Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Iraq Speech Part I: Obama Tosses Our Military Under The Bus To Defend His Poor Judgment (Updated)

Obama's latest ploy is to claim that his judgement in opposing the surge was not poor because:

1. No one could have foreseen the rise of the Anbar Awakening movements, and it was these movements that played a large role in the success we see today in Iraq.

2. No one could have foreseen the simultaneous "cease fire" by Sadr, an act taken apparently unilaterally and with no relationship to U.S. combat actions.

3. The two events above are what truly have led to security in Iraq, with the "surge" of U.S. forces being an ancillary factor.

[Update: The videos that were here are now replaced by quotes from the transcript. The videos became non-operational after RedLasso was forced to cease operations by a lawsuit - another MSM attack on bloggers and rights of fair use.]

This from the NYT Transcripts of the Obama's speech & Q&A session:

. . . With respect to the surge, you know, we don't know what would have happened if I -- if the plan that I put forward in January 2007 to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation, to begin a phased withdrawal, what would have happened had we pursued that strategy.

I am pleased that as a consequence of great effort by our troops, but also as a consequence of a shift in allegiances among the Sunni tribal leaders as well as the decision of the Sadr militias to stand down, that we've seen a quelling of the violence.

. . . Second question was how would I apportion the improvements in Iraq. I don't know how to put a numerical factor on that. There is no doubt that when we put in 30,000 American troops, here is no doubt that when we put in 30,000 American troops, who are dedicated, who are brave, and who bring extraordinary skill to their jobs, that they're going to make a difference.

I think the commanders on the ground themselves would -- would acknowledge that, had you continued to see Sunni leadership align itself with AQI, that we would be in a different situation right now. That if you continued to see ethnic cleansing in Baghdad or the Sadr militias continuing to engage in some of that activity and constant reprisals, that you'd still have some big problems there right now.

But I don't know how to put a numeric -- you know, a number to that.

Read the entire transcript. Just when one thinks that Obama has plumbed the depths of political cynicsm, he hits a new low. Obama's attempt to take away credit from U.S. forces and denigrate their achievement, their sacrifice and the brilliance of their command is the lowest he has gotten - so far. And to claim that no one could forsee what would have happened had we followed his plan to withdraw immediately in 2007 is just ridiculous.

As I wrote yesterday, on the day the surge was announced, al Qaeda controlled practically all of the Sunni provinces and Iran through its proxies had a stranglehold on the South. Just how hard is it to assess where Iraq would be today if we had not challenged those situations militarily? One need engage in no speculation to make such an assessment.

How does Obama think the Anbar Awakening started? This didn't come about magically. U.S. forces solicited it from its very inception. It actually coallesced in September, 2006 and was well known - even the NYT was writing about its success by April, 2007. Does Obama think that the creation, survival or spread was unrelated to the surge?

Why does Obama think that Sadr left Iraq for Iraq in January, 2007 and all of his Mahdi Army suddenly dropped below the radar screen? A large part of the justification for the surge was to stop the militia attacks. In 2004 and 2005, the U.S. had decimated the Mahdi Army. They damn well knew what was coming in the surge if they tried to continue their operations to Lebanize Iraq.

The only way Obama can defend his judgment is by falsely minimizing the success of U.S. forces. The fact that he has chosen to do so tells you even more about just how partisan and warped his judgment truly is.

Update: Joe Scarborough and Harold Ford Jr. respond not to Obama, but the argument he is in essence making that the Awakening Movements and their success was unrelated to the surge. It is brutal:

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