Obama website deletes criticism of Iraq surge

It is axiomatic that the closer Obama gets to the White House, the more beholden to oil interests and imperial designs he will become—and therefore the more equivocal his opposition to the Iraq occupation. Watch this process in action. Andrew Malcolm writes for the LA Times’ Top of the Ticket blog, July 16:

Obama website’s opposition to successful surge gets deleted
A funny thing happened over on the Barack Obama campaign website in the last few days. The parts that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared…

When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, Obama said: “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse,” a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.

Tuesday, while Obama gave a speech on foreign policy, the New York Daily News was the first to notice the removal of parts of Obama’s campaign site listing the Iraq troop surge as part of “The Problem.” An Obama spokeswoman said it was just part of an “update” to “reflect changes in current events,” as our colleague Frank James notes in the Swamp. The update includes a new section on the rise of Al Qaeda violence in Afghanistan.

But some might see the updating as part of Obama’s skip to the political center now that he’s secured the Democratic nomination. “Today,” McCain said Tuesday, “we know Sen. Obama was wrong” to oppose the troop surge.

An old quote of Obama’s criticizing the “rash war,” which helped him with the left wing of his party and helped differentiate his stand from that of Sen. Hillary Clinton, a primary opponent who voted for the use of force in Iraq, has been replaced on his site by one saying that ending the Iraq war will make America safer. That’s more of a general election message.

Barack Obama’s proposed foreign policy has started to sound in recent weeks like “Out of Iraq, into Afghanistan.” Now he may even be equivocating on the first part of that equation. Meanwhile, this is what “success” looks like in Iraq. From AFP, July 15:

BAQUBA, Iraq — A string of suicide attacks against Iraqi security forces killed at least 37 people on Tuesday, including 28 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up among a crowd of army recruits, security officials said.

The two bombers, one of whom wore an Iraqi military uniform, detonated their explosives-filled vests at a recruitment centre on Al-Saad base, east of the Diyala, the provincial capital of Baquba, they said.

At least 55 people were also wounded in the morning attack, which came ahead of a promised Iraqi army offensive in the province, an Al-Qaeda stronghold just north of Baghdad.

“We were about 30 people standing at the entrance,” said one of the wounded, Falah Ali Hussein, 17. “They had just called our names when suddenly there was a big explosion.”

A police officer said the victims were from a first batch of men called from across the province to participate in a military recruitment drive.

“The bombers blew themselves up amid the crowd. One bomber was dressed in Iraqi military uniform, while the other was wearing civilian clothes,” the officer said…

Suicide bombers on Tuesday also struck in Iraq’s main northern city of Mosul, another Al-Qaeda stronghold.

Police Major Shahab Ahmed said five people were killed and six wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a police patrol in Al-Noor neighbourhood in the east of the city.

Four people were killed and five wounded when a second bomber blew himself up close to a police patrol in the Ras al-Jad’a district of the city centre, he added.

Dr Ahmed Jassim from Mosul hospital confirmed that nine bodies had been brought in from the two attacks.

The latest attacks came as executed dictator Saddam Hussein’s fugitive deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri urged Iraqis to “strike the enemy everywhere…to make this year…decisive for victory.”

See our last posts on Barack Obama and Iraq.

  1. More astonishing success of the surge
    From AFP, July 16:

    Car bomb kills 12 in northern Iraq
    MOSUL, Iraq — A car bomb exploded in a market in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar on Wednesday, killing 12 people and wounding 30, a police officer and a medic told AFP.

    The explosives-filled car was parked on the side of a road in the market in Tal Afar’s Hal al-Taliyah neighbourhood, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

    Doctor Tareq al-Obeidi from the public hospital in Tal Afar, 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Mosul, said that the dead and wounded were being brought to his facility.

    The explosion took place at around 7:30 pm (1630 GMT) in Tal Afar, which in March 2006 was hailed as a model town by US President George W. Bush but which exactly a year later witnessed one of the biggest attacks in Iraq in which more than 150 people were killed in a truck bombing.

      1. One attack?
        “A string of suicide attacks” over two days does not constitute “one attack.” It may not “prove” the surge hasn’t been a success, since the word “success” is subjective. But it does indicate how dumbed down our standards for “success” have become. Can you imagine the outrage if attacks like this were happening in any Western city? But in Iraq, it barely rates a headline.

        And if such attacks are less frequent in Iraq than they were a year ago, it is because of the decoupling of Sunni tribal leaders from al-Qaeda, which is in turn due to 1.) US largesse with bribes, and 2.) al-Qaeda’s own arrogance (killing non-collaborators and the like). The US military presence in Iraq merely fuels the sentiment that al-Qaeda exploits.

        Furthermore, the Sunni “Guardians” still share the ultra-fundamentalist ideology. So looking to them for stability may be bringing a modicum of peace, but at the cost of the “freedom” the US purports to be bringing to Iraq. Instead of tyrannical enclaves run by sharia law loyal to al-Qaeda, we’ve got tyrannical enclaves run by sharia law loyal to the US. Way to go.

        So, nice try, Anonymous.