Republican National Committee: Obamas Troubling Judgment

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As Obama Meets With National Security Policy Advisers, It's Worth Re-Examining His Judgment On The Issue

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /-USNewswire/ -- The following release was issued today by the Republican National Committee:


    Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden (D-DE) Said Obama Would Be Tested His First Year In Office:

    Biden: "Mark my words, within the next -- first -- six months of this administration, if we win, they're gonna -- we're gonna face a major international challenge, because they're gonna want to test him..." (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Seattle, WA, 10/19/08)

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    In July 2007, Obama Said He Would Meet With The Leaders Of Hostile Foreign Nations His First Year In Office Without Preconditions:

    At A July 2007 Debate, Obama Announced He Would Personally Meet With Leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria And Other Hostile Nations "Without Precondition." Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" ... Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous." (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)

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    NOTE: Iranian Officials Recently Laid Out Their Own Preconditions For Meeting With The U.S., Including A Complete Withdrawal Of U.S. Forces From The Middle East And An End To U.S. Support For Israel. "Mehdi Kalhor, Vice President for Media Affairs, said the U.S. must do two things before summit talks can take place. First, American military forces must leave the Middle East -- presumably including such countries as Iraq, Qatar, Turkey and anywhere else American soldiers are deployed in the region. Second, the U.S. must cease its support of Israel. Until Washington does both, talks are 'off the agenda,' the Islamic Republic News Agency reports. It quotes Mr. Kalhor as saying, 'If they [the U.S.] take our advice, grounds for such talks would be well prepared.'" (Editorial, "Iran's Preconditions," The Wall Street Journal, 10/22/08)

    Obama Reaffirmed His Commitment To A 16-Month Timetable For Withdrawal From Iraq, Despite Acknowledging That His Plan Was Not Supported By U.S. Military Commanders Or Iraqis:

    After Meeting With U.S. Generals In Iraq, Obama Said He Would Redeploy Troops From Iraq In 16 Months. Obama: "I believe that the best way to support Iraqi sovereignty and encourage the Iraqis to stand up is through the responsible redeployment of our combat brigades. I welcome the growing consensus in the United States and Iraq for a timeline. My view, based on the advice of military experts, is that we can redeploy safely in 16 months, so that our combat brigades are out of Iraq in 2010." (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, 7/22/08)

    Obama Acknowledged That His Timetable For Withdrawal Was Not Supported By Commanders On The Ground. Obama: "In terms of my conversations with General Petraeus, there's no doubt that General Petraeus does not want a timetable. I mean, I think he said that publicly. And he is -- and, as I said, in his role, I think he wants maximum flexibility to be able to do what he believes needs to be done inside of Iraq." (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, 7/22/08)

    The Washington Post Noted That Neither Military Commanders Nor The Iraqi Government Supported Obama's Timetable For Withdrawal. "The Initial Media coverage of Barack Obama's visit to Iraq suggested that the Democratic candidate found agreement with his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat forces on a 16-month timetable. So it seems worthwhile to point out that, by Mr. Obama's own account, neither U.S. commanders nor Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy." (Editorial, "Mr. Obama In Iraq," The Washington Post, 7/23/08)

    Obama Said He Still Would Not Have Supported The Surge, Despite The Progress That Has Been Made In Iraq As A Result Of The Strategy:

    In January 2007, Obama Said The Surge Would Actually Worsen Sectarian Violence In Iraq. 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)

    In July 2007, 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 Tonight," 7/21/08)

    "Beyond That, Obama's Opposition To The Troop 'Surge' That Has Helped Quell Violence And U.S. Casualties -- And That McCain Vociferously Supported -- Leaves Plenty Of Room For Further Questions About His Judgment At That Moment." (Dan Balz, "Obama Makes War Gains," The Washington Post, 7/22/08)

    Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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