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Old 07-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #736
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It's just like when Bush bombed Libya and North Korea to get them to shut down their weapons programs...


i know! appeasement! talking to leaders of bad countries is appeasement! in our time!
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:56 PM   #737
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Associated Press, July 20

...While officially a part of a congressional delegation on a fact-finding tour expected to take him to Iraq, Obama arrived Saturday amid the publicity and scrutiny accorded a likely Democratic nominee for president rather than a senator from Illinois. Security was tight and media access to Obama was limited by his campaign; his itinerary in the war zones was a closely guarded secret. Obama and others in the delegation received a briefing inside the U.S. base in Jalalabad from the Afghan provincial governor of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai, a no-nonsense, bullish former warlord. "Obama promised us that if he becomes a president in the future, he will support and help Afghanistan not only in its security sector but also in reconstruction, development and economic sector," Sherzai told The Associated Press.

...The top U.S. commander in Iraq said Saturday that after intense U.S. assaults there, al-Qaida may be considering shifting focus to its original home base in Afghanistan, where American casualties are recently running higher than in Iraq. "We do think that there is some assessment ongoing as to the continued viability of al-Qaida's fight in Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus told The Associated Press in an interview in Baghdad.

Obama has expressed frustration with the efforts by Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan to go after militants in its territory. That stance may strike a chord with Karzai, who has directly accused Pakistan's intelligence service of supporting the Taliban insurgency by plotting bombings and other attacks in Afghanistan--claims that Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in its war on terror, flatly denies. But Obama has also chided Karzai and his government, saying it had "not gotten out of the bunker" and helped to organize the country or its political and security institutions.
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Old 07-20-2008, 02:35 AM   #738
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New York tax filers reporting more than $375,000 a year in earned income may end up paying nearly 60% of their wages in taxes to the government under a Barack Obama presidency, economists who have analyzed his plan said.

The Democratic presidential candidate is proposing not only raising the federal income tax, but also adding a Social Security tax for those Americans earning more than $250,000 a year. For New Yorkers, that could mean that if the current Social Security rate is applied, the marginal tax rate, or rate on every extra dollar earned, could rise to 58%.

"This is a very eye-popping number," a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Alan Viard, said.

Under current law, there is a 12.4% Social Security tax on salaries up to $102,000 a year. While the Social Security tax is split equally between employers and employees, economists widely hold that employees shoulder the entire tax burden because employers simply pass along the cost of the tax in the form of lower wages.

Mr. Obama has spoken of creating a so-called doughnut hole, where those earning more than $250,000 would have to pay an additional Social Security tax; anyone earning between $102,000 and $250,000 would be exempt.

Mr. Obama has yet to clarify what that additional Social Security tax will be, although his campaign said it is not likely to be as high as 12.4%. Rather, it said the tax is not likely to run higher than 4%, translating into a marginal tax on wages of as much as 52% for New Yorkers, who are subject to income tax at the federal, state, and city levels. The current marginal rate is 42%, which would continue under the McCain proposal. Full calculations of these figures are available in the slideshow accompanying this article.
Tax Rates For New Yorkers Would Top 50% Under Obama - July 18, 2008 - The New York Sun
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Old 07-20-2008, 04:29 AM   #739
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Just read, he will now hold his speech in front of the triumphal column. I know where I will spend my Thursday.
Can't wait what weird interpretations now will come up. Will he turn into a Nazi supporter?
What did I say? Just a few hours later politicians from the conservative CDU and the "liberal" (not in any way the kind of liberal you are thinking of, in fact not even liberal at all anymore) FDP were complaining about the spot being a relic of the Nazi time.
The triumphal column, set up by the stupids at the place where it is now, and away from the Reichstag, the German parliament, to remind the public of the successes of the 19th century and making little Fritz and Franz forget that we screwed up terribly (and rightly so) in the 20th century, is now located about two kilometers to the west from the Brandenburg Gate. Both are connected by the Straße des 17. Juni, where U2 shot parts of the Stay video. The name Straße des 17. Juni is meant to celebrate the workers uprising of June 17, 1953 in the former GDR.
No one ever gives a damn about the history of the "Goldliese", but suddenly it becomes an issue. It's such a shame.

Let's see other places he could try:
Tempelhof airport: Uh, built by the Nazis, and no, not holy enough for the place of the airlift.
Olympiastadion: Built by the Nazis, I'm sorry.
Bebelplatz: What, the Nazis burned books there!
Gendarmenmarkt: No specific history during the Nazi era, but they will find something. Maybe something about the March revolution of 1848.

Well, CDU and FDP, why not have the guts to say right away: "We don't want you to speak here"? At least, that would be honest and not as ridiculous as looking for some cheap excuses.
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:49 PM   #740
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The Democrats' Baghdad Two-Step


By Peter Hoekstra
Monday, July 21, 2008; Page A15


It's hard not to have heard about the positive developments in Iraq lately. On Friday, the White House announced that President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had reached agreement on a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last Wednesday that "security is unquestionably and remarkably better." Iraqi security forces recently took responsibility for a 10th province and expect to assume responsibility for all 18 of the country's provinces by year-end. There have been virtually no sectarian killings in 10 weeks. The Iraqi government has made important progress in political reconciliation. Regional neighbors are reestablishing embassies in Baghdad, and some of Iraq's creditors have begun to forgive the enormous debts incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.

How have Democrats reacted to these developments? Have they reveled in the news that U.S. casualties have plummeted? Have they praised the achievements for which our troops have fought so hard? Have they congratulated the Iraqi government for progress in political reconciliation?

Not exactly.

Last Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to ignore recent gains and instead criticized Bush and Maliki for pushing a "vague" plan to withdraw U.S. troops. Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual convention last month, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave major foreign policy speeches. Neither even mentioned Iraq. Last Tuesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, the leading foreign policy expert among Democrats in Congress, ignored the achievements made in Iraq and the importance of promoting stability there when he said: "If John [McCain] wants to know where the bad guys live, come back with me to Afghanistan. We know where they reside. And it's not in Iraq."

Why are the Democrats in denial about recent gains in Iraq? Unfortunately, it appears that they realize that progress is being made and want to change the subject to some other policy they can use to attack the president. Indeed, they are so opposed to acknowledging America's hard-won achievements that in a May 28 interview Pelosi credited "the goodwill of the Iranians" for "some of the success of the surge. . . . They decided in Basra when the fighting would end." As Sen. Joe Lieberman noted in a speech last year, "Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus's new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq."

Over the past few years, Pelosi and Reid have taken full advantage of every piece of bad news in Iraq to attack the Bush administration. Whenever American fatalities went up or there were major terrorist attacks, they ran to microphones to denounce the war as a hopeless failure. Al-Qaeda took a similar approach, issuing audio and video messages from Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, statements that threatened more U.S. casualties and described their plans to drive America from Iraq so they could make it the center of their crazed fantasy of creating a radical Islamic global caliphate.

Sen. Barack Obama's (current) position on Iraq is hard to nail down. He still favors the same arbitrary 16-month withdrawal timetable he promoted when violence in Iraq was at a high point. After insisting for months that the troop surge was doomed to fail, Obama now credits it with some security improvements while simultaneously claiming in a speech last week that the surge did not meet all of its benchmarks and was too expensive. Setting aside Obama's verbal acrobatics on Iraq, his campaign was caught last week trying to purge his earlier harsh criticism of the surge from its Web site.

This is no time for our elected leaders to play games about the successes and challenges in Iraq. Our troops and the Iraqi people need and deserve the recognition and support of all U.S. elected officials for their efforts to stabilize that country. They need to know that we are with them and do not want them to fail.

While there is much still to be done in Iraq, recent events give many reasons for hope. Rather than always focusing on the negative of one front in the battle against radical jihadists, Democratic congressional leaders need to acknowledge success, highlight challenges and lay out a comprehensive long-term strategy to confront, contain and ultimately defeat the threat facing America. Our country cannot be led by naysayers who slide from issue to issue. The responsibilities of leadership go far beyond what Democrats in Congress are demonstrating today.

The writer, a representative from Michigan, is the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
washingtonpost.com
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:39 PM   #741
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Borowitz Report

In a daring bid to wrench attention from his Democratic rival in the 2008 presidential race, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) today embarked on an historic first-ever visit to the Internet.

Given that the Arizona Republican had never logged onto the Internet before, advisors acknowledged that his first visit to the World Wide Web was fraught with risk.

But with his Democratic rival Barack Obama making headlines with his tour of the Middle East and Europe, the McCain campaign felt that they needed to "come up with something equally bold for John to do," according to one advisor.

McCain aides said that the senator's journey to the Internet will span five days and will take him to such far-flung sites as Amazon.com, eBay and Facebook.

With a press retinue watching, Sen. McCain logged onto the Internet at 9:00 AM Sunday, paying his first-ever visit ever to Mapquest.com.

"I can't get this [expletive] thing to work," Sen. McCain said as he struggled with his computer's mouse, causing his wife Cindy to prompt him to add that he was "just kidding."

Having pronounced his visit to Mapquest a success, Sen. McCain continued his tour by visiting Weather.com and Yahoo! Answers, where he inquired as to the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

Sen. McCain said that he had embarked on his visit to the Internet to allay any fears that he is too out-of-touch to be president, adding that he plans to take additional steps to demonstrate that he is comfortable with today's technology: "In the days and weeks ahead, you will be seeing me rock out with my new Walkman."
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:49 PM   #742
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Barack Obama, Iraqi leader Nouri Maliki appear to be on the same page

John McCain's campaign could not have seen this coming -- the presumptive Republican presidential nominee forced on the defensive by, of all people, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

Presumptive Democratic presdiential nominee Barack Obama met today with Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki Much as McCain and his staff wanted to hammer home their view that Barack Obama is clueless about Iraq, Maliki seemingly gave the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a big dose of credibility when word surfaced over the weekend that, as quoted by the German magazine Der Spiegel, he said he would like to see U.S. troops leave his country "as soon as possible."

Maliki, Der Spiegel reported, went on to say: "U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”

Maliki's office, suddenly finding him thrust smack in the middle of the U.S. campaign, issued a somewhat half-hearted demurral, insisting something got lost in the translation of what he said.

But an audio recording of his comment, vetted by the New Times, showed that Der Spiegel essentially got it right. And in the initial readout from Obama's visit today with Maliki in Baghdad, the Associated Press reported that the Iraqi government would like to see American combat units gone at some point in 2010 -- a timeframe, the story noted, that "falls within the 16-month withdrawal plan proposed by Obama."

McCain, during a round-robin set of appearances this morning on the major morning talk shows, did his best to try to change the subject by focusing on how wrong, in his view, Obama was for opposing the U.S. troop surge in Iraq last year, which has been widely credited with restoring a semblance of security there.

On ABC's "Good Morning America," for instance, McCain chided Obama for a "fundamental misjudgment" on the surge. And on NBC’s “Today” show, he said his rival "badly misjudged" what was needed in Iraq.

McCain, though, did not escape unscathed during his interview sessions. In a verbal flub that will spark renewed recollections of his Shiite/Sunni miscue earlier this year while he was visiting the Middle East, he erroneously reconfigured the map of the world.

Asked on ABC about the uptick in violence by Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, he replied: "We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

Iraq borders several nations, but Pakistan is not among them -- looming between the two is Iran. (Pakistan's neighbors, however, include Afghanistan).

The Note, ABC's daily political summary, opined that by "appearing to confuse Iraq and Afghanistan" McCain ended up committing "the first big gaffe" since Obama embarked on his overseas trip amid much speculation about mistakes he might make.


-- Don Frederick


wow, now even Maliki is following Obama's lead on Iraq, just like McCain and Bush.

it's quite interesting for McCain to speak as if he knows what's best for Iraq -- the ultra-vague "conditions on the ground" serving as a draw-out sort of Gulf of Tonkin justification for 100, 1000, whatever, year occupation -- when the country's own democratically elected president quite clearly disagrees with the Senator. as they stand up, we stand down, yes? Maliki's asking us to stand down by 2010. you know, about 16 months from Obama's inauguration.

(as an aside, "conditions on the ground" also serves as some sort of arbitrary, never defined "distinction" that McCain is clinging to in order to try to distinguish his plan for Iraq that's becoming difficult to distinguish from Obama's)

McCain can continue to claim that he knows better what's best for the Iraqis than their own president, but at his own peril.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:53 PM   #743
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wow, now even Maliki is following Obama's lead on Iraq, just like McCain and Bush.

it's quite interesting for McCain to speak as if he knows what's best for Iraq -- the ultra-vague "conditions on the ground" serving as a draw-out sort of Gulf of Tonkin justification for 100, 1000, whatever, year occupation -- when the country's own democratically elected president quite clearly disagrees with the Senator. as they stand up, we stand down, yes? Maliki's asking us to stand down by 2010. you know, about 16 months from Obama's inauguration.

(as an aside, "conditions on the ground" also serves as some sort of arbitrary, never defined "distinction" that McCain is clinging to in order to try to distinguish his plan for Iraq that's becoming difficult to distinguish from Obama's)

McCain can continue to claim that he knows better what's best for the Iraqis than their own president, but at his own peril.

Here is what McCain said on the record in 2004 before the Council on Foreign Relations

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Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain in a 2004 Council on Foreign Relations discussion said that he would support Americans leaving Iraq if the Iraqi government were not run by extremists and Americans were asked to leave by it.

Asked, "What would or should we do if ... a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there?" McCain replied, "I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because -- if it was an elected government of Iraq -- and we've been asked to leave other places in the world.... I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people."
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:13 PM   #744
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Here is what McCain said on the record in 2004 before the Council on Foreign Relations


not to worry, McCain knows what it is Iraq really wants, and needs ...

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Vieira: "Senator Obama's timetable of removing U.S. troops from Iraq within that 16-month period seemed to be getting a thumbs up by the Iraqi prime minister when he called it 'the right timeframe for a withdrawal.' He has backed off that somewhat, but the Iraqis have not stopped using the word timetable, so if the Iraqi government were to say -- if you were President -- we want a timetable for troops being to removed, would you agree with that?"

McCain: "I have been there too many times. I've met too many times with him, and I know what they want. They want it based on conditions and of course they would like to have us out, that's what happens when you win wars, you leave. We may have a residual presence there as even Senator Obama has admitted. But the fact is that it should be -- the agreement between Prime Minister Maliki, the Iraqi government and the United states is it will be based on conditions. This is a great success, but it's fragile, and could be reversed very easily. I think we should trust the word of General Petraeus who has orchestrated this dramatic turnaround. And by the way, we would have been out last march if Senator Obama's original wish would have been called for. Not 16 months from now, but last March. He was wrong on the surge, he was wrong today when he says it didn't succeed. And obviously we have challenges in Afghanistan which will require more troops and more NATO participation, but we can win. If we had lost in Iraq, we would have risked a much wider war that would have put enormous challenges and burdens on our military."


for some reason, McCain's rape joke a few pages back takes on new dimensions of meaning.
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:52 PM   #745
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wow, now even Maliki is following Obama's lead on Iraq, just like McCain and Bush.
I don't recall Maliki, McCain or Bush insisting that US combat brigades be withdrawn by 2010 without any prerequisites to be met by the Iraqi military or without any regard for the security conditions on the ground.


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the ultra-vague "conditions on the ground" serving as a draw-out sort of Gulf of Tonkin justification for 100, 1000, whatever, year occupation
There is nothing vague about it. There are specific levels of capability that the Iraqi military must meet before US combat brigades are withdrawn. There are specific political benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. In terms of the security enviroment there are specific targets in terms of number of attacks, casualties etc. On economics, there are all kinds of indicators that are important and impacted by the United States involvement.

The United States reduced its presence on the ground in Bosnia and Kosovo over time as conditions there warrented it, and that is exactly the same strategy that Bush, McCain, the US military and the Iraqi government are pursuing, and the strategy that Barack Obama has been consistently opposed to.

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when the country's own democratically elected president quite clearly disagrees with the Senator. as they stand up, we stand down, yes? Maliki's asking us to stand down by 2010. you know, about 16 months from Obama's inauguration.
Maliki is the Prime Minister, Jalal Talabani is the president.

Maliki said that he would like to see the United States be able to withdraw all its combat brigades from Iraq by 2010, but he does not demand it like Obama. More importantly, the Iraqi government, Bush, McCain, and the US military all insist on tying any withdrawal of any US combat brigades to the capability of the Iraqi military and conditions on the ground in Iraq.

The only disagreement here is Obama's disagreement with the Iraqi government, Bush, McCain and the US military that any US withdrawal of combat brigades from Iraq must be directly tied to improving conditions on the ground and the capability of the Iraqi military.



Quote:
(as an aside, "conditions on the ground" also serves as some sort of arbitrary, never defined "distinction" that McCain is clinging to in order to try to distinguish his plan for Iraq that's becoming difficult to distinguish from Obama's)
The plan that Bush, McCain, the US military, and the Iraqi government have always had, has always tied ANY withdrawal of US combat brigades from Iraq to the conditions on the ground, which is not at all vague but involves multiple factors impacting the development of the Iraqi military, government, economy, and the security situation on the ground. Its the same criteria that the United States used to draw down forces in Bosnia and Kosovo.



By the way, do you still claim that the Surge will not work, and won't reduce the sectarian violence? Do you still claim the Iraq war is lost? Do you still claim that the Iraq war is a "Civil War"? Do you still claim that US troops are making that "Civil War" worse?

Whats Obama's withdrawal timetable for Afghanistan?
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:10 PM   #746
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I don't recall Maliki, McCain or Bush insisting that US combat brigades be withdrawn by 2010 without any prerequisites to be met by the Iraqi military or without any regard for the security conditions on the ground.
Y'know, it doesn't do you any good to hold onto this prerequisities/conditions on the ground line when it's not even true. But I know how much you like message consistency, so it doesn't surprise me.
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:17 PM   #747
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The only disagreement here is Obama's disagreement with the Iraqi government, Bush, McCain and the US military that any US withdrawal of combat brigades from Iraq must be directly tied to improving conditions on the ground and the capability of the Iraqi military.



is this really your position? are you really saying this? because you know that you're saying it and not Obama? that you're fabricating words and putting them in his mouth? because it's the only way that you can fabricate the position that *Obama* is in disagreement with the Iraqi government, after they've endorsed Obama's plan? are you really going to continue to pretend that Obama is as inflexible as Bush? are you going to deny that this isn't a timetable? that a "time horizon" isn't just a fancy name for a timetable?





Quote:
By the way, do you still claim that the Surge will not work, and won't reduce the sectarian violence? Do you still claim the Iraq war is lost? Do you still claim that the Iraq war is a "Civil War"? Do you still claim that US troops are making that "Civil War" worse?

ah yes, the surge. i do owe a long post on this.

we had a Civil War in Iraq. we had the ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis from Baghdad. we had 4 million refugees. we've had unimaginable bloodshed. we've had the introduction of Al Qaeda, religious extremism, and suicide bombing into Iraq when it never existed before.

Iraq is more violent today than it was when Obama last visited in early 2006.

however, if you're going to run on the small successes of The Surge and not admit that the entire operation has been a mistake and a catastrophe, then you might as well just give Obama the White House keys.

it's amazing, but it seems McCain is going to run on "the Surge." he's going to say that he was right about "the Surge," and that Obama was wrong.

lots of luck. Obama is going to say that he was right about the Iraq War itself, and that McCain was wrong. and McCain's been forced to concede on the Obama/Maliki timetable. after all, "when they stand up, we'll stand down." but not until we say so?

so what's left for you Sting? are you going to endorse a timetable for withdrawal (which you say will bring the apocalypse upon the the Surge-made-Shangri-La) and admit that Obama was right (and admit that his judgment is sound) or are you going to deliberately ignore the explicit, expressed wish of the Iraqi government in order to prolong a war that most Americans and their government admits was a colossal mistake?


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Whats Obama's withdrawal timetable for Afghanistan?
it all depends on what happens on the Iraq/Pakistani border.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:06 PM   #748
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Any chance Sting could post an article that ISN'T an obviuosly biased anti-Democrat diatribe? All we get are these over-the-top op-ed pieces that we're supposed to take as reliable sources of news.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:09 PM   #749
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The only disagreement here is Obama's disagreement with the Iraqi government
Wow. Bold move! Let's just say that Obama and the Iraqi government are in disagreement in the face of dozens of news reports to the contrary. . .I mean why not. Perhaps the Iraqi government THINKS they agree with Obama but in fact really doesn't. Yeah, that's the ticket. . .
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:43 PM   #750
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Well if anything should be clear from Sting's educational posts, sean, it's that the current administration is the authority on what Iraq needs, and everyone else are just poseurs.
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