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On the campaign trail, Barack Obama's view of the Iraq war is unqualified. "I WILL END THE WAR IN IRAQ !" Obama bellows to thunderous applause. That is his promise, that is what his supporters want, and that's why they support him. When I heard Obama speak in person, his unqualified statement about ending the war in Iraq brought his largest applause of the day, by far. In Ohio, Obama's second most popular position was probably his opposition to NAFTA, but now we all know he was just kidding about that, as was Hillary. You got played, Ohio. Never forget that the Hopester and Clinton 2.0 are above all, politicians. They are masters at telling people what they want to hear.
So, the question to ask is:
Does Obama really intend to pull the US troops out of Iraq, or is that just red-meat campaign chum to get the voters to bite ?
Let's look at a little history to begin to answer the question. It is well known that Obama made a speech in 2002 against the Iraq war. Everybody knows, because Obama won't let us forget it. He brings it up every five minutes. Any time Obama is criticized for anything, he comes back with 'yes, but I was against the Iraq war, unlike Hillary and McCain, so my judgement is better'. It's really becoming quite irritating, especially since Obama didn't have to cast an actual vote on the war, since he wasn't in the Senate yet. We aren't supposed to remember that in 2004, Obama said he wasn't sure how he would have voted, since he wasn't privy to the intelligence that the rest of Congress saw.
There's more you aren't supposed to remember about 2004, like the following Obama statements about the war, according to a Boston Globe article:
In July of 2004, the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.
"The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster," he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session. "It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died. . . . It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective."
The statements are consistent with others Obama made at the time, emphasizing the need to stabilize Iraq despite his opposition to the US invasion. But they also represent perhaps his most forceful language in depicting withdrawal from crisis-ridden Iraq as a betrayal of the Iraqi people and a risk to national security.
These comments from Obama in 2004 sound a whole lot like comments the Republicans make. Just like them, as a matter of fact. It seems Obama did realize that abandoning Iraq would have dire consequences. So what changed ? Is abandoning Iraq to the radical Islamic influences of Iran and Al Qaeda now desirable ? No, it most certainly isn't.
In 2005, Obama's stance changed, and what changed was: politics. As public sentiment soured on the war, particularly Democratic sentiment, Obama soured too (just like a slew of other Dems). He began calling for an immediate troop withdrawal, the consequences to Iraqis be damned. After all, this was Obama's political career we were talking about. He wanted to be president, and couldn't afford to consider the consequences of an Iraq pullout any longer. Look what happened to Joe Lieberman when he opposed a troop withdrawal. The Democrats kicked Lieberman out of the party, and Lieberman was a former Democratic VP candidate ! The left would tolerate no dissent. In order to become president, Obama had to reject Bush's war in every way, as did Hillary, as did Edwards, as did all the Democratic contenders. Never mind that several of those Democratic contenders had voted to authorize Bush's war in the first place. That old history needed to be erased, and some new history created in it's place.
In Dem world, such position changes and conformity to the politically correct view is called 'leadership''. Obama became a great 'leader', by, um, following. Others would call that 'taking the path of least resistance', but hey, those who don't hop on board the Obama Hope wagon are probably just racists anyway, right Dems ? Who cares what they think.
In conclusion, I would be very surprised if a president Barack Obama started pulling the troops out of Iraq immediately, unless the generals and Iraqi leaders also wanted it. To do so would be deeply irresponsible, and Obama knows it. He's a smart guy. He's also smart enough to keep telling the Democratic primary voters exactly what they want to hear, like any good salesman.