Where was Obama?

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has made much on the presidential campaign trail of his opposition to the war in Iraq, particularly his October 26, 2002, speech in which he said he did not oppose all wars but what he did oppose is a "dumb war".

Yesterday, Andrew Stephen wrote in the NewStatesman:

In his three years in the Senate he has kept his head safely below the parapet, leaving two congressional colleagues - Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania - to spearhead opposition to the war on Capitol Hill. In 2006 he voted against a Senate resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops and has also voted to continue funding the war.

What jumped out at me here was the reference to Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.). On November 17, 2005, Murtha made a statement to the press in which he called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq and to bring the troops home.

Here was the perfect time for Sen. Obama to jump on board. He did not.

Almost immediately, swiftboating attacks were launched against Murtha by several of the same individuals involved in the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Again, this was the perfect time for Sen. Obama to jump on board, particularly since it was Sen. Kerry who had given him the opportunity to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a speech by the way which helped launch his own presidential campaign.

Also yesterday, in South Carolina, Sen. Kerry endorsed Sen. Obama's presidential bid. How ironic is it that the man who failed to come to Rep. Murtha's defense in 2005 for speaking out against the war and to bring the troops home or to Sen. Kerry's defense in 2004 while he was being swiftboated for his military service managed to receive the latter's endorsement?

Shame on Sen. Kerry and shame, shame, shame on Sen. Obama.

Tags: Barack Obama, John Murtha, WAR IN IRAQ (all tags)

Comments

41 Comments

Re: Where was Obama?

This is my first MyDD post. Please be kind.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-11 03:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

john kerry was for edwards before he was against him. LOL, 2004 loser kerry won't make a dime's worth of difference this year. sorry kerry.

by terrondt 2008-01-11 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

his endorsement is a BOTCHED JOKE like the one he made in 2006 that sunk his presidential run this year.

by terrondt 2008-01-11 04:03AM | 0 recs
be kind?

You're basing your Obama rant on one 'British' option piece?

What does "jump on board" mean? Obama was a first term senator in his first year. Is the reason we did not get out of Iraq in '05 because Obama didn't focus his first year on it? Where were the people who were responsible for the war (Clinton).

Oh yea... she was saying that "immediate withdraw would be a mistake". Save you shame for the people who deserve it.

by JoeCoaster 2008-01-11 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: be kind?

http://obama.senate.gov/speech/060621-fl oor_statement_6/


But I do not believe that setting a date certain for the total withdrawal of U.S. troops is the best approach to achieving, in a methodical and responsible way, the three basic goals that should drive our Iraq policy: that is, 1) stabilizing Iraq and giving the factions within Iraq the space they need to forge a political settlement; 2) containing and ultimately defeating the insurgency in Iraq; and 3) bringing our troops safely home.

What is needed is a blueprint for an expeditious yet responsible exit from Iraq. A hard and fast, arbitrary deadline for withdrawal offers our commanders in the field, and our diplomats in the region, insufficient flexibility to implement that strategy.

For example, let's say that a phased withdrawal results in fifty thousand troops in Iraq by July 19, 2007. If, at that point, our generals and the Iraqi government tell us that having those troops in Iraq for an additional three or six months would enhance stability and security in the region, this amendment would potentially prevent us from pursuing the optimal policy.

It is for this reason that I cannot support the Kerry Amendment. Instead, I am a cosponsor of the Levin amendment, which gives us the best opportunity to find this balance between our need to begin a phase-down and our need to help stabilize Iraq. It tells the Iraqis that we won't be there forever so that they need to move forward on uniting and securing their country. I agree with Senator Warner that the message should be "we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it." At the same time, the amendment also provides the Iraqis the time and the opportunity to accomplish this critical goal.

So, setting a date certain for withdrawal would be detrimental because, in Obama's words, a hard deadline would make it impossible for generals to keep troops in longer, perhaps indefinitely, if they wished to do so, than the deadline mandates?   I guess the anti-war credentials Obama supporters like to tout are somewhat exaggerated, overstated.  

by georgep 2008-01-11 06:42AM | 0 recs
Levin-Reed


This vote was one of two on Democratic amendments to the annual defense appropriations bill. Both amendments called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This amendment, offered by Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), drew support from a larger number of Democrats and a single Republican, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island), but was defeated, 60-39. This nonbinding proposal did not set a withdrawal deadline, but urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year.

A previous amendment, offered by Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), set a firm deadline for withdrawal. It would have required "re-deployment" of U.S. troops from Iraq to be substantially completed by July 1, 2007. The amendment was defeated 86-13. All 55 Republicans joined 31 Democrats in voting against the proposal.

Washington Post Votes Database Levin-Reed Amendment S2766

Both Hillary and Obama voted for Levin-Reed in preference to the Kerry-Feingold Amendment, for arguably sound reasons.  What's your point?  That Obama isn't Kucinich?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Always good to start with a hit diary. Nice job.

by aiko 2008-01-11 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?


To set a new course for U.S. policy that can bring a responsible end to the war, Senator Obama introduced the Iraq War De-escalation Act in January 2007.  The legislation begins redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008, a date that is consistent with the expectation of the Iraq Study Group.

 

The Obama plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism, and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the 13 benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have been met and that the suspension is in the national security interest of the United States.  (More info:  Press Release on Iraq War De-escalation Act and Senator Obama's Speech about the Bill.)

Speeches

In two major speeches, Senator Obama laid out his views on the war and how America's involvement in the war needs to change.

Other Statements on Iraq

From Barack Obama's Senate website - Issues: Iraq

There is also a rebuttal to the frequent quotation out of context of several of Senator Obama's earlier statements on the war here.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 10:40AM | 0 recs
Obama has done nothinig in the Senate

He has done zero to back up his talk.

What has he done to change the tone?  Nothing.  He was Obama that got in the public peeing match with McCain a couple of years ago.

What has he done to stop the war, as you point out?   Nothing.  HE has voted to fund it.

What has he done to show he is different?   Again, nothing.  He has acted like a fatcat Senator.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-11 03:24AM | 0 recs
Without Hillary

we WOULDN'T BE IN THE WAR.

Hillary voted to start this mess.

You need someone like Obama to clean up the messes created by Hillary.

by dataguy 2008-01-12 03:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

My worse fears about Obama are coming true....he's been "qualified" for the Presidency because he doesn't take unpopular sides or risks?

What has he learned if he never makes a mistake?

by catchawave 2008-01-11 03:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

... he's been "qualified" for the Presidency because he doesn't take unpopular sides or risks?

Talk about hitting the nail on the head!  Great comment.

by susanhu 2008-01-11 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Sorry, but this is a tired and old argument.  Obama has done plenty to end the war.  It's just that his detractors fail to acknowledge it.  He wrote this piece in the Concord Monitor recently about how leaving Iraq would make the U.S. a safer place.  He also made this statement in response to the last funding bill (Omnibus Appropriations bill H.R. 2764), which he opposed:

We should not keep giving President Bush a blank check to continue a misguided war. This omnibus bill funds a strategy that is failing to resolve Iraq's civil war, overstretching our military, and costing America nearly $8 billion a month and the lives of heroic men and women who have done all that we have asked of them.

"To support our troops, we need a new direction in Iraq - not funding for a war without end. That is why I will not support any funding for this war that does not immediately begin the responsible removal of our troops from Iraq, with a clear timeline and end-date for this drawdown. That's what the American people want, that's what our security demands, and that's what I will continue to fight for in the months ahead. It's past time to stand up to this President, and to end this war."


Unfortunately, it's Sen. Clinton who's had the Iraq policy that's not too far off from GWB.  So much so that she has Bill on the trail making false claims about how he was against the war from the start though there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.  And notice that Hillary didn't vote no on a funding bill last year until after Obama did?  Or how she didn't pledge to reject funding bills without timetables until after Obama publically said so at the Harkin Steak Fry?

And the prior funding approval?  Those votes were to support our troops, not President Bush.  Since the war had to persist, there needed to be continued protection for those on the ground.  If I had a son or daughter in Iraq, I wouldn't want to have them wearing inadequate flak jackets that date back to Vietnam.  Or in vehicles that weren't properly protected from IED's.  Unfortunately, the state-of-the-art gear that Blackwater and other corporate funded troops have aren't readily available to our military.  That's what was appropriated on the funding bills that Obama voted yes on, and that also shows his endless support for troops and veterans.  This extensive timeline will show the proof on that point.  Based on those facts, I challenge anyone to assert that Obama is not a candidate whose actions show a clear opposition to the Iraq War.

by nafamabo 2008-01-11 04:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Since when is writing an editorial on a popular issue in an early primary state considered an attempt to end the war in Iraq?

by world dictator 2008-01-11 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Where was Obama? Silly question. Everyone who knows anything about his record knows he was "Present".

by Sherm 2008-01-11 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

...just not for the Kyl-Lieberman resolution

by world dictator 2008-01-11 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

not resolution...

sense of the sentate

by sepulvedaj3 2008-01-11 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Or the defense of MoveOn -- which Sen. Clinton stuck her neck out on to support.  'bama wasn't around.  Just couldn't make it.  Dang.

by susanhu 2008-01-11 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Senator Obama intentionally missed that vote for what seem sound reasons:


The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements. This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq. It's precisely this kind of political game-playing that makes most Americans cynical about Washington's ability to solve America's problems. By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared.

All of us respect the service of Gen. Petraeus and all of our brave men and women in uniform. The way to honor that service is to give them a mission that is responsible, not to vote on amendments like the Cornyn amendment while we continue to pursue the wrong policy in Iraq.

Ben Smith - Politico Obama Opts Out 20 Sep 07


There is no scarcity of examples where Obama has made similar statements regarding the futility of partisan food-fights in Congress.  Your unremitting criticism of Obama might be more credible with the application of a little more attention to detail or intellectual fairness, but that is obviously not your intention.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

How does the Cornyn Amendment pertain to not being there for Kyl-Lieberman or not supporting Murtha and Feingold? That was the point of the diary.

by RDemocrat 2008-01-11 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

I was responding to Susan's Or the defense of MoveOn -- which Sen. Clinton stuck her neck out on to support directly above my comment.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Obama also strongly objected to the Kerry amendment to set a date certain for withdrawal, taking to the Senate floor twice to argue against it.  

http://obama.senate.gov/speech/060621-fl oor_statement_6/

Instead he endorsed an approach that was nothing but a plea to Bush to "do the right thing," whatever the heck that means.  

by georgep 2008-01-11 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

He supported Levin-Reed, as did a majority of Senate Democrats, including Hillary.  What's your point?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

the same point that everyone is making.  Bill Clinton is right.  His supposed opposition to the war doesn't exist.

by MollieBradford 2008-01-11 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

That's silly, Mollie, I've posted a fair few links in this very diary which suggest otherwise to those who take the time to read 'em.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 05:57PM | 0 recs
a couple of weeks ago

I asked Obama supporters who read Bleeding Heartland a simple question: what has Obama done since getting elected to the Senate to help bring an end to the Iraq War?

http://www.bleedingheartland.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=852

The comments on that thread speak for themselves. I never got an answer to my question.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-11 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: a couple of weeks ago

I'm impressed with the quality of the discussion at that site.  I wouldn't say everyone is Minnesota nice, but it's a lot more civil than this place!

by Steve M 2008-01-12 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

What vile things?

Vote for the AUMF that Edwards Co-Sponsored?

by sepulvedaj3 2008-01-11 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Not sure on that rssrai.

I for one lean Hillary if JRE (for some reason) drops out.

Not going to happen, but if it did I think Obama would be hard pressed to get more than 60% of Edwards voters.  In my mind Obama has been running a dirtier campaign against Edwards  than Hillary has.

by Rooktoven 2008-01-11 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Obama was at anti-war rallies opposing the war while HRC was ignoring Bob Grahams plea to take the time to read the NIE before giving bush the blank check to invade iraq... she decided she was too busy to bother to read the intel before giving the green light to invade. And to make sure that congress would not get another shot at stopping the invasion by bush she voted against the levin amendment that would have required bush to come back to congress to get the green light if the UN did not authorize the invasion.
HRC got her way and we invaded Iraq.

Obama confronted Condi Rice in 05,06,and 07 requesting a timetable to withdraw from Iraq as a member of Foreign Relations ... HRC.. not a peep til the tide had turned in late 06.

As far as funding , every senator ,even ones that voted against HRC and Bush on invading..all voted to fund.

Obama is the anti-war candidate. HRC  is the war candidate.... let the country decide which was right.

by hawkjt 2008-01-11 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Do you have ANY reports, snippets, articles on these supposed CONFRONTATIONS Obama had with Condeleeza Rice demanding withdrawal timetables?   Your statement here seems like a bunch of baloney to me, but I am open to change my mind on that, provided you can show us proof of said confrontations.

by georgep 2008-01-11 11:22AM | 0 recs
crock of shit
all you have is some imaginary non opposition to the war that Obama brags about.. .the fairytail, and a lot of trash talk about Clinton.  
This isn't a football game, your team winning is not the most important thing.  Truth actually matters and there is non to be found in what you just wrote.
by MollieBradford 2008-01-11 05:29PM | 0 recs
Obama's double standards

"As far as funding , every senator ,even ones that voted against HRC and Bush on invading..all voted to fund."

So you're giving Obama a pass on funding.  Does that pass extend to Pelosi and Reid too?  The anti-war left has been merciless in their criticism of Pelosi and Reid for not cutting off funding.

Why the double-standard for Obama?

by Canaan 2008-01-11 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's double standards

The anti-war left should review the history of the McGovern-Hatfield legislation and the electoral consequences before making too strong a criticism over failure to de-fund US forces in combat.  While there may be a case for such a strategy it is profoundly risky for national Democratic candidates in wartime elections.  Just ask McGovern.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-11 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's double standards

Its because of the "hope".

by RDemocrat 2008-01-11 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

EVERYBODY has been against the war recently. Only Obama is running on the basis of a 2002 speech -- which he later took off his website till a black group pressured him to put it back up.

During the early years he had plenty of chances to strongly oppose it, and didn't take them. He preferred to keep a low profile and not make waves.

It's not fair to now, in the safety of hindsight, pull that old speech out -- and claim that the 85 senators who voted to give Powell support in negotiations were intending to start a war. See David Brooks' recent analysis of Hillary's speeches at the time; she was against actual force, much less an outright war. And Obama is only using that issue against Hillary, not Edwards; as though Edwards' 'apology' meant anything.

The senators gave Bush/Powell a big stick trusting he would reserve it for last resort. As soon as Bush started misusing it, they spoke out against him. If Obama was really so prescient, why didn't he oppose it more strongly at the time?

Maybe he, like Hillary and others, was being bi-partisan?

by 1950democrat 2008-01-11 11:46AM | 0 recs
What does Lieberman suggest he do?

I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall listening to the advice Holy Joe has given Obama. Also, has anybody in the press asked Obama why he chose Lieberman?

by AM 2008-01-11 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

lots of Edwards supporters went to Hillary already.    More are talking about it.

ps... you're losing it.

by MollieBradford 2008-01-11 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Wow, Team Hillary is getting vicious.

by Socks The Cat 2008-01-11 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

Sorry, I usually agree with you but I will actually go to Clinton. I haven't given up on JRE in SC and NV or the Feb. 5 states though. People in NH didn't like being told who their nominee is, and I don't thing the voters in all those states are much different.

by RDemocrat 2008-01-11 08:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Where was Obama?

I don't believe any of our Democratic Senators has really shown much in the way of leadership when it comes to ending the war.  Maybe Russ Feingold, who should be sporting a permanent sunburn with as many times as his colleagues have hung him out to dry.

I have a lot of respect for Obama for making the right judgment on the war in the first instance.  But ever since he joined the Senate, he's been a paragon of caution on the subject.  I wouldn't say he's been MORE cautious than Hillary, but he's certainly been more disappointing because I felt we had grounds to expect more.

My own candidate, of course, has been mighty courageous in opposing the war... from the outside.  I have no evidence he would show more political courage than the rest if he were actually in a position to make a decision; all I can do is place a bet to that effect.

Here's a dirty little secret for you: if we have a Democrat as President, it will take fewer votes to end the war, but it will still take plenty of political courage.  The right wing will scream about how we're undermining the troops just as we're starting to see signs of progress.  They will scream about how there's going to be a genocide and the Democrats will have blood on their hands.  We all know the contents of this playbook.

And to actually end the war, it's going to require Democrats who are willing to stand up to those attacks, make the right decision in the face of all that demagoguery, and then display the political courage to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.  We've seen virtually none of that courage from the Democratic Senators to date.  I hope no one expects it to spontaneously arise from nothing.

by Steve M 2008-01-12 07:46AM | 0 recs

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