National Security and Military Leaders Praise Barack Obama's Plan to End the War

[Document available online HERE]

“When our president defends a wrong strategy by a welter of ever-changing tactics, our leader should be determined by who can see and address what is fundamental. Today, Senator Obama moved beyond tactics, asked the important questions, gave compelling answers and pointed to the path he'd take to bring us to the right destination. That's what I want in a president.”

—Dr. Richard Danzig; Secretary of the Navy (1998-2001)

“Senator Obama showed that he has the best judgment and courage to be Commander in Chief. He outlined a comprehensive and detailed set of policies to turn the page in Iraq,to protect American interests, and to advance stability in Iraq and the region. He understands that the choices we are making in Iraq are bigger than the debate in Washington--they are about the future of our military and the future of our global leadership. Barack Obama is uniquely suited to restore our military and our leadership.”

—Major General Scott Gration (USAF-Ret); Former Commander, Operation Iraqi Freedom’s Task Force West; Former Director, Strategy Policy and Assessments, United States European Command

“Senator Obama combines sober realism and a wider vision toreframe U.S. policy toward Iraq. He understands the full range and priority of American interests in the region, starting with the containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Instead of continuing a narrow military focus on Iraq, Obama calls for military disengagement, coupled with a new approach of harnessing friends and allies, communicating with adversaries, using all elements of national power, and integrating regional initiatives to promote broader, long-term American interests. He offers a strong and sustainable alternative at a crucial time.”

—Sarah Sewall, Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance (1993-1996)

“We must do more than address the ‘surge’ in Iraq—we need a clear strategy to end the war and protect our interests in this vital region. Barack Obama has provided one. He commits to starting to redeploy our combat troops from Iraq immediately, knowing that doing so is vital to the strength of our military globally and to our ability to fight the terrorists on the right battlefield—Afghanistan. He knows that ending our military participation in Iraq's civil war must not be used as an excuse to walk away from the region and that we must assert our leadership with our allies in the Persian Gulf, and beyond, to address both the political fuof Iraq and the terrible humanitarian crisis this war has created.”

—Dr. Tony Lake; National Security Adviser(1993-1997); Director of Policy Planning, State Department (1977-1981)

“Senator Obama provided a comprehensive plan to redeploy US combat forces from Iraq  responsibly, while reinvigorating US diplomacy and upholding our moral obligation to the Iraqi people. As importantly, Senator Obama delivered an unequivocal message to the White House: it is not time for another premature and ill-conceived war—this time in Iran. While no option can be taken off the table, the responsible course to protect our interests is through direct diplomacy with Iran and economic pressure.”

—Dr. Susan Rice; Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs(1997-2001); Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, the National Security Council, (1995-1997); Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping, National Security Council (1993-1995)

“The country desperately needs a new commander-in-chief. Barack Obama will be a great one, and more. He is perhaps the only candidate who has the personal qualities to fully restore our standing as leader of the international community.”

—General Merrill “Tony” McPeak; Chief of Staff, United States Air Force (1990-1994)

“Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose the war when it was politically costly to do so. Now, when denialism and ideology again mar our understanding of the sensible way out of Iraq,Obama has given us a smart, tough and humane plan for leaving Iraq and for finally addressing the ghastly humanitarian consequences of the U.S.invasion.”

—Samantha Power; author, AProblem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide ; Founding Executive Director, Harvard University Carr Center for Human RightsP olicy

“It is admirable that Senator Obama—in the midst of a presidential campaign—is willing to take the time to develop a realistic, detailed and common sense strategy to extricate American combat troops from Iraq. He recognizes that our military has performed magnificently but that their future presence in Iraq should not be held hostage to the narrow-minded, sectarian politics of Iraqi tribal leaders. It is time for our combat troops to come home. This speech shows how, as president, Barack Obama will be just as careful and thoughtful getting us out of Iraqas President Bush was reckless and irresponsible leading us in. This is not an easy task to be sure, but this speech makes clear that Barack Obama is up to the job.”

—Gregory Craig; Partner, Williams & Connolly LLP; White House Special Counsel and Assistant to the President (1998); Director of Policy Planning for Secretary of State, State Department (1997-1998)

“Senator Obama's plan for Iraq recognizes that our troops have done their share and it's time to take steps to get Iraqis to take control of their own destiny. Instead of waiting for Iraq's leaders to make decisions and continuing with the same failed policy, we need new ideas that guard against the risks of a greater humanitarian catastrophe while getting our troops out of the business of refereeing Iraq's multiple civil wars.”

—Brian Katulis; Middle East Policy Expert

“Senator Obama's ideas on Iraq appeal to me because they recognize the realities on the ground in Iraq, and reject the conventional wisdom that we must either stay the course or runaway from the problem. There is a smarter, better path, one that allows us to responsibly withdraw and work to mitigate the effects of our withdrawal in Iraq.We must responsibly withdraw from Iraq in order to rebuild our national strength, and then we must focus our national security strategy on Al Qaeda and other real threats.”

—Phillip Carter; Associate, McKenna, Long, & Aldridge LLP;Former Army Captain and Iraq Veteran