Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama Sought to delay Troop Reduction Talks

Update: To be clear: The Obama "response" is that while he did interfere, and while he did try to stop this negotiation, he doesn't believe such interference really would slow down troop withdrawal. Zebari seems to feel differently. And since the force status agreement that Obama was trying to delay WAS the official agreement governing when our troops would come home, it seems Zebari has a better argument.

But in any case, my objection, and the real problem, isn't Obama back-stabbing his base. He's already done that publicly, when he admitted that in the end he won't bring all the troops home, and that he'll re-think his plans after talking with the generals when he's president. The objection is that Obama had no right to interfere in ongoing negotiations, or to argue with Zebari that Iraq should refuse to bargain with the existing administration.

OK, Back to the original post:

What an interesting story. First, the NY Post breaks this story from an Iraqi official. Then the Obama campaign denies it. But then it turns out there is a news story from earlier in the year where Obama actually admitted this (but not the details).

Remember when Canada said Obama had told them not to worry about NAFTA? Obama denied he had given assurances, but then Canada offered proof, Obama had to admit he lied, and got crushed in Ohio?

The media doesn't remember that, because the media has great amnesia when it comes to Obama.

Well, here we go again.

First, from the NY Post. Obama Tried To Stall GI's Iraq Withdrawal:

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."

Well, I think most people can see why this is bad news for Obama. To interfere with the Executive's constitutional job, to undermine an ongoing negotiation, is bad enough. But the way this is worded, if Barack had his way, it could delay when our troops come home.

Obama's campaign decided to deny the story, hoping their media buddies would simply believe them. And it almost worked. Here is the Fox news version of Obama's denials:

Barack Obama’s campaign denied a New York Post report Monday that said the Democratic presidential candidate privately tried to persuade Iraqi political leaders to stall an agreement on scaling back American troops in Iraq while publicly campaigning for a speedy withdrawal.

What did Obama offer for proof?:

A top foreign policy adviser to Obama sat in on the meetings between the candidate and Iraqi officials this summer and said no such conversations occurred, the campaign said Monday.

OK. Look at that sentence, and tell me what is wrong with it.

There is a "top foreign policy advisor", but he is not named. He sat in on the meetings. But the reporter didn't talk to this advisor -- the CAMPAIGN simply said "our advisor says it didn't happen". You have to wonder why the campaign didn't just say "Obama says it didn't happen." Point is, this isn't "two people" against one, because the advisor didn't have to actually say anything.

Anyway, the campaign has one little problem. Turns out that Obama already SAID he did exactly this. So the campaign is literally denying a conversation it has already confessed to previously. (Meaning that they have already admitted that Obama did this prior to his trip, which makes it much harder to believe he didn't say in person what he already admitted to saying in a phone conversation.

Here is the article from June, on MSNBC, Obama's talk with Iraqi Foreign Minister:

He said he told Zebari that negotiations for a Status of Forces agreement or strategic framework agreement between the two countries should be done in the open and with Congress's authorization and that it was important that that there be strong bipartisan support for any agreement so that it can be sustained through a future administration. He argued it would make sense to hold off on such negotiations until the next administration.

"My concern is that the Bush administration--in a weakened state politically--ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it was my administration or Sen. McCain's administration," Obama said. "The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that's currently made."

So in June, Obama confessed that he argued with Zebari that Zebari should hold up the negotiations for Troop Withdraw until the NEXT ADMINISTRATION. Which is exactly what Zebari says Obama did in July, which Obama is now denying.

I suppose it's possible that Obama, having tried to throw a wrench into the negotiations in June, might have then NOT said anything in July. In which case his "denial" is simply an obfuscation, like if someone says "He confessed to the murder last sunday night", and you respond "I did not confess to a murder last sunday night", but it turns out you confessed Sunday afternoon.

BTW, this was reported by the New York Times as well:

While the Bush administration would like to see an agreement reached before the summer’s political conventions, Mr. Obama said today that he opposed such a timetable.

“My concern is that the Bush administration, in a weakened state politically, ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it’s my administration or Senator McCain’s administration,” Mr. Obama said. “The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that’s currently made.”

Obama can try to muddy the waters by calling Zebari a liar, and trotting out campaign staffers to insist that Obama's handler at the meeting assures them Obama didn't say this AT THE MEETING. But now that we are focused on this story, we KNOW that Obama said this to Zebari, and confessed to saying this back in June.

So while the Government of the United States was negotiating with Iraq on a plan to get our troops home as quickly as safely possible, Barack Obama argued, urged, and called on Iraq to hold off on the negotiations until he was elected President -- over 6 months.

Obama can protest the story now, but his own words convict him.


Anonymous said...

Buried somewhere is this story is a major federal crime committed by Hussein O and immediate dismissal from the Senate.
Firefighter 16

Charles said...

Could be, although I think he's probably exempt as a sitting Senator.

Interestingly, Obama's campaign has not caught on to what the real issue is. They only saw the headline, and thought the "problem" was the suggestion Obama was lying about troop withdraw, when the real issues was Obama interfering with an official negotiation between two countries, a task assigned to the executive branch.

Obama has admitted doing so, and only argues that he doesn't think his interference should have any effect on the troops coming home.

Obama of course is naive on foreign policy, if he fails to see how delaying our troop force negotiations for over half a year will delay the implementation of the agreement, when it is finally signed.

The funny thing is, Obama has already gone back on his promise to "get the troops out". His campaign has said that in fact, he will leave some troops behind to keep the peace, AND they have said that, once Obama is President, then of course they will re-assess the situation on the ground and discuss things with the generals.

Oops. So Obama has already confessed that he isn't really wedded to troop withdraw, and now in order to hide that public ocnfession, he is admitting that he interfered with an ongoing negotiation.

Anonymous said...

Not even being reported by the media.

Surprise, Surprise.