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Old 09-17-2008, 06:38 PM
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Default Troop Withdrawls

Has anyone read this story? Mr. Obama has been on the record for his entire campaign as advocating immediate troop withdrawals from Iraq, yet he reportedly asked the Iraqis to delay any negotiations on withdrawals until after the election (e.g. until after he is elected).

Before the Obama supporters get riled up, understand that his campaign has supported his position.

I see only a few problems with this:

1) It may be illegal for him to be negotiating such things unless authorized by the United States Congress or the current United States President (there isn't enough information in the act to know for certain how a court will rule).

2) It goes against his own campaign positions in order to make him "look good" by negotiating troop withdrawals after he is elected.

Thoughts?

-- Jeff
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:03 AM
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I am also wondering why he has taken such kind of decision.There must be some other reason to it, otherwise he is a very calculated person and he keeps account of his statements.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:47 PM
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One possible reason for him doing this would be to make himself look better. Consider how good it would look for him if he won the election and then within the first 90 days of his presidency, he was able to "negotiate" a troop withdrawal plan that his predecessor wasn't able to accomplish. By asking the Iraqis to wait, and if he had managed to keep it secret, he was setting himself up for accolades early in his presidency.

Of course doing so is running the risk that the Iraqis wouldn't disclose his talks (which they did) and that nobody would find out.

He may have had other reasons as well, but none of them would really go well with his well known stand on the issue.

-- Jeff
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:40 PM
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I am a very proud army wife and I am all for bringing some soldiers home if they have been away a long time. I don't listen all the time to politics or to my husband when he rattles on about this and that (lol) but one thing that has always stuck with me is that if we withdraw too early, we could potentially bring the war back here to our home ground. Right now it is being fought over there and I truly don't want it brought here. He doesn't trust the guy from Iran one bit to not take over (if we withdraw too soon) and send the war our way....
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:55 AM
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Now he has all the powers lets see what effective steps he takes in this direction. It won't be a surprise if this issue will remains untouched.
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:40 PM
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I think we all give too much credit or criticism to one person -- the president. If he was the one that actually made the decisions by himself, he would be called "King." Congress has some say in the matter. Anyway, I think its always interesting to see how the campaign promises pan out through the course of a presidency. Not many are fulfilled because the president can't usually make those decisions by himself!
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:49 PM
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Actually, this is a moot point. The Bush Administration and the Iraqi government have come to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which will govern the activities of U.S. forces in Iraq and sets 2011 as the final deadline for U.S. withdrawal from that country. President-elect Obama will have to abide by the treaty IF the Iraqi Parliament approves it, which right now is the big "if" in the whole deal.

While I realize that there are members here who seem to be pro-Iraq War supporters, I simply don't buy the argument that our being in Iraq did anyone much good. There were no weapons of mass destruction there in 2003, and Saddam Hussein was not allied with Al Qaeda; the only reason Al Qaeda in Iraq exists is because we created the conditions for it to be there, not because AQ was lurking in Baghdad. Also, we were already fighting in Afghanistan and almost winning....now the Taliban is alive and well and thriving in Pakistan's tribal areas and making life miserable for NATO and American troops in Afghanistan.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datadee View Post
I think we all give too much credit or criticism to one person -- the president. If he was the one that actually made the decisions by himself, he would be called "King." Congress has some say in the matter.
You are right, from the strict constitutional stance, but congress has, in the past several decades, avoided their responsibility in this type of decision. For example, the last war that congress actually declared was World War II. Although the Constitution of the United States gives only Congress the right to declare war, the United States has been involved in several military conflicts without a declaration of war. Instead, the various presidents have found ways to enter conflicts without such a declaration. I'm not saying that these conflicts were wholly bad (or good) decisions, but Congress has largely abdicated this responsibility.

Since there haven't been any declared wars in the past 60 years, there hasn't been the need for Congress to ratify any treaties either (no peace treaties are needed to end wars if there are no declared wars). Instead, the Executive branch of government (largely the State Department and the President) has made agreements with the governments of other leaders and many of these are handshake deals or negotiated by State without ratification by Congress.

I don't see congress changing this approach with the new President. They are supportive of him (for now) but they don't want to get their hands "dirty" because they would rather say that they had nothing to do with a bad decision when the next election comes around, than have to explain why they decided a certain way. Because of this, they will likely continue to abdicate their responsibilities in regards to Iraq leaving the President to do whatever he will.

All of that means that President-Elect Obama, when he becomes President, will likely have the freedom to make whatever agreements he wishes with the Iraqi government. We may very well find out whether or not he will arrange for a quick troop withdrawal after asking them to delay such an agreement a few months ago.

-- Jeff
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fardreamer View Post
Actually, this is a moot point. The Bush Administration and the Iraqi government have come to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which will govern the activities of U.S. forces in Iraq and sets 2011 as the final deadline for U.S. withdrawal from that country. President-elect Obama will have to abide by the treaty IF the Iraqi Parliament approves it, which right now is the big "if" in the whole deal.
Even if the Iraqi Parliament approves this, it is not binding on the United States without ratification by Congress (something that is unlikely to ever come to a vote), so we may very well see President-Elect Obama discarding it (or more likely renegotiating it) when he comes into office. It is not a treaty (only Congress can ratify one), it is an agreement that carries the force of treaty until a regime change (such as when President-Elect Obama is inagurated). He may leave it alone, but it isn't likely given the pressure he is going to receive from those who supported his campaign which was partially based on a quick withdrawal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fardreamer View Post
While I realize that there are members here who seem to be pro-Iraq War supporters, I simply don't buy the argument that our being in Iraq did anyone much good. There were no weapons of mass destruction there in 2003, and Saddam Hussein was not allied with Al Qaeda; the only reason Al Qaeda in Iraq exists is because we created the conditions for it to be there, not because AQ was lurking in Baghdad. Also, we were already fighting in Afghanistan and almost winning....now the Taliban is alive and well and thriving in Pakistan's tribal areas and making life miserable for NATO and American troops in Afghanistan.
I see this conflict as a mixed bag of positive and negative results:

Positive:
  • Removal of a dictator whose offenses included support of terrorism (not necessarily Al Qaeda), torture of his own people, institutionalized rape, genocide and invasion of a peaceful neighboring nation without warning.
  • Institution of a new government that allows free election and self-determination for its people, supports the diversity of ethnicities in Iraq, allows civil rights for minorities, allows more freedom of religion than the prior regime and supports rights for women.
  • Creation of an Iraqi state which creates a stable presence in the Middle East to somewhat counter the extremists in Iran and Syria.
  • Defeat of large numbers of Al Qaeda who came to Iraq to engage the coalition forces, gathering of intelligence on Al Qaeda's structure and using such to disrupt their operations elsewhere.
  • Converting Iraq from an enemy of the United States to an ally.
  • Enlightenment as to the inadequacy of relying solely on signal intelligence (electronic monitoring, radio intercept, etc.) as opposed to human intelligence (agents in country who can give eyewitness accounts). Human intelligence was all but eliminated under President Clinton as a cost savings measure, but this conflict shows how important it is.

Negative:
  • Hundreds of Billions of Dollars spent without a like contribution from Iraq on rebuilding their nation (certainly, if we broke it, we should fix it, but what about what Mr. Hussein broke?).
  • Loss of life: A given in any war and no less so in this one.
  • Loss of momentum in Afghanistan (although the issue with Pakistan's border was just as much of a problem in 2002 as it is today).

Neutral:
  • World reaction to the United States: Although they initially backed the action, when it didn't end quickly, the sentiment changed. The success of "Surge" strategy has helped with some of this as has the change of government in nations like France.

I believe that the positives do indeed outweigh the negatives and I support our efforts in Iraq, but if I had been President, I would likely have delayed entry into Iraq until Afghanistan had been settled, primarily because the United States military had been reduced in size during President Clinton's years in office and could no longer fulfill both missions effectively. I would have instead spent a few extra years building up that military and I would have asked Congress for a clear declaration of War. I may not have gotten it, but I would have forced them to make an appropriate stand. Actually, given the overwhelming support that the war had at the time that Congress had voted, it may have been likely that President Bush could have gotten a full declaration of War.

As to weapons of mass destruction, Sentator Rick Santorum stood on the Senate floor and read a list of over 500 weapons of mass destruction that were found in Iraq during the war. We know that the Weapons were in Iraq at one time because the United States sold/gave them to Iraq (back in the time when Iran was seen as a bigger threat, early 1980s). The cease fire resolution at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict (Desert Storm) required that Saddam Hussein account for all of these weapons (which he did not) and we know that a large convoy of trucks moved from Iraq to Syria in the days before the war (Iraqi weapons have been found in Syria since then). So we don't know whether or not many of them were simply moved. All that said, if Weapons of Mass Destruction were the only reason that the United States had to go to war, then I would have opposed it. It was only one of many reasons (see the removal of Saddam Hussein above for more).

Taking Pakistan as a slightly separate issue from Afghanistan, the big problem there is that it is a sovereign nation that we are allied with, that doesn't want our forces crossing the border, but cannot patrol its side of its border. As such, since the first day of the United States campaign in Afghanistan, Taliban forces and Al Qaeda forces freely crossed that border. Since the United States will not violate the sovereignty of an ally, we have little or no ability to prosecute Al Qaeda forces once they cross the border. If we had the ability to roll troops into Pakistan as a friendly support force, then we could see some finality in that conflict, but as it stands, that border could result in an ongoing presence for decades.

-- Jeff
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:34 AM
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It is the job of every politician to do it. They will give away hi fi election campaign. But will never think to fulfill it. The reason is practicality. Many things lay above the facts and figures. It is much easy to say than doing it. An immediate withdrawal may not be possible considering the situations in Iraq.
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