September 11th, 2007
03:21 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Bad timing for Iraq hearings

Obama said Tuesday he doesn't think the Iraq hearing should have been held around 9/11.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama criticized the timing of Tuesday’s hearings over the future of the Iraq war, because the Illinois senator said it sends the wrong message on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks.

Obama harshly criticized the Bush administration in his statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prior to questioning Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker. (Related: Iraqi government dysfunctional, U.S. envoy says)

“I think we should not have had this discussion on 9/11, or 9/10, or 9/12, because I think it perpetuates the notion that the original decision to go into Iraq was directly related to the attacks on 9/11," Obama said.

The Illinois senator added, “I think that some of the frustration you hear from some of the questioners is that we have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation, to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006 is considered success, and it's not. This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake. And we are now confronted with the question: How do we clean up the mess and make the best out of a situation in which there are no good options, there are bad options and worse options? And this is not a criticism of either of you gentlemen, this is a criticism of this president and the administration which has set a mission for the military and for our diplomatic forces that is extraordinarily difficult now to achieve.”

Referring to a comment President Bush reportedly made last week, Obama said, “We have the president in Australia suggesting somehow that we are, as was stated before, kicking A-S-S. How can we have a president making that assessment? And it makes it very difficult then for those of us who would like to join with you in a bipartisan way to figure out how to best move forward to extricate this from the day-to-day politics that infects Washington.”

– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Lyons Steve

    /***
    SHAME on you Mr. Obama for trying to make the hearings one more political issue.
    ***/

    Quit smoking that PCP, Eduardo, you old kidder you.

    Obama was merely pointing out how the Bushies was, as usual, trying to confuse the American people – it sure worked with you, Eduardo – into thinking the war in Iraq has anything at all to do with 9-11.

    Hopefully, this clears things up for you.

    September 12, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  2. Lyons Steve

    /***
    Oh give it up Obama, it doesn't help at all to make a mundane statement like this about timing. Why don't you focus on telling Americans why they should vote for you!
    ***/

    Say goodnight, Gracie.

    Obama, with that question, is showing Americans *exactly* why we should vote for him.

    Pay attention.

    September 12, 2007 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  3. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    James from Phoenix...you were laughing when you wrote:

    "Obama wants to nuke Pakistan"

    weren't you? Because I know I was definitely laughing at that obscenely false statement! :) Good job you provided me with my entertainment for the night James! Keep it up.

    September 12, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  4. David, Roseburg OR

    I do agree on the timing of these hearings, very obvious they were scheduled to have the best impact on those that believe that somehow Iraq had something to do with 9/11. However the main issue I am hearing is the same sad state of affairs, everyone is voting for someone else in order that another person not get elected, the lesser of evils. How sad, why is it we cannot find someone to run for president that gets our votes for their platform rather than as the lesser of two evils. Has our democracy become so corrupt that this is our only choice? Are we doomed from now on to vote for someone in order to make sure another does not become president?

    September 12, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  5. David, North Hills, CA

    good judgement.... good judgement would have meant that he would have spent his precious 7 minutes asking questions, not giving a speech he could give at any time. Obama wasted his time, and ours by not asking the general any questions. Its a shame that such a brilliant mind could not think of a question. The article is completely misleading, Obama gave a speech, and did not question the general at all, even as Biden reminded the senator to ask a question.

    September 12, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. AA, ARIZONA

    Oh, thats right.., terrorism is not related to the war in Iraq for the dems. No, no relation here...

    Hey Obama, try telling that to our boys in uniform while their dodging Al Qaeda in Iraq's terror strikes. (eyes rolling)

    Is there any wonder why this guy will never be trusted with America's security?? (eyes still rolling)

    Posted By spinstopper
    ***************************************
    ***************************************
    IT'S A WONDER TO ME HOW SOME PEOPLES COMMENTS ARE REALLY, REALLY OBTUSE. WHAT SENATOR OBAMA SAID WAS THAT THE INITIAL REASON WE WENT INTO IRAG HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WAR ON TERROR THE U.S., WENT TO WAR FOR. REMEMBER, THE TALIBAN WAS HORBORING AL QAEDA IN AFGANISTAN. THAT'S ONE ISLAMIC COUNTRY, WHO AT THE TIME, SHOULD HAVE BEEN INVADED, BECAUSE THEY WERE HORBORING THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACKS ON 9/11. BUT, BUSH, AND HIS ADMINISTRATIVE CRONNIES, PUT IRAQ ON THE BUTCHERS TABLE, BECAUSE OF SO CALLED WMD'S, THE 2ND ISLAMIC COUNTRY. THIS ONE HAD NO TIES TO THE ATTACKS ON 9/11, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THE U.S. WANTED TO GET SADDAAM, SO WE COULD GET THE OIL. AND, THE ADMINISTRATION, AND OUR MILITARY HAS STILL TO CAPTURE BIN LADIN, THE GRAND MASTER OF THE DISASTER THAT TOOK PLACE 09/11/2001. SO, THE ONLY REASON YOU WOULD SAY WHAT YOU'VE STATED IS BECAUSE OBAMA'S BLACK, AND YOU DON'T THINK A BLACK MAN/WOMAN COULD ENSURE OUR SECURITY...HAS BUSH. H**L NO ! REMEMBER 9/11. THEY KNEW ABOUT THE TREAT BEFORE IT HAPPENED AND DID NOTHING TO 'TRY' TO PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING. SO, IF YOU ARE SO WORRIED ABOUT SECURITY, WHY AREN'T YOU ASKING BUSH WHY DIDN'T HE AND HIS COHORTS ACT ON THE INTELL THEY HAD PRETAINING TO AL QAEDA AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE, WHO ARE DEAD AS A RESULT OF FLYING THE PLANES INTO THE TWIN TOWERS. YOU WHAT TO CRITICIZE SOMEONE ? GET TO CRITICIZING YOUR PRESIDENT!!!!

    September 12, 2007 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  7. Sam, IA

    It is amazing to me how the rightwing lemmings comment on these blogs. Parroting whatever they have heard from thier favorite hate jock and acting as though they have somehow had an original thought. The general was not ordered to appear before congress and that means he and the administration decides when he will be available and of course they picked 9/11 to try the same old warmed over mental tiein on thier flock. It worked of course, Bell rings, right salivates.

    September 12, 2007 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  8. AA, ARIZONA

    Our great nation lost both its innocence and innocent American lives on September 11 2001 and to this day continues to lose innocent lives…we are in Iraq as a result. SHAME on you Mr. Obama for trying to make the hearings one more political issue.

    Posted By Eduardo
    ******************************************************************************

    HELLO ? EDUARDO, HE'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT AN ISSUE. THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGE IS ABOUT 'ISSUES'. DAH! AND, WHO'S FAULT IS IT THAT INNOCENT MEM AND WOMAN DIED ON 9/11, AND CONTINUE TO DIE IN AFGANISTAN AND IRAQ ? WHO MADE THESE ISSUES ? OUR GROVERMENT DID. INSTEAD OF POLICING OUR OWN COUNTRY (MEANING ITS BORDERS). WE'RE OFF IN A FAR-AWAY PART OF THE WORLD POLICING SOMEONE ELSES BACK YARD. AND, WE SHOULDN'T BE! THE REASON WE'RE OVER THERE (MIDDLE EAST), IS BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE SURE ISRAEL KEEPS THE UPPER HAND MILITARIALY IN THE REGION, FOR OIL, AND BECAUSE IT WAS AN ISLAMIC STATE. EVERYONE, IN THE ADMINISTRATION, ESPECIALLY BUSH, HAS STATED IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM. YEAH, RIGHT ! AND, PEARL HARBOR HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT IT WAS JAPANESE MEN WHO FLOW THE PLANES THAT ATTACKED PEARL, AND SUBSEQUENTLY MADE THE U.S. DECIDE TO DROP NOT ONE, BUT TWO ATOMIC BOMBS ON JAPAN. MUSLIMS-AMERICANS TODAY ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME NATIONAL/ETHNO BULL-JUNK JAPANESE-AMERICANS WENT THROUGH RIGHT AFTER THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR.

    THIS COUNTRY OF OURS NEEDS TO STOP THINKING IT RULES THE WORLD, AND THEREFORE, NEED TO POLICE IT AS WELL.

    September 12, 2007 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  9. Adam, Plano, TX

    what barack and a lot of dum dems dont get is that we're not targeting or interested in war with any particular country, but most of the terrorists are in Irq, Iran, syria.
    Posted By larry, phoenix, az : September 11, 2007 10:45 pm

    we brought the terrorists to iraq larry. and most of them aren't in iraq, or iran, but saudi arabia, pakistan, and afghanistan.

    September 12, 2007 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  10. AA, ARIZONA

    PAUL FROM, CA
    Move to a position of non-interventionism? Where do you think we were before 9/11? We certainly weren't invading countries. Second of all, how is a preemptive strike non-constitutional? I believe the Constitution was created for Americans and to protect Americans, not other countries who are about to attck us.
    Posted By Kirsten, VA : September 11, 2007 9:52 pm**************************

    YO PAUL ! DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT INTERVENTIONISM IS ? FIRST, IT IS NOT ABOUT INVADING ANOTHER COUNTRY. WHAT WE WERE DOING BEFORE 9/11, AND ALL THE YEARS SINCE JAPAN IS POLICING THE WORLD. WE NEED TO STOP INTERVENING IN OTHER COUNTRIES BUSINESS, AND HANDLE OUR OWN BUSINESS. LIKE THE BUSINESS OF MAKING OUR ECONOMY STRONGER, AND CARING FOR THE NEEDS OF OUR POOR. JUST STAY OUT OF OTHER COUNTRIES BUSINESS AND WE'LL BE ALRIGHT. WHITE AIN'T ALWAYS RIGHT ! IT CAN BE WRONG TOO. I MEAN, LOOK AT THE IRAQ ISSUE ! BUSH AND HIS COHORTS JUKED US (THE AMERICAN PEOPLE), IN SUPPORTING HIS DECISION TO MOVE ON IRAQ, BASED ON WRONG INTELL.
    SO, BEFORE YOU START THROWING WORDS OUT THERE MAKE SURE YOU FIRST KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD, BEFORE UTILIZING IT.

    September 12, 2007 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  11. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    The more I hear from this guy, the more I DONT like him. I was set to support a new comer and that man who spoke at the last Democratic convention. But the more he opens his mouth, the more he shows his inexperience. Stop sweating the small stuff and start tending to the large issues at hand. Obama sounds like a spoiled arrogant child, not a President.

    September 12, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. lavelle

    what barack and a lot of dum dems dont get is that we're not targeting or interested in war with any particular country, but most of the terrorists are in Irq, Iran, syria.

    Too bad terrorists were not in Iraq until we bombed innocent people. Come on put the shoe on the other foot? If China decided to bomb us because we couldn’t pay our debts to them, then invaded us and occupied our country, what would you do? Hell Americans are so hypercritical we let the French help and aide us against the British! We used Gorilla war tactics against the British as well. Hell we invented that and you mean to tell me the Iraqi's don’t have the right to defend there country? We are not the liberators your president and his administration say and think we are. We have become the most hated country on the planet. And that comes from the people around the world not the politicians who become politicians for the money. Once money comes into play we the people don’t matter.

    September 12, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. no_man_is_an_island, Pittsburgh, PA

    Neo-cons will insist that Hussein's Iraq was responsible for 9/11 because that is what they choose to believe. That this has no grounding in fact doesn't matter to them. Did al Quaeda have a presence in Iraq BEFORE we invaded, "spinnstopper"?

    Kirsten, were you unaware that we were bombing Iraq during Clinton's administration? Were you unaware that the US and the UN had economic sanctions against Iraq that led to the deaths of half a million children during the years of the Clinton presidency (Lesley Stahl - "60 minutes")? Remember Madelaine Albright's comment that Iraqi civilian casualties were "collateral damage" that was "worth it?"

    Bush and Clinton - two neo-con look-alikes. Don't be fooled. They both stink.

    September 12, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Dan, Tx

    I think Obama is making a very balanced common sense point. He compliments the military and both men. He points out the mission of the military is difficult and we don't have infinite money to last in Iraq forever. He does complain that with the emotions so high on 9/11 it might not be the best backdrop for hearings. I see from several posts that a few people are talking emotionally, rather than with their more rational, calm, logical voices.

    He is making the political point that Bush made a bad decision in invading Iraq. Al Qaeda wasn't there before the invasion – now we are there because Al Qaeda is there?

    He summarized previous testimony by Petraeus that the progress was political in Anbar not primarily due to American military missions in Anbar.

    Most Senators started out their questioning honoring the military but criticizing aspects of the war policy delivered by Bush and Rumsfeld. Obama is not different from anyone else in that regard.

    Several of the posts here state things I disagree with, such as, we're in Iraq to fight the terrorists. Iraq didn't have radical Islamic terrorism before we invaded. Saddam was very good at crushing the radicals.

    James of Phoenix AZ said that Obama said we should nuke Pakistan. What kind of medication is James on? That couldn't be more opposite of Obama's stated position. It is a good definition of how emotion and ignorance take the place of intelligent discourse.

    People just don't seem to have the patience for discussion and debate. There are surely two sides to the issue.

    The Republicans aren't much happier about what's going on in Iraq than the Democrats. There isn't so much of a huge fight as I see it. Why would a Republican OR Democrat want to spend $2 billion every week in Iraq, when that could be a tax cut? Why would a Democrat OR Republican prefer to spend $2 billion a week in Iraq when those of us who buy health insurance have to pay huge premiums to cover the high charges of hospitals because they have to provide unreimbursed medical care to 43 million people who don't have insurance and don't pay?

    Every week the Iraqi government doesn't get its act together it costs me more money. I'm all for helping Iraq learn how to defend itself – but a huge welfare state for the Iraqi people, managed by on a huge government bureaucracy created by the Republicans isn't the best solution.

    Republicans = big bureaucracy, big spenders. That's my complaint.

    September 12, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  15. CitizenJ

    "Oh give it up Obama, it doesn't help at all to make a mundane statement like this about timing. Why don't you focus on telling Americans why they should vote for you!"
    Posted By Grace D. – Kansas City, Mo. : September 11, 2007 7:08 pm

    Grace,

    If you have ever watched a Senate committee hearing, most of it is about making statements. Also, if you had ever watched one, you would know that it is not the campaign trail. Why would he be telling the general and ambassador why America should be voting for him. Get real.

    September 12, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. therealist

    The more he talks, the less Presidential he appears. Hillary's got the Dem nomination in the bag. Congradulations are in order, again for the Republicans..

    September 12, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Independent Voter, TN

    AA:

    YOUR POSTINGS ARE FULL OF ERRORS...MANY ARE ON SUBSTANCE (THEY'RE JUST PARTY TALKING POINTS), BUT MOST ARE ON GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING WHEN YOU WANT SOMEONE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU.

    Posting things in all caps doesn't make your opinion any more relevant. And for God's sake, proofread your comments.

    September 12, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Todd, Tampa, FL

    Obama says, "This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake. "

    Riiight. And nuking Pakistan would be the SMART approach to getting OBL, Mr Obama? Perhaps you need another cigarette to take the pressure off.

    Posted By James, Phoenix AZ : September 11, 2007 5:35 pm

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    LMAO,, you are a true idiot james,.. he never said anything about nuking pakistan. You spun your own cnn media spin.

    September 12, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Jason Smith

    Obama is the only intelligent person in the room who will speak his mind, and has anything to say....he is the only one to point out the spins continuing to be perpetuated from the White House, we have already lost the war since there is no win on "terror", and THERE IS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN IRAQ AND 9/11 AND THERE WERE NO WMDs IN IRAQ!!!!WHY ARE WE THERE?????

    September 12, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. Jason Smith, Oneonta, NY

    Do people who comment realize "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is a term WE made up to justify our occupation while people were still falling for the notion the two were related, which further shows our idiacy...the fact that a citizen of a sovereign country should defend their homeland from a foreign UNWANTED UNINVITED invader is a SURPRISE??? Iraqis KNOW why we are there...and it is NOT to free anybody, it is to do what we always do, keep them fighting each other, divide and conquer, i.e. Korea, Vietnam, etc. etc.

    We term any group we do not like as "rebel" or "infidel" and groups we do like such as in Nicaragua or wherever "freedom fighter" does ANYBODY pay attention to ANYTHING anymore? you cannot be apathetic in independent thought and still try to make a coherent defense, all you can do is regurgitate the neocon propaganda, we have already heard it...the fact is GW and Co. are indefensible!!!!if you drive a huge SUV and live in HUGE unaffordable house then it is OBVIOUS why you support the war effort......don't disguise it as some idealist argument such as "defend freedom", we don't have many freedoms left here, IF you are paying attention, which I know MANY are not...

    September 12, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. jason smith, Oneonta, NY

    what Obama said was purposely misconstrued, when was the last time you heard GW admit anything???ever???Pakistan's Musharaff is an illegally ruling dictator, he is president and commanding the military at the same time, he is impeding democracy when 90% of population want him gone, but he is an unwitting American puppet, letting us use airspace, and doing whatever he needs to to not have America bomb his country....GW will not threaten him, so Musharraf does very little to go after terrorists in his country, because really Pakistanis don't like us either....they should be happy at this point that he is a stooge or they would be next to be bombed....go America!!! people here who don't like that Obama because he has guts and conscience, yet they vote for our current idiot in command who has no conscience, has probably never spoken the truth, doesn't have to because at least in his mind, he is "the decider", is anyone else worried that we have someone who could destroy all of us with "delusions of grandeur" in charge....instead you want to attack someone with new ideas who wants to actually progress, not regress, our country....and repair the rift GW has created with the rest of the world...vote for Rudy then, he is another coward who somehow spun his cowardly 9/11 response into HIS WHOLE campaign platform.....I am amazed actually someone intelligent like Obama would want to stoop to compete with these other two-faced crooked liars and thieves....Obama would bring integrity back, but America could not handle that, most likely....since the President is supposed to represent the majority, if enough citizens are crooked, then logically they will not elect an honorable man....

    September 12, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. M T JONES ADDIS LOUISIANA

    He only answer to God, citizen who elected him and his wife!

    September 12, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Come on Barack, If you really had a problem with the date of this hearing why did you not mention a word of this till now. The date of the hearings and the report has been scheduled for over 6 months.

    And your acting shocked that that it happens to fall on and near the 9-11 anniversary.

    Not all Americans are as stupid and ignorant as most Democrats want us to be.

    Too little to late. If you really and truely objected to this why did you say nothing till now. It easily could have been delayed a week months ago if you felt strongly about it.

    If I wanted to hear from the back seat drivers I'll listen to Hillary's speaches.

    September 12, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
1 2 3