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expatriate's picture
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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

As a Gold Star parent, this one makes me sick.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09152008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obama_tr...

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

Interesting read that I have not seen reported elsewhere. The Obama campaign should address the questions raised in the article, since it questions one of the central platforms of his campaign.

This certainly suggests that it is opportunistic....

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

You know ex, the ny post is actually a right wing newspaper, they actually hate liberals. Just preparing you for the backlash. But, in all reality I cant say Im surprised. It is now less than 2 months away from the election and I know just as much about him as I knew 6 months ago. I percieve him as having something to hide and Im sure this will be brushed under the rug much like everything else that has come up. My vote is for opportunistic though.

expatriate's picture
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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

Yes, I'm waiting for someone to come back and do the classic lib defense -- claiming the paper is unreliable, the reporter is lying, the story is irrelevant, etc -- anything but showing evidence that the story is wrong.

If the Obama people treat this like they treat talk radio, an edict will go out demanding action be taken against the paper. But I'll believe the story until someone presents something showing the foreign minister refuting it.

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

Yawn,,, this is just way too easy. The problem with wing nuts is they live in an echo chamber, never listen to someone who isn't equally as nutty. Seriously just because someone prints something doesn't make it true, before I believe something I need either a reputable source or reference to unambiguous facts that are a part of the public record. I mean what next? Space Alien abduction?

Taheri's Bizarre Conceit

Taheri is getting some attention today with a remarkable piece in the New York Post alleging that Barack Obama "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." Ordinarily I'd ignore such silliness, but with the McCain campaign recklessly jumping all over it, and the usual suspects hopping on board, it's worth pointing out that how shoddy a piece of work it really is.

Taheri makes two major claims in the op-ed: first, that Obama tried to persuade Iraqis to delay signing an agreement; second, that this would result in delaying the troop withdrawal Obama advocates.

Taheri's only source for the first claim is a published interview with Zebari in al-Sharq al-Awsat (to which he also contributes columns), which doesn't quite say what he claims it says. Looking at the key quote in context makes this clear. For most of the first half of the interview Zebari described all of the problems with the negotiations and the uncertainties about whether it would be binding on the next administration. The interviewer then asked him why Iraqi leaders didn't just wait until the next administration - at which point Zebari responded "that is the question which Barack Obama asked me when I was in Washington a while ago." That's hardly the stuff of concerted pressure or independent diplomacy. At any rate, the Obama campaign denies the claim forcefully - and they do presumably have transcripts of the conversation on their side.

Plus, Taheri doesn't even get the time or location of the supposed exchange right. In the very same sentence which Taheri quoted, Zebari said: "That is the question which Barack Obama asked me when I was in Washington a while ago, when I met with McCain and Obama." That's right - Taheri's only piece of evidence that "Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July" is Zebari's account of an exchange which did not take place during Obama's trip to Baghdad in July, but rather during Zebari's trip to Washington in June. If Taheri can't even get such an obvious and consequential detail right, why should we trust anything else he says?

Taheri's real focus is on the second claim, that this exposes Obama's hypocrisy because the result of a delay in the agreement would be a delay in an American troop withdrawal. But this is, frankly, absurd. The U.S. is not negotiating an "agreement on a draw-down" with Iraq, it is negotiating two related long-term security agreements. The U.S. does not need to wait until it has negotiated and ratified a long-term security agreement to begin withdrawing troops. If President Bush wants to withdraw troops, he orders them to leave. The same is true for any future President. Whether U.S. forces are authorized to be in Iraq by a continuation of the UN mandate or a bilateral deal makes absolutely zero material difference to the next commander-in-chief's ability to redeploy forces at a pace of his own choosing (unless there is an agreement to leave earlier, which isn't at issue at this point).

Taheri is exceedingly disingenuous about what was being negotiated in June 2008 (when the conversation took place). Back then, the Bush administration was still trying to negotiate the McCain position of legalizing the U.S. force presence for the long term and vehemently rejected any talk of time tables, time lines, or time horizons. It was only in July that Maliki pulled the rug out from under McCain and Bush by insisting on a timetable for U.S. withdrawal in line with Obama's stated position. To describe the agreement being discussed in June as a "draw-down" agreement is misleading to the point of dishonesty. That might also explain why Taheri dissembles about when exactly the purported conversation took place.

Third, Taheri implies that Obama's position that the agreement be approved by Congress is part of a secret, nefarious scheme for delay. Um, no. Obama has consistently argued that any U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement should be approved by Congress because that would give it legal standing and would also be the best way to put the agreement on a firm, bipartisan footing to make it politically sustainable over the long run. Since the Iraqi parliament will approve whatever agreement is reached, it seems reasonable that Congress should have the same prerogative. In the absence of this approval, Obama has favored a temporary extension of the current UN mandate governing the presence of U.S. forces so an agreement can be reached that has the support of both the American and Iraqi people. This position is not a secret. It is right there on Obama's website.

Finally, there's the part where Taheri suggests that if Obama were elected it would take him months to get a negotiating team in place [i.e. March or April of 2009], and "by then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June." Huh? Provincial elections will hopefully be held by December 2008 but may be pushed back into the early spring of 2009, but national elections are not due until the fall of 2009 at the earliest. Does Taheri not know that provincial elections are not the same as Parliamentary elections, or is he just assuming that readers won't know? Whatever.

Really a fine piece of work from the esteemed columnist. I'm sure he'll go far.

expatriate's picture
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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

Ding! There it is. When confronted with something that discredits your candidate, attack and discredit the messenger.

There's just one little problem when you get through all the bluster -- Zebari did in fact admit that Obama asked him to delay, and Obama's campaign admitted to it. Of course, they're spinning wildly to explain it away as something benign, but you can't ignore the fact that a presumptive candidate is negotiating with a foreign power in opposition to the sitting president.

And by the way -- you don't withdraw troops without a security agreement in place to transition power.

If he wants US troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, why would he want to delay anything? It's not that he wants troops out of Iraq -- he wants troops out of Iraq in such a way that he can take credit for it.

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?
Quote:
attack and discredit the messenger

Well yes if he can't make up his mind as to when this conversation took place and in what hemisphere I tend to think something perhaps just maybe might be made up.

Quote:
Obama's campaign admitted to it.

Huh? Admited to what? Where? Have any quotes or links other than some nut case Arab writing in a Iraqi newspaper?

To tell you the truth I don't think anyone at Obama's Campaign is like staying up sleepless over this one. I know it's fun to quote some outlandish claim that doesn't seem to add up to much made by an obscure newspaper in an occupied country but these kinds of things just aren't considered news.

Perhaps the abducted by space aliens doesn't sound so far fetched. If you want to get outraged get outraged about being lied to by a chicken hawk. Four thousand and counting.

expatriate's picture
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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

Obama confirmed it via Wendy Morigi, his national security advisor. While denying that he asked for a delay, she said "Senator Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a Strategic Framework Agreement governing the future of US forces until after President George W Bush leaves office."

In other words, she denies that he asked for a delay, and backs that claim by stating how he asked them to hold off the agreement until Bush leaves office.

That is 1) negotiating with a foreign power and 2) asking for a delay.

That's no lie -- it's fact. It's not some obscure third-world newspaper, it's not some right-wing conspiracy, and it's not space aliens. It's Obama's spokesman (person).

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?
civetcat wrote:
.......................Seriously just because someone prints something doesn't make it true..................

Incredible.......only description I can come up with when I read this post.

civetcat post this statement and then proceeds to copy and paste an entire article as a defense to the ny post article, much as he has with almost every post on this forum. Brick Wall,)

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?

I do hope that they have a literacy test where you two vote. If you have trouble sound out the words.

It's a big lie says Obama's campaign, the ambasador appointed by G W Bush, and a Republican Senator all who were present at the time of the meeting.

Expat do you have a link to the quote you just gave to Wendi Morigi that gives the entire context of the comments? I didn't think so.

Please no wing nut publications.

Try ABC News.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/undermining-mcc.html

My question is did you know it was a lie when you posted it? or are you just fond of repeating lies made by lying liars.

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Obama: Sincere or Opportunist?
civetcat wrote:
I do hope that they have a literacy test where you two vote. If you have trouble sound out the words.

another perfect example of attacking and trying to discredit.

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