The New York Post is reporting that during his trip to Iraq last July, Senator Obama tried to convince Iraqi leaders to delay signing an agreement with the U.S. government to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Apparently, the junior senator from Illinois specifically requested that the Iraqi government put off signing any agreement until after the presidential elections this November:
WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has 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.
“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview.
Obama’s argument was that the current “disorganized” and “confused” state of the Bush administration makes it preferable for the Iraqis to wait to sign an agreement until a new administration is in power. But there are a lot of problems with that argument. First, Obama himself has repeatedly, and endlessly, urged the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Second, Obama is not the president (except maybe in his own mind) and until he is it is not his place to negotiate on behalf of the U.S. government, nor to undermine current negotiations between Iraq and the United States. Third, whoever wins the next presidential election won’t be president until January, and his administration won’t be up and running until February or March. As the Post points out, by that time the Iraqis will be in the middle of their own political campaign season (remember, thanks to us they hold elections now), making any negotiation all but impossible.
The motives behind Senator Obama’s foreign policy sabotage remain somewhat muddled and unclear. On the one hand, he can hardly justify opposing something he has long advocated. On the other hand, if the Bush administration is the one to sign a draw down agreement (with a democratic Iraqi government no less!), the public may perceive this as a vindication of the American intervention in Iraq. Undoubtedly, Obama would like to be the first president to begin pulling troops out of Iraq, but that is a purely self-interested motive, and not the kind of thing we should expect from the candidate of “hope” and “change.” Moreover, if the effect of Obama’s meddling is to delay a withdrawal for several months or possibly longer, he himself will bear part of the responsibility for any unnecessary American casualties during that period.
For their part, the Iraqi leaders suspect there may be even more nefarious motives at work in the Obama camp:
Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn’t want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of “pre-emptive” war – that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America.
Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense. To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.
For our country’s sake, I hope this is not the case. But if it is true, Obama deserves to to suffer a sound defeat at the polls this November, and everlasting disgrace in the history books.