2007.

In a Tuesday interview with MSNBC, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod also offered kind words for the Nebraska senator. “Sen. Hagel, I think, has been very courageous in speaking out on this issue of Iraq and the misguided policies that we’ve had from the beginning.” Axelrod declined to comment when asked then if Hagel would join Obama on the Iraq visit.

Hagel’s potential bipartisan alliance with Obama would be an interesting contrast to the relationship shared by McCain and 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Lieberman is supporting McCain in the White House campaign because of their mutual support of the ongoing war and like-mindedness on foreign policy and national security matters. Lieberman traveled with McCain on his most recent visit to Iraq in March.


perhaps this should be in the VP thread?
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:47 PM   #544
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he needs a tutor.

will he be able to get enough cramming in
before his oral exams? (the debates)
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:04 PM   #545
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I thought CODELS were actually required by law to be bipartisan?

Feels more like a PR coup than a brazen VP-pick hint to me, but, no doubt that will up the buzz on Hagel at least.



Quote:
For Obama, McCain, varied paths on women's issues

by LIZ SIDOTI and CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press, July 10


NEW YORK — It's women's week on the presidential campaign trail, judging from the attention that Barack Obama and John McCain are lavishing on female voters and issues especially important to them.

Obama, campaigning here Thursday with former Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized McCain's opposition to an equal-pay Senate bill, his support for conservative-leaning Supreme Court justices and his abortion-rights objections.

McCain, the Republican from Arizona, planned a similar day Friday when he will meet with female business owners in Minnesota and then hold a women-oriented town-hall meeting in Wisconsin. Asked about women in an interview this week, McCain said he wants to "make sure that any barriers to their advancement are eliminated."

Obama makes similar remarks, but the two differ sharply on their approach to several key issues. Obama would require employers to expand family and medical leave, for example, while McCain said Thursday it should "be subject to negotiations between management and labor...Senator Obama believes that big government is the answer," he said.

Women, who tend to make their choices somewhat later than men in presidential races according to some surveys, have been a coveted group for decades. Previous elections have focused on "soccer moms" and "security moms," for instance. Women have leaned Democratic in recent elections, while men have tilted Republican. The width of the "gender gap" can determine which party wins the White House. Obama led McCain among women, 42% to 37%, in an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll conducted in June. McCain would be happy to stay that close, because President Bush narrowly defeated Democrat Al Gore in 2000 while losing women by a larger margin: 54% to 43%. In 2004, John Kerry won 51% of the female vote, to Bush's 48%.

Obama's campaign is largely directed at younger, single, well-educated women, many of whom support abortion rights and want the same pay and opportunities that men have in the workplace. His biggest hurdle, for now at least, may lie in his own party: placating Democratic women who backed Clinton and felt she was treated unfairly by the news media or even Obama himself. Since defeating Clinton in the primaries, Obama's strategy has been to praise her heavily at nearly every stop, and to draw as sharp a distinction as possible with McCain on key issues.

McCain, who calls himself a "proud conservative," takes a much more hands-off approach to most regulatory issues, making it easy for opponents to accuse him of not using the government's powers to help struggling women. They point, for example, to his vote against a Senate amendment that would have required insurance companies to cover birth control products. Many insurers cover products such as Viagra, prompting cries of unfair treatment by some women's groups.

Asked this week what he could do to attract more female voters, McCain said: "I don't have a specific policy at the moment, except to, again, I think my support of small business and the fact that I will not raise people's taxes. One of the greatest areas of participation of women in America is small business."

The two candidates differ sharply on abortion rights, which McCain has long opposed. Obama says McCain would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision affirming a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. "Senator McCain has made it abundantly clear that he wants to appoint justices like (John) Roberts and (Samuel) Alito," Obama said Thursday. "And that he hopes to see Roe overturned."
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:04 PM   #546
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Originally Posted by deep View Post
he needs a tutor.

will he be able to get enough cramming in
before his oral exams? (the debates)



no. he won't. it's going to be a disaster.

Obama knows nothing about the world and isn't a quick study. Hagel will have his work cut out for him, and it's an impossible task, someone trying to teach Barack Obama beans about how the world works and how complex it truly is (this is a Republican specialty -- recognizing complexity). no man could do it in the time Hagel has. Obama will come back and be ill-prepared for the debates. McCain will embarrass him with his felicity with the facts and impressive grasp of history and nuance. he'll be able to capitalize on the small, reversible improvements of late in Iraq, while effectively distancing himself from GWB. Obama will stutter and sputter and will mix Sunnis up with Shiites. he'll perform poorly in front of small, tepid European crowds and he'll speak (poorly, natch) to barely 5,000 people at Mile High Stadium after the convention. McCain will jump out to a 15 point lead and Obama will look confused, like a deer in headlights, wondering what just hit him and asking himself why he was so audacious to think that a mere child like himself was capable of even pretending to think that he was somehow capable of ascending to the most powerful office in the world. in fact, after the debates, so outclassed, outsmarted, outperformed will he be by the silver tongue and steel trap mind of John McCain, Obama will simply concede the presidency to the triumphant, dashing John McCain and he'll start to campaign on his behalf. what looks like crushing defeats in both the House and the Senate will turn into gained seats for the GOP.

and all because of that slow study, that silly naif, that delusional Negro, that Barack Obama.

is that what you want to hear?
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:15 PM   #547
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
no. he won't. it's going to be a disaster.

Obama knows nothing about the world and isn't a quick study. Hagel will have his work cut out for him, and it's an impossible task, someone trying to teach Barack Obama beans about how the world works and how complex it truly is (this is a Republican specialty -- recognizing complexity). no man could do it in the time Hagel has. Obama will come back and be ill-prepared for the debates. McCain will embarrass him with his felicity with the facts and impressive grasp of history and nuance. he'll be able to capitalize on the small, reversible improvements of late in Iraq, while effectively distancing himself from GWB. Obama will stutter and sputter and will mix Sunnis up with Shiites. he'll perform poorly in front of small, tepid European crowds and he'll speak (poorly, natch) to barely 5,000 people at Mile High Stadium after the convention. McCain will jump out to a 15 point lead and Obama will look confused, like a deer in headlights, wondering what just hit him and asking himself why he was so audacious to think that a mere child like himself was capable of even pretending to think that he was somehow capable of ascending to the most powerful office in the world. in fact, after the debates, so outclassed, outsmarted, outperformed will he be by the silver tongue and steel trap mind of John McCain, Obama will simply concede the presidency to the triumphant, dashing John McCain and he'll start to campaign on his behalf. what looks like crushing defeats in both the House and the Senate will turn into gained seats for the GOP.

and all because of that slow study, that silly naif, that delusional Negro, that Barack Obama.

is that what you want to hear?
not really

and reading it one time
it was offensive

I think Obama is proving to be a 'quick' study.

and elections are about "perceptions".

McCain seems to have his best lead in the "national security", "experience" categories.

and that is where Obama is weakest, again these are what polls suggest the perceptions are.

For Obama to 'orchestrate' the perception that he is getting 'up to speed' on these issues will improve his chances for success, which are already very good.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:17 PM   #548
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
no. he won't. it's going to be a disaster.

Obama knows nothing about the world and isn't a quick study. Hagel will have his work cut out for him, and it's an impossible task, someone trying to teach Barack Obama beans about how the world works and how complex it truly is (this is a Republican specialty -- recognizing complexity). no man could do it in the time Hagel has. Obama will come back and be ill-prepared for the debates. McCain will embarrass him with his felicity with the facts and impressive grasp of history and nuance. he'll be able to capitalize on the small, reversible improvements of late in Iraq, while effectively distancing himself from GWB. Obama will stutter and sputter and will mix Sunnis up with Shiites. he'll perform poorly in front of small, tepid European crowds and he'll speak (poorly, natch) to barely 5,000 people at Mile High Stadium after the convention. McCain will jump out to a 15 point lead and Obama will look confused, like a deer in headlights, wondering what just hit him and asking himself why he was so audacious to think that a mere child like himself was capable of even pretending to think that he was somehow capable of ascending to the most powerful office in the world. in fact, after the debates, so outclassed, outsmarted, outperformed will he be by the silver tongue and steel trap mind of John McCain, Obama will simply concede the presidency to the triumphant, dashing John McCain and he'll start to campaign on his behalf. what looks like crushing defeats in both the House and the Senate will turn into gained seats for the GOP.

and all because of that slow study, that silly naif, that delusional Negro, that Barack Obama.

is that what you want to hear?
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:04 PM   #549
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he'll be able to capitalize on the small, reversible improvements of late in Iraq
With US military deaths in Iraq down 63%, Iraqi deaths down 70%, in the first 6 months of 2008, from where they were in the first 6 months of 2007, your going to refer to that as a "small improvement"?
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:03 PM   #550
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With US military deaths in Iraq down 63%, Iraqi deaths down 70%, in the first 6 months of 2008, from where they were in the first 6 months of 2007, your going to refer to that as a "small improvement"?
The most important adjective he used there was "reversible."
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:09 PM   #551
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Originally Posted by phillyfan26 View Post
The most important adjective he used there was "reversible."
Man, you're an assmunch.
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:36 PM   #552
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deep View Post
not really

and reading it one time
it was offensive

I think Obama is proving to be a 'quick' study.

and elections are about "perceptions".

McCain seems to have his best lead in the "national security", "experience" categories.

and that is where Obama is weakest, again these are what polls suggest the perceptions are.

For Obama to 'orchestrate' the perception that he is getting 'up to speed' on these issues will improve his chances for success, which are already very good.



i'm sorry you were offended,

but i did mean some (ironic but mild) offense

because i don't think you're aware

just how patronizing you come off
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:40 PM   #553
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Originally Posted by phillyfan26 View Post
The most important adjective he used there was "reversible."


the other thing to note is that the goal of the surge wasn't the reduction of violence, it was the creation of enough stability for there to be real, measured political process on the ground.

there has been some small, reversible progress.

i am encouraged by Maliki's demanding of a timetable.

though some believe that his insistence on a hard out date for US forces is motivated by none other than Blackwater, and their immunity from any sort of law or oversight and Maliki's overall apprehension at the privitization of the reconstruction of iraq.
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Old 07-12-2008, 01:46 PM   #554
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the other thing to note is that the goal of the surge wasn't the reduction of violence, it was the creation of enough stability for there to be real, measured political process on the ground.

there has been some small, reversible progress.

i am encouraged by Maliki's demanding of a timetable.

though some believe that his insistence on a hard out date for US forces is motivated by none other than Blackwater, and their immunity from any sort of law or oversight and Maliki's overall apprehension at the privitization of the reconstruction of iraq.
Well, then why in an interview on January 10, 2007 did Barack Obama make the claim that the Surge would not reduce violence but would actually make it worse?

The #1 goal in any violent destabilized country is the reduction of violence because without a reduction in violence, its almost impossible for political and economic progress to be made.

On the political front, 15 of the 18 benchmarks that congress set for the Iraqi government are close to completion. On the other 3, Security forces like the military have made enormous progress while the Police force is still a far behind. The Iraqi military has conducted military operations largely independent of the US military on a scale that only 2 years ago most would have thought impossible. While and Iraqi oil law has yet to be signed, oil revenue is being distributed to all the provinces. While the all the Militia's have not been disarmed, most have largely retreated from the scene and have been removed from many of their base area's of support such as area's in Basra and even Sadr City in Baghdad.

There is nothing small about the political progress that has been made and it continues. Barack Obama and most Democrats said the surge could not make it happen, and they have been proven wrong.
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Old 07-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #555
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Here is what US military officers on the ground in Iraq currently have to say about Obama's withdrawal plans.


Quote:
Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Plan May Prove Difficult
U.S. Commanders in Iraq Warn of Security Dangers, See Logistical Nightmare

By MARTHA RADDATZ
July 11, 2008

Whatever nuance Barack Obama is now adding to his Iraq withdrawal strategy, the core plan on his Web site is as plain as day: Obama would "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."

It is a plan that, no doubt, helped Obama get his party's nomination, but one that may prove difficult if he is elected president.


Sustainable Security
Military personnel in Iraq are following the presidential race closely, especially when it comes to Iraq.

The soldiers and commanders we spoke to will not engage in political conversation or talk about any particular candidate, but they had some strong opinions about the military mission which they are trying to accomplish, and the dramatic security gains they have made in the past few months.

We spent a day with Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond in Sadr City. He is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, which is responsible for Baghdad. Hammond will likely be one of the commanders who briefs Barack Obama when he visits Iraq.

"We still have a ways to go. Number one, we're working on security and it's very encouraging, that's true, but what we're really trying to achieve here is sustainable security on Iraqi terms. So, I think my first response to that would be let's look at the conditions. "Instead of any time-based approach to any decision for withdrawal, it's got to be conditions-based, with the starting point being an intelligence analysis of what might be here today, and what might lie ahead in the future. I still think we still have work that remains to be done before I can really answer that question," Hammond said when asked how he would feel about an order to start drawing down two combat brigades a month.

Asked if he considered it dangerous to pull out if the withdrawal is not based on "conditions," Hammond said, "It's very dangerous. I'll speak for the coalition forces, men and women of character and moral courage; we have a mission, and it's not until the mission is done that I can look my leader in the eye and say, 'Sir, Ma'am, mission accomplished,' and I think it is dangerous to leave anything a little early."



That phrase, "sustainable security," is something you hear a lot in Iraq. Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is the operational commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq, says he has seen things improve significantly here.

As for Obama's stated plan to bring home the troops within 16 months, Austin said, "I'd have to see the entire plan. I'd have to understand the strategic objectives of the leadership, and based on those strategic objectives, come up with operational objectives. It's very difficult to comment on one way or the other, whether one plan would work or one plan wouldn't work.

Right now, we are helping the Iraqis achieve sustainable security, and helping them to increase the capability of the Iraqi security forces, and we are making great progress along those lines."
On the streets of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber had struck just days before, Capt. Josh West told us he wants to finish the mission, and that any further drawdown has to be based on conditions on the ground.

"If we pull out of here too early, it's going to establish a vacuum of power that violent criminal groups will be able to fill once we leave," West said.



Capt. Jeremy Ussery, a West Point graduate on his third deployment, pointed to his heavy body armor as we walked in the 120-degree heat, saying, "The same people keep coming back because we want to see Iraq succeed, that's what we want. I don't want my kids, that hopefully will join the military, my notional children, to have to come back to Iraq 30 years from now and wear this."

But Ussery added, "You can't put a timetable on it -- it's events-based."

Logistics
Success on the battlefield is not the only complication with Obama's plan.

Physically removing the combat brigades within that kind of time frame would be difficult, as well.

The military has been redeploying troops for years, and Maj. Gen. Charles Anderson, who would help with the withdrawal, told us as we toured Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, "We have the capacity to do a minimum of two-and-a-half brigade combat teams a month -- can we expand that capacity? Sure. Can we accelerate? It depends. It depends on the amount of equipment that we bring back. And it's going to depend on how fast we bring them out."

It is the equipment that is the real problem.

In the kind of redeployment that Anderson is talking about, the troops head home, but much of their equipment stays behind. Two combat brigades means up to 1,200 humvees in addition to thousands of other pieces of equipment, like trucks, fuelers, tankers and helicopters.

And 90 percent of the equipment would have to be moved by ground through the Iraqi war zone, to the port in Kuwait, where it must all be cleaned and inspected and prepared for shipment. This is a place with frequent dust storms, limited port facilities and limited numbers of wash racks.

While Anderson and his troops have a positive attitude, several commanders who looked at the Obama plan told ABC News, on background, that there was "no way" it could work logistically.

ABC News: Obama's Iraq Plan: Mission Impossible?
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