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Monday, July 21, 2008
The trip has been a roaring succes so far, and a a couple interesting things have resulted. Most importantly, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki explicitely endorsed Obama's 16 month withdrawal plan.
Obama's plan leaves him room to be flexible in response to situations on the ground, but the bottom line is that it shifts the objective from staying to leaving. Why anyone in their right mind would believe that occupying Iraq with 150,000 troops for an indefinate period of time serves the strategic interests of the United States is beyond me.
There are a couple political benefits from the trip as well. First, Obama is getting great press and looking very presidential as he meets with world leaders and shoots basketball with the troops. Also important, however, is that McCain is blowing his top and generally continuing to act like a buffoon. McCain spent a lot of the time that Obama and Clinton were fighting in the primary trying to goad Obama into an Iraq trip. As though it would have been appropriate to do so in the middle of a heated primary!
Obama made the trip on his own terms, and he's showing McCain how a president acts. McCain's having a hard time watching his ambitions slip through his fingers, so he's making the rounds and making gaffes.
He's also very concerned about the Iraq-Pakistan border (For you College Republicans reading this, Iraq and Pakistan share no common border.)
You can read Obama's Iraq Plan on his website. As with every issue, compare the degree of detail and candor on Obama's page with McCain's Iraq "plan". It strikes me that the Obama campaign has significantly more respect for the intelligence of the American public than McCain does.