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