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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stuck Between Iraq, Petraeus, the Left Wing,and a Hard Place

Last night on the Factor, Bill O'Reilly summarized the conundrum facing Barack Obama with regards to Iraq. He ran on the far left platform of withdrawal at any cost. His opposition to the war from the beginning became the only difference in policy between he and Hillary Clinton. This was a wildly popular idea in the primary. It is frankly a popular idea in the general election. The problem is that our own electorate is psychzophrenic on this issue, like many.

While withdrawal is popular, General David Petraeus is emerging as a General of epic proportions. He is fast becoming mentioned in the same breathe as Washington, Grant, and Eisenhower. While withdrawal at any costs may poll well, it is in sharp contrast with the steady and effective plan currently being carried out.

I certainly will not be privvy to conversations between Obama and Petraeus however it is not very likely that Petraeus would endorse any sort of withdrawal plan tied to anything but victory. Furthermore, we are on the brink of victory.

As such, if Obama insists on sticking with his plan on withdrawal at any cost then he is at odds with one of the greatest Generals of our history. The public at large is much more comfortable allowing the General on the ground to dictate strategy not some arrogant first term Senator with no foreign policy experience.

On the other hand, if after visiting Iraq, he changes course and endorses General Petraeus finishing the mission, he will have stabbed his most zealous supporters in the back. The left wing has thus far generally looked the other way on his numerous jaunts to the middle. They are rather upset over FISA however not upset enough to make any legitimate voting difference. That won't be true on Iraq.

Obama's insistence on ending not winning the war was the central platform of his campaign. He can't suddenly do a 180% turnaround on that issue. It is one thing to be wishy washy on the 2nd amendment. That was never central to his platform. It is quite another to reverse course on Iraq.

Now, O'Reilly, much like most of the media, still doesn't recognize the central problem for Obama. He was wrong. He, from the beginning, thought the surge would fail. Carrying a faulty policy all the way toward primary electoral victory doesn't make that policy anymore right. Here is how the RNC summed it up.

He is stuck where he is because for the last year and a half he has been saying that the surge would fail. He has been saying it would add to the problems. He has been saying that it wouldn't lead to political reconciliation. In other words, for the last year and a half, he has been wrong.

That's why he finds himself stuck between a legendary General and a base of voters as wrong as him. He was wrong and he carried millions of people with him. Now, that base, which refuses of course to admit they are wrong, wants him to continue down the same wrong path.

He is now caught in the most difficult political double edged sword. If he crosses the General and insists on faulty policy, everyone but the committed far left will turn on him. If he goes with the General, everyone on the far left will turn on him. Such are difficult consequences of advocating the wrong policy.

Check out Ed Morrissey at Hot Air and Roger Simon at Politico for similar arguments.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that there are consequences for advocating the wrong policies, and I am happy to see that the American public is beginning to hold Bush accountable. To use 9/11 as an excuse to go to Iraq, rather than fight terrorists, will never be forgotten as Bush/Cheney/Rummy's "wrong policy". It makes one wonder how they could hate America so much that they would lie and deceive. Thank God Americas have seen the light.

mike volpe said...

First of all, Bush didn't use 9/11 as an excuse to go to war. There is absolutely no evidence that Bush used an excuse to go to war with Iraq. There is absolutely no evidence of lying or deceit. Most importantly, I didn't mention the President, and yet your response is entire about him, and that is revealing.

Defend Obama's actions on their merits. Don't defend them by deflecting by attacking the President.

Anonymous said...

Could you define what the blue blazes "we are on the brink of victory" means?

Do you have anything, other than your political bias, to back this statement?

Further your statement of "Obama insists on sticking with his plan on withdrawal at any cost then he is at odds" is a blatant lie. Obama wants to leave in a responsible fashion from a war started by Republican lie (i.e. WMDs).

McCain's plan of eternal war (100 or 1000 years depending on the day you ask McCain) definitely does not poll well as the death count of soldiers dying in the Iraq War started by Republican lies continues to grow.

The wrong policy was for the Republican Administration to lie about WMDs (remember them?) and lead America into a needless war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

And by the way, the majority of Americans want the US to get out of Iraq too.

mike volpe said...

Victory is an Iraq, at peace with its neighbors, itself, able to stand up on its own, and an ally in the war on terror.

Saying that he wants to leave in a responsible manner sounds nice but it means nothing. You can't leave a war zone responsibly unless you win.

McCain's plan is NOT eternal war. That is nonsense long been debunked. When he said that American troops can be in Iraq for fifty or one hundred years, he also made it clear that this was as long as they were safe. He imagines a troop presence similar to the manner in which we currently are in Korea and Europe.

There were no lies and of course if Bush lied, then so did Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and most every Democrat were lying as well since they all said there were WMD's.

The majority of Americans do want us out, and of course, that is something I pointed out in the piece. I also said that going against one of the greatest Generals of all time is not something the public is in favor of, and of course, it is not a very good policy furthermore.

Anonymous said...

"...peace with its neighbors, itself, able to stand up on its own, and an ally in the war on terror" also sounds nice, and it not exactly an easily definable objective, is it?

I'm glad you admit that the troops will eventually have to leave in less than 100 years as I am sure neither of us wants the deaths from this needless war to continue.

However, as to lasting bases, the Iraqi government does not seem keen on the idea. Lasting bases would lead to eternal war, but having war is good for Republicans as it can be used to scare the voters. Your article is a prime example.

Your line of "Obama insists on sticking with his plan on withdrawal at any cost" is a blatant and shameless lie, and it is essentially the point of your ill-conceived and dishonest article.

Still further, you statement "I also said that going against one of the greatest Generals of all time is not something the public is in favor of" is a statement you just made up with no evidence other than your biased opinion, with which I strongly disagree. Again, Americans want to get out of Iraq in a responsible fashion, deal with it.

Lastly, of course Bush lied. Pointing the finger to other political figures who thought Bush was telling them the truth only shows the extent of Bush's lies. I agree, Clinton and Blair and Colin Powell lied by believing Bush.
The only reason we are in Iraq is because of Bush. We did not have to go. Think about that.

mike volpe said...

It may not be easy but yet we are on the brink of achieving it. So, your point is irrelevant.

If the Iraqi government doesn't want lasting bases, that is fine. Lasting bases is not really the most important part of the situation. The most important part is achieving victory so that decisions like lasting bases can be made with peace around us.

You can claim that Bush lied till you are blue in the face but it won't make it so. Just because you say it doesn't actually make it real. Again, if Bush lied so that everyone else that said the same thing. None of them lied and that is the more reasonable explanation.

As for Obama wanting to withdraw at all costs of course, he said as much. He said he intends to end the war. He doesn't intend to win the war, but end it. He wants to end the war. An end means a withdrawal.

Finally, someone proclaiming the President lied with no basis and then turning around and calling someone else is dishonest is the height of irony and hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Volpe - Kudos on the excellent rebuttal to these folks who "Have eyes, but cannot see; Ears, but do not hear" Instead, I wish they'd take an honest historical look back about what lead us into Iraq... Clearly, all of the major political players (I.e. Clintons, Gore, Kerry, etc.) were in agreement that there were WMD's and just as importantly, Saddam Hussein had to be removed for ignoring some 18 United Nations resolutions. Your central point about Obama being "stuck" having so eloquently voicing opposition to the surge is right on! His more recent naivette and continued support for leaving Iraq before we have gained the objectives you so clearly spelled out is going to cost him the election in November. I don't believe the American majority will trust our National Security to a obvious light weight and an unprincipled Flip Flopper that makes Hillary & Slick Willie look principaled... Keep up the good work!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mike, but you are the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty. Bush and Cheney said they knew exactly where the WMDs were, and then when none were found, lied. I know you neo-conish Republicans are still in denial over this, but history will expose you for the liars your are.

Still further, your statement "Obama wanting to withdraw at all cost" is a lie whereas YouTube is filled with videos of McCain changing his stance on the number of years and decades he wants to leave troops in Iraq.

I am glad to see you flip flopped on lasting bases in Iraq. I do not think they are a good idea in the long run.

You are lost in the meaning of words. Again, "winning" is a meaningless term. "Winning" really means troops and innocent civilians are dying at a rate you arbitrarily decide is "acceptable."

I just want fewer deaths, so if the troops can stabilize the country and "responsibly withdraw" or we can create a fiction of "winning" with some arbitrarily set goals and declare "victory" and then withdraw the fact remains we both want to stabilize Iraq and then leave.

I don't think America wants to continue the policy of placing soldiers in harm's way to further Republican political agendas and the enrichment of Halliburton.

Lastly, "Jim" you have no ears nor can hear. You and Mike are cowards in that you continue to think Bush and Cheney are absolved from lying because Democrats voted for the war. Obama saw the lies of Bush and Cheney and tellingly voted against the Iraq war. Bush lied and lead the country into a needless war.

Why do you guys continue to deny the obvious?

mike volpe said...

You don't have to be sorry. That said though, it is rather annoying to re hash five year old debates especially when they are no longer relevant. Bush was responding to the intelligence he had. No one lied, unless of course everyone lied. Clinton also said on multiple occasions that Saddam had WMD's and no one accuses him of lying.

Furthermore, Bush's behavior is not the issue. We are not in this post debating Bush's behavior. We are debating the way forward.

McCain has been steadfast since nearly the beginning of the war. No one can be expected to never change their position during war. To claim that McCain has been jumping all over the place is the height of hypocrisy. If you want to look at You tube watch the number of statements by Obama at the beginning of the surge when he claimed that it would NOT tamp down violence. Now, he is claiming he knew all along it would. He didn't.

I am neither lost in the meaning of words, and I am not wrong about Obama withdrawing at all costs. He is the one that said he will on day one give them a new mission. It is a mission of ending the war.

Winning the war means an Iraq, at peace with itself, its neighbors, and an ally in the war on terror. That is victory. That is the way the military has defined victory since the beginning. We are now on the brink of realizing this and Obama wants to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, go against the direct advice of the General that has engineered this stunning turn around, and instead set us on a path for defeat.

There is no getting around that.