Well at least Obama is consistent. Consistent in changing his story to fit the venue.
Yesterday he told the press he had spoken with Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, and had told him that he would set a timetable for withdrawal as President. He also said that Zebari had expressed their desire for sovereignty:
“He did emphasize his belief that we’ve made real progress and I think was eager to see political accommodations between the factions follow up in the wake of this progress.
“I think that he expressed what President Maliki has expressed as well,” Obama continued, “which is that the Iraqis are obviously concerned about their sovereignty and are not seeking a long term occupation by the U.S. And so my sense is that we should be able to execute a withdrawal and set a timeframe – a timetable that continues to allow US forces to support Iraqi forces in going after terrorists, that continues to train the Iraqi police and military as long as we’re not training militias that are turning on each other.”
Problem is Zebari told reporters that it was a much different conversation:
…Mr. Obama has not altered his position: He still proposes withdrawing most U.S. troops according to a fixed timetable, set to the most rapid pace at which commanders have said American forces could be pulled out.
Mr. Zebari, who has served as foreign minister in every Iraqi government since 2003, finds Mr. Obama’s proposal worrying. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters Tuesday, he said that after all the pain and sacrifices of the past five years, “we are just turning the corner in Iraq.” A precipitous withdrawal, he said, “would create a huge vacuum and undo all the gains and achievements. And the others” — enemies of the United States — “would celebrate.”
Mr. Zebari said he told Mr. Obama that “Iraq is not an island.” In other words, an American withdrawal that destabilized the country would also roil the region around it and embolden U.S. adversaries such as al-Qaeda and Iran. “We have a deadly enemy,” Mr. Zebari said. “When he sees that you commit yourself to a certain timetable, he will use this to increase pressure and attacks, to make it look as though he is forcing you out. We have many actors who would love to take advantage of that opportunity.” Mr. Zebari says he believes U.S. forces can and should be drawn down. His point is that reductions should be made gradually, as the Iraqi army becomes stronger.
The foreign minister said “my message” to Mr. Obama “was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress.” He said he was reassured by the candidate’s response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain. Mr. Zebari said that in addition to promising a visit, Mr. Obama said that “if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field.“ Certainly, it makes sense to consult with those who, like Mr. Zebari, have put their lives on the line for an Iraq that would be a democratic U.S. ally. Mr. Obama ought to listen carefully to what they are saying.
Way different perspective huh? Who is lying here?
Jim Geraghty also takes note of Obama telling the foreign minister that he would only take action after consulting with military leaders which differs from what he said during a earlier debate:
ABC’s Charles Gibson: “And, Senator Obama, your campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, ‘When he is’ — this is talking about you – ‘When he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most. There should be no confusion about that.’ So you’d give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order to bring them home?”
Obama: “Because the commander-in-chief sets the mission, Charlie. That’s not the role of the generals. And one of the things that’s been interesting a out the president’s approach lately has been to say, ‘Well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus.’ Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission.”
Taking cues from a General after consultation is what good leaders do. A President that wants to micromanage would ignore these cues and tell them what to do instead. So which one will Obama be?
We can’t tell because he changes his story every other week it appears.
Ed Morrissey notes that Obama’s changing story on Iraq appears the same as his NAFTA flip-flop:
This adds another data point to that theory. Zebari’s recollection of the conversation sounds at least a little similar to the NAFTA Dance, in which Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee reportedly assured the Canadian consulate in Chicago that Obama only attacked NAFTA as a campaign ploy.
We should remember what Wright said about Obama right about now:
“Politicians say what they say and do what they do because of electability,” Wright said, arguing that Obama had not seen the sermons played in the media that Obama has called “offensive.” “He had to distance himself because he’s a politician…Whether he gets elected or not, I’m still going to have to be answerable to God.”
This is all about saying whatever is needed to get elected, even if he contradicts himself every other day.