Hope and change: Obama “encouraged” by the progress in Iraq; Update: “Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point,” declares AP

posted at 5:13 pm on June 16, 2008 by Allahpundit

Commentary magazine seizes on his renewed call to start withdrawing, which is fair enough. The left has spent the last year mocking hawks for using both bad news and good news as justification for keeping troop levels high. Can’t fault Abe Greenwald for rubbing the Messiah’s face in the fact that he’s playing the same game in reverse, or that this amounts to a de facto admission that he was too pessimistic about the surge. But look closer:

Obama, who secured the Democratic party nomination earlier this month and will run in November against Republican John McCain, said he spoke about improved security conditions in Iraq during a telephone conversation with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

“I emphasized to him how encouraged I was by the reductions in violence in Iraq but also insisted that it is important for us to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. troops, making it clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq,” Obama told reporters at the airport in Flint, where he had just arrived for an event on the economy…

Obama says he would begin a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq shortly after taking office. His plan calls for the removal of one or two brigades a month which would allow a pullout of combat troops to be completed within 16 months.

The first-term Illinois senator said he told Zebari that if he wins the White House, “an Obama administration will make sure that we continue with the progress that’s been made in Iraq, that we won’t act precipitously.”

What’s that mean? He’s not going to modify his withdrawal plan in the heat of the campaign so this is as close as we’re going to get to a sign that he might be open to revisiting his timetable. Don’t forget, before she got booted from the campaign, Samantha Power all but admitted that we weren’t going to be out in 16 months, regardless of what Obama’s stump speech might say. Or do I have it backwards, and this is just the lip service he’s paying to centrists who might be taking a second look at the war while he crafts a “declare victory and go home” strategy?

His would-be NSA revealed himself today as a member of the Winnie the Pooh school of foreign policy, whereby “if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.” Exit question: If it stops causing you much pain, is it safe to stick with it?

Update: Via Ace, I guess when even the AP is grudgingly admitting that conditions have improved, Team Barry can’t very well go on playing dumb.

Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.

Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war’s supporters…

A new sense of confidence has emerged after recent Iraqi-run military operations against Sunni extremists, including al-Qaida, in the northern city of Mosul and against Shiite militiamen in Basra and Baghdad.

When does NBC declare that civil war is, at least, in a ceasefire?


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Hey look, Obama’s moving towards the center just in time for the general! Tool.

Darth Executor on June 16, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Movin-movin-movin to the center

AbaddonsReign on June 16, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Supplimental:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=6001af15-399f-4b11-b7fb-6f52baca6bcc

I really don’t know what to believe about this guy. Is he a closet hawk? A realist? Will he have Code Pink and Denny Kucinich calling for his impeachment after the first 100 days? Who knows. That is why he is so scary to me.

VolMagic on June 16, 2008 at 5:19 PM

The politics of convenience. Wow, hope and change…

Fishoutofwater on June 16, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Obama: I was for the surge after I was against it.

Steve Z on June 16, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Obama is pretending that he is already President, but when he says things like “we continue with the progress that’s been made in Iraq” I have to believe there are quite a few libs who weren’t too happy. The “Quagmire” screed is starting to get a bit tattered.

Bishop on June 16, 2008 at 5:22 PM

“…making it clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq,” Obama told reporters”

WTF? What’s this “WE” business, kemosabe?

This guy is an idiot beyond imagination. God help us if he becomes the POTUS

Fishoutofwater on June 16, 2008 at 5:22 PM

One of his handlers must have read the Washington Post this morning.

That’s the campaign’s way of acknowledging the editorial board.

Democrat-MSM Kabuki theater.

Good Lt on June 16, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Obama speaketh – AP Bleateth

Good Lt on June 16, 2008 at 5:26 PM

You love that clip, don’t you AP?

As for your rhetorical question:

Or do I have it backwards, and this is just the lip service he’s paying to centrists who might be taking a second look at the war while he crafts a “declare victory and go home” strategy?

Yes, the answer is B. When Barry is sworn in Nancy Pelosi will become the Most Powerful Person in America (all hail Overlord Pelosi!). While Barry is still trying to find the bathroom in the White House, Her Majesty Nancy will reveal the Elite Defeat and Retreat bill. It will easily pass the House and Senate (especially if the Dems get 60 Senators) and Barry will be boxed into a corner. Even if he wanted to, he can’t let his first act of his Historic Presidency be the veto of the end of the Iraq war.

So boom, just like that, he signs the bill and it’s helicopters on the embassy roof. And as long as Pelosi has a big enough margin of footsoldier in the House, this will be the pattern of our government until 2010. Two solid years of us eating crap. Can’t freaking wait.

Vote Sauron 08 on June 16, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Team Barry can’t very well go on playing dumb.

They’re not playing.

baldilocks on June 16, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war’s supporters…

More like “after so many years of relentless negative reporting by the liberal American press.”

Patrick S on June 16, 2008 at 5:29 PM

It would be helpful if Buraq and his spokespeople could cue the listener that “the following is bullshit put out there for campaign purposes only” or “the following is what Obama really thinks” when making statements about his intentions when he gains the Oval Office.

Cicero43 on June 16, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Obama says he would begin a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq shortly after taking office. His plan calls for the removal of one or two brigades a month which would allow a pullout of combat troops to be completed within 16 months.

So now that the terrorist now our timetable they can just lay low for 16 months, then takeover.. brilliant.

Chakra Hammer on June 16, 2008 at 5:30 PM

So now that the terrorist now know our timetable for surrender they can just lay low for 16 months, then takeover..

brilliant.

Chakra Hammer on June 16, 2008 at 5:31 PM

It’s just like when the Iranians handed over the hostages after Reagan won the election. The insurgents are terrified of the hell Obama will rain down on them. Not.

Lunkinator on June 16, 2008 at 5:33 PM

This guy is an absolute, unmitigated phony. He stands nothing and he believes in nothing. He’s completely and totally unqualified to become president and this country is in deep, deep trouble.

rplat on June 16, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Obama’s trump card is: “We wouldn’t have needed the surge if I was President because I wouldn’t have gotten us into this mess that McCain and Bush got us into.”

Mighty strong hand he’s got there.

SteveMG on June 16, 2008 at 5:37 PM

The far left will just say that this progress means we can pull out now. Facts don’t matter. If there’s too much violence, we should to leave. If things are calm, we should leave. The argument for withdrawl is not about facts in Iraq. It’s not even about Iraq at all. The far left does not want any exercise of American military power. Period.

If/when we withdraw from Iraq, watch the argument move to Afghanistan. We have to leave because it’s too violent, too unstable; it’s a civil war, sectarian conflict; we don’t understand the complexity of the society; we can’t win. Why are our sweet children dying in the mountains/desert/jungle/urban wasteland?

By running as the anti-war candidate to Hillary’s left BHO has hocked his presidency to Code Pink and the anti-war far left. They will come to collect their debt.

Vote Sauron 08 on June 16, 2008 at 5:38 PM

What’s that mean?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone actually asked him? Cause I doubt if he’s going to clear it up in one of his speeches.

MayBee on June 16, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Obama, who secured the Democratic party nomination earlier this month and will run in November against Republican John McCain, said he spoke about improved security conditions in Iraq during a telephone conversation with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

Go back to what I wrote many months ago.

I said that whoever is President, he (or she) will not be messing with Iraq and that region.

I said that only events on the ground will dictate the next move.

And I also said that the U.S. will NEVER withdraw it troops from the region. It might be a reduction but not a complete withdraw.

And finally I said that it’s all campaign rhetoric to get the nomination. Now that Hussein got it, he can say or do whatever he wants, but again, no complete withdraw.

Mark my words.

Nothing surprises me.

Indy Conservative on June 16, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Look! We don’t even need to be there! Come on home boys and girls!

then, when the killing fields start to fill up…

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHH bad!

Limerick on June 16, 2008 at 5:39 PM

If only this ‘progress’ had happened two years sooner.

i have no idea how to read Obama, if he goes the liberal kook route with FP the results would be devistating and they’d be out of power for awhile after that. I’d think the “estbalishment” is pulling the strings here.

jp on June 16, 2008 at 5:40 PM

So now that the terrorist now know our timetable for surrender they can just lay low for 16 months, then takeover..

brilliant.

Chakra Hammer on June 16, 2008 at 5:31 PM

No, no, no. Haven’t you heard?? The Blessed Avatar of Hope and Change will reason with them. And once The Lightworker shows them he means them no harm, all will be well.

/kool-aid

CurtZHP on June 16, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Darth Executor on June 16, 2008 at 5:18 PM

You sure it isn’t the center moving towards him? Scarey!

upinak on June 16, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Exit question: If it stops causing you much pain, is it safe to stick with it?

Re-written

If it causes you too much pain, it’s time to pull out.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 5:43 PM

This is not the Iraq I knew!

hoosiermama on June 16, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Fauxbama said he would pull the troops out, he just didn’t know he’d have to do it under victorious circumstances. Better late than never Barry, you Marxist……….

adamsmith on June 16, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Next, he’ll have been for the surge, or will have identified and effected the entire thing.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Since when can Obama, or any Democrat, take credit for any progress in Iraq?

icelandicfarmer on June 16, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Yeah, it will be sooooooooo nice to watch Barry claim victory. Then we can start building all those schools that Michelle Obama said would teach ME children to love us and not fight us.

Limerick on June 16, 2008 at 5:49 PM

What a disgrace. The AP in the tank for Obama and I suspect coordinating something together to give him leeway in saying Iraq is doing better. Something we knew for a long time but the liberals were painting something different.

jencab on June 16, 2008 at 5:49 PM

So now Obama is throwing al Quaeda under the bus?

pseudonominus on June 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM

The Urban Dictionary should be updated to define “Obama” as a “state of confusion, with frequent changes in perception”.

darwin on June 16, 2008 at 5:57 PM

“Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.”
– Alexander Hamilton

byteshredder on June 16, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Wow, thats a whole lotta CHANGE!

ctmom on June 16, 2008 at 5:59 PM

“Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.”
– Alexander Hamilton

byteshredder on June 16, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Fear a good chunk of our compatriots.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 6:06 PM

obama is weak, inexperienced and a threat to our country.
of course, dems don’t really any trouble with that.

let’s clean his clock.

jimmer on June 16, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Team Barry can’t very well go on playing dumb.

They’re not playing.

baldilocks on June 16, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Heh.

Jaibones on June 16, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Um, bigger question…

Why is this guy even talking to the Iraqi Foreign Minister?

As he speaks in the Imperial WE is that not influencing a foreign government before he is even in office?

Political candidates talking to foreign governments???

Wow!

Romeo13 on June 16, 2008 at 6:13 PM

so whats his first stop iraq or iran who is he going to meet with first .

Mojack420 on June 16, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Headline from the AP

Iraqi violence down; war’s root causes unresolved.

They simply can’t, no, it will kill them to say something positive. Once their Messiah embraces progress, you watch for the new hedlines.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Thanks to Senator Obama’s brave leadership, we have won the war in Iraq.

Hail Obama!!!

/sarc

indythinker on June 16, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Why is this guy even talking to the Iraqi Foreign Minister?

Romeo13 on June 16, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Because he’s inevitable. Remember Hillary to Katie “I will be that next president”.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 6:18 PM

We? This guy reminds me of a sports fan who talks trash about his hometown team when he thinks they are losing. But when they win, he’s right out there like the most hardcore supporter.

thekingtut on June 16, 2008 at 6:19 PM

“Guard against the imposters of pretended patriotism.”
~ George Washington

Texas Gal on June 16, 2008 at 6:19 PM

The sudden optimism is making me nervous. Chalk it up to my inclination to be contrary magnified by a touch of paranoia, but when everyone starts saying we’ve won, I get nervous.

We [will,may,might] win this battle, but the fight goes on as long as there is an imam preaching hate, a recruiter looking for volunteers, a financier paying those volunteers, and a leader to motivate and give the orders.

The only conclusion I could draw from that very long, and well written piece at TNR is, nobody knows what Obama will do. Probably Obama doesn’t know what to do.

But I’ll make a guess and say, if Obama gets elected, and Iraq blows up, I think he’ll bail, he won’t fight. I don’t think he’ll risk a fight. He’ll bail at the first sign of a threat.

rockhauler on June 16, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Get the flip-flops back out for St. Paul!!!

SouthernGent on June 16, 2008 at 6:34 PM

But I’ll make a guess and say, if Obama gets elected, and Iraq blows up, I think he’ll bail, he won’t fight. I don’t think he’ll risk a fight. He’ll bail at the first sign of a threat.

rockhauler on June 16, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Iraq may blow up precisely because Obama wins. There’s no reason to think we know something about him our enemies don’t.

JiangxiDad on June 16, 2008 at 6:49 PM

When does GW get to pronounce MISSION ACCOMPLISHED #2 ??

It’s time for a victory parade right down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Code Pink can return to a prophylactic color of choice.

Bush should put Pelosi in a room with Petraeus and tell the “queenie” that the General will write up withdrawel plans she can submit to the House.

Rovin on June 16, 2008 at 6:58 PM

We absolutely need a base in Iraq and this clown has no business acting as supreme commander / dictator saying we won’t. Put Obama in the room with Patraeus also.

dhunter on June 16, 2008 at 7:13 PM

With all this marvolus progress that has been made in Iraq I think that it’s about time that John McCain denounced that laggard Barak Obama for wanting to take 16 #uckin months to get American combat forces out of Iraq, and to not even start until at least Januarey, 2009, and announce that because of these new realities, if he becomes President he will have all American combat forces out of Iraq within 12 months and that he will in fact encourge President Bush to start on that 12 months right now.

MB4 on June 16, 2008 at 7:18 PM

So now Obama is throwing al Quaeda under the bus?

pseudonominus on June 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Good one!

Whatever will the KosKids think?

hillbillyjim on June 16, 2008 at 7:30 PM

Next, he’ll have been for the surge, or will have identified and effected the entire thing.

Entelechy on June 16, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Obama: Nobody has been a bigger supporter of the surge than I have been.

AZCoyote on June 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM

“[I had a] telephone conversation with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, [...], making it clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq,”, Obama told reporters at the airport in Flint.

Holy crap. Does he know anything about conducting a war, a negotiation, diplomacy, whatever you want to call it? Up front say “I have no interest in [insert incredibly important strategic element here]“. Isn’t that just a colosally stupid kind of thing to say in such a situation? It seems so naive. Way to negotiate yourself the worst deal possible.

Paul-Cincy on June 16, 2008 at 8:01 PM

A lot of people seem to think that on Inauguration Day, Obama is going to take his hand off the Bible and pull a big lever that brings all the troops home. I almost want him to win so I can laugh as their gradual disillusionment turns into seething anger.

Jim Treacher on June 16, 2008 at 8:30 PM

When does NBC declare that civil war is, at least, in a ceasefire?

Never!

The will downplay good news on the air, on the beaches and in the fields, on the streets and in every HUT.

Never give up!

Never give in!

Never consider victory!

Karl on June 16, 2008 at 9:10 PM

Limerick on June 16, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Yeah, maybe “boooosh baahhhd” (said like sheep),

but more than likely, the lead story will be “Tips For Gays Going Through Divorce”, and “Many Experts Say President Obama Has Reversed Climate Change”…while “Rumors of Violence Along The Euphrates” will be on page C27.

History is written by the victors.

Saltysam on June 16, 2008 at 9:57 PM

Prediction: Pres. Obama (PBUH) will take credit for victory in Iraq.

So will all the liberals.

Believe me, in 20 years time we’ll be hearing on how Obama and the Democrats saved Iraq.

madne0 on June 16, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Sometimes, well most times, I suspect that the media thinks what they believe reflects what America believes. They shape the narrative, imbue it with importance, and continue building it or tear it down as needs fit. Try the following experiment and see if it makes sense. Explicitly add the word “media” to their implicit assumptions in the second paragraph and the whole thing makes sense:

Those positive signs are attracting little media attention in the United States, where the war-weary media is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war’s supporters…

Laserjock on June 16, 2008 at 10:34 PM

Believe me, in 20 years time we’ll be hearing on how Obama and the Democrats saved Iraq.

madne0 on June 16, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Believe me, in 20 years time we’ll be hearing about how Iraq and Iran are celebrating at least the tenth anniversary of there alliance.

MB4 on June 17, 2008 at 12:54 AM

Actually, the narrative will be that Bush, the witless cretin elected in 2000 on a platform that expressly condemned so-called “nation-building” exercises, was persuaded by the lucid elegance of Bill Clinton’s rhetoric to conduct a campaign to uplift Iraq.

Unfortunately, the war-loving Neocons, led by Darth Cheney, initially confused Bush into thinking that this would be a military campaign…..until Obama the Lightworker set him on the straight path, in a ceremony known as “The Surge.”

cthulhu on June 17, 2008 at 1:13 AM