Friday, March 7, 2008
More Obama Amateur Hour: Obama Advisor Tells BBC that Obama Iraq Withdrawal Plan Isn't Certain
STEPHEN SACKUR: Let me stop you just for a moment. You said that he’ll revisit it when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn’t a commitment isn’t it?
POWER: You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.
He will rely upon a plan, an operational plan that he pulls together, in consultation with people who are on the ground, to whom he doesn’t have daily access now as a result of not being the president.
So to think, I mean it would be the height of ideology, you know, to sort of say, well I said it therefore I’m going to impose it on whatever reality entreats me –
SACKUR: Ok, so the 16 months is negotiable?
POWER: It’s the best case scenario
It’s the best case scenario
POWER: It is –
SACKUR: And of course in Iraq we’ve never seen best case scenario
POWER: We have never seen best case scenario
SACKUR: So we needn’t necessarily take it seriously at all.
POWER: What we can take seriously is that he will try to get US forces out as quickly and as responsibly as possible. And that’s the best case, estimate of what it would take.
Sen. Obama has repeatedly criticized Hillary for not having a "firm" and "clear" withdrawal deadline:
Sen. Obama: 'Why we would try [Hillary’s] approach as opposed to simply setting a timetable for withdrawal strikes me as a convoluted approach to the problem.' "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to introduce an amendment repealing the congressional authorization for the war. It would require the president to seek new authority from Congress if he wanted to continue operations past Oct. 11, 2007, five years after initial authorization was given. ‘If you simply repeal the language, then presumably you'd have to reauthorize something. You've got 150,000 troops over there and support personnel,’ Obama told The Associated Press in an interview after a campaign stop in Las Vegas. ‘Why we would try that approach as opposed to simply setting a timetable for withdrawal strikes me as a convoluted approach to the problem,’ he said." [AP, 7/13/07]
Sen. Obama: Sen. Clinton 'hasn't given a firm timetable in terms of executing the withdrawal, and I think that's a problem.' "And in--there is a difference, though, between myself and Senator Clinton on a couple of these issues. Number one, she hasn't given a firm timetable in terms of executing the withdrawal, and I think that's a problem. I think we have to provide certainty to the Iraqi leadership, so that they know that we are serious about changing course." [NBC Meet the Press, 11/11/07]
Sen. Obama: 'Senator Clinton continues to not provide a clear timetable for how she would pull our troops out' of Iraq. "Where Senator Clinton continues to not provide a clear timetable for how she would pull our troops out, so those are all differences we will continue to talk about." [Obama Press Conference Transcript, 11/9/07]
Sen. Obama: ‘I do think it’s important for us to set a date.’ When asked if he could make a commitment for a withdrawal date, Obama said, "I do think it is important for us to set a date. And the reason I think it is important is because if we are going to send a signal to the Iraqis that we are serious, and prompt the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds to actually come together and negotiate, they have to have clarity about how serious we are. It can't be muddy, it can't be fuzzy. They've got to know that we are serious about this process." [CNN debate, 1/31/08]