After visiting Iraq, Obama rejects the troop surge

politics | Jul 22, 2008 | By RNC

Yesterday, Obama said that even knowing what he knows now, he would not have supported the surge:

Obama told ABC's Terry Moran that, despite the progress that has occurred in Iraq, he would not have supported the surge.

Moran: "'[T]he surge of U.S. troops, combined with ordinary Iraqis' rejection of both al Qaeda and Shiite extremists have transformed the country. Attacks are down more than 80% nationwide. U.S. combat casualties have plummeted, five this month so far, compared with 78 last July, and Baghdad has a pulse again.' If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you -- would you support the surge?" Obama: "No, because -- keep in mind that -" Moran: "You wouldn't?" Obama: "Well, no, keep -- these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult . Hindsight is 20/20. I think what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate, because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with." Moran: "And so, when pressed, Barack Obama says he still would have opposed the surge." (ABC's "World News," 7/21/08)

When the surge was announced, Obama said it would not work and would potentially increase sectarian violence in Iraq:

In January 2007, Obama said he did not know of any Middle East expert or military officer that believed that the surge would "make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground."

Obama: "We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality -- we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground." (CBS' "Face The Nation," 1/14/07)

Obama: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." (MSNBC's "Response To The President's Speech On Iraq," 1/10/07)

After the surge was in effect, Obama said it had potentially worsened the situation in Iraq:

In July 2007, Obama said the surge had not worked in Iraq.

Obama: "Well, actually, I think there was a very serious debate, and it's based on some fundamental differences. I think reasonable people can differ on this issue because there are no good options in Iraq. We should not have gone. At this point we have bad options and worse options. But we are facing a choice. My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." (NBC's "The Today Show," 7/18/07)

In November 2007, Obama said the surge has not worked, and had potentially worsened the situation in Iraq.

Obama: "Finally, in 2006-2007, we started to see that, even after an election, George Bush continued to want to pursue a course that didn't withdraw troops from Iraq but actually doubled them and initiated a search and at that stage I said very clearly, not only have we not seen improvements, but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 11/11/07)

A year after the surge was announced, Obama admitted that it had improved security and claimed that he always said it would do so:

In January 2008, Obama claimed that he always said that increasing the number of troops in Iraq would improve security.

Obama: "Now, I had no doubt, and I said at the time when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the secu



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