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Obama Embraces Iraq’s Withdrawal Demands

You know who really, really likes Nouri al-Maliki’s refusal to accept a permanent U.S. occupation of Iraq? Why, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

In The New York Times today, Obama embraces Maliki’s newfound anti-occupation bona fides, and throws the Iraqi resistance to a permanent U.S. presence in the faces of President Bush and John McCain.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

Yeah. Yeah. And Obama puts it all in the right context — that is, the destruction of al-Qaeda that Bush and McCain neither care much about nor know how to bring about.

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan.

We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

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