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Old 07-21-2008, 01:39 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, 01:49 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, 01:53 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, 03:13 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, 04:52 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, 05:10 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, 05:17 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?





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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, 06:06 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, 06:09 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, 06:43 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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Old 07-21-2008, 08:18 PM   #751
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The New York Times should have published Senator McCain's op-ed piece on Iraq, following the Obama piece that was printed by the paper.

(Or maybe the NYT is the authority on what Iraq needs)
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:24 PM   #752
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and everyone else are just poseurs.
Not only poseurs but we're all mourning Saddam's removal.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:12 PM   #753
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The New York Times should have published Senator McCain's op-ed piece on Iraq, following the Obama piece that was printed by the paper.

(Or maybe the NYT is the authority on what Iraq needs)


they've published 7 or so of McCain's op-ed's in the past, and they endorsed him as the Republican nominee (and HRC as the Democrat).

here's what the op-ed editor David Shipley had to say:

Quote:
"The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans... It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq."
i do agree. Obama's piece was about Iraq. McCain's piece was about Obama. however, had i been the editor, i would have published it.

ultimately, this isn't good politics for Obama, since it gives something for McCain to whine about for a few days (ironically from a man who refers to the media as "my base"). but i understand with the decision. the NYT isn't a place for tit-for-tat political spats.

still, the two pieces, taken in tandem, aptly demonstrate how Obama is setting the agenda and calling the shots and taking the lead even on the only subject that McCain is slightly favored on.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:46 PM   #754
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is this really your position? are you really saying this? because you know that you're saying it and not Obama?

Oh really? So tell me, where has Obama claimed that he would only start withdrawing any US combat brigades if FIRST, the Iraqi military had developed the sufficient capability to replace that combat brigade, and the security situation warrented the withdrawal. Show us where Obama has always stood for "as they stand up, we'll stand down"? If Obama is really in support of a conditions based withdrawal as opposed to one that is just time based, show it.

The position that the Bush administration has advocated and the one that I have always supported is that a withdrawal will eventually come when conditions on the ground warrent it, just as was done in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

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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?
They like the idea of the United States being able to withdraw in 16 months as anyone would, but they have always insisted that any withdrawal must be based on conditions and Obama has never had any prerequisites for starting a withdrawal or had a set of conditions that first had to be met for security on the ground. Why would the Iraqi government support any withdrawal plan that withdrew US combat Brigades before the Iraqi military was ready to assume the responsibilties and missions that those US combat brigades are currently providing? The Iraqi's are not against withdrawal, they are against a withdrawal that is not based on the facts on the ground and the capability and strength of the ground forces. Obama does not have any prerequisites as to the level of capability that Iraqi forces need to achieve before a US combat brigade is withdrawn. Obama has no requirements for conditions like the level of violence or economic improvement of any province before he would start withdrawing US combat Brigades.

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are you really going to continue to pretend that Obama is as inflexible as Bush?
Bush has changed force levels and tactics on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 7 years when the situation required it. No inflexibility there at all. Obama by contrast supports a policy that is not based on the facts on the ground, is inconsistent with the recomendations of the lates NIE on IRAQ, and those of General Patraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen.


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going to deny that this isn't a timetable? that a "time horizon" isn't just a fancy name for a timetable?
Its as much of a timetable as the "Surge" was a timetable.


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ah yes, the surge. i do owe a long post on this.
Well I wonder how it will compare with what military commanders from General Patraues down to platoon commanders on the ground have had to say about Iraq and the Surge over the past 18 months. There are plenty of casualty statistics to look at as well, economic figures and political changes and progress to look at. Multiple past opponents of the Surge are claiming that it is a success.

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we had a Civil War in Iraq.
Really? So there is not a "Civil War" in Iraq now? When did this so called "Civil War" start and when did it end?


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we had the ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis from Baghdad
Really? This will certainly be news to the Sunnis who continue to live there as well as the Iraqi military and US military patroling the streets.


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we've had unimaginable bloodshed.
Far more Iraqi's died in the 1980s during the Iran/Iraq war as well as during the 1990s under Saddam. Saddam murdered more Shia's in the months after the 1991 Gulf War than the number of Iraqi's who have died in the past 5 years combined. This is the guy who's removal you and Obama continue to claim has made the world "less safe". The unimaginable bloodshed you talk of would involve 10% of the population being slaughtered like it was in Bosnia. The level of bloodshed in Iraq is not even remotely close to being what it was in Bosnia on a per capita basis.



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we've had the introduction of Al Qaeda, religious extremism, and suicide bombing into Iraq when it never existed before.
Of course, your idea for preventing that was leaving Saddam in power. Nevermind all the consequences that would entail.



Quote:
Iraq is more violent today than it was when Obama last visited in early 2006.
Really? Lets take a look at that claim.

Obama was last in Iraq in January 2006.

Iraqi civilians killed in January 2006: 590
Iraqi Security Forces killed in January 2006: 189
Coalition troops who died in Iraq in January 2006: 64

Figures for July 2008

Iraqi civilians killed in July 2008: 182
Iraqi Security Forces killed in July 2008: 55
Coalition troops who died in Iraq in July 2006: 12

The above figures come from iCasualties: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count .



Quote:
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.
Can you name any military commanders on the ground in Iraq who would describe the success they have seen as being "small"?

If you want to claim that removing Saddam from power was a mistake and that the world is "less safe" because Saddam is no longer the leader of Iraq, go ahead.


Quote:
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?
Obama has a timetable which calls for starting to withdraw US troops immediately, without any prerequisites for the capability of Iraqi forces and the security situation on the ground, with all combat brigades to be out in 16 months.

Maliki wants to see US combat forces leave as soon as possible, but not before the Iraqi military is capable of taking their place.

McCain does not want US combat brigades to remain in Iraq any longer than is necessary, but will only withdraw them when the Iraqi military has achieved the capability to replace them and the country is relatively stable.


Thats their positions, and its obvious that McCain and Maliki are closer on the issue than Obama and Maliki who have opposite views when it comes to whether any withdrawal should be based on conditions on the ground.


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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?
The only withdrawal plan that I have ever supported for either Afghanistan or Iraq is one that is conditions based, just as US withdrawals from Bosnia and Kosovo have been. A withdrawal that is FIRST conditions based instead of simply being time based will not bring on the "apocalypse".

I can't support someone who believes that the world, especially the Persian Gulf and Kuwait, would be safer with Saddam in power in Iraq in 2008. The idea that Kuwait is "less safe" today because Saddam is out of power is laughably absurd. Not only has Obama's judgement proven to be poor in 2002, but its proven to be poor over the past 18 months with his prediction that the Surge would INCREASE violence in Iraq. Instead the opposite has occured. The strategy he opposed and said would make things worse has succeeded and vastly improved conditions faster than most thought possible.


Its everyones wish that the US forces not stay in Iraq longer than is necessary, but the Iraqi government, Bush, and McCain do not want a withdrawal prior to the Iraqi military being able to handle the situation on their own. In contrast, Obama wants to start withdrawing troops immediately without regard to conditions on the ground or the capability of Iraqi forces that would replace them.


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it all depends on what happens on the Iraq/Pakistani border.
But, for Iraq, Obama's plan does not depend on conditions on the ground. Why not have a time based approach in Afghanistan as well?
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:00 AM   #755
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desperation is tender trap...
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:02 AM   #756
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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.
Y'know, if Barack Obama has always supported "as they stand up, we'll stand down", please provide some qoutes. I'd love to see where Obama stated that he would only start withdrawing US combat brigades from Iraq when the Iraqi military had reached the sufficient level of capability needed to take over the tasks that were previously performed by the US combat brigades.

I'd loved to see where Obama repeatedly advocated that the only withdrawal that he would support is one that is conditions based and meets prerequisites for Iraqi security, stability, and Iraqi military performance as I have always supported.

If Barack Obama has always had a policy on any withdrawal similar to mine or the Bush administrations, show us.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:08 AM   #757
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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.
Whats wrong, are opinion pieces from the Washington Post upsetting the lefty diet here in FYM?
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:10 AM   #758
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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. . .

Well, just show one article where the Iraqi government prefers for the US led coalition to leave prior to the Iraqi forces being ready to handle both internal and external security for the country? They support a conditions based withdrawal plan, Obama does not.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:21 AM   #759
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I'd loved to see where Obama repeatedly advocated that the only withdrawal that he would support is one that is conditions based and meets prerequisites for Iraqi security, stability, and Iraqi military performance as I have always supported.


Ah yes, the old "if he hasn't completely aligned with what I support, then he must be for the complete and sudden withdrawal of troops regardless of facts or common sense or anything else." Message consistency!

Quote:
If Barack Obama has always had a policy on any withdrawal similar to mine or the Bush administrations, show us.
Are you really so absolutely blinded by partisanship that the policy of the Bush administration is the only one you deem acceptable? It's funny how the relative success of the surge has completely erased the utter debacle that was the previous 4 years of this war. One bright note against a sea of duds does not make a successful policy in my eyes, or the eyes of quite a few others.

Now, hit me with some more message consistency, please!
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:29 AM   #760
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post


Ah yes, the old "if he hasn't completely aligned with what I support, then he must be for the complete and sudden withdrawal of troops regardless of facts or common sense or anything else." Message consistency!



Are you really so absolutely blinded by partisanship that the policy of the Bush administration is the only one you deem acceptable? It's funny how the relative success of the surge has completely erased the utter debacle that was the previous 4 years of this war. One bright note against a sea of duds does not make a successful policy in my eyes, or the eyes of quite a few others.

Now, hit me with some more message consistency, please!
I'm waiting for you to show me where Barack Obama stated that he would NOT start withdrawing any US combat brigades until the Iraqi military was ready to sufficiently perform the task of any US combat brigade that is withdrawn.
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