Will the real Barack Obama please stand up? One of Barack's most touted lines of why he should be president is because he had the foresight and judgement to say this war was a mistake. Yet, every time we investigate his actions in real time it conflicts with his persona.
Last month, I highlighted how Barack had modified his Iraq positions in 2004 when John Kerry was running for President because they had more knowledge than he did at the time. But now, when he has a chance to meet with the Iraq leadership, what does he do to give us a glowing example of his leadership abilities?
The NY Post reports;
"WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.
According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.
"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.
Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."
"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.
Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate.
While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.
Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet.
Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.
By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June
Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive" war - that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America.
Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense. To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.
Yet Iraq is doing much better than its friends hoped and its enemies feared.
Of course, the disparity in between what Obama says in public and in private is nothing new. Consider the two versions of the conversation he had with the Iraqi Prime Minister in JUne:
Obama v. Iraqi Foreign Minister
Barack Obama spoke earlier this past week with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Their accounts of the conversation differ in politically convenient ways for the junior senator. Obama's version:
At a press availability in Michigan, I asked Obama if Zebari had expressed any concern to him that his plans to withdrawal U.S. troops as president would undo any security advances.
"No, he did not express that," Obama said. "He did emphasize his belief that we've made real progress and I think was eager to see political accommodations between the factions follow up in the wake of this progress.
Iraqi Foreign Minister's version:
"The foreign minister said ‘my message’ to Mr. Obama ‘was very clear... Really, we are making progress.
I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress."
Why is it that everytime Barack's words and stands are compared to what he has done, it is Barack vs. Barack ?