July 22nd, 2008
11:30 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Stability ultimately in hands of Iraqis


Watch Obama's press conference Tuesday.

(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday he was pleased with the reduction of violence in Iraq since the deployment of more U.S. troops, but said it was a result of several factors, not just the surge.

Related: McCain camp hits Obama over surge

"We don't know what would have happened if the plan that I preferred in January 2007 - to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation, to begin a phased withdrawal - what would have happened had we pursued that strategy," Obama said after landing in Amman, Jordan.

"I am pleased that as a consequence of great effort by our troops - but also as a consequence of a shift in allegiances among the Sunni tribal leaders, as well as the decision of the Sadr militias to stand down - that we've seen a quelling of violence," he said.

Listen: CNN's Sasha Johnson reports on Obama's Jordan visit

But, Obama said, a functioning Iraq will ultimately depend on the capacity of the Iraqi people to unify themselves, get beyond sectarian divisions and set up a government that works for the people.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. Will in Richmond, VA

    That's just it.

    We must look at the whole story of the war and the reasons behind the decrease in hostilities being more than the Surge.

    By the way, since we succeeded, can everyone come home now?

    July 22, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. McCain08

    Obama, you make me want to puke. "i dont know what would have happened if the plan i had promoted in 2007 – to put pressure- hadnt worked" you are making yourself look silly now, everybody knows you are wrong so just give up trying to brainwash people of your views.

    the Surge is the only thing that turned Iraq around. it allowed the Iraqi government focus on getting their country up and running because THE INSURGENTS were being erradicated.

    Nothing to do with your idea of pressuring the iraqi government as Bush was doing that anyway.....

    July 22, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Tony

    Hear! Hear Obama.

    However, if your answer to ending the war in Iraq is to withdrawal the troops and send them to Afghanistan to be murdered or maimed for life, then you just lost my vote.

    The only reason I will vote for Obama is so that no republican gets the opportunity to appoint justices to the Supreme Court at any time in the foreseeable future.

    If McCain were to win and name possibly 3 justices to the Court this country will stay in the sewers and continue to be a global laughing stock.

    Hopefully the American people have finally opened their eyes, taken a look at the damage of the last 8 years and vote DEMOCRAT!

    July 22, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. McCain is ghetto

    Obama, you are the man with common sense and brilliant judgement. At least you know what your talking about unlike mccain who keeps spouting 'surge' from his lips every ten minutes forgetting we should not have been there in the first place.

    July 22, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. aaa

    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! go obama your a rock star!!!!!!! tell the world how its done in America

    July 22, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. ali

    why cant mccain get just one thing right.the surge has helped.but,we have armed the sunnis,to the teeth,and al-sadr has been revamping his mehdi militia,for months,now.it doesnt matter when we leave iraq,their destiny is in their own hands.now,if mccain could come up with a definition of victory,we wouldnt be left wondering how many years we are going to have to keep fighting there,for something we cant control.bush caused this war and mccain supported him for it.how dumb!

    July 22, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Marcelo

    I listened to the whole press conference and was very impressed with Obama's understanding of the situations in Iraq and Afganistan. Without using words like "good vs evil," Sen. Obama was able to describe the complex situations we have going on and the competing forces. He also pointed out that Gen. Patreaus' opposition on Iraq redeployment is understandable given the General's areas of responsibility (namely, the Iraq and Afganistan theater), however, as the President of the United States, our leader must consider a wider range of issues and manage our resources economically, politically and globally, not just militarily. Sen. Obama very eloquently stated that the POTUS must not follow a military leaders' advice blindly but rather, take it into consideration with many other factors, when making a strategic decision.

    My respect for Sen. Obama has grown deeper and it is my sincere hope that he continues being the light for the America in such dark times.

    July 22, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Debby

    Well now Obama is changing his tune after seeing whats taking place on the ground in Iraq. I wonder if he will be so quick to withdraw the troops even in 2012. Obama really hasn't done anything over there to be called Mr. President. The media is just giving this rock star press coverage. All the hard work and decisions that are working were made already there.

    July 22, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Will, NJ

    We have successfully accomplished our goal of unifying all terrorists against us and creating more from displaced refugees. So now, McCain can tout his national security experience after him and the Bush administration worked so hard to stoke the fire.

    July 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |

    Ah yes, I remember now.

    McCain had the unfortunate problem of not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia, and also thought that Iran was equiping Al Qaeda with weapons.

    Barack on the other hand
    KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT!!! Clearly stats his position, and gives a correct descrpition without Hagel having to interrupt him by whispering in his ear the correct response.

    July 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Judgement over experience

    Hey South Park Conservative – what exactly are we winning? Seriously though. We lost the day we invaded the country with over 4500 troops dead for NO reason, billions of dollars a month in debt and higher gas prices and all over a lie. And mccain supported this from day one. I will take Obama's judgement over mccain's and bush's so called 'experience' any day. We have won nothing and lost alot.

    July 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Phil, FL

    If we had surged in Afghanistan instead of going to Iraq, Bin Laden might have been taken care of by now.

    But the cowboy had to go after Saddam becauses he "wanted to kill my daddy".

    The right thing, THE WRONG WAR !!!!!

    An illegal war is never the right thing to do.

    Obama '08 (Stop the Warmongering !! )

    July 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. dwho

    A brillinat leader speaks brilliantly and boldly. Obama represents such.

    July 22, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. ARB


    July 22, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. HF from PA

    Angie you are clueless...Bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia...his 2nd in command is from Egypt. The terrorist are gaining strenght in the hills of Pakistan because the current administration chose to divert limited resources to Iraque

    July 22, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Ms. RDS

    Thank you Obama for noting ALL the factors that contributed to the decrease in violence. The McCain camp wants to take all the credit for the surge and reduction in violence. McCain keeps saying if they listened to Obama then he wouldn't have been going to Iraq b/c it would be too dangerous. That's like the arsonist wanting credit for putting out a fire he started, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I say if we had listened to Obama we wouldn't be there in the first place!

    July 22, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. David Goldman for OBAMA








    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Dan, Mpls, MN

    McCain keeps touting that he knows how to win wars and Obama doesn't. Does anyone know what war he was involved the US actaully won? Is he talking about Vietnam? Is being shot down and then taken as a prisoner the criteria for winning a war?

    In boxing, I thought all along that the one who got knocked out lost. I guess I was wrong. According to McCain, he is the winner

    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Rick

    Another Obama quote from his publicity-stunt, oops I mean fact-finding trip: “Israel is a strong friend of Israel.”

    lol...what a moron....this guy couldn't run a lemonade stand.

    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    Cathy: Obama is recommending moving 10 000 troops to Afghanistan which is what the commanders on the ground have asked for. There are around 130 000 troops in Iraq. You do the math!!

    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Mike - Texas

    mccain's entire argument for the presidency seems to be based on the success of 1 aspect of 1 battlefield strategy.

    obama is correct here, and he gets my vote.

    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Debra, Alton

    I am still trying to define winning. McCain continues to say we are winning! I agree with Obama and that is Iraqi should determine how their country moves forward.

    July 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. California Gold

    If anything Vietnam taught us we might be able to throw all our military might at some "enemy" and sacrifice our youth for some vague cause (Iraq: people who hate us and scare us), but you can not "win" the people of the country. Iraq belongs to the Iraq citizens, not us. If the US were invaded would we surrender our lives to the invader? No. We would still be Americans and want our country back in our hands. Iraq isn't any different.

    July 22, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. ANGIE

    Catty the war in afghanistan must be won thats a war worth fighting for our protection and saftyness THATS WHERE THE TERRIOST ARE!!!

    July 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Paula

    OMG, I have been dreaming of a Mccain Jindal ticket....am I dreaming or is it really going to be true? Honestly folks....it matters not if you are a dem, a repub or an indie....you need to read and listen to this guy. Jindal is one of those once in a life time politician that is so very rare in these days and age. This guy is a genuine genius with a burning desire to be effective. The changes he has managed to make in LA and the accomplishments he has done in 37 years are rare......very very rare. I do believe we are a fortunate country to have someone like Jindal in governement. Jindal is the sort of person who will set a new standard and raise the bar on what effective leadership ought to be, should be and will be! Sorry for going on and on...but I don't get excited over a politican ever....but I must and I need to do it now. Win or loose, this country needs to know that we will be ok with someone like JIndal around in washington....and that is all I have to say.

    July 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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