Surprise: Obama suddenly considering trip to Iraq

posted at 9:20 pm on May 28, 2008 by Allahpundit

That was fast.

Senator Barack Obama said today that he is considering visiting American troops and commanders in Iraq this summer. He declined an invitation from Senator John McCain to take a joint trip to Iraq, saying: “I just don’t want to be involved in a political stunt.”

In a brief interview here, Mr. Obama said his campaign was considering taking a foreign trip after he secures the Democratic presidential nomination. No details have been set, he said, but added: “Iraq would obviously be at the top of the list of stops.”…

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders, I’m not there to try to score political points or perform,” Mr. Obama said. “The work they’re doing there is too important.”

Just so we’re clear, a “political stunt” would be letting McCain cow him into a joint trip to Iraq. Letting McCain cow him into a solo trip? Not a stunt. It’s amazing how a townhall meeting carried across the dial on cable news can concentrate the mind, I guess. He’s doing the right thing so I’ll resist the hackiest spin on this (“if he’s this much of a pushover for McCain, what will he be like against…”), but I am sincerely surprised that he’d bow to this sort of pressure so quickly. His flag-pin stance is stupid but there’s a certain ballsiness to it if he’s willing to stick with it and absorb the political consequences because he believes in it. Which … he isn’t. Same here with him backing down after initially objecting to an Iraq trip, same with his ballyhooed speech on race, which could have been given any time after declaring his candidacy last year had he felt deeply about the subject but wasn’t delivered until the Wright thing had become so toxic that he had to do it to try to save his own ass. It’s the Clintons whose every move is supposed to be calculated for political effect; as we’re learning, Obama can beat them at that game, too. Exit question: How high will the RNC counter go?


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Comment pages: 1 2

El Guapo on May 28, 2008 at 10:28 PM

I see your point, but I still think that he would be very much out of his comfort zone there in Iraq, and if he’s not comfortable, he is a completely different guy than when he is giving his slick teleprompter speeches.

I can envision McCain getting along with the troops great while Obama…you know he would do some sort of awkward thing.

WisCon on May 29, 2008 at 12:06 AM

I can envision McCain getting along with the troops great while Obama…you know he would do some sort of awkward thing.

WisCon on May 29, 2008 at 12:06 AM

Like this?

right2bright on May 29, 2008 at 12:12 AM

Obama, Black Liberation Theology, and Karl Marx
By Kyle-Anne Shiver

Red Pill on May 29, 2008 at 12:25 AM

John McCain certainly knows how to put his opponent on the defensive. He certainly knows how to pick his political battlefield. Iraq is where Democratic candidates go to die their political deaths. If Obama goes to Iraq to spout his nonsense about how we’re losing, he’ll be branded as an ignorant defeatist who does not support the troops. Since he’ll be briefed by commanders who can show him how we’re winning, maintaining the opposite view is tantamount to calling the troops liars. However, for Obama to concede the truth of our brilliant progress and imminent victory in Iraq is to tacitly admit he is a fool and has been all along.

Looks like McCain has put Obama on the horns of a dilemma.

Tantor on May 29, 2008 at 1:07 AM

In wartime, and with the worldwide Islamic jihad seeking WMDs, the American electorate has chosen one candidate who wants to shut down Gitmo and one who desperately desires another Vietnam-like defeat. Perhaps the real culprit is the public school system, which has now produced more than one generation of political morons.

Halley on May 29, 2008 at 1:25 AM

I guess what he should have said is that he’s only interested in being part of his own political stunt.

Benaiah on May 29, 2008 at 1:30 AM

Since he’ll be briefed by commanders who can show him how we’re winning, maintaining the opposite view is tantamount to calling the troops liars. However, for Obama to concede the truth of our brilliant progress and imminent victory in Iraq is to tacitly admit he is a fool and has been all along.

Looks like McCain has put Obama on the horns of a dilemma.

Tantor on May 29, 2008 at 1:07 AM

Ah but you see if U.S. commanders were to tell him about a imminent victory in Iraq all he would have to say is something like, “Sounds good to me, so there should be know problem whatsoever if I become President in 8 months and order the withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq over a period of another 16 months, in fact it sounds like you probably want me to speed it up.

Looks like you are trying to put the U.S. commanders in Iraq “on the horns of a dilemma” or just trying to get them to say something very foolish.

MB4 on May 29, 2008 at 3:43 AM

it would be a great opportunity for him to sit down with his iranian allies and ask them to please stop killing our troops and destabilizing iraq.

elduende on May 29, 2008 at 5:50 AM

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders, I’m not there to try to score political points or perform,” Mr. Obama said.

Why not? Everything else about his candidacy smacks of Kabuki theater…

As for, “How high will the RNC counter go?” By my math, it is 91 days by the time the DNC wraps up on 8/28. Add another few days for glad-handing, and the 1000-Day mark will hit over Labor Day weekend. And expect the Obama camp to turn that nice round number for the Savior of All Humanity’s return trip to Iraq to be spun into a virtue.

Captain Scarlet on May 29, 2008 at 7:03 AM

Allahpundit, are you a “secret” Obama supporter?

The picture of Obama looks vigorous.

The picture of McCain looks like death only slightly warmed over.

MB4 on May 29, 2008 at 7:19 AM

Having to be prompted at all to do something makes any form of doing that thing a political stunt. It’s too late now, Senator Obama…any way you slice it, you have nothing to gain anymore by doing it and much to lose by not doing it.

Well played, Senator McCain.

James on May 29, 2008 at 8:08 AM

Obama is going because McCain called him on it. Obama is clearly more of a follower than a leader.

Dollayo on May 29, 2008 at 8:13 AM

Obama is clearly more of a follower than a leader.

Dollayo on May 29, 2008 at 8:13 AM

Bingo!

cntrlfrk on May 29, 2008 at 8:32 AM

When will Obambi leave for Iraq?

As soon as his staffers complete the final draft of his speech, defining why the war is a lost cause in spite of bits and pieces of progress he saw during his visit.

Let’s call it Pre-emptive Defeatism.

fogw on May 29, 2008 at 8:38 AM

MB4 on May 29, 2008 at 7:19 AM

I hope you’re just funnin’ here.

They both look awful to me, although Obama looks a tad better because of his tanned skin.

bridgetown on May 29, 2008 at 9:00 AM

He declined an invitation from Senator John McCain to take a joint trip to Iraq, saying: “I just don’t want to be involved in a political stunt.”

Bwuh? That right there is another political stunt, Barry.

Grafted on May 29, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Just one more stone to hang around the neck of Obambi in the general election. A socialist, a coward, a race-panderer, a total lack of judgement, a corrupt Chicago Dem, supported by terrorists, and now – cowed by centrist politicians at will into grandstanding positions at odds with his own flowery rhetoric.

He will figuratively drown in a sea of his own filth.

Jaibones on May 29, 2008 at 9:55 AM

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders, I’m not there to try to score political points or perform,” Mr. Obama said. “The work they’re doing there is too important.”

Words, of the Finest Silk and Silver

franksalterego on May 29, 2008 at 10:02 AM

McCain should push this “bi-partisan” trip. That way they can both remark on what each other had seen. And it pushes his bi-partisan agenda.
He can claim with both there together, this is not a political campaign stunt, but an effort to heal party lines, over a very important subject that crosses party lines.
Just McCain, Obama (no “handlers”), the press and the generals. They can use it as a “briefing” of one of the most important issues in the campaign.
The generals are the men that are under the Pres. command, you don’t need anyone else to advise you…if you know what you are doing and are a leader.

right2bright on May 29, 2008 at 10:06 AM

RALPH PETERS: “To date, not one ‘mainstream media’ journalist has pressed the leading advocates of unconditional surrender to describe in detail what might happen after we ‘bring the troops home now.’ There’s plenty of unchallenged sloganeering, but no serious debate. This selective political softball and pep-rally journalism serves neither our country nor our political process well.”

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:08 AM

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Probably true. However, here’s what we know about predictive powers of pro-war people.

freevillage on May 29, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Yesterday, I was scratching my head over Obama’s strategy on handling McCan’s invitation to travel to Iraq together. His campaign could have finessed this issue a lot of different ways. They could have questioning whether the two major party presidential candidates traveling through a war zone together represented a unique and unnecessary security risk. They could have said it would be inappropriate to consider the invitation until the Democratic nomination was formally secured. They could have simply said their schedules were unlikely to coincide.

Most notably, the campaign could have said that the candidate hopes to get to Iraq before Election Day, but that it would depend on many scheduling factors.

Instead, their initial answer asserted that there was no value to traveling to Iraq, which I think is a much tougher “sell.”

http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWM0NjZiNzE3ZTRlZTlhNWVlNWU2ZGZkNWE5MzU5MTU=

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:25 AM

freevillage on May 29, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Obama is in favor of the war on terror, in fact he supports more troops in Afghanistan and from what I can tell, unilateral attacks upon regions in Pakistan, and maybe Somalia. Your hitching your cart to the wrong horse if you think he is anti-war.

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM

“The work they’re doing there is too important.”

In an e-mail, from my cousin’s grandson Dustin, serving in the Mosul region, a couple of years ago:

“These people need us here.”

At the memorial for Marine Darrel Morris, of Spokane, who died on his second tour, his father had questioned Darrel’s volunteering for the tour, he explained:

“When I asked him why, he told me, ‘Those people need us.’”

That it took this grandstanding, treasonous, anti-war weasel pus-bucket this long to come to this conclusion, is beyond outrageous.

franksalterego on May 29, 2008 at 10:42 AM

We cannot let this child, and yes Obama is a child in the White House

ConservativePartyNow on May 29, 2008 at 10:48 AM

“The work they’re doing there is too important.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, this sure as hell sounds like, Bush has been RIGHT all along.

franksalterego on May 29, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Excellent. We could use a match for this.

Tanya on May 29, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Obama is in favor of the war on terror, in fact he supports more troops in Afghanistan and from what I can tell, unilateral attacks upon regions in Pakistan, and maybe Somalia. Your hitching your cart to the wrong horse if you think he is anti-war.

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM

You fall for most anything don’t you…
That is the lefts chant, more troops in Afghanistan because we have too many in Iraq. The only reason they want more troops is to discredit what we are doing in Iraq, nothing else. And to continuously make the point “we would have caught Osama by now if we would have…”
He (Osama) has no idea “how many troops” are needed to complete a task, he has no idea of the work being done overeseas, he has no clue, only the mantra “I am against terrorism, we need more troops in Afghanistan”.
I would like a reporter to ask him a series of questions:
What is a
Section
Team
Flight
Wing
Squad
Platoon
Company (battery)
Battalion
Regiment
Brigade
Division
Corps
Army
Sorry Navy, you are too complex.
I don’t care if our Commander knows the price of milk, but I do want him to know what it means to have three battalions in a region.

right2bright on May 29, 2008 at 11:51 AM

“The work they’re doing there is too important”???

What??!!??

I thought the work our troops was doing was completely UNimportant and unncessary, according to the Obamassiah. If it’s a war we shouldn’t be in, why not waste some of the troops’ time by meeting with them? At least that’s a few hours they won’t be out there raping Iraqi women and shooting little children, right?

rockmom on May 29, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Obama is in favor of the war on terror, in fact he supports more troops in Afghanistan and from what I can tell, unilateral attacks upon regions in Pakistan, and maybe Somalia. Your hitching your cart to the wrong horse if you think he is anti-war.

bnelson44 on May 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Of course he isn’t, and he isn’t going to be against the war in Iraq anymore either if he is elected President. He is starting a very sloooow march back from his antiwar appeals during the early primaries, because he knows now that the facts on the ground have changed and Americans do not want to lose a war we are about to win.

rockmom on May 29, 2008 at 12:30 PM

rockmom on May 29, 2008 at 12:30 PM

I hope you’re right. I hope if he gets elected that he’ll decide to work for America, however twisted way he gets there.

bridgetown on May 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM

I’m not a betting man, but I’d say Obama wont go to Iraq. IF he does, he’ll get to talk ONLY to those who are sure to tell him what HE wants to hear.

abcurtis on May 29, 2008 at 1:53 PM

MB4 on May 29, 2008 at 7:19 AM

I hope you’re just funnin’ here.

They both look awful to me, although Obama looks a tad better because of his tanned skin.

bridgetown on May 29, 2008 at 9:00 AM

The picture is a faltering one of Obama and an almost hideous one of McCain.

MB4 on May 29, 2008 at 3:38 PM

look for him to go to Israel for some photo ops too.

elduende on May 29, 2008 at 9:22 PM

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed this (from the section Allah excerpted above), but after hearing one of his people repeat it on a reairring of Special Report just now I came here wanting to point out what I found odd:

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders, I’m not there to try to score political points or perform,” Mr. Obama said. “The work they’re doing there is too important.”

Wait, aren’t you Mr. Withdrawal? And aren’t you withdrawing because you say we shouldn’t be there? Then how the hell is the work “too important”? And if it’s so important, why the f**k would you pull them out? Amateur. Oh wait, I forgot, he’s a Dem and can get away with insane lies and inconsistencies on a daily basis because his pals in the media won’t hold his shameful feet to the fire.

RightWinged on May 30, 2008 at 3:14 AM

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