Obama vs. McCain 2008: Round 4: Iraq

This is the fourth of a weekly series of public forums on TMB. Watch for a new round every Monday (used to be every Wednesday). The schedule and important comment rules regarding these forums are available here.

I’ll leave this forum very open-ended.

Iraq. McCain. Obama.

Discuss.

Email a friend

Advertisements

20 Responses

  1. 1. Obama’s attempts to paint McCain as a Bush lookalike are dishonest and false. McCain has criticized Bush’s Iraq policy from the start. It is correct to point out that we should never have gone there – McCain’s mistake. But, it is wrong to assume Bush and McCain think the same.

    2. The facts in Iraq have changed substantially over the past year. Unfortunately, Obama’s rhetoric has not. Over a year ago, things were very bad there and he advocated getting out (which would have created a disaster). Now, things are progressively getting better; the strategy is working, but Obama wants to change it. When facts change, our opinions should too. The most unfortunate thing is that Obama and the Dems have a vested interest in us losing in Iraq. Every day of progress hurts the Dems, and they know it.

    3. Obama’s rhetoric about the war is, by definition, irrational. His argument for getting out is that we should never have gone there. Rational people make decisions based on present and future costs, not sunk costs. What’s missing from Obama’s rhetoric is a discussion of the costs of staying vs. leaving in terms of treasury, lives, strategic interests in the region, and American soft power. This is way over the naive Obama’s head, and his refusal to change his position with the changing facts is disturbing. Look for him to drift this position in the future (he has started), but don’t look for an admission that he has been wrong.

    4. The progress of the surge was too soon. The Dems needed it to work – but it needed to wait until January 2009 to start working. As things stood a year ago, we could not have pulled out, and the Dems knew it. As progress grows, the bad consequences of pulling out decline. This is irony: the policy the Dems opposed will be what allows them to do what they proposed.

  2. Ryan, I think I can agree with some of what you have said here. But there are other things that I take a little issue with.

    First, I certainly agree that the surge has been working, at least in respect to a curb in violence and deaths. I haven’t followed the progress very well in the past couple months, but I’ve yet to read or hear anything that has satisfied me that there has been significant change in regards to the autonomy of the Iraqi government. I’d be happy, though, to hear about anything on this. I don’t think that anyone was surprised that the surge would reduce violence. That’s just basic common sense. But whether this means that it is working in a substantive way is another question entirely. Whenever I hear people tout about how the surge is “working,” they typically cite death statistics more than anything, which really is not the crucial issue, in terms of plans for withdrawal.

    Second, I would like to hear from you how McCain and Bush differ on Iraq. Here I’m interested not so much in what McCain has said in the past, but what he is saying now. To say that Bush has criticized Bush’s Iraq policy from the start does not mean much to me — because he’s shifted so far right on just about everything.

    Third, I think you’re oversimplifying Obama’s rhetoric about the war. Yes, he certainly plays up that we never should have gone there, but I see this as an appeal to his potential judgment as a commander in chief — not as a strategy. In terms of a rational assessment of the costs of staying vs. leaving, I think it is safe to say that Obama has played up the future costs of staying. Here he is no different from McCain, however, in terms of McCain’s playing up the costs of leaving. I admit that this is a problem — but it’s one that’s played out on both sides. Neither one has been up front about seriously weighing the costs, and yes, I admit, it has created an unnecessary polemic on this issue. But McCain certainly has been just as guilty in this regard, I think — with his 100 years comment and so forth. I would be MUCH more likely to consider supporting McCain if I saw him as seriously considering the costs of lengthy foreign involvement during a time of significant economic problems in the U.S. All I have heard are the same scare tactics that have come from the Bush administration. Frankly, I think it is amusing that McCain will attack Obama’s liberal economic policies and yet want to continue to spend an outrageous fortune in Iraq (for who knows how long), while promising the wealthy he will cut their taxes. This is certainly not an acceptable position at all, and if it does not represent four more years of Bush-Cheney policies, I don’t know what does. Another argument from Obama concerning the Iraq war is that it has distracted us from Afghanistan. I admit a level of ignorance here — perhaps, Ryan, you could give your take on this — but I have yet to hear McCain even address this issue, which I think is scary. Bottom line: if it is in fact devastating to remove from Iraq, I’ve yet to hear a good argument concerning this. All I hear from McCain and company are unsupported assertions.

    Really, in regards to the war, the decision for Americans to make is a moral one regarding foreign occupation. I think that both Obama and McCain are going to be in tune with the realities of staying vs. leaving, but each are working with a different philosophy concerning the costs vs. benefits of foreign entanglement. I think it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in terms of a more speedy withdrawal vs. a long occupation. Voters will vote according to their moral views on the matter. I side with Obama here, as I see it as immoral to continue a long occupation that breeds a volatile nation’s dependence on U.S. tax dollars. The immorality of the situation is compounded ten-fold when you consider the consistent failure of conservatives (including McCain, recently) to address the economic problems in the U.S., but think the answer is to simply continue Bush tax policies that have failed us during the past eight years. And if it is the case that we withdraw prematurely, it will at least communicate to future commanders-in-chief that the nation is not going to continue to support their awful decisions on our backs. Even if this is a selfish or irrational move (I don’t think it is), it communicates a strong message to hawkish leaders who think they can act irresponsibly, admit they were wrong, and then continue to do what they wanted to do (irresponsibly) in the first place, without seriously considering the costs vs. benefits. In this respect, the argument that we never should have invaded Iraq is not an unimportant one concerning what we should do.

  3. You make some very valid (and concerning points) about fiscal policy and the Iraq War. I have been seriously disappointed by McCain’s folding to the right on tax cutting. Conservatives must someday learn that their expensive foreign policy ideas cannot be paid for on borrowed money. This is my number one problem with McCain right now.

    Perhaps you were not surprised that violence has been reduced in Iraq, but the rhetoric of the Democrats during the past year, especially early on, was full of predictions that the surge would not do that. Now that the evidence is obvious, the Democrats have to act like the reduction in violence is not a big deal. It is a HUGE deal; this reduction in violence paved the way for the substantial political progress that has been made recently. Power sharing institutions, revenue allocations, etc etc have been products of the surge (and some fantastic governing by Iraqi leaders). Democrats are forced to understate this success because their platform depends on failure. That’s bad.

    In principle, you are correct to say that both Bush and McCain supported Iraq invasion. That was a mistake. But the invasion would not have been such a debacle had McCain’s advice been heeded. The Rumsfeld doctrine of minimal troops and shortsighted occupation goals was a failure. Once McCain’s advice was followed (to the chagrin of Obama), we started to see results. So, while McCain’s early position was wrong, he is more correct now than Obama. Your point about early positions being a reflection of judgment is still valid, however.

    I’ll concede the point that Obama and McCain both play a one-sided game on this issue (of course, this is yet another failed opportunity for Obama to show that he is a new kind of politician. This sounds like the same old politics to me).

    This rhetoric about McCain’s 100 year statement is pure politics. He certainly didn’t mean an occupation like the one we have now. But, with this volatile region of the world, and with so many crucial interests at stake there, it would be absolutely ludicrous to not maintain some sort of presence in the Middle East, especially when we have an ally there (but, Iraq would certainly not stay our ally if we leave now and let the local regional powers clean up the mess, as would happen under Obama’s ideas).

    You are right to bring in Afghanistan. The Bush Admin seems to have really dropped the ball on that one, and if McCain fails to address this issue, that is a problem.

    I’m surprised you’ve never heard a good case for staying in Iraq. Our biggest problem in the Middle East right now is Iran. If we leave Iraq before it gains stability, the place will fall apart. The Iraqi government is still young, and it lacks the power to maintain order. We made the mistake of leaving Afghanistan too early in the 80s, and it left the door wide open for the influence of the Taliban. Leaving Iraq too early leaves the door open for the influence of Iran, which, if you haven’t noticed, will not be very friendly to the US. We put 3 to 5 million barrels of oil per day under the influence of Iran; we lose a crucial strategic position in the Middle East; we give up on democracy and open the door for savior tyrants. And, we send a message to the world, as we have before, that the American public cannot stomach hardship; that if you bother us long enough, we’ll compromise our interests and leave, even when we haven’t finished the job.

    Obama knows all this. I have argued before that his Iraq rhetoric is empty; and, we will see that rhetoric continue to soften as we approach the elections. These are the facts: Iraq has changed during the last year. It is still a problem, but it is not the mess it was. Things are getting better every month, in terms of both violence and political progress. State building is not a quick process, no matter how little patience we have for it. The fact that we’re making progress now means that we should approach the problem in a different way than we did a year ago. But Obama proposes the same solution to a different problem. That is irrational.

  4. Ryan,

    Good points.

    Just want to respond to a couple little things:

    Regarding the similarities / differences regarding Bush and McCain, I agree that McCain was correct on the surge (at least, let’s say, he was much more correct than Bush). And I agree, similar to Obama’s condemnation of the invasion from the start, that says something about his judgment. However, that being said, I don’t see a fundamental difference between where Bush sits now and where McCain sits, regarding Iraq (or hardly anything, for that matter). And I think that is a worrisome thing, especially if you have a distrust (like I do) for the Bush administration.

    Also, just to clarify regarding the McCain 100 year statement — I wasn’t exactly clear on this. I didn’t mean to parrot the same old political talk on this that comes from the left. I used it simply as an example to refer to McCain’s emphasis on heavy foreign policy entanglement without considering other things (like taxes). And while I realize that McCain clearly did not mean we would be at war for 100 years, the fact that he would talk about this so cavalierly is troubling to me. Same for his comments about bombing Iran. Now, obviously you need to take his comments with a grain of salt, but these things are just examples of McCain’s one-sided attitude regarding foreign entanglement. But it’s hardly surprising, because it echoes the typical conservative response to these matters: enormous defense budget and foreign entanglement, low taxes (which favor the wealthy in the short run), promises on a trickle down (which hasn’t exactly happened during the past 8 years), and very little direct intervention for solving pressing domestic crises (such as healthcare). What is McCain really bringing to the table that will change things here? If it’s simply a cry to keep fighting wars and trust in the market, then I’m not convinced. And the person whose son has been killed in Iraq or whose daughter has leukemia with no healthcare — they’re definitely not going to be convinced with the unsaid attitude of conservatives nowadays: “Trust me, things will be better in the future. Not for you, of course (unlike the corporations), but for other little people like you in about 20 years…”

  5. I have tried to follow information on the ground as best as possible. Here are a couple of links that report things that seem typical of the current trend in Iraq: http://tinyurl.com/6hwccd
    and
    http://tinyurl.com/5gwrmm
    and
    http://tinyurl.com/6zlyxe

    I have several friends who have spent time in Iraq. They say several things. One, things have changed dramatically over the last year. Two, the fog of war can undo a lot of the good that has been accomplished. Three, the news media has no idea what is going on, good or bad. Four, the only responsible way to discuss withdrawing troops is with a real picture of what will happen after we leave.

    As far as McCain vs. Obama on this one, I have to go for McCain. Conservatives can be accused of ignoring the facts on the ground a few years ago, but I like to believe we are just more far-sighted. If my side was ignoring the facts on the ground before, Obama certainly is now.

    Much of what I read says that the Iraqi Army is taking the lead in most major operations. They also report a more mature political dialogue within Iraq. If things continue as they are, Obama may not have any need to withdraw the troops. In my view, that would be a major vindication of George Bush’s policy.

    I will refrain from addressing the healthcare-domestic crisis comment until a later date.

  6. Good points Dennis.

    I have done a lot of thinking about this issue today. I think that both candidates are missing the boat in some substantial ways.

    You raise important questions about the difference between Bush and McCain’s policy on Iraq right now. You are right to point out that there is probably no difference. This is because Bush has finally been converted to McCain’s plan, rather than McCain being a puppet of Bush (like many conservatives were a year ago). I don’t think it’s wise to automatically assume that Bush is wrong all the time without actually examining the policy. Bush converted to this policy under pressure and only after it became obvious that his previous one was wrong (in other words, it wasn’t his idea). We can judge it by its results: violence is down, political progress is being made, and stability is increasing. This should not be interpreted as a victory; but I believe that had Obama had his way a year ago, our pullout would have resulted in a terrifying disaster in Iraq, which would now be dominated by Iran and Al Qaeda, and a salvageable future would be impossible.

    Now, that said, I do not pretend that the progress matches the Bush Administration’s hype. An important article in the Times today showed that (link below). This leads me to my next, and most important, point.

    Rather than pretending this issue only has two options – pull out or stay indefinitely – I would appreciate it if the candidates would engage more moderate, honest stances. Obama should be transitioning more from his previous pullout-or-bust stance. This is politically feasible if he (1) gives McCain, Bush, and the surge credit for what they have accomplished. (2) Admits that while his suggestions a year ago were fitting for that time (I disagree, but from his position this is politically practical), changing facts on the ground require a reassessment; Iraq now appears to be salvageable, and the best thing we can do to maintain crucial strategic position, the safety of the Iraqi people, a check on the influence of Iran, and US soft power is to develop a strategy that allows us to stay in Iraq and help the Iraqi government continue to gain strength. (3) Criticize the Bush Administration (and, to the extent that he is responsible, John McCain) for their inaccurate measures of progress and strategic failures; this can involve saying that while the surge did make progress, strategic mistakes and deception limited the progress that could have been made, and the continuation of such mistakes will be detrimental to what has been accomplished. (4) Lay out a plan that makes the Iraqi government and military more accountable for meeting benchmarks, keeps US forces there while minimizing casualties, and does not include an explicit withdrawal date; rather, Iraqi accountability is tied to aid funding. I believe that if Obama followed these steps, he could save political face for being wrong about the surge while simultaneously undermining Conservative credibility; and, more importantly, this would put us on a path to real solutions in Iraq.

    For his part, McCain should do the following: (1) Continue to publicize the progress of the surge while clearly distinguishing between himself and Bush on that issue and reminding us that Obama was wrong about it. (2) Admit that while the surge has brought progress, the lame duck Bush Administration has continued to make strategic and diplomatic failures in Iraq; these include inaccurate/hyped up measures of success, failure to demand more accountability from the Iraqi government and military, and failure to seek the support of the international community. (3) Propose a plan which includes new benchmarks and methods for accountability and visible ways to maintain stability while minimizing American casualties. This plan will depend on how much McCain is willing to distance himself from Bush and the Sean Hannity’s of the party; I have a lot of faith in Senator McCain for this, but my faith in Candidate McCain is waning.

    Both McCain and Obama should have a withdrawal timetable in their minds but should not make it public. It is tempting to do so, but this really endangers our position there. I believe that by following these steps, either candidate could gain the upper hand on the Iraq debate. Whichever one adopts this plan (or something similar; I’m no expert) will be more successful and, I think, will appear more genuine and honest.

    With regards to your comment about McCain and conservative foreign policy: I believe that McCain is much more moderate than his conservative brethren. That said, his rhetoric clearly does not reflect it, so your concern is valid. It is time for conservatives to abandon the neo-cons and adopt a more pragmatic foreign policy grand strategy – one which does not break our treasury and offend our allies.

    As things stand now, I believe that both candidates are drifting closer to the center on Iraq. Whether it matters for the election or not, Obama will have to moderate his stance on pullout; it is just not politically feasible. There is too much at stake, and the trend in Iraq is positive. If Obama fails to do this, he will not get my support on Iraq.

    Here is the link for the Times article. Tony makes good comments, but one of them is addressed here: “the Iraqi Army is taking the lead in most major operations.” I don’t pretend to know the all the facts; but from this analysis, it appears that the Iraqi army is not as stable as the Bush Admin thinks (or wants us to think). Take it with a grain of salt.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/world/middleeast/24gao.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper&oref=login

  7. McCain is a mess on foreign policy. He sounds good in general but start to look at what he says and he’s as clueless on the particulars as Bush was. He appears good only compared to Obama who says he’ll pull out. (I actually suspect once Obama is in office this won’t happen that quickly – the reality will set in of what’s going on)

    My problem with Obama is that he’s been pretty unfair on McCain – although McCain’s incompetence in campaigning hasn’t exactly helped McCain.

    I do fear that Obama is an idealogue like Bush was. It’s not clear he is and I pray he isn’t since I don’t think McCain has a hope of winning. But I really worry that he’ll try to make big changes.

    What I want is someone to stay long enough to get the Iraqi troops trained so we can begin to pull out. McCain would although I suspect in practice Obama would as well. As to the Obamites faith that the only way to force political change in the Iraqi government is to pull out. To me that’s as much wishful thinking as is half of what Bush did.

    The one place I agree with Obama 100% is with talking to our enemies. I really don’t understand Bush or McCain here. Talking to our enemies is what won the cold war for Reagan and what completely changed the trajectory of China for Nixon. Someone please explain why talking to Iran is bad.

    But the ultimate worry is less policy with these guys than competence. And I just have zero faith there with either. The best I can say is that Obama is at least charsimatic and can communicate so many of the failings of Bush there will be avoided.

  8. Clark,

    What do you mean by “talking with our enemies”? This statement seems a bit simplistic. Do you mean personal presidential meetings with autocrats without preconditions (or ‘preparations’ as Obama now calls them)? Because that’s not what happened with China/Nixon or USSR/Reagan. It is, however, what happened with JFK/USSR, and it was a disaster by all accounts. This undermines your evidence.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/a-jfk-comparison-for-obama-that-is-not-a-compliment/?scp=2-b&sq=Obama+JFK&st=nyt

    But, if you mean other dialog between our countries, perhaps through the state department or other organizations, then that is a different story. Where Obama stands on this depends upon when you ask. Several months ago he advocated the former method; he is now wisely drifting towards the latter (Joe Biden, who was sadly eliminated, commented about Obama that “he’s learning”). I am in strong agreement that we should be opening dialog between our governments; send the secretary of state and anyone else you can (Bush fails on this); but personal presidential meetings have never worked before. To my knowledge, McCain hasn’t stated a position on this.

  9. I also think you may want to study some Cold War history; the fall of the USSR is much, much more complicated than “talking with our enemies”.

  10. On this subject, Tom Friedman opines today. This is a must-read analysis. He argues that part of the problem all along is that Iraqis didn’t initially take ownership of their institutions. This was because America forced “liberation” on Iraq, rather than Iraq working for it.

    The good news, according to Friedman, is that Iraq seems to be taking more ownership now. Speaking of this new trend, he says: “We may one day look back on this as Iraq’s real war of liberation. The one we led five years ago didn’t count.” If Friedman is right, this means two things for our candidates: (1) the Republican blank-check policy towards Iraq, failing to push for any accountability and benchmarks, breeds dependence and will not incentivize the Iraqis to continue to “take ownership”. (2) Democrat quick-pullout solutions could cripple this positive trend; instead, we should continue to support the Iraqis from backstage.

    So, in my opinion, the GOP and McCain are right to not give up on Iraq but wrong to continue writing blank checks. The Democrats and Obama are wrong to give up on Iraq but right to wish for more accountability.

    This is a great article.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/opinion/25friedman.html

  11. In some very important ways the surge has not been a success.

    1. The awaking movement that saw sunni tribesmen betray Al Qaida remains on edge. The sunni tribes continue to reject the largely shite and kurdish Iraqi national government. U.S. propaganda in sunni regions plays off sunni suspition of shites and Iran. Sunni militias have yet to be integrated into national security forces.

    Bottom line: The surge has yet to acheive real reconciliation between sunni and shia. At best it has only given the iraqis a second chance, one they aren’t taking full advantage of yet. In my eyes this highlights the real problem with the War in Iraq: it’s not ours to win. Only the Iraqi people can unite and recogcile themselves. Only they can give legitimacy to the national government.

    2. The surge is breaking our military. We don’t have sufficent troop numbers to maintain the surge and our war in afgahnistan (NATO remains undermanned in Afghanistan). Consequently we keep sending the same guys back. It’s no wonder that mental illness is on the rise in the military. see this article:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/15/eveningnews/main2936403.shtml

    Anyone who is serious about continuing the war in Iraq should seriously consider reinstituting a draft. The draft would be the quickest and easiest way to expand our forces to a sufficent level. The draft would also allow us to stop paying immoral amounts of money to military contractors (mercenaries) like Blackwater (the guys who randomly shot up a intersection in Baghdad). draftees could perform the work they do.

    3. The surge is putting America further in debt. Why can’t we at least attempt to pay for these wars? We couldn’t afford World War Two but we at least tried to pay for it.

    My guess is that most Americans, conservative and liberal, would rather withdrawl from Iraq then start paying the cost through taxes and a draft.

    PS: seriously disappointing amount of comments thus far on this forum. The character forum had a lot more as did the vp forum.

  12. Clayton,

    You bring up an excellent point.

    The minute a draft is instituted for the Iraq War is the minute the war ends. Then we’ll see who really thinks it’s important to stay in Iraq. It’s awfully easy to support when it’s someone else or someone else’s father, son, etc. who are doing all the fighting. Especially when those who are there (on average) are more poor and more likely to be a racial minority. And totally out of sight.

    I’d be curious to hear how people would respond — what would be your response if a draft were instituted? Would you do everything you could to dodge? I would, I’m not going to lie. If it was a war that was noble and important, on the other hand, I would not. What would you do if you were drafted? (I would go, but I wouldn’t be very enthused about it. I would think that my life is being put on the line because of my own inept leaders and their hawkish, empirialistic agendas.)

    One thing, concerning draft dodges, which is somewhat of a side track (recognizing of course that we’re not drafting people right now): I think it is ridiculous that college students (as opposed to non-student fathers and husbands) can dodge drafts so easily. This shows what we value in America: money, not families. (I may be mistaken, but I think the same thing applies for enlisted troops and whether they are called on active duty to Iraq.)

    Clayton, I’m glad you mentioned the effects of continued war on the soldiers themselves. This is something that has not yet been mentioned. Coming back to the presidential candidates on this issue, I am very disappointed with McCain concerning the GI bill. I don’t remember all the details right now, but he has supported making it much more difficult for returned soldiers to receive GI benefits. Why? Because they’d be more likely to drop out of the war. Hmmm … this is an enormous problem, people.

    By the way, I also wish there were more comments, Clayton. I think people are sick of the presidential campaign right now. Things will probably heat up by September. But I’m quite pleased with the QUALITY of comments for the Iraq forum. I think this has actually been the most substantive forum we’ve had yet.

  13. Good points Clayton and Dennis.

    Sometimes we fail to think of the surge as we would any other government program. When it comes to government health care, Iraq/foreign policy, Social Security, etc.etc., Americans have gotten out of the habit of counting costs. The supposed fiscal conservatives have doubled the national debt on Bush’s watch, in part due to the Iraq policy (the tax cuts didn’t help either).

    Our ability to run chronic deficits will not last forever (a topic for a different forum). We must start choosing what we’re willing to pay for. The discussion of Iraq requires an analysis of the future costs of staying vs. leaving. One thing is certain: I’m not very pleased about McCain/Conservative promises to continue massive foreign policy projects while cutting taxes. Dennis is very, very correct to remind us that McCain promising endless tax cuts while maintaining or expanding foreign policy is disingenuous.

    On the other hand, also missing from the dialog is a discussion of US grand strategy (probably the reason we don’t talk about it much is that politicians don’t). What should be our long-term agenda in the Middle East? Of course this isn’t the only consideration, but any president who doesn’t think about oil and terrorism when making foreign policy is incompetent. The long-term strategic position of the United States is crucial for our economy and our national security. How is this related to the debate about the surge? I think this is what is missing from the dialog of the Left.

    I don’t know how I feel about the draft. I think it’s oversimplifying to say that those who advocate the war should be willing to fight in it; we do have a volunteer army after all. On the other hand, even that argument (the one I just made) is an oversimplification. I’ll have to think about this more. Good comments Clayton.

  14. Good points, Ryan. Thanks for all that you’ve contributed to this forum.

    It will be interesting to see how things change in the next few months: both in Iraq itself and in the rhetoric and strategies of McCain and Obama.

  15. And so it begins.

    I have long predicted that Obama will increase his hedging on Iraq. The problem with his original position is that it would have left Iraq as a hive of instability and terrorist breeding grounds at a time when a positive US presence in the Middle East is crucial. The old “pull out no matter what” mentality is giving way to a more sensible approach. Charles Krauthammer long ago predicted that come election day, Obama’s Iraq policy would be little different from McCain’s. It’s already getting close (which is good news). The combination of Surge progress and centrist drifting means that Obama will have a pretty good Iraq strategy.

    Good for America; bad comment on the New Kind of Politics. As I’ve said before, I knew this drifting would have to come; but I hoped Obama would be a little more honest about it.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/07/a_man_of_seasonal_principles.html

  16. I have just posted a discussion of the history and lessons of the Iraq conflict.

    http://pendulumpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/07/iraq-history-and-lessons.html

  17. For any who missed it, Obama has an op-ed piece in the NY Times today outlining his strategy for withdrawing from Iraq:

    My Plan for Iraq

    Naturally, I’m interested in everyone’s reaction to this, particularly the soundness of his strategy (or not). As for myself, I’m persuaded but undecided.

  18. […] (Keep in mind that there is a separate forum for Iraq.) […]

  19. […] concerns, the Russia-Georgia conflict, and Hurricane Ike. (There are separate forums for discussing Iraq; the economy; oil, energy, and the environment; and terrorism and […]

  20. […] presidential election. We have had many great discussions on a range of topics, such as character, Iraq, the economy, abortion, relationship with LDS Church, health care, faith and family values, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: