Obama takes McCain’s suggestion, plans Iraq trip

Word is that since McCain challenged Obama to visit Iraq again before passing judgment, Obama is now planning an envoy to Iraq for sometime during the summer. This is rather coincidental considering is very short notice right after McCain made his criticism earlier this week.

Report from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama is considering a visit to Iraq this summer, his first since becoming a presidential candidate.

The Democrat, who has been criticized by Republican rival John McCain for not visiting Iraq since 2006, revealed his plans to The New York Times. He also declined McCain’s invitation for a joint trip.

“I just don’t want to be involved in a political stunt,” Obama said, according to a report on the newspaper’s Web site Wednesday.

“I think that if I’m going to Iraq, then I’m there to talk to troops and talk to commanders,” he said in the interview. “I’m not there to try to score political points or perform. The work they’re doing there is too important.”

McCain said he was pleased to hear that Obama was considering making the trip.

“It’s long overdue,” he told reporters in Los Angeles

Good idea on Obama’s part, I thought McCain had a point in that Obama has been criticizing the war effort despite the fact that he had not visited the country since 2006. This will undoubtedly be a big media spectacle and will give Obama some more credibility when debating this topic with McCain.

No surprise Obama turned down the joint visit with McCain, he needs to stand out as his own candidacy, not be shadowed by McCain during a visit.

  • Babs

    Ah, but when McCain suggested the trip, Obama called it “political posturing”. Notice how Obama waits until public opinion can be analyzed before he makes a move? His trip is not political posturing, it’s just pandering to his fans.

    McCain also made an excellent point that while Obama is touting that he will sit down with terrorist leaders, he hasn’t bothered to sit down with our own generals. (He got a roaring round of applause for that one). Maybe the country’s getting a wake up call on their candidate. Before it’s over, Obama may wish it was Hillary he was battling with again. McCain doesn’t wear kid gloves, I notice.

  • Grey

    Pretty contradictory on Obama’s part- saying that he doesn’t want to go to Iraq as some political play. This is clearly a response to McCain’s jab, and to pretend otherwise is to make his visit a total farce. If he wanted to “speak with the troops and the commanders” there without political motives, he should’ve done it when it was a non-issue.

  • Whobody

    The trip is needed where you want to analyze it to death or not. No matter what gets him to go, we all know that it’s important he visits Iraq.

    Now we should get McCain to plan a visit to an Economics class.

  • Babs

    And Obama should go with him to the Economics class. The WSJ has torn Obama’s economic plan just about to shreds, and rightly so.

    Of course the trip is needed, it was needed last year when he didn’t go, and this year when he didn’t go, and the prodding only brought out vague plans for a “summer” trip. Let’s see if it happens. He hasn’t bought those plane tickets yet. The point was he isn’t planning to going voluntarily, he’s planning to go because of an I dare ya from McCain, and you know it. 😉

  • IndiMinded

    Obama’s a funny guy. Hillary Clinton supporters used to chide him because in their debates, half the time after Hillary spoke Obama would nod his head and agree completely with what she had just said. How unthinkable, to agree with your debate rival!

    Well McCain’s right about this, I know it and Obama knows it too. I, for one, am glad that he’s been quick to start planning a trip. We’ve had 8 years of a president who is too stubborn to correct his mistakes, I would love a president who corrects them just as soon as he figures out what they are.

  • Babs

    IndiMinded, I would love a President who’s the one pointing out the mistakes so someone else can correct them “as soon as he figures out what they are”. I don’t like the time lapse there. I’m going for the one who knew it to start with. 😉

  • IndiMinded

    Well here’s the issue Babs – and I know we disagree here – but Barack routinely points out a mistake of McCain’s, namely a war we’re fighting. Whether or not you believe in the cause, there are still videos of Rumsfeld stating that we’ll be there maybe 6 weeks. And you know, years have passed and I still don’t think we’ll be out 6 weeks from now. McCain’s projecting 2013, and he put forward that date in a speech where everything else he said seemed to be a best case scenario – so I’m assuming that a pretty optimistic date.

    Mistakes have been made, Babs. Maybe they’re mistakes he’d make again, but I don’t buy that they haven’t been made. Not for a second.

  • Babs

    “Barack routinely points out a mistake of McCain’s, namely a war we’re fighting.”

    I don’t think you meant to say the war is a mistake of McCain’s, did you? I don’t believe McCain started the war, or has had the benefit of being in command of the war. So we really can’t blame McCain for it anymore than we can blame Obama, can we?

    I agree with you on parts here, Rumsfeld and his judgement is an entirely different subject. His judgment was flawed in a lot of areas.

  • IndiMinded

    It’s certainly not a mistake to be laid at McCain’s doorstep any more than at several dozen doorsteps. I mean, there’s a whole paper route of blame to be distributed, really. And if people like me, who believe that the war was a tragic error in judgment, wanted to create a list of people responsible, he wouldn’t make the top 10.

    But that being said, this is something that he fully supports and stands behind and has from the start. I do feel that he bears some responsibility for that, as surely as he would merit some deserved credit if things do end well. I’m not comparing him to Bush or Rumsfeld, but he’s certainly been a player in this in a way that Obama has not. In my estimation that experience has both it’s pros and cons.

  • Babs

    Well, IndiMinded, I guess we all bear the same responsibility if we supported the war, but no more or less than McCain. Now, after he’s elected he will bear the responsibility or garner the credit, absolutely. But at this point I think his stance on the war is no more influential than any other senator on the floor. If it were, we might already be finished with it. He certainly did enough shouting over the bad strategic choices that were being made before the insurgence, and it did no good. As to one of them being more a player in it than the other, that’s just not true, except that McCain has been sitting in the Senate longer. And if we go that way in placing blame, some responsibility can be placed on Obama, his apathy on the foreign realtions committee doesn’t bode well for his bold statements now of fighting against the war. Truth be told, he’s talked and that’s all. Same with McCain. Neither of them are real players in the actual events – yet.

    We all hate war, and I believe McCain when he says no one hates it more than he does. But we’re in this thing now, and I believe the best way to end it is not always going to be the fastest way. So we have to base our judgment on two considerations – long term effects of withdrawal, which I think is McCain’s primary concern, or the short term effects which I think is what Obama is looking for.

    We know what McCain intends to do. He didn’t start this war, but he has a plan for ending it. With all due respect to you, IndiMinded, I’m at a disadvantage debating the issue with you because your candidate keeps changing his plan of action. When he makes up his mind, maybe we can have a good debate over it. 😉


    Love you Babs, Great last point you made!

  • Babs

    Thanks, O_S, glad I could make someone’s day. *LOL*

    I was just directed to this website concerning the subject of Obama’s Iraqi trip via email. Very interesting:


  • Here’s a video I found that talks a little bit about this issue and reveals who exactly is pulling the levers behind Vets For Freedom.


  • “And Obama should go with him to the Economics class.”-Babs
    I laughed pretty hard at that one, thanks for making a funny. As you know I have railed on all the candidates economic policies for sometime now.

    I thought McCain played this just right. He really backed Obama into a corner. Hopefully our soldiers will man him up a bit by showing him how to get his hands dirty.

  • Grey

    There seems to be some consensus over how Obama needs to go to Iraq. I have no idea why- doing so will at most accomplish a shallow rise in troop morale and a little street cred against McCain. I doubt that the trip will actually make him any more competent or knowledgeable as a candidate, nor will it result in anything more than speech fodder.

    As to the soundness of the candidate’s economic policies, apparently Rupert Murdoch himself condemned McCain on the issue of economics and thinks rather highly of Obama:


    Economics on a whole is a hazy issue. People spout a lot of flak about how some policies will or will not work, and only time proves the efficacy of any particular policy. It’s pretty much like the weather.

    Something that is clear cut is that Iraq is sucking up a lot of money, and at this rate we’ll all have to start learning Chinese to function in the world. At least Obama will be better on that front.

  • IndiMinded

    I really think you’re misunderstanding me. I’m not placing blame on him as I would someone in the Bush administration – but he’s as responsible for the war as anyone in the senate was. More than that, his continued support for the war, as a senator, is qualitatively different than your support or mine.

    My role in the Iraq war, as I recall it, began when my mentor flippantly bet me that we were just rattling the saber with Iraq (she believed we were simply attempting to scare the WMDs out of Saddam, and that we absolutely would never invade). I’ve never been less happy to win a bet.

    That DID win me a coffee, but I’m not entirely sure if that puts my role on the same level as John McCain, who voted to authorize this war. I always sort of felt he had a marginally greater role in things than I did. I’m flattered to know you see us two on the same level though, Babs 😉

    I think your portrayal of the situation – that McCain is looking at the long term effects of withdrawal, while Obama is looking more toward the short term effects – is really oversimplifying things, and goes against what the actual men have said on the subject.

    I guess that’s probably how the cost / benefit analysis is seen by most McCain voters. I mean, truthfully if McCain could convince me that he can win this war by 2013, I would vote for him without a second thought. I would very much like to win the war, I just simply don’t believe it. The question has never been “is it worthwhile to stay and win this war?”, it’s “is it even possible to win this war, what would that entail, and if it is possible, at what cost to our nation?”

    But… I’m not convinced that either man can ever successfully win this war. Violence may be blissfully down this month, I know. But that’s all the victory we’ve got. Unfortunately building a nation involves a lot more than keeping violence down, and Iraq is woefully far from a fully functioning autonomous democratic nation. I’d like to believe we’ll get it there in the next 4 years, but the idea sounds like more jest than reality to me.

    Obama’s plan is clearly less than ideal. I agree with the people who say it’s surrender, because basically I don’t know how else to see it. But McCain isn’t proposing a new innovative plan, he’s proposing to stay the course. Call me jaded but I’ve lost faith in that plan of action.


    Grey you say that the trip wil at most accomplish a shallow rise in troop morale. Are you trying to say that the soldiers there do not have a good morale, and if you are I want to know he reasons why?

    Iraq is sucking up alot of money but that number has been put to high because of the media and other places. Only did the cost of the war come up, 7 years in when we started to finally do well and win Iraq, once we did well the liberal media could not bring up the war as a losing factor, thus making them bring up the cost.

  • Grey

    Well, I wasn’t trying to imply that troop morale is bad, just that a rise in it is one of the few benefits in it.

    Since you bring it up, however, I have a reason to believe troop morale is bad in Iraq. I have a couple of friends in Iraq who aren’t exactly jumping for joy. They tell me about how the Iraqi military should grow a backbone and learn to defend themselves, but they don’t think that it’s going to happen.

    Pretty much, what they say is all I have to go on- I’m not brash enough to assume that I know what’s on the mind of a majority of the soldiers in Iraq. Still, I have a hard time believing that the troops are having a ball there. There’s little glory to be had when the greatest threat to your life is a land mine.


    No one ever said they were having a “ball there” and it is silly of you to say that. In any war throughout history no troops have ever had “a ball there” in their war. I have heard similiar stories to, but also hear stories of how the iraqi police and military force is now starting to gain a backbone because their own government is finally getting one. With every day more iraqi’s join the military and police and with every day more become a stronger soldier than they did the day before.

    Grey my question is to you, if you were to just join the army and were implimented into a place with terrorists, IED, and horrible things like that, do you think you would have a strong backbone going into your first real fight?

  • NeoConJon

    The problem with both Obama and McCain’s views on Iraq is that both of them still talk about this in the context of winning or losing a war. The war ended when Saddam and his sons were killed and a new government was established. What we have now in Iraq is an occupation and occupations can’t be won.

    Our own military can’t identify the actual enemy in Iraq. This is a free-for-all civil war where alliances are shifting constantly. Is our enemy the pro-Iranian al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army? Is the enemy the pro-Iranian Iraqi government? Is the enemy the various splinter Sunni factions who we are paying not to shoot at us? I guess the enemy is Al Queuda in Iraq whom make up a tiny fraction of the population and all the other factions will destroy or expel once this quasi-civil war is over.

    Occupations end and this one is long overdue. There are no longer conditions under which to prevail or surrender. McCain’s 2013 secret Nixonian plan to win the war is bogus. McCain has not defined what winning actually means so how could he know what it means to surrender or lose. The reason why he lacks a definition of winning is because this is not a war.