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Five Reasons Why Obama Won the '08 Election

Withdrawal of Combat Troops from Iraq

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Five Reasons Why Obama Won the '08 Election

Photo of Obama and Gen. Petraeus touring Iraq: Lorie Jewell/U.S. Army

Reason #4 - Withdrawal of Combat Troops from Iraq

Barack Obama bested Hillary Clinton by a small margin for the '08 Democratic presidential nomination due mainly to their differing positions on the Iraq War, especially at the war's inception in 2002.

Sen. Hillary Clinton voted YES in 2002 to give the Bush administration authorization to attack and invade Iraq. Sen. Clinton rightfully believes that Congress was misled by Bush, and after a while, she admitted her regret for her vote.

But Clinton's 2002 support for the unpopular war was brutal fact.

In contrast, Barack Obama famously spoke out in late 2002 against the Iraq War before Congress voted, declaring:

"I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt... to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

"What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression."

Obama on the Iraq War

Obama's stance on the Iraq War is unambiguous: he plans to immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.

Under an Obama administration, the U.S. will not build or maintain any permanent bases in Iraq. He of course, plans to temporarily maintain some non-combat troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats, and to complete the training of Iraq troops and police forces, as necessary.

Also, Obama plans to "launch the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history to reach a new compact on the stability of Iraq and the Middle East." This effort will include all of Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria.

McCain on the Iraq War

McCain, a third generation Naval officer, voted in 2002 to give President Bush full authority to attack and invade Iraq. And he's continually served as supporter and cheerleader for the U.S. War in Iraq, albeit with occasional objections to strategies.

At the '08 Republican Convention and on the campaign trail, McCain and running mate Gov. Palin frequently proclaimed a goal of "victory in Iraq" and scoff at withdrawal timetables as foolish and premature.

McCain's website proclaimed "... it is strategically and morally essential for the U.S. to support the Government of Iraq to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people. He strongly disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops before that has occurred."

McCain took this stance:

  • despite the $12 billion monthly pricetag to U.S. taxpayers;
  • despite the fact that the Iraqi government has a substantial budgetary surplus;
  • despite mounting deaths and permanent maimings of U.S. soldiers;
  • despite exhaustion of U.S armed forces;
  • despite the crippling effect the Iraq War has on U.S. armed forces' abilities to address other conflicts and emergencies.
General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, disagreed with McCain, as did General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, and as do dozens of other retired generals, admirals and other top brass.

Here's the really odd part: the Bush administration also disagreed with John McCain. Per various international sources on October 20, 2008, the U.S. is finalizing negotiations on a security agreement with Iraq:

"The agreement also contains a timetable for the withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraqi cities and towns by June 30, 2009 and from Iraqi territory by Dec. 31, 2011."

Even General David Petraeus, often referred to with great reverence by McCain, recently told the British press that he would never use the word "victory" to describe U.S. involvement in Iraq and commented:

"This is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade... it's not war with a simple slogan."

The hard truth is that John McCain, Vietnam War POW, was obsessed with the Iraq War. And he couldn't seem to shake his angry, unhealthy obsession despite either reality or exorbitant cost.

U.S. Voters Want Out of Iraq

Per CNN/Opinion Research Corp. polling from October 17 to 19, 2008, 66% of all Americans disapprove of the Iraq war.

Barack Obama was on the correct side of this issue, per the entire voting public, especially per the centrist, swing voters who decide most election outcomes.

Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election in part because he consistently exhibited wise judgment on the Iraq War, and because he insists on the obviously correct course of action.

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