A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.
The paper, obtained by The New York Sun, was written by Colin Kahl for the center-left Center for a New American Security. In “Stay on Success: A Policy of Conditional Engagement,” Mr. Kahl writes that through negotiations with the Iraqi government “the U.S. should aim to transition to a sustainable over-watch posture (of perhaps 60,000–80,000 forces) by the end of 2010 (although the specific timelines should be the byproduct of negotiations and conditions on the ground).”
Mr. Kahl is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign’s working group on Iraq. A shorter and less detailed version of this paper appeared on the center’s Web site as a policy brief.
Kahl and the Obama campaign both deny this represents the campaign’s Iraq position. However, it certainly represents a studied and reasonable approach to Iraq that even his senior advisors can't seem to deny.
Mr. Kahl’s paper laid out what he called a “middle way” between unlimited engagement in Iraq and complete and rapid disengagement. The approach is contingent, he said, on the progress and willingness of Iraq’s major confessional parties in reaching political accommodation.
Of course "rapid disengagement" is the Obama policy at the moment.
So is Obama A) spreading a populist message he knows is wrong and dangerous to the national interest but also knows will help get him elected or B) planning to do something completely different when in office than what he's claiming on the campaign trail, or C) all of the above?
We have had this discussion before, and as I said, campaign promises are wishes that the candidates are making, hoping the conditions on the ground warrant granting these wishes when they sit down in the big chair.
Here is what the campaign rhetoric is telling potential voters, and I think it is giving them an accurate picture.
McCain will actively try to change the shape of the ME using as large a presence as he can possibly have in Iraq for as long as he has the power to do so, though he will not explicitly state this.
Hillary will follow the current course, pulling out troops as conditions warrant, though she will not explicitly state this.
Obama will follow the current course, but will remove troops as conditions warrant, though he will not explicitly state this.
There is a distinct difference that can be discerned within the politicking.
And none of this will matter if Al Sadr is able to garner mass support for his calls to have the US leave Iraq.
Obama is, among other things, a miserable punk, just like Bill Clinton.
But his principal accomplishment has been to steal Bill Clinton’s title as the "prince of liberals." Clinton, amusingly, now finds himself on the outside looking in, pounding on the glass.
Malcolm Muggeridge nailed the phenomenon a long time ago:
"I was fortunate enough myself, while still in my late twenties, to be presented with a demonstration of the great liberal death wish at work, so manifest, so incontestable in its implications, and, at the same time, so hilariously funny, that I have never subsequently felt the smallest doubt that here lay the key to the tragicomedy of our time. It happened in Moscow, in the autumn of 1932 and spring of 1933, when I was working there as correspondent for the, then, Manchester Guardian. In those days, Moscow was the Mecca for every liberal mind, whatever its particular complexion. They flocked there in an unending procession, from the great ones like Shaw and Gide and Barbusse and Julian Huxley and Harold Laski and the Webbs, down to poor little teachers, crazed clergymen and millionaires, and drivelling dons; all utterly convinced that, under the aegis of the great Stalin, a new dawn was breaking in which the human race would at last be united in liberty, equality and fraternity for evermore.
"Stalin himself, to do him justice, never troubled to hide his contempt for them and everything they stood for, and mercilessly suppressed any like tendencies among his own people. This, however, in no way deterred them. They were prepared to believe anything, however preposterous; to overlook anything, however villainous; to approve anything, however obscurantist and brutally authoritarian, in order to be able to preserve intact the confident expectation that one of the most thoroughgoing, ruthless and bloody tyrannies ever to exist on earth could be relied on to champion human freedom, the brotherhood of man, and all the other good liberal causes to which they had dedicated their lives. It is true that many of them subsequently retracted; that incidents like the Stalinist purges, the Nazi- Soviet Pact, the debunking of Stalin at the Twentieth Party Congress, the Hungarian and Czech risings, each caused a certain leakage among liberal well-wishers. Yet when the dust settles, the same old bias is clearly discernible. It is an addiction, like alcoholism, to which the liberal mind is intrinsically susceptible—to grovel before any Beelzebub who claims, however implausibly, to be a prince of liberals."
—Malcolm Muggeridge, from his essay "The Great Liberal Death Wish"
If [a] year ago someone had written this scenario as a political novel, no one would believe it.
Obama is trying something similar to what the Clintons were successful with: Lying about what’s right in front of people and challenging to believe it. He’s become sort of his own political Ponzi scheme: paying off the early investors in "Hope" and "Change" with the hope and change of newly arriving believers. "See how our ranks swell!"
Reverend Wright must have explained to him how to grow a church from 37 congregants to 8,500.
The Clintons just released their tax returns and they made, from 2000 to 2007, $109 million. Clearly, they’ve reached their own little hog heaven and so they’ve gotten a little soft. Maybe now isn’t the time to risk running afoul of the law, with all that cash at stake, by really cheating to win this thing.
So, Obama can call them and raise them, and maybe win the hand on a bluff. The Clintons don’t have the stomach for mortal conflict. Or maybe they do.
The fact is, however, that Obama has grabbed the crown right off of Hillary’s head and left Bill standing around with his d*** in his hand. All that money can’t buy the top of the heap back for them.
Then again, if Obama gets YouTubed jumping out of his seat and pumping his fist at church with his daughters next to him after Wright spouts off about white people giving blacks the AIDS virus, what are the liberals going to do when all they have left is Hillary?
Watching Obama today giving a speech on the occasion of MLK’s murder I was thinking to myself that he has all the humility of a gay pride parade in Greenwich Village.
Even when Obama supporters learn that he has been attending a black power church for twenty years and has hired its "God damn America" preacher for Obama’s campaign, these supporters persist.
It is always entertaining to see people incensed when others are NOT offended by something.
My entire generation was raised by a racist nation, and yet, we’re not so racist as them.
We are what we are.
I see no evidence that Obama is Wright, and I was never surprised that a black Christian church has occasional rhetoric of this kind, because I have seen it myself. Of course I did not see it as a 15 second sound bites I saw these kinds of sermons in context. One sermon I went to included the black preacher going on a rant about "The White Man", but I was there long enough to hear that this descriptor was not about race, but about power. In any case, I was not offended.
If my lack of offense offends you, then be offended.
If you think I show poor judgement by not disqualifying Obama for things he NEVER said, so be it, I think you show poor judgement for disqualifying him on the basis of something someone else said.
Now if you want to say that he should not be elected because his policies are bad, I can respect that, and in some cases agree.
So why is this campaign more about trying to play gotcha, and so little about policy?
Why is every campaign?
I suspect it is because no one wants to debate policy, they would rather talk about Obama’s preacher, Clinton’s Bosnia trip, and McCain’s corruption scandal. Those meme’s can be framed, falsely or not, as black and white. It’s not so easy to do with that mortgage regulation or health care policy.
McPhillips is the most entertaining, because he acts like he actually angry about the whole Wright thing, when the only thing he is really angry about is the possibility of Demcoratic policies being legislated. In fact, if this Wright thing destroyed Obama, he would be ecstatic, thanking the heavens that Obama had an exploitable issue to use to destroy him, and he could not care less whether it’s Jeremiah Wright, or Obama’s fictional Madrassa.
What glorious logic: Not everyone in attendence at the Klan rally is the Grand Imperial Wizard, therefore they are innocent of being at the Klan rally.
and I was never surprised that a black Christian church has occasional rhetoric of this kind,
You wouldn’t know what and what not to be surprised by.
But this isn’t "occasional rhetoric." It’s the direct expression of the "black theology" of James Cone, who Wright wants you to read so that you can understand the "theological" foundation of his hate.
McPhillips is the most entertaining, because he acts like he actually angry about the whole Wright thing, when the only thing he is really angry about is the possibility of Demcoratic policies being legislated.
I know that you’re too stupid to understand this, but let me try to explain it anyway.
I believe in racial reconciliation. This doesn’t mean I believe in hypersensitivity about race, or in the stupidities of political correctness. Because of their obvious commitment to racial ambulance chasing, I have no use for black leaders like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.
Barack Obama, as a member of a racist and frankly black supremacist church, has no more business being a candidate for President of the United States than David Duke or some other white supremacist. And it makes no difference what any candidate involved in an overt racialist organization says, because the act of belonging to such an organization speaks louder than the word.
The fact that Obama is also a liberal, who takes positions that I have no interest in, is irrelevant to my rejection of him for his 20-year membership in a racist church. If he were a conservative, and a Republican, and belonged to a church run by a screaming racist like Wright, I would reject him. But I probably wouldn’t need to reject him because he wouldn’t have gotten this far.
Only in the deeply confused and quasi-deranged Democratic Party could someone with a 20-year link to a racist church get this far into the nomination process for President of the United States.
Obama should not even be in the U.S. Senate, which admittedly has almost no standards at all, but which should not be a place for someone so clearly committed to a racist church and its racist pastor.
Sarcastic — Just an idea, but how about responding to what Martin says, as opposed to all your mindreading about how you imagine he feels and thinks and pretends and plots.
I’ve reached much the same conclusions as Martin, and it’s largely based on informing myself about Obama’s life. There is no question that he comes from a radical background, that his teenage mentor was a black communist, that he surrounded himself with radicals in college, that Malcolm X was his hero, that he sought his identity through his absent black father, that he has made black identity the cornerstone of his life, that he chose a black power church, that he made its radical pastor his spiritual mentor, that he learned organizing from the radical Saul Alinsky (an ex-communist) school, that he associates with unrepentant terrorists from the Weather Underground, that he made his radical pastor a member of his campaign, that even in the face of national outrage he won’t disassociate himself from his pastor or his black power church.
These are all clear, simple facts that describe an obvious pattern — that Obama’s identity is formed around black radical politics. Now, how much of that he is willing to compromise on the way to the presidency or as president is something that no one knows outside Obama’s most intimate circle, and I’d bet that no one really knows, perhaps not even Obama himself.
Yes, I understand that Obama is an appealing, charismatic personality. And I’ve come to understand that many people will refuse to go past how good they feel about Obama to see him clearly.
But Obama is close to becoming president of the United States. I agree with Martin that anyone who has acted so consistently in alignment with black radicalism—and the animosity to white people and America that entails—has any business near White House.
Sarcastic — Just an idea, but how about responding to what Martin says, as opposed to all your mindreading about how you imagine he feels and thinks and pretends and plots.
I have, ad nauseum.
McPhillips wants to have a debate about James Cone and Jeremiah Wright, I prefer to have a debate about Obama.
He quotes James Cone to define Obama, I quote Obama, and you think I not addressing this discussion directly?
We are not our mentors, we are what we are.
If you can find any evidence of Obama having the radical ideology of people has been exposed to, I am willing to listen.
Obama has not invented an identity over the last year or two in preparation for his Presidential campaign, HE has an entire public history, and nothing in his words or actions suggests that he is remotely radical. If anything, his most radical (for a Democrat) ideological position is his genuine and understanding and respect for conservative ideals. From the bills he has sponsored, to the words he has written, he gets it that government is not the solution to every problem, but he also gets it that the free market is not the solution to every problem either, and in the end, his policy is to support policies that work, not policies that fit in an ideological box.
The Wright thing is a smokescreen, nothing else.
Take a look at what real radicals have to say about Obama, and if this doesn’t make you respect him a bit more, I’d be surprised (even though I apparently don’t know to be surprised by)
Obama Is Deeply Conservative It is nauseating to see Obama’s disturbing statements of fawning respect for the predominantly white capitalist economic elite – the top 1 percent that owns more than a third of U.S. wealth and a probably higher percentage of its politicians, policymakers, and opinion-makers.
Given his dependence on super-rich “election investors” to run a viable presidential campaign under the plutocratic rules of the United States’ self-negating “market democracy”, it’s not surprising that he would wish to avoid offending the nation’s leading corporate power-brokers.
But Obama goes beyond the call of class-deferential duty when he praises the arch-plutocratic Ronald Reagan for embodying “American’s longing for order” and when he pens the following sickening paean to aristocratic rule in The Audacity of Hope:
“The Founders recognized that there were seeds of anarchy in the idea of individual freedom, an intoxicating danger in the idea of equality, for if everybody is truly free, without the constraints of birth or rank and an inherited social order…how can we ever hope to form a society that coheres?”
How’s that for commitment to the democratic and egalitarian ideals to which the United States so often lays special claim?
“OUR [GREAT] FREE MARKET SYSTEM”
Equally appalling is Obama’s eagerness to praise the glories of the capitalist system that produces grotesque fortunes at the top of America’s “inherited social order” while tens of millions of Americans go without adequate food, clothing, shelter, and health insurance.
One key question addressed in The Audacity of Hope comes straight out of the neoconservative world view Obama was so good at accommodating at Harvard Law: what makes the United States so “exceptionally” wonderful?
Obama finds part of the answer to this nationally narcissistic query in the wise and benevolent leadership of the nation’s great white Founders and subsequent supposedly sensible leaders like Harry “Hiroshima” Truman and JFK.
But Obama roots the excellence and eminence of America in something deeper than the magnificence of its political elite.
He also grounds the United States’ supposed distinctive impressiveness in its “free market” capitalist system and “business culture.”
The United States overclass should be gratified by Obama’s paean to the United States’ “free-market” system of (in reality state- and corporate-) capitalism: Calvin Coolidge once said that ‘the chief business of the American people is business,’ and indeed, it would be hard to find a country on earth that’s been more consistently hospitable to the logic of the marketplace.
Our Constitution places the ownership of private property at the very heart of our system of liberty.
Our religious traditions celebrate the value of hard work and express the conviction that a virtuous life will result in material rewards. Rather than vilify the rich, we hold them up as role models…As Ted Turner famously said, in America money is how we keep score.
The result of this business culture has been a prosperity that’s unmatched in human history.
It takes a trip overseas to fully appreciate just how good Americans have it.
Even our poor take for granted goods and services – electricity, clean water, indoor plumbing, telephones, televisions, and household appliances – that are still unattainable for most of the world.
America may have been blessed with some of the planet’s best real estate, but clearly it’s not just our natural resources that account for our economic success.
Our greatest asset has been our system of social organization, a system that for generations has encouraged constant innovation, individual initiative and efficient allocation of resources…our free market system. The Audacity of Hope leaves it to hopelessly alienated and insufficiently realistic carpers, “cranks” and “gadflies."
This is Obama’s insulting description of the late progressive U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and other dangerous “zealots” of the “morally absolutist” and insufficiently “pragmatic” Left (Obama’s insulting description).
These ’Cranks" observe the terrible outcomes of America’s distinctively anti-social and incidentally heavily state-protected “free market system” and “business culture.”
Those unfortunate results include the marvelously “efficient,” climate-warming contributions of a business-dominated nation that constitutes 5 percent of the world’s population but contributes more than a quarter of the planet’s carbon emissions.
Other notable effects include the innovative generation of poverty and deep poverty for millions of U.S. children while executives atop “defense” firms like Boeing and Raytheon rake in billions of taxpayer dollars for helping Uncle Sam kill and maim hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
It is left to the radical "lunatic fringe" to note the American System’s “efficient” allocation of a wildly disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth and power to the top 1 percent of the U.S. population and its systematic subordination of the common good to private profit.
“Unreasonable” Marxists, left-anarchists and “conspiracy theorists” are left to observe that business-ruled workplaces and labor markets steal “individual initiative” from millions of American workers.
Labor is subjected to the monotonous repetition of imbecilic and soul-crushing operations conducted for such increasingly unbearable stretches of time at stagnating levels of material reward and security.
Working people are increasingly unable to participate meaningfully in the great “democracy” Obama trumpets as the Founders’ great legacy.
“NO ONE HAS ASKED YOU TO BUILD A MORE JUST AMERICA”
My favorite obsequiously capitalist-praising Obama comment came on September 17th, 2007.
That’s when the “progressive” senator made a revealing statement at the Wall Street headquarters of NASDAQ.
At the end of a speech that purported to lecture Wall Street’s great leaders on their “Common Stake in America’s Prosperity," Obama scaled the heights of Orwellian absurdity to tell the lords of investment capital that:
“I believe all of you are as open and willing to listen as anyone else in America. I believe you care about this country and the future we are leaving to the next generation.
"I believe your work to be a part of building a stronger, more vibrant, and more just America. I think the problem is that no one has asked you to play a part in the project of American renewal.”
These were strange beliefs to (claim to) hold in light of the pattern of elite U.S. business behavior that naturally results from purpose and structure of the deeply authoritarian system of private profit.
An army of nonprofit charities and social service-providers, citizens, environmental and community activists, trade union negotiators, and policymakers have spent decade after decade asking and (often enough) begging the “American” corporate and financial capitalist over-class to contribute to the domestic social good.
The positive results have been marginal and fleeting at best as the “business community” works with structurally super-empowered effectiveness to distribute wealth and power ever more upward over and above any considerations of social and environmental health at home or abroad.
With no special loyalty to the American people in an age of negative (corporate) globalization, corporate “America” is more than willing to forsake the imperial homeland – the domestic U.S. society and its workers and communities – to serve the only true and ultimate business end: investors’ bottom line.
Sarcastic — You keep missing the point that Obama chose Wright as his spiritual mentor and Obama chose Trinity as his church.
Obama is not Wright but he chose Wright, and he has stuck with Wright for over twenty years, and even now with his presidential candidacy at stake.
Obama has misled and lied to American voters about the nature of his church. Obama has misled and lied to American voters about his knowledge of Wright and his church. Obama has used the painful, divisive issue of race to distract American voters from his campaign difficulties due to Wright and his church.
Apprarently not, since you want to disqualify Obama (who on the basis of his OWN words AND actions shows a deep comittment to racial reconciliation) on the basis of his choosing to hear the words of someone else for a couple of hours every Sunday.
Obama has not misled anyone on the nature of his church, he has called it a historically black church, and if you are simply ignorant of what that entails, then your ignorance of how blacks as ethnicity have dealt with continued racial discrimination is somehow Obama’s problem? He’s a black guy who goes to a black church, so you want to disqualify him for going to a black church. So what are we saying, don’t judge a man by the color of his skin or according to the content of his character, but the words of his preacher?
He has said that his church is not particularly controversial, if you say this is not so, feel free to show any controversy related to this church prior to making this statement.
What’s sad to me is that this meme shows a fear of addressing Obama’s policy arguments on their merits.
So, Cap. When are you going to dedicate the shrine you are building in your home for Obama?
I’m just having some fun. This is how I learn stuff, I take a position and then see if I can support it. Besides, if no one disagreed around here, it would be pretty dull wouldn’t it?
BTW, based on what I have learned, I do honestly believe that this is issue is entirely manufactured (not fabricated) for the purpose of doing damage, and if there were any actual truth to the claims about what this means, there would be evidence in Obama’s words and actions over the decades. There simply isn’t. He addresses this in his book, but it’s not 15 second Youtube clip or a fiery passage from a James Cone, so I understand how you would miss it.