Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a statement today, in reaction to President Bush’s Iraq speech today. Obama said, “President Bush gave no answer to the most important question about the way forward in Iraq: how will we end this war that is not making us safer? After five years, over four thousand lives, and over half a trillion dollars, we have a blank check strategy in Iraq that is overstretching our military, distracting us from the other challenges we face, burdening our economy, and failing to pressure the Iraqi government to take responsibility for their future.”
He again stated his position that the Iraq war was a strategic blunder. “We cannot finish the fight in Afghanistan and focus on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s core leadership unless we end this war that should’ve never been authorized. The decision to go to war in Iraq was an enormous strategic blunder, and President Bush is only adding to his disastrous legacy by refusing to show the American people any clear goal or any clear plan to end the war.”
Obama concluding by praising the troops, and promising to have them out within 16 months if he is elected president, “When I am President, I will bring our combat brigades home in 16 months, engage in the direct diplomacy in the region that is necessary to stabilize Iraq, restore our military strength, and renew our security and standing in the world. Our heroic troops have accomplished every mission that we have given them in Iraq and they have done so brilliantly; it is time to bring them home, and to ask the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country.”
Democrats have consistently made the argument that Iraqis need to be responsible for their own country. The Republican counterargument has been to agree, but then provide reasons why the Iraqi government is not ready to stand on its own. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama has credibility on this issue. That is why when he states that he will bring the troops home in 16 months, voters tend to believe him. Obama isn’t Clinton or John Kerry. He wasn’t, “For the war before he was against it,” so if Democrats are going to award the nomination to the candidate who can make the best argument against staying in Iraq, they should choose Barack Obama.