Obama's "Major" Iraq Speech Doesn't Go As Far As Hillary
by Jeff Dinelli
For 6 years we've had fair warning of a "major speech" coming from President Bush, each time he wants to make his latest pronouncements, usually cloaked in half-truths and scare tactics. Barak Obama has picked up on this strategy during his campaign, announcing days ahead of time that the Senator will be giving a "major speech" about something or another. This last week or so has seen the big buildup to his "major speech" on Iraq, neatly timed the day after the Petraeus hearings, obviously in an attempt to distance himself from the administration line. What he should have been concerned about was distancing himself for his main primary opponent, which he has failed to do.
Today in (ahem) Clinton, Iowa, to be introduced by supporter Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Carter from 1977 to 1981,Obama will vow to have all combat brigades withdrawn by the end of next year. That's the big plan? Problem: he already voted with Hillary last January to have everyone out by the end of March, '08.
Once again, Hillary was far stronger in her comments today, and she didn't need a week-long build-up. She released a letter she sent to the White House, in which she warned the President not to hand the people anymore supposed good news about Iraq, and urged him to bring the troops home faster. "What you are planning to tell the American people tomorrow night is that one year from now there will be the same number of troops in Iraq as there were one year ago. Mr. President, that is simply too little too late," Clinton wrote.
She predicted Bush would use tomorrow night's speech to declare "Mission Accomplished II." "Do not repeat that mistake on Thursday night," Clinton said. "Do not misrepresent the facts about the situation on the ground ... Be candid with the American people."
This comes a day after what was an excellent appearance at the Senate Armed Services Committee before Gen. Petraeus and Ryan Crocker. Highlights: "...you have been made the de facto spokesman for what many believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief....I started my morning today at ground zero where once again the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the attack on our country were read solemnly in the rain. We have seen Osama bin laden reappear on our television sets essentially taunting us. We have the most recent reports out of Germany of terrorists plotting against American assets who have been trained in Pakistan. And we get very little comfort from the fact that the mastermind of that mass murder is at large, neither captured nor killed and that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are resurging in Afghanistan and their network is certainly, if not tightly organized, a loose confederacy that has grave consequences for us..."
She attacked the General's fake statistics, noting that civilian deaths have risen, car bombings are more frequent, May was the deadliest month in 2007, American military deaths are greater each month of '07 than the same month in '06, there is no Iraqi leadership forging the way to any reconciliation, polls show Iraqis believe the surge has lessened security, their lives are not going well and they do not want us there anymore. "I believe that you and certainly the very capable people working with both of you were dealt a very hard hand. And it's a hand that is unlikely to improve, in my view....General, don't you think the American people deserve a very specific answer about what is expected from our country in the face of the failure of the Iraqi government to pursue its own required political agenda that they have essentially been unwilling or incapable of doing so?....Ambassador, it's not only the Iraqi government that, in my view has failed to pursue a coherent strategy, I think our own has as well." She did a very good job in appearing properly critical, respectful, well-informed, and clear that Petraeus didn't create these problems, he's simply the one struggling with a doomed policy.