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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Video: Obama on Iraq: It Needs to Come to an End

Obama confirms that he wants to have the troops home from Iraq in 16 months despite claims by McCain and others that he's trying to change his position on troop withdrawal.


Apparently I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq. I have said throughout this campaign that this war was ill conceived, that it was a strategic blunder and that it needs to come to an end. I’ve also said that I will be deliberate and careful in how we got out, that I would bring our troops home in the pace of one to two brigades per month and that that pace we would have our combat troops out in 16 months. That position has not changed.

"I have not equivocated on that position. I am not searching for maneuvering room with respect to that position. What I said this morning and what I will repeat because its consistent with what I have said over the last two years is that in putting this plan together, I will always listen to the advice of commanders on the ground but that ultimately I’m the person who is making the strategic decisions and it is my view that strategically for us to perpetuate this war in Iraq the way that John McCain has proposed and neglect the extraordinary problems that we’re seeing in Afghanistan, to continue spend $10 to 12 billion a month, to continue to put enormous burdens on our military and military families, is not the best way to make the American people safe.

"So we are going to go visit Iraq, I want to have conversations with commanders on the ground, Iraqi officials. When I come back, that information will obviously inform how we shape our plans moving forward. For example, does it-- what is the current training situation and how many residual troops might be needed in order to train Iraqis to stand up both the army and the police? What is the current posture in terms of negotiations between the various Iraqi factions on critical issues like how oil is distributed, oil revenues are distributed?

"But, you know, let me be as clear as I can be, I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the joint chief of staff in and I will give them a new mission and that is to end this war responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one to two brigades a month and again that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months time. ...

"[T]his is the same position that I had four months ago; it’s the same position that I had eight months ago; it’s the same position that I had 12 months ago."

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