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Old 07-22-2008, 11:14 PM   #811
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Obama saying that knowing what he knows now, that the surge has reduced violence and that it has helped the situation, he still would have opposed the surge is perfect ammunition against his judgement.

It doesn't matter much because he won't risk his reputation if he gets elected and wouldn't let himself get labelled as the president who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but as far as electioneering goes he seems weaker than McCain on Iraq policy.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:16 PM   #812
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Did you even read Maliki's statement?
You should ask yourself that question since you and others seem to think that Maliki no longer believes in a conditions based withdrawal and now wants an exclusively time based withdrawal like Obama.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:18 PM   #813
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Are you willfully blind? Obama's position isn't an exclusively time-based withdawl, it is dependent on conditions on the ground.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:25 PM   #814
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It's funny how easily and readily you offer qualifiers and conditions to Maliki's statement, yet when given the chance neither the PM nor his spokesman said them. The world opinion seems to be that they support a variant on Obama's plan, and the PM seems to be quite fine with that.

I wonder why. Perhaps he knew what he was saying?

It's not common sense to inanely demand explicit rejections of a policy before admitting that someone no longer advocates it. More like stubbornly grasping at straws to avoid conceding that Obama might have had the right idea on Iraq.

Iraq's national security advisor already expressed his ideas about withdrawal, all of which were conditions based, and different from anything Obama has suggested.

Everyone would prefer that the United States be able to withdraw from both Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as possible. But saying you would like to see US troops leave by x date or y date, does not mean that one has dropped the position that an US withdrawal first be based on conditions on the ground and not some arbitrary time table. The Iraqi government does not want to see US combat brigades leave before they are ready to handle the security situation on their own. They have never expressed in any way shape or form that they want US troops to leave the country regardless of the readiness of their security forces or the security on the ground.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:26 PM   #815
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but as far as electioneering goes he seems weaker than McCain on Iraq policy.


his original judgment about the entire adventure is what cost HRC the democratic nomination. isn't that what ultimately matters most?

i agree that "the surge" -- insofar as decontextualized numbers used in soundbytes go -- plays well for McCain (and i posited over a year ago that this was a handout by the administration to McCain for his electioning in 2004 ... yes, i do believe the WH is that political), but it also makes him lose his grip on the overall argument, which is: 1) if it's working, why can't we leave, and 2) doesn't change the fact that it was a mistake to begin with.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:32 PM   #816
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The democratic caucuses are not a general election, and the public perception of the situation in Iraq has shifted, thankfully enough to a more stable one that can allow foreign forces to leave without passively enabling a genocide, but the flipside of which is that people care less about it than other issues.

Now what about offshore drilling?
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:35 PM   #817
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Obama is The One. In the first quarter of the general election, he has simply gotten more and better coverage than McCain. For those who need more evidence than the enormous press entourage that is treating Obama’s current trip not like the campaign swing of a presidential candidate, but like the international debut of the New American President, there are several new studies which help quantify the disparity.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism, which evaluates more than 300 newspaper, magazine, and television stories each week, found that from June 9 (after Obama had wrapped up the Democratic nomination) until July 13, Obama was more prominently covered every single week. During one particular week, July 7–13, McCain was a significant presence in 48 percent of the stories—but Obama met that mark in 77 percent of the pieces. Similarly, the Tyndall Report, a media monitoring group, found that Obama received substantially more media attention.
... Given all that, it’s not surprising that voters, particularly those of the Republican persuasion, think the media is more or less in Obama’s pocket. A recent survey by Rasmussen found that 49 percent of the likely voters they talked to believed that reporters would favor Obama in their coverage, while just 14 percent said the same about McCain. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans thought the press would try and help Obama win, while only 21 percent of Democrats thought journalists were in bed with McCain. Complaints about bias are only exacerbated when the New York Times (the bête noire of the right) rejects an opinion piece written by McCain comparing his position on Iraq to Obama’s—just days after the Times ran a similar piece by Obama.
Vanity Fair: vanityfair.com
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:36 PM   #818
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Are you willfully blind? Obama's position isn't an exclusively time-based withdawl, it is dependent on conditions on the ground.
Really, can you name any conditions for the security environment on the ground that Obama said had to be met BEFORE he would start to withdraw a single non-surge US combat brigade from Iraq? What prerequisites does Obama have for the Iraqi military to meet before he would remove a single non-surge US combat brigade?

Obama stated consistenty throughout the first half of 2007 that US troops needed to be leaving the country, and that all US combat brigades should be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. The ONLY SINGLE condition Obama gave for suspending that time line was if the Iraqi government achieved all 18 benchmarks within that small time frame. He never made any statement to the effect that the withdrawal would be suspended because the Iraqi military was not ready or because violence was increasing, or the Iraqi government was collapsing or failing to meet the benchmarks in that time frame.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:39 PM   #819
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Originally Posted by Strongbow View Post
You should ask yourself that question since you and others seem to think that Maliki no longer believes in a conditions based withdrawal and now wants an exclusively time based withdrawal like Obama.
Tell me where Obama said he wants an exclusively time based withdrawal. You won't find it, because it doesn't exist. You are, once again, fabricating a position in order to refute it.

Maliki clearly said, when asked about Obama's position, that Obama's timeline was one that was in line with his government's wishes.

Your continued pigheaded refusal to acknowledge this is jaw-dropping. Spin, spin, spin. Message, message, message. It's utterly ridiculous.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:50 PM   #820
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his original judgment about the entire adventure is what cost HRC the democratic nomination. isn't that what ultimately matters most?
I got news for you, winning the Democratic nomination involves appeasing the crazy base of that party. The impact that part of the party will have in the national election will be much less than it was in the primary.

Its obviously poor judgement to claim, that the United States is less safe, that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are less safe, because Saddam was removed from power.

Quote:
1) if it's working, why can't we leave
The United States can leave as conditions on the ground improve and the Iraqi military becomes capable of replacing any non-surge brigades that are withdrawn.

Of course, you've always claimed that its not working and that the US should still leave.


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2) doesn't change the fact that it was a mistake to begin with.
History is not on the side of people who think it was a mistake to remove someone like Saddam. But good luck defending Saddam and a continuation of his regime.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:54 PM   #821
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The democratic caucuses are not a general election, and the public perception of the situation in Iraq has shifted, thankfully enough to a more stable one that can allow foreign forces to leave without passively enabling a genocide, but the flipside of which is that people care less about it than other issues.
That's exactly it. Iraq is not the issue du jour and even though McCain has a decent surge argument (you can argue some points but anyway), the reality is that he's completely misreading the public. Nobody cares, and he just sounds whiny. The public is at the point where they think troops can come home and they think that Iraq as a whole, was a terrible mistake. So what did or didn't happen with the surge is almost irrelevant.

I am continually amazed how in this election, there are people who are so terrible at reading public sentiment. The Clintons were particularly shocking since they are so politically savvy. But McCain is even worse. He just doesn't get it, he doesn't get at all what this election is about.

And should he continue yammering on about the surge that the Joe Shmoe public couldn't give two shits about, he'll discover just how out of touch he is in November. I'm not saying it's even right - the public is notoriously low-information. But to just completely not have their pulse down is a critical error. And it's a large part of why I wouldn't vote for McCain even if I agreed with his stances. I don't care for another 8 years of tone deafness.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:06 AM   #822
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Tell me where Obama said he wants an exclusively time based withdrawal. You won't find it, because it doesn't exist. You are, once again, fabricating a position in order to refute it.
I've already qouted from the foreign affairs article as well as his support for spending bills in 2007 that would have required the President to start withdrawing US troops immediately without any conditions and prerequisites. Even his own website stated that he wanted to start immediately withdrawing US combat brigades from Iraq at a rate of 1 to 2 brigades a month. The only condition for suspending that withdrawal was if the Iraqi government achieved all 18 benchmarks. NOTHING else besides that was mentioned in terms of what if any thing might cause him to suspend his withdrawal plans.

You on the other hand have yet to list any conditions or prerequisites that Obama would have prior to the start of the withdrawal of any non-surge combat brigade.

Quote:
Maliki clearly said, when asked about Obama's position, that Obama's timeline was one that was in line with his government's wishes.
Yes, the timeline is in line with what the government wishes to see happen, but is essentially a different plan because the Iraqi's do not want to see US forces withdraw before they are ready to handle the situation on their own, while Obama has never made US withdrawal of combat brigades conditional on the capability levels of the Iraqi military.

Quote:
Your continued pigheaded refusal to acknowledge this is jaw-dropping. Spin, spin, spin. Message, message, message. It's utterly ridiculous.
Sorry, but its a fact that the Iraqi government does not want any non-surge US combat brigades to leave before they have the sufficient capability to replace those brigades. Obama has never made the withdrawal of US combat brigades conditional on the capability of the Iraqi forces.

Whats pigheaded is failing to acknowledge these facts.

Ever since the United States entered Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration has always stated that the US will leave when conditions on the ground warrent withdrawal. The Bush plan has always been conditions based, "as they stand up, we'll stand down". If you want to claim that Obama has had the same policy in regards to withdrawal, fine, but I have yet to see anything that shows that, and you or others have yet to post anything that would show that.

Again, in his foreign affairs article the only thing that could sort of be viewed as a condition, was his statement that he might suspend the withdrawal if the Iraqi government achieved all 18 benchmarks within that 16 month time frame. No other conditions for suspending the withdrawal were listed, and there was definitely no conditions or prerequisites listed for STARTING the withdrawal.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:12 AM   #823
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That's exactly it. Iraq is not the issue du jour and even though McCain has a decent surge argument (you can argue some points but anyway), the reality is that he's completely misreading the public. Nobody cares, and he just sounds whiny. The public is at the point where they think troops can come home and they think that Iraq as a whole, was a terrible mistake. So what did or didn't happen with the surge is almost irrelevant.

I am continually amazed how in this election, there are people who are so terrible at reading public sentiment. The Clintons were particularly shocking since they are so politically savvy. But McCain is even worse. He just doesn't get it, he doesn't get at all what this election is about.

And should he continue yammering on about the surge that the Joe Shmoe public couldn't give two shits about, he'll discover just how out of touch he is in November. I'm not saying it's even right - the public is notoriously low-information. But to just completely not have their pulse down is a critical error. And it's a large part of why I wouldn't vote for McCain even if I agreed with his stances. I don't care for another 8 years of tone deafness.
McCain is not a politician trying to find where the latest political wind is blowing so he can follow it. He is deeply committed to the nation and the planets security and would rather lose an election than before something that was politically popular but realisticly dangerous to US and global security.

Thats why he continued to support the Surge even when his fellow Republican candidates were shying away from it and the public was clearly against it. Now the public has shifted more in McCains direction on the issue, and McCain is the nominee of his party despite the fact that you and others claimed he was DONE at this time last year.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:33 AM   #824
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Patraeus (who only has one job and one theater to worry about)
Whats interesting is that Obama does not realize that Patraeus is no longer just the commander of US forces in Iraq. He has just been confirmed by the US congress as the new CENTCOM commander which puts him in charge of US forces throughout the entire Middle East including Afghanistan as well as being in charge of any military action that is taken or contemplated against Iran.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:17 AM   #825
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The Legend of a Heretic

By Francis Wilkinson
New York Times, July 21



Both John McCain and Barack Obama have been peddling their spiritual wares lately. Mr. McCain recently made a high-profile pilgrimage to meet evangelist Billy Graham and his son Franklin, while that same week Mr. Obama endorsed the essence of President Bush’s faith-based service program. Now, both candidates have agreed to appear at a forum at the California megachurch of influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren.

White evangelical and born-again Christians account for nearly one fourth of the electorate—a prize understandably worth fighting over. However, what we won’t see, yet again, this year is either candidate acknowledge—let alone pander to—the 16% of Americans categorized by the Pew Forum on Religion and Society as atheist, agnostic or free-range “nothing in particular.” It seems American politicians scarcely think twice about sidling up to the religious fringe—Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama each has had the odd preacher in the attic. But, fearing the wrath of the righteous, they’d rather be struck by lightning than show a glimmer of respect for nonbelievers.

Their forebears on the campaign trail were not all so skittish. At the end of the 19th century, Robert Ingersoll was the most notorious heretic in the land, famous for his lectures debunking Christianity and the Bible. Yet Republicans—yes, the party of George W. Bush and the Rev. Pat Robertson—begged him to campaign in their behalf. Campaign, he did. For more than two decades, Ingersoll barnstormed across the country drawing huge crowds, including one at an 1896 campaign appearance in Chicago for William McKinley that the Chicago Tribune claimed was 20,000 strong. Ingersoll was not merely a stage attraction but a confidant of Republican leaders—and a highly public one. In a masterful speech, he nominated Senator James G. Blaine for president at the party’s 1876 convention in Cincinnati and nearly won Blaine the nomination. When Blaine lost the contest to Rutherford B. Hayes, Ingersoll stumped vigorously for Hayes in turn.

Ingersoll’s lectures on religion—“Some Mistakes of Moses” was a typical title—left the pious apoplectic. Evangelicals considered his influence so pernicious that they organized a day of prayer for his conversion. (He thanked them for their concern but remained happily heretical.) His pointed, often comical, impiety probably cost him a cabinet post or ambassadorship, but Ingersoll’s proximity to President Hayes and his Republican successors was nonetheless on open display; they didn’t reach for garlic and crucifixes when “Pope Bob” visited the White House. Victorian America, that supposedly repressed, high-button era, not only tolerated Ingersoll, it celebrated him, rewarding him with respect and wealth and honors. Mark Twain called Ingersoll a “master,” and Walt Whitman described him as “a bright, magnificent constellation.” But Ingersoll struck a chord that reverberated beyond the cultural elite. Tens of thousands of Americans, from Buffalo to New Orleans, paid money to listen, laugh and learn at the feet of the Great Agnostic, even if they didn’t share his views. Clerics were often spotted in the crowds.

Faith is a deep wellspring of American political tradition and practice. But the political class has reached a bipartisan consensus to honor that fact by muscling out other views and revising both past and present to suggest faith is the only wellspring. Ingersoll, after all, was hardly the first doubting Thomas ever to have crossed the White House threshold. Thomas Jefferson produced his own, radically truncated, version of the Bible, in which miracles were absent. He described religion as a private matter in which the public had no right to “intermeddle.” In how many congressional districts today could a candidate of like mind stand for election and not be torn to pieces by the enforcers of public piety?

Looking back from this era in which political discourse is bound by religious strictures, Ingersoll’s legend seems not only distant but tall, as though he were a kind of Paul Bunyan of blasphemy. Today, no major politician would risk association with the brilliant and big-hearted Great Agnostic, whose oratory commanded the late 19th century stage like no other. Devoted father, husband, friend and patriot be damned. Piety trumps all.
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