Obama's New Iraq Plan: Troops Out by End of 2008

Sen. Barack Obama is unveiling a new plan for Iraq in Iowa today. Huffington Post has received an advance copy of his speech and posted excerpts.

This one is curious.

"Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year - now. We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year." (my emphasis.)

Didn't Obama, just two months ago , call for all troops to be out of Iraq by April 30, 2008?

“It’s time to set a hard date to signal a new mission in Iraq and to begin to bring our troops home. It’s time to ensure that we complete the change in mission and the drawdown of our forces, by the end of April 2008 – a date that is consistent with the date in my plan back in January.”

Why is he now extending that to the end of 2008?

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    another change... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by selise on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:38:02 PM EST
    two months ago it was "bring our troops home," now it's "combat brigades" out of iraq.

    or am i missing something?

    siun gave a good explanation of what it means, and does not mean, to remove "combat" troops from iraq.

    Obama is good! (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:15:29 PM EST
    What an amazing show of double and triple speak. This guy could give lessons to George. Orwell.
    The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year - now.

    The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war = Blame the Iraqis for US security problems.

    immediately begin to remove
    Immediately? Begin to? = Make it sound like he means now, but don't really say that, and leave himself an out.

    Combat troops?

    I see the same as  I see from Hillary Clinton.

    "redeployment of combat troops"?

    And the rest? And the private army of mercenaries? And the bases? Another supplemental to pay for it all? Work to develop a strategy? Enable troops to start coming home?

    All I hear so far is someone worried about votes next year trying to quiet and co-opt opposition to the occupation.

    Then he closes with the soundbite to be picked up by the media: "Not in six months or one year - now."

    Yayyy! Obama says he wants to withdraw the troops now.

    How stupid does he think people are?

    Phtttht! Obama's New Iraq Plan: Troops Out by End of 2008 = He's using the occupation to run against. He needs it to be still going on leading up to and through the 2008 elections.

    The goal of pretending be doing something about Iraq rather than actually doing something about Iraq seems to be one most Democratic leaders are dangerously beyond being only dangerously close to.

    Obama and Clinton and the Democratic Leadership need to be in stark, sweating terror of you and me and all of the people who they now believe will vote for them out of fear of the republicans next year, in real fear of losing Congress and the presidency if they don't end it before the elections, before they'll make any real move to end the occupation.


    Meet the new plan..... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:44:38 PM EST
    same as the old plan.

    Keep pushing the date back, back, back and next thing you know Iraq is the 51st state/gas station/Mideast military hub.

    He represents US imperialism (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Andreas on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:55:48 PM EST
    Barack Obama is a representative of US imperialism.

    As the WSWS wrote today:

    What has emerged most clearly through the past several months of official debate in Washington over the Iraq war is the political role of the Democratic Party itself. Having won control of Congress thanks to overwhelming popular hostility to Bush and the Republicans over the war, it has postured as the voice of this popular discontent, while all the while pursuing a policy of supporting the war's continuation. Since the November election, the Democrats' actions have served primarily to divert and contain popular opposition to the war, while lending Bush's policy a mantle of legitimacy by making it appear that there exists no realistic alternative.

    Such an alternative can emerge only from outside the political establishment and both major parties in the form of an independent political movement of working people against war and the political parties and social interests that support it.

    US congressional hearings reveal consensus that Iraq war will continue
    By Bill Van Auken, 12 September 2007

    Here in mucho conservative San Diego (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:25:22 PM EST
    In as military a town as you get, here are the letters to the editor published on the website of the even more conservative San Diego Union-Tribune regarding Gen. Petraeus's appearance before congress.  When the UT only publishes letters in opposition to Petraeus's lackey and yes-man show, you know the opposition is stronger than even the polls indicate.

    Regarding "Petraeus: Pre-surge level by July" (A1, Sept. 11):

    Gen. David H. Petraeus behaved as a good employee: He gave his boss what he wanted. However, he forgot his ultimate bosses are the citizens of the United States. He lied to us. Independent assessments of the war show markedly different numbers. Did you know deaths by car bombs don't get counted in? Try telling that to the families of soldiers killed that way! If you have seen interviews of Iraqis, they want us to go away. Any side you pick just wants us out. So why not save a huge number of our kids' lives and get out now? More of our kids have died this year compared with last year, no matter what month you look at. The surge has not worked and we need to get what remains of our armed forces out as fast as we can.

    Write us
    The San Diego Union-Tribune welcomes letters to the editor. Because of the number of letters received, and to allow as many readers as possible to be published, it is the policy of the newspaper to publish no more than one letter from the same author within 90 days. Letters may be edited. It is also our policy to publish letters supporting or opposing a particular issue in a ratio reflecting the number received on each side.

    To be considered for publication, a letter must include an address, daytime phone number and, if faxed or mailed, be signed. It may be sent to Letters Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Post Office Box 120191, San Diego, CA 92112-0191, faxed to (619) 260-5081 or e-mailed to letters@uniontrib.com. Letters submitted may be used in print or in digital form in any publication or service authorized by the Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

    San Diego

    I'm not encouraged by Gen. Petraeus' presentation to Congress. Following his recommendations, five years after our blunder into Iraq we will still have over 130,000 troops in Iraq with no end in sight. The surge was intended to provide time for Iraqi political reconciliation. Clearly, it has failed to meet that objective.

    Every independent assessment has stated that there is no military solution in Iraq. We must have a dramatic course change. Why not get our military off the streets and focus on building and protecting infrastructure. Provide the Iraqis with reliable electricity and safe drinking water. Begin a serious political effort to enlist the help of Iraq's neighbors. It's in their best interest to not let Iraq collapse. I'm not playing arm chair general; I'm just reading the independent reports.

    The biggest change I want to see is for George Bush to admit that invading Iraq was a mistake. We broke that country and opened a hornets' nest


    It seems extraordinary to me that the media, the Congress and the public have fallen for the exact same con game a second time. Repetition of the "surge is working" does not make it true. Violence has increased not decreased. Faulty numbers, like excluding deaths from car bombs, has the general repeating the type of deception that Colin Powell told in his speech to the United Nations. When will the media stop repeating blatant falsehoods and start questioning the information the public is given?

    San Diego

    By using the current administration logic, the surge is working. Fatalities from car bombs don't count and assassinations only count if they are shot in the back of the head, not the front. Subtract those deaths from the real total and yes, the surge is working. The administration just failed second-grade math; it tried to cheat.

    San Diego

    Watching this report on TV reminds me of the report given by another famous general named Colin Powell before the United Nations in the lead-up to the Iraq war, which was based on "cooked books." Considering this and the trumped-up testimony of the generals who testified before Congress about the Vietnam conflict, why should we give any extra credence to military leaders who come to testify? The record shows they can be bought and sold.

    As a retired Navy CPO and World War II vet, I am appalled that the leaders who I have "put on a pedestal" all my life can be compromised.

    San Diego

    With this latest report by Gen. Petraeus, the Bush administration has just kicked the can farther down the road. The promises of meeting benchmarks has been thrown out the window. We can all see that it is just stalling techniques, one after another. It is becoming evident that the promises of this lame duck president are indeed lame. How many more American and Iraqi lives need to be shamelessly spent on a war that cannot be won? How much more money can we afford to throw at this bottomless pit? How much lower in world opinion can we sink before our government, our wonderful system of checks and balances, begins to work and answers the call of the American people to end this war as quickly as possible?

    San Diego

    These letters present a better analysis (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:31:07 PM EST
    of the hearings than the news articles I seen so far.  [Agree San Diego is beyond conservative.]  

    I hope (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dulcinea on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:25:02 PM EST
    my friend in San Diego is reading the letters to the editor.  She voted for Bush because Kerry lied.  I didn't ask but assume she thought the Swift Boaters were the truth tellers.

    To be fair ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:39:20 PM EST
    ...Obama did not, as several commenters here are claiming, call for removing ALL troops from Iraq in the past and has now shifted his stance.

    The Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which he introduced with Reps. Thompson and Murphy, did not call for ALL troops to be out.

    As Senator Obama said at the time:

    "Our troops have preformed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war," Senator Obama said. "That's why our plan not only stops the escalation of this war, but begins a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and brings all U.S. combat troops home by March of next year."

    I think Obama's proposal today falls well short of what is needed. But I don't think anyone can farily say he has retreated.

    Unless I'm missing something, MB (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:48:03 PM EST
    I don't see anyone saying he called for removing ALL troops from Iraq and is retreating from that.

    I see retreat from his former call for an earlier deadline.


    Selise did in the comment ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 06:04:47 PM EST
    ...you responded to:

    thank you.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by selise on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 05:40:11 PM EST
    i did not think he had previous called for a complete withdrawal... just didn't remember him limiting his call for partial withdrawal to combat troops.

    of course, i could have the wrong.


    Why? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:36:32 PM EST
    Because he is afraid, and fear is the guiding emotion behind the Democrats.  This has been clear for some time.  The root is a deeply repressed fear of being physically assaulted for speaking out.  What that does to one's political inclinations is to self-censor and capitulate.  We have to be ready to take a few punches, literally, if we want to end this now.

    The April 30 date was his old legislation. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Geekesque on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:39:25 PM EST
    He or his campaign probably crunched the numbers and figured that withdrawing that many troops that quickly was no longer feasible.

    Had we started withdrawing along the terms of his old legislation the April 30 date would have been more viable.

    The important thing (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 01:08:39 PM EST
    is not discussed in this speech.

    This is an "If I Were President" speech.

    What I want to see is a "Senator Obama Leads The Charge For a Date Certain" speech.  


    Note this language: (none / 0) (#11)
    by Geekesque on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 03:46:55 PM EST
    That is why I will keep speaking directly to my colleagues in the Congress, both Republican and Democratic. Historically, we have come together in a bipartisan way to deal with our most monumental challenges. We should do so again.  We have the power to do this - not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. We don't have to wait until George Bush is gone from office - we can begin to end this war today, right now.

    Obviously, the devil is in the details.


    The logisitics of withdrawal are the same today (none / 0) (#10)
    by joejoejoe on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 02:20:35 PM EST
    If Obama believes a given rate (1-2 brigades per month) of withdrawal is the maximum that can be achieved safely then it makes sense for the date to be pushed back until the end of '08.

    a. It's two months later.
    b. There were 162,000 troops in Iraq in July '07
    c. There are 172,000 troops in Iraq now or in the immediate future (aprox. 3 more  brigades)

    It's two months later, it will take an additional 3 months to get out the troops added in the surge, therefore April 30 + 5 months equals November 1st.

    Is November 1, 2008 so different than "by the end of next year."

    True, it can be done only so quickly... (none / 0) (#16)
    by DanAllNews on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 05:37:08 PM EST
    ...all the more reason to start now.

    The only way (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dulcinea on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 04:41:00 PM EST
    we're going to get out of Iraq while Bush is in office is if some honorable military leaders with authority say, "Mr. President, using a plan we have to ensure the utmost security for our troops, we're out of Iraq.  Just sit back and watch us."

    Of course, that would be against the law and this administration is nothing if not law-abiding.

    What's Hillary's proposal again? (none / 0) (#19)
    by mike in dc on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 06:30:05 PM EST
    I forget...wasn't it "If bush hasn't ended this war, I will"(translation: this war won't end until sometime between 2009 and 2016)?

    All combat brigades out by the end of 2008 is a date certain.  Sans combat brigades, there's no way to have a defensible military presence there.

    Although she did vote for (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 06:37:52 PM EST
    Reid/Feingold and against the Capitulation Bill.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to (none / 0) (#21)
    by edgery on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12:27:39 AM EST
    begin with a more aggressive draw-down of troops as the proposal on the table since we know the Republicans are going to demand some softening of the position?

    Even with some of the Repubs now sounding like they're fed up with the "same old same old" approach of Bush/Petreaus, we've heard that before only to have the votes say otherwise.

    The problem with starting out reasonable is that what will come out of the cloakroom won't be reasonable but more likely will be more toothless mumblings.

    Hilarious. Edgery? ::Edgery?:: (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12:34:41 AM EST
    Toothless mumblings like that comment, for instance?