Obama’s political expediency is showing

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Hat Tip: By Philip Elliott, Associated Press

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.

Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.

“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”

The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.

“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnate for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush’s hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.

“We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.”

Obama said the answer to Iraq — and other civil conflicts — lies in diplomacy.

“When you have civil conflict like this, military efforts and protective forces can play an important role, especially if they’re under an international mandate as opposed to simply a U.S. mandate. But you can’t solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun,” he said. “There’s got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts.”

The Republican National Committee accused Obama of changing his position on the war.

“Barack Obama can’t seem to make up his mind,” said Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. “First he says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would be ‘a slap in the face’ to the troops, and then he votes to cut funding for our soldiers who are still in harm’s way. Americans are looking for principled leadership — not a rookie politician who is pandering to the left wing of his party in an attempt to win an election.”

An opponent of the death penalty, Obama said he would make an exception for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The first thing I’d support is his capture, which is something this administration has proved incapable of achieving,” Obama said. “I would then, as president, order a trial that observed international standards of due process. At that point, do I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes.”

4 thoughts on “Obama’s political expediency is showing

  1. I’d like to see Bin Laden tried in absentia for 9/11. I always thought the case was flimsy, especially when Colin Powell said “we have proof he did it, we just can’t show it to you”. And the defense might point out how he was on the CIA payroll all through the Reagan and Bush I years. That’s why there will never be a trial, because of the dirt that might get stirred up.

    Quote: “I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes.”

    Bush has killed 3,600 Americans…and counting.

  2. Incredible

    SB….this is specifically for you….What more would you like Obama to do to “prove his love for the people”? Working on the Southside of Chicago…civil rights attorney…what more would you like him to do? I would like you to go on record as for whom you are supporting. Are you prepared to turn the keys of the country to HRC? If you are, I must ask you how deep is YOUR love of the people. That is the problem. WTF has she done for black folks? Little Rock is poor. She never visits Harlem. Go on notice.

  3. Incredible,

    You seem to be of the impression that I have love for Hillary. I don’t. Will not be voting for her in the primaries. Whether I vote for Obama is strongly in doubt at this point. Strongly. His latest comments about genocide leave me cold and angry.

  4. rikyrah

    As someone who has no qualms in saying get the hell out of Iraq YESTERDAY, and let them get at their Unfettered Civil War…he doesn’t go far enough for me. I don’t have any problems with saying, yeah, it’s gonna be chaos if we leave….and?

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