NH GOP - Chairman Comments on Obama's Endorsement of John McCain's Iraq Position

CONCORD, NH – State GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen issued the following statement today on Barack Obama’s newfound policy position on Iraq:


“I am pleased to see that Senator Obama now recognizes that U.S. troop withdrawal in Iraq should be based on conditions on the ground like John McCain and our commanders have been calling for all along. However, the fact that Barack Obama has clung to his demand for an unconditional withdrawal for so long as a pander to his liberal supporters makes you question whether he has the political courage and judgment to serve as Commander in Chief.”



Obama Endorses McCain’s Iraq Position

By Mark Impomeni, AOL News, Jul 27th 2008 9:00PM


As his week-long foreign trip concludes, Sen. Barack Obama appears to be coming around to the Bush Administration's and Sen. John McCain’s position on troop withdrawals from Iraq. Obama, who has been promising to end the war as his first act in office if elected, said for the first time in an interview with Newsweek that the pace of withdrawals should be dictated by conditions on the ground.


NEWSWEEK: In Iraq, it's not new that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has wanted to take control of his own country. But there's always been this gap between his assessment of his abilities and American commanders' saying he's not up to it. As president, faced with that difference between what he says he can do and what the commanders say he can do, how would you choose between them?


OBAMA: Iraq is a sovereign country. Not just according to me, but according to George Bush and John McCain. So ultimately our presence there is at their invitation, and their policy decisions have to be taken into account. I also think that Maliki recognizes that they’re going to need our help for some time to come, as our commanders insist, but that the help is of the sort that is consistent with the kind of phased withdrawal that I have promoted. We’re going to have to provide them with logistical support, intelligence support. We’re going to have to have a very capable counterterrorism strike force. We’re going to have to continue to train their Army and police to make them more effective.


NEWSWEEK: You've been talking about those limited missions for a long time. Having gone there and talked to both diplomatic and military folks, do you have a clearer idea of how big a force you'd need to leave behind to fulfill all those functions?


OBAMA: I do think that's entirely conditions-based. It’s hard to anticipate where we may be six months from now, or a year from now, or a year and a half from now.


This represents a dramatic shift for Sen. Obama on Iraq. He had been pledging to complete troop withdrawals within 16 months of his inauguration. This new position acknowledges the necessity of a continued U.S. presence beyond that and seems to take into account the wishes of commanders such as Gen. David Petraeus, who Obama met with on his recent visit to the country. […]