Obama’s war plans


 Senator Obama speech

photo by radiospike

Hat Tip: Dan Balz, Washington Post

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today pledged an aggressive war against Islamic extremists, calling for the deployment of at least 7,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to combat the growing Taliban influence and promising to order U.S. forces into Pakistan if necessary to seek out and kill known terrorists.

“When I am president, we will wage a war that has to be won,” Obama told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He added, “I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to the United States.”

Obama’s speech represented the most comprehensive outline of his approach to Islamic terrorism. He said ending the war in Iraq is crucial to success in the broader struggle against terrorism.

“The terrorists are at war with us,” he said. “The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real.”

The Illinois senator offered a biting critique of President Bush’s foreign policy decisions after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, while seeking to reassure Americans that his long-stated opposition to the war in Iraq would not make him hesitant to vigorously pursue extremists who threaten the United States.

He repeated a pledge to double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion, provide $2 billion to combat the influence of Islamic madrassas and launch a more ambitious public diplomacy initiative that he said he would personally lead. He also called for additional steps to protect the homeland from possible attack.

Obama said that, as president, he would make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on the success of President Pervez Musharraf’s efforts to shut down terrorist training camps and prevent the Taliban from using the nation’s territory as a staging ground.

“Let me make this clear,” Obama said. “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

Bush, he said, squandered national and international unity in a reckless war in Iraq that has compromised American values, undermined U.S. influence and left the country less secure.

“Because of a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged, we are now less safe than we were before 9/11,” Obama said.

He also took a thinly veiled swipe at his principal rival for the Democratic nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with sharp words of criticism for the Congress, which he said had “rubber-stamped the rush to war” in 2002. “Congress became a co-author of a catastrophic war,” he said.”

Clinton, who voted for the Iraq war resolution, last week had described Obama’s willingness to meet with leaders of rogue nations without pre-conditions as “irresponsible and frankly naive.” That sparked a days-long argument between the two about diplomacy and the presidency.

In his speech today, Obama said the “lesson of the Bush years is that not talking [to hostile nations] does not work,” and signaled his desire to take a different approach.

“It’s time to turn the page on Washington’s conventional wisdom that agreement must be reached before you meet, that talking to other countries is some kind of reward and that presidents can only meet with people who will tell them what they want to hear,” he said.

Obama accused the Bush administration of undermining American values and said that if he becomes president, “we will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers and that justice is not arbitrary.”

He said he would prohibit torture “without exception,” assure that any intelligence gathering adheres to the letter of the law and close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama said he would end the Iraq war as president if Bush has not done so by the end of his second term. That, he said, would free up resources for fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. He pledged at least two additional brigades for the effort there and said he favored sending the Afghan government an additional $1 billion in non-military aid.

20 thoughts on “Obama’s war plans

  1. Olivia

    ” If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will”

    He can’t be serious. This is his second mistake of the week, first being the appearance on Vibe.

  2. Olivia,

    I got the e-mail from Vibe magazine about his appearance on the cover. Truthfully, he has no choice. He can leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the black vote. That demographic is more likely to respond to him.

  3. I don’t see either as mistakes, i mean Bill Clinton played the sax on arsinio hall and that got him in the white house.

    But then again I am a proud member of the Turnip Possie.

    I think that the speech is mischaracterized as being about seeking a war in Pakistan.
    As evidenced here

    It’s a different age and though we haven’t been fighting terrorism the right way, it still has to be dealt with. And I’m gland he isnt just pandering tot he far left peacnicks thats integrity.

  4. Olivia

    Skeptical Brotha

    Vibe is one of the last places where I would think “Voter Motivation”. The problem here is Obama doesn’t think ahead. He has been characterize as the “ Rock Star” candidate and appearing on Vibe will on present him as a candidate high on style and low on substance( no disrespect to Vibe, but a hard hitting cover story of the hottest chick in the game doesn’t exactly say political power house) . Obama has to do what he has to do, I suppose. Obama’s continues to think he can out terror- monger Republicans, he can’t. They have that script hands down. He seems to make statements that too often need to be clarified. I am sure tomorrow there will be a press release saying…Senator Obama did not mean he will invade any country, Senator Obama respects the sovereignty of a nation”

  5. We need to know the true perpetrators of 911. This War on Terror is completely bogus. This is horrible. Obama will NOT get my vote!

    Pakistan was complicit in 911 at the intellingence agency level(ISI). Do you really think that our intelligence agencies didn’t know this? They were working together! Why all the talk in the media about Pakistan NOW??? I think Pakistans time is up just like Iraq’s time is up.

  6. rikyrah

    Pakistan is the most dangerous place on Earth. Bump Iraq..Iraq is just messy. Iran, well I believe they’re a good five years from being a threat; besides the President of Iran has serious internal troubles.

    And while it’s nasty that the Taliban is gaining ground again in Afghanistan, they’ve just got poppy fields.

    Pakistan has Nukes, and Musharif, rat bastard that he is, is still OUR rat bastard, and if he falls, the world should shudder.

    Unlike a lot of folks here, I actually do believe there IS a War on Terror; we’re just not fighting it.

  7. I’m hoping folks actually read the speech. Cause if not then it would be easy a certain pandering candidate to play people for saps and start up a rhetoric game.

    As far as not thinking ahead, you cant write a speech like that and the accompanying documents in just a week.

    And there is a running tab of bills he has put before the senate to back up just about every position he has taken.

    Mornin Turnip Possie!

  8. The best recruiting tools for terrorists are having a foreign army occupying their lands and having corrupt stooges appointed by us to rule over them. Obviously, none of that is going to change under an Obama presidency.

    I also noticed that not one word about Israel was mentioned in this speech. Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room.

  9. Oh wait…there was this jewel, included while lamenting all the bad consequences of the Iraq invasion/occupation:

    “Israel is besieged by emboldened enemies, talking openly of its destruction.”

    Kind of ironic since it was Ariel Sharon and company that cheerleaded the Iraq invasion from the very beginning. This type of selective amnesia exhibited by Obama and every other “serious” contender to be the next president is indicative that our current one-sided policy in that part of the world will continue. Which of course also means that recruiting people to attack us will be that much easier.

  10. Rick

    when he said the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea, he drew widespread criticism…

    when he proposed legislation to get us out of iraq, the head folks came out of the Australian woodworks (I mean Australia????) and admonished…”A victory for Obama would be a victory for terrorists.” I mean, WTF?

    and now, Obama is simply saying there is an argument to strike the terrorists where we KNOW they are at…and, once again, brother Obama is catching flak.

    I love a black man who is willing to say what he feels is right, whatever others have to say about it. As in the 1st two cases, I think history will come to vindicate Obama for his position on Pakistan, our ally in this war on terror.

    [I do think it’s quite interesting how this speech, which to me makes sense, has attracted more scrutiny than the latest $20 BILLION arms deal package proposed by the Bush Administration for Saudia Arabia, another ally in this war on terror – given what we know about the background of most of the 9/11 terrorists, the Bush’s connections to the House of Saud, and evidence that Saudis are lax in stemming the inflow of insurgents from their country into Iraq. Yes, the world makes perfect sense!!!]

  11. JoeMac

    Obama has literally zero shot at getting into the White House. Not that I think he’s a bad candidate, just that this country isn’t ready to vote for a black person for President. Personally, I’d vote for him but I’m sorry there are WAY too many people out there that never would because of his color. Hillary will have a tough time because she’s a woman (kind of), but she’s really the best candidate so far.

  12. Olivia

    I just like to take this time to remind folks that Barbara Lee was the the lone dissenting vote authorizing President Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force”. She should not be forgotten. she had threats against her life. In the wake of the vote, the Capitol Police assigned a detail of plainclothes officers to guard Lee 24 hours a day.
    I think people act as if Obama was the only one, well Lee was against and theory and practice

  13. Rick

    Hell, NO one is saying the Obama was the only one.

    I was on the block too. Waging a lone rhetorical war against neo-conservative battle cries for an invasion in Iraq against the zombies on my job, on the 2 and 3 train in Manhattan, or whoever the #@&@# would listen.

    It was like spitting against the wind.

    I’m sure most of the readers on this forum have their own war stories to tell about their experiences on the eve of the invasion…

    Whoever spoke out against the war during that time had to consider the consequences against their popularity…and that’s putting it mildly. My point is that I deeply admire anyone who is willing to sacrifice popularity to stand for what is right. Obama, Lee or otherwise…

  14. Michelle

    We are at war at home with ourselves. War is a loose term when taking Obamas interpretation into context. The 1.3 billion muslims? Why deploy troops to the middle east solely when muslims are everywhere? Theres a high concentration of muslims in countries like Malaysia but does he want to deploy troops there?

    “He repeated a pledge to double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion, provide $2 billion to combat the influence of Islamic madrassas and launch a more ambitious public diplomacy initiative that he said he would personally lead.”

    Give money to the poor communities like the one I grew up in and outreach to youth everywhere (not just blacks) who are disadvantaged. Lets teach our kids that ignorance is not acceptable and that a mind is a terible thing to waste. Encourage these kids to go farther than where their parents are.

    My point? This country isn’t even settled and yet we are off fighting a fictitious war. GET OUT OF THERE! get out of muslim holy lands and leave these people to fight for or with themselves. The so called small percentage of muslims/extremists/queda whatever you want to call them love reading and hearing about this. Lets be the bigger ones and walk away.

    Make tighter immigration restrictions or just don’t let people from certain countries enter. Why hasn’t anyone said this yet? Stop letting them in the country.

  15. Jamie

    I wish he would pledge 50 billion to stop the influence of white supremacy and the terror problem would dissolve

  16. Been out of touch for the weekend, went back to Chicago on a couple projects and dropped in to YKos for a panel discussion that paid my fare, but was without a laptop or net access since Thursday nite.

    I think Greg Palast has the most interesting perspective on Osama in the opening chapters of his book Armed Madhouse. Greg suggests that if you read Osama’s statements and writings carefully looking for his motivations, you will see that he is/was more concerned about the Western infidels who (at that time) occupied a big swath of Saudi Arabia, and who were keeping the price of oil down, thus limiting the amount of money available to Osama’s friends and allies. But now, 5 years into the invasion of Iraq and six years after 9/11 the price of oil is pushing $80 a gallon. Osama, if he is indeed still alive, is probably quite happy and therefore has felt no need to launch new attacks on the USA.

    Secondly, for Brother Barack, we should not make excuses for him saying he “is doing what he has to do” and all that. He has a mind, a soul, free will and is capable of moral choice just like everybody else. He doesn’t have to do any of this. He is freely choosing, out of ambition and a very American cruelty and hubris, to join the imperial posse, and to out-warmonger his running-mate to be, Hillary.

    This is a piece by Rudyard Kipling, the poet laureate of British Empire, done in 1899 and titled “Song of the White Men”

    NOW, this is the cup the White Men drink
    When they go to right a wrong,
    And that is the cup of the old world’s hate—
    Cruel and strained and strong.
    We have drunk that cup—and a bitter, bitter cup—
    And tossed the dregs away.
    But well for the world when the White Men drink
    To the dawn of the White Man’s day!

    Now, this is the road that the White Men tread
    When they go to clean a land—
    Iron underfoot and levin overhead
    And the deep on either hand.
    We have trod that road—and a wet and windy road—
    Our chosen star for guide.
    Oh, well for the world when the White Men tread
    Their highway side by side!

    Now, this is the faith that the White Men hold
    When they build their homes afar—
    “Freedom for ourselves and freedom for our sons
    And, failing freedom, War.”
    We have proved our faith—bear witness to our faith,
    Dear souls of freemen slain!
    Oh, well for the world when the White Men join
    To prove their faith again!


    Substitute “Americans” for “White Men” and these words could come from John Kennedy or George Bush. Or Brother Barack. This is not “doing what you have to do”. It’s taking sides. The wrong side.

  17. Michael

    Why are we talking about Obama as if he has any credibility on any issue at all? 2.5 years and a book of platitudes, and Time cover. Sheesh, am I the only one that thinks Obama is nothing more than the latest media-made Paris Hilton-like news magnet. I mean come on, he’s been packaged and sold to us, and he’s done nothing. I really think we’re being stooges giving him this much buzz, money, and attention. To me, he’s had his 15 minutes. There is nothing authentic about him (and marrying a sister doesn’t make him black). In your heart of hearts, are we so desparate for a black face in office that we line up like lemmings for Barack. He can’t be authentic, because he is NOT authentic; his past, his experience, etc. You actually think when he is alone, he thinks about the stuggle of the black man and how he has struggled? Give me a break! It has been a textbook Obama product launch, just as if he was the latest product….first the book, then a fewe well placed articles, and let us not forget the fawning shirtless cover of Time to make the sisters swoon on queue. We are waiting of something authentic when this man has nothing authentic to offer. I for one am not that desparate for a black face in office, it goes deeper than that for me! Right now he comes off as Junior Obama when he speaks in these debates and he needs to shut his mouth about pakistan! Nothing like advertising his total lack of experience and understanding of the world! Ok…I feel better now…..bring on the real candidates

  18. IET

    How is Barack unauthentic exactly? Since when does marrying a black woman make one unauthentic? In my opinion, black women were the first queens of this planet and a brotha that realizes this obviously knows BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. Is he unauthentic because he took a job making 13,000$ a year as a community organizer to help the poor black community that was devastated by lay-offs? It is the fact that he’s worked in Chicago for US for almost 20 years? (Lack of experience?) Is it that he’s accumulated more money than ANYONE without the help of lobbyist and the corporations that have bought our (their) government? Is it that his average donation is less than 90$? Or maybe its because you aren’t ready for a AA as president because like many of our brainwashed borthers and sisters out there still have that mentality that “white is right.” If an AA isn’t ready for a viable black candidate, then maybe they’re the ones that aren’t black enough? On the issues like the war in Iraq (since 2002), age-appropriate sexual education (Do you think pedophiles want age appropriate sex-ed? I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want that? We don’t want to teach our kids how to protect themselves) Pakistan, (That is where the “War on Terrorism” should be fought is it not?), on Washington insiders (that have bought our government) he is dead on! OUR candidate should have the foresight to see that Iraq was going to be a mess years ago! (Most of us did, didn’t you?) Said candidate shouldn’t be bought by the richest people on the planet. It’s interesting that his arguments for all of these issues have been deemed inexperienced, when he’s right! He’s also one of the few candidates that’s demonstrated he isn’t/won’t be a sell out. Could it be that he’s unauthentic because he isn’t willing to do so?

  19. Michael


    Good comments and nice sentiments. But a black face is not enough for me. Yes, it would be a change, but I’m not willing, at this point to put an unproven, inexperienced kid in office when the stakes are so high, white or black, just because we are “ready for a change”. Everything you mentioned in your post is simply words from Obama, not of which are based in his experience, since he has virtually none. He’s right? Based on what for God’s sake? Certainly not his indepth analysis of what my country needs. But to put a finer point on your question, Obama is dangerously unauthentic, mainly because he is not black, and no amount of media packaging, PR, or books full of flowery platitudes like his, which make him black. He simply does not the expereinces and has certainly never been down for the struggle, so you wonder why he talks like a politician, its because that is all he is. Where has Obama been the past 20 years? Tell me right now, don’t go look it up, tell me. You may be willing to settle for a black face, even when its not an AA, but my needs go deeper than skin color. Obama needs to be seasoned and tested in other positions first, flush out his true views and positions and characterisitics. He needs a record..oh wait, but that makes him the perfect candidate…he’s black (in color, not in legacy) with no record or accomplishments, no connections, clearly no gravitas on the world stage…yeah buddy, lets just all line up and vote for him and hope that he delivers the black community to some higher ground. Oh please, read the blogs, its as if he is the great deliverer…such BS!…..Great comments all…and appreciate the fact that we can disagree and be cool…thanks!

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