Two Years Since Obama's Iraq Retreat Deadline

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
Today is the second anniversary of the date Senator Barack Obama called for U.S. troops to  have been withdrawn from Iraq.  Imagine what the Middle East would be like today had his advice been taken. Looking back, it appears his call for retreat was aimed at garnering the support of the Democrat Left. It worked. As President, though, he's singing a different tune. One year ago today, the American Thinker commemorated the 1st anniversary of his surrender date with the post below:

On January 30, 2007, Senator Barack Obama introduced the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007 in a speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate.  In describing the proposed legislation he said,

"This plan would not only place a cap on the number of troops in Iraq and stop the escalation, more importantly, it would begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces with the goal of removing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by March 31, 2008.

"In a civil war where no military solution exists, this redeployment remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability."

Obama's proposed legislation came in the wake of President Bush's announcement of the troop surge.  In a statement dated January 19, 2007, Obama said,

"I cannot in good conscience support this escalation.  It is a policy which has already been tried and a policy which has failed.  Just this morning, I had veterans of the Iraq war visit my office to explain to me that this surge concept is, in fact, no different from what we have repeatedly tried, but with 20,000 troops, we will not in any imaginable way be able to accomplish any new progress."

No new progress. "Not in any imaginable way."  The surge would fail, he said. Things didn't go as he predicted.  Limited imagination perhaps.

But at least the Senator has been consistent during the last two years in his withdrawal position concerning Iraq.  And, he's also had a consistent cut-&-paste view of the role of Syria and, more importantly, Iran as benign actors in the Iraq ordeal. 

November 20, 2006 Speech: "A Way Forward in Iraq"

"...neither Iran nor Syria wants to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region - and within their own countries."

January 19, 2007 Statement: Senate Floor

"...neither Iran nor Syria wants to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region - and within their own countries."

Later though, a surprise source tossed a wrench into the Senator's notion of Iran's intent:

August 28, 2007, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boldly declared Tuesday that Iran is ready to help fill an imminent power vacuum in Iraq, while also defending the neighboring country's embattled Shiite prime minister who has been criticized by U.S. politicians.

And then, the Elusive One himself seems to have just recently elevated the importance of Iraq to jihad.

March 20, 2008 (CNN) -- Al-Jazeera broadcast on Thursday an audiotape on which a voice identified as Osama bin Laden declares "Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine."

So, Obama, Clinton and the entire Democrat Party are caught in a conundrum.  The surge is working, conditions in Iraq are improving, Iraqis are fighting for their country, and the deadline for Obama's withdrawal in the face of his unrequited expectations for failure in Iraq is passing, today.

All that's left for Democrats to hope for is that our economy stalls.

If Obama is the Democrat nominee, his understanding of the use of U.S. military force, compared to that of Senator McCain, will be one focal point in the general election as we ask ourselves the question: Who shall be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

In the November 20, 2006 speech quoted above, Obama offered valuable insights into his understanding of the historical use of American arms.

"[W]e should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today...It's in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal.  But even as we provide such help, we should be clear that the institutions of democracy - free markets, a free press, a strong civil society - cannot be built overnight, and they cannot be built at the end of a barrel of a gun.  And so we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of - especially freedom from want and freedom from fear - do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots; they are only realized once the personal and material security of a people is ensured as well

"In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies." Really? When and where?

Germany, Japan and Italy became flourishing democracies "at the end of a barrel of a gun."  England's freedoms would have been smothered had it not been for the gun barrels of Hurricanes and Spitfires. Singapore and the Philippines were liberated from tyranny at the end of a barrel of a gun.  Israel has often defended her freedom with guns, yet today.  France, Belgium, Norway - all liberated from tyranny at the end of gun barrels.  South Korea is free today because of them, gun barrels.  Eastern European countries are discovering democracy today because of all the unfired guns of NATO at-the-ready that helped bring about the implosion of the USSR. Iraq and Afghanistan would never have had a chance at freedom had their struggling quests not begun after the diplomats fell silent and the guns spoke. One wonders if
Senator Obama's educartion at Hawaii's most elite private academy, Columbia and Harvard included any history lessons.

He began his March 18th "A More Perfect Union" speech with the opening words of the Constitution of the United States of America, a document he knows well, since he was once a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.  After a bitter debate within the states, the Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789.  Today, we see it as the culmination of an extraordinary linage of documents that included the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and the Federalists Papers.  Obama states, "we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of...do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots." 

Certainly that's true.  But neither did freedom for Americans come at the end of a language event, at the successful conclusion of an exercise in diplomatic rhetoric.  It came when 400 siege guns dropped 36,000 rounds into the British lines at Yorktown and Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.  Nearly eight years before the Constitution went into effect.

We owe much to the framers of the Constitution, to the men of words. But we owe at least as much to Joseph Plumb Martin. He joined the Continental Army in 1776 at age 16, and stayed at the butt end of the barrel of a gun until victory.  While Martin and others were engaging the British, the Continental Congress was an ongoing lesson in gross incompetence. Even Washington, who kept his political thoughts very much to  himself, in a letter to a friend during particularly dire times for his army, let down his guard and asked, rhetorically, where have all the big talkers gone.  

The militia came and went throughout the war, as they had families to feed.  But a cadre within the Continental Army, a force of Joseph Martin's never numbering as many as in the Iraq surge, lived a hardscrabble life - fighting, losing, and fighting again.  Until, at the Battle of Cowpens with Daniel Morgan, they decimated the British and their Loyalists allies (freedom does not require unity within the nation that would have it). After years of being at the end of a barrel of the gun, they'd become professional soldiers who could fire, reload and maneuver - at the same time.  

"We should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force," Senator Obama says. One wonders...

Deep down, does Barack Obama believe that language and diplomacy are the primary arms in gaining freedom, and in keeping it?


Today is the second anniversary of the date Senator Barack Obama called for U.S. troops to  have been withdrawn from Iraq.  Imagine what the Middle East would be like today had his advice been taken. Looking back, it appears his call for retreat was aimed at garnering the support of the Democrat Left. It worked. As President, though, he's singing a different tune. One year ago today, the American Thinker commemorated the 1st anniversary of his surrender date with the post below:

On January 30, 2007, Senator Barack Obama introduced the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007 in a speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate.  In describing the proposed legislation he said,

"This plan would not only place a cap on the number of troops in Iraq and stop the escalation, more importantly, it would begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces with the goal of removing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by March 31, 2008.

"In a civil war where no military solution exists, this redeployment remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability."

Obama's proposed legislation came in the wake of President Bush's announcement of the troop surge.  In a statement dated January 19, 2007, Obama said,

"I cannot in good conscience support this escalation.  It is a policy which has already been tried and a policy which has failed.  Just this morning, I had veterans of the Iraq war visit my office to explain to me that this surge concept is, in fact, no different from what we have repeatedly tried, but with 20,000 troops, we will not in any imaginable way be able to accomplish any new progress."

No new progress. "Not in any imaginable way."  The surge would fail, he said. Things didn't go as he predicted.  Limited imagination perhaps.

But at least the Senator has been consistent during the last two years in his withdrawal position concerning Iraq.  And, he's also had a consistent cut-&-paste view of the role of Syria and, more importantly, Iran as benign actors in the Iraq ordeal. 

November 20, 2006 Speech: "A Way Forward in Iraq"

"...neither Iran nor Syria wants to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region - and within their own countries."

January 19, 2007 Statement: Senate Floor

"...neither Iran nor Syria wants to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees, and violence, as it could have a destabilizing effect throughout the entire region - and within their own countries."

Later though, a surprise source tossed a wrench into the Senator's notion of Iran's intent:

August 28, 2007, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boldly declared Tuesday that Iran is ready to help fill an imminent power vacuum in Iraq, while also defending the neighboring country's embattled Shiite prime minister who has been criticized by U.S. politicians.

And then, the Elusive One himself seems to have just recently elevated the importance of Iraq to jihad.

March 20, 2008 (CNN) -- Al-Jazeera broadcast on Thursday an audiotape on which a voice identified as Osama bin Laden declares "Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine."

So, Obama, Clinton and the entire Democrat Party are caught in a conundrum.  The surge is working, conditions in Iraq are improving, Iraqis are fighting for their country, and the deadline for Obama's withdrawal in the face of his unrequited expectations for failure in Iraq is passing, today.

All that's left for Democrats to hope for is that our economy stalls.

If Obama is the Democrat nominee, his understanding of the use of U.S. military force, compared to that of Senator McCain, will be one focal point in the general election as we ask ourselves the question: Who shall be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

In the November 20, 2006 speech quoted above, Obama offered valuable insights into his understanding of the historical use of American arms.

"[W]e should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force. In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies; movements that continue today...It's in our interest to help foster democracy through the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal.  But even as we provide such help, we should be clear that the institutions of democracy - free markets, a free press, a strong civil society - cannot be built overnight, and they cannot be built at the end of a barrel of a gun.  And so we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of - especially freedom from want and freedom from fear - do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots; they are only realized once the personal and material security of a people is ensured as well

"In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes that have led to flourishing democracies." Really? When and where?

Germany, Japan and Italy became flourishing democracies "at the end of a barrel of a gun."  England's freedoms would have been smothered had it not been for the gun barrels of Hurricanes and Spitfires. Singapore and the Philippines were liberated from tyranny at the end of a barrel of a gun.  Israel has often defended her freedom with guns, yet today.  France, Belgium, Norway - all liberated from tyranny at the end of gun barrels.  South Korea is free today because of them, gun barrels.  Eastern European countries are discovering democracy today because of all the unfired guns of NATO at-the-ready that helped bring about the implosion of the USSR. Iraq and Afghanistan would never have had a chance at freedom had their struggling quests not begun after the diplomats fell silent and the guns spoke. One wonders if
Senator Obama's educartion at Hawaii's most elite private academy, Columbia and Harvard included any history lessons.

He began his March 18th "A More Perfect Union" speech with the opening words of the Constitution of the United States of America, a document he knows well, since he was once a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.  After a bitter debate within the states, the Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789.  Today, we see it as the culmination of an extraordinary linage of documents that included the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and the Federalists Papers.  Obama states, "we must realize that the freedoms FDR once spoke of...do not just come from deposing a tyrant and handing out ballots." 

Certainly that's true.  But neither did freedom for Americans come at the end of a language event, at the successful conclusion of an exercise in diplomatic rhetoric.  It came when 400 siege guns dropped 36,000 rounds into the British lines at Yorktown and Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.  Nearly eight years before the Constitution went into effect.

We owe much to the framers of the Constitution, to the men of words. But we owe at least as much to Joseph Plumb Martin. He joined the Continental Army in 1776 at age 16, and stayed at the butt end of the barrel of a gun until victory.  While Martin and others were engaging the British, the Continental Congress was an ongoing lesson in gross incompetence. Even Washington, who kept his political thoughts very much to  himself, in a letter to a friend during particularly dire times for his army, let down his guard and asked, rhetorically, where have all the big talkers gone.  

The militia came and went throughout the war, as they had families to feed.  But a cadre within the Continental Army, a force of Joseph Martin's never numbering as many as in the Iraq surge, lived a hardscrabble life - fighting, losing, and fighting again.  Until, at the Battle of Cowpens with Daniel Morgan, they decimated the British and their Loyalists allies (freedom does not require unity within the nation that would have it). After years of being at the end of a barrel of the gun, they'd become professional soldiers who could fire, reload and maneuver - at the same time.  

"We should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force," Senator Obama says. One wonders...

Deep down, does Barack Obama believe that language and diplomacy are the primary arms in gaining freedom, and in keeping it?