Barack Obama is outlining a new way forward for Iraq:
1. "Immediately begin to pull out troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year."
2. "Call for a new constitutional convention in Iraq, convened with the United Nations, which would not adjourn until Iraq's leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation."
3. "Use presidential leadership to surge our diplomacy with all of the nations of the region on behalf of a new regional security compact."
4. "Take immediate steps to confront the humanitarian disaster in Iraq, and to hold accountable any perpetrators of war crimes."
In advanced excerpts of his remarks, Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, says the "bar for success" now in Iraq "is so low that it is almost buried in the sand... We've had enough of a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged."
"I opposed this war from the beginning," Obama says, according to the excerpts. "I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed it in 2003. I opposed it in 2004. I opposed it in 2005. I opposed it in 2006. I introduced a plan in January to remove all of our combat brigades by next March. And I am here to say that we have to begin to end this war now."
Obama was one of only a handful of politicians who foresaw the difficulties we would face in Iraq back 2002:
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.
The more I see of Obama I keep asking myself "why not?". Why not a President Barack Obama? Some people say he doesn't have enough experience, but unlike Hillary Clinton and John Edwards he had enough experience back in 2002 to accurately foresee how foolish invading Iraq was while they did not.
If you recall back in 2002 it was just year after 9/11 and it certainly was not fashionable for any politicians to speak out loudly and strongly against the Iraq War. The American people were lining behind President Bush mainly due to the lingering trauma of 9/11 and our then mistaken belief that George Bush was a capable and effective war-time president.
But Bush was wrong about Iraq and Obama was right. In these dangerous times, we need a president who has a clear grasp of world affairs, understands the limitations of American power, and believes that we need to focus our attention on the mass murderer of 3,000 of our fellow citizens. Bush has taken us terribly off track, Obama may be the one to get this country moving in the right direction again.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!