Sunday, March 14, 2010


Obama in Mesopotamia

His rhetoric aside, I have generally been supportive of President Obama as regards to Iraq and Afghanistan. That doesn't mean I've forgotten Candidate Obama. Apparently, neither has David Ignatius, who today concludes his column with of this bit of nostalgia:

"As a guide for the future, I still like Barack Obama's line from the campaign: "We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."

Remarkably this follows a bit of hindsight by Mr. Ignatius:

"In the darkest days of the Iraq war, it was tempting for Americans to think that we could walk away from the mess we had created. Things look better now than anyone could have imagined in 2006…"

Do you mean 'anyone' as in "Barack Obama"?

While I acknowledge that few were actually discussing a walk-away, that bleak 2006 fed the opposition to the troop level increase in 2007 – an increase consistently opposed by then-Senator Obama (and so consistently that he wouldn't later admit it was a right move). And I question Mr. Ignatius's assumption; people like John McCain championed the "surge" precisely because they thought things could look better.

If, as Vice President Biden suggests, Iraq becomes one of this administration's greatest success stories, good for them. If so, it will be because former Obama campaign adviser, Samantha Power, was prescient:

"You can't make a commitment in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009," said Power, who resigned from the campaign yesterday over separate comments insulting Clinton. "He will, of course, not rely upon some plan that he has crafted as a presidential candidate or a US senator. He will rely upon an operational plan that he pulls together in consultation with people on the ground." Obama stance on Iraq shows evolving view - The Boston Globe

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