Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Down to the Issues: Iraq

One of the greatest fault lines between Barack Obama and John McCain is whether we should continue the war in Iraq or begin withdrawing our troops. Obama cites no feasible military solution to ethnic tension and devastating troop losses as evidence for withdrawal. McCain emphasizes creating a stable Iraq and remaining in the region until we win.


“But conventional thinking in Washington lined up for war. The pundits judged the political winds to be blowing in the direction of the President. Despite - or perhaps because of how much experience they had in Washington, too many politicians feared looking weak and failed to ask hard questions. Too many took the President at his word instead of reading the intelligence for themselves. Congress gave the President the authority to go to war. Our only opportunity to stop the war was lost." - Barack Obama, Iowa, September 12, 2007
- In 2006, Obama called for a timetable to remove troops, and in 2007 introduced legislation in the Senate to remove all US combat troops from Iraq by March 2008.
- Obama's Iraq plan calls for the removal of one to two combat brigades each month and a complete withdrawal of our combat brigades within 16 months.
- Obama seeks a new accord on Iraqi's constitution and governance with representatives on all levels.
- Obama believes that the Iraqi humanitarian crisis must be addressed by the United States, and thus he will provide $2 billion for the creation of an international working group to address the crisis.


- On his website, John McCain notes that, "It would be a grave mistake to leave before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively. We must help the Government of Iraq battle those who provoke sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East. Iraq must not become a failed state, a haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran. These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war."
- McCain advocates sending reinforcements to Iraq to implement a classic insurgency strategy of securing the population.
- McCain pushes for political reconciliation and good government within Iraq.
- McCain believes that economic progress is essential to sustaining security gains in Iraq, and thus the international community should bolster proven microfinance programs to spur local-level entrepreneurship throughout the country.