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. ali

    its nice to have some intelligence in foriegn policy,and not just bluster and spin by the propaganda specialists of the republican war machine.

    July 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I hope all you avowed, right-wing intelligentsia took note of a man that can actually put a sentence together and not have to read from prepared notes like fearless, Jet-Pilot!


    It appears we are now going to "finish" the fight we started in Afghanistan against a peoples that took on the ruthless, Soviet Army and sent them home in tatters! Many of the Western Nations have tried to tame the beast that is the under belly of Asia – and never succeeded. Learn from history!!!

    July 22, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Florida democrat

    President Obama!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Rob

    This is why Obama is the right choice. He acknowledges that the surge was helpful in bringing down violence despite his earlier opposition to it. But he also recognizes that its time to move forces to Afghanistan and fight the real war on terror over there. He will work with the Iraqis to ensure that they continue down the road of a political solution while phasing out the troops there. Ultimately, Iraqis have to be able to defend their own borders themselves. The fact remains that we never should have been there in the first place, so all of the "success" we've had is relative.

    McCain really should have no shot in Nov. He has no plan for the economy and is going so far as to blame Obama for high gas prices because of his opposition to more drilling – as if we started more drilling tomorrow gas prices would just drop in half instantly. Obama has looked very Presidential during his Middle East trip and appears very comfortable in talking and negotiatiing with other world leaders. So, the argument that Obama is not credible on foreign affairs is slipping away fast.

    The only solid support McCain probably has is from extreme right-wing evangelicals and racists who will be picking the lesser of 2 evils from their point of view. For some, sad to say, it may come down to picking a white guy vs a black guy and that's sad. But I think most of the country is full of good intelligent people who will vote for Obama because they see him as the candidate that can really make a difference.

    July 22, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. vjh

    A little off topic, but I have a feeling that Hagel will be Obama's choice for VP. What a great strategy that would be ! I really like the two of them together-they compliment one another.

    July 22, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. US ARMY

    Billy, we agree with you
    "What? If Obama's elected, then black people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin? That's obviously not what we want to do!"

    Only conservative, bigots, racist, facist would summount something like this. However, yes, every morning I watch the sun rise here over this US Army base and I imagine a new day dawning on November 5th 2008, yes Black and every person of ethic, the American Land of Dreams and opportunity, the rainbow country will turn Gold as the sun burst reveal a new dawn of a new era. America and the world will be changed in that instant can you see the change taking place right before our eyes. yes, it is a glorious day to wake up too, November 5th, 2008 and again in 2012, however keep your eyes on the sky, if you are not attentive you just might miss the sunrise.


    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. John

    This is the central point. We should stop policing the rest of the World and worry about our own people. Help the homeless, the sick, the poor first then help other countries minimally. Look at Japan, we bombed it and we built it back 10 times better than it was before. Let Iraq fend for itself, if it fails it fails.

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. McCain = War

    Exactly, Iraq is the country of the Iraqi people. You would think this would be common sense, but obviously not to all. A 'perfect', 'totally safe' country has never existed since the beginning of time. Our job, as voters, is to make OUR country the best we can make it and ensure that we don't re-install a president that perpetuates war for the sake of dominance.

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Montana is Obama Country

    I WILL Vote for BARACK OBAMA in Nov. 2008 for President of the United States because he is a LEADER and shows quality in understanding the complicated dynamics of countries with historical conflicts..
    We can't fix everything all the time BUT we can support others when they need it and STEP back when necessary...!!

    True LEADERSHIP..........

    Barack the Vote......... Yes >WE< Can..

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Cynthia

    CNN can you all pin Senator McCain down to an answer of what we will "win" when the Iraq war is completed because I have never got a clear understanding of it.

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Licht

    What Obama says here is so true. It hurts because I am so used of hearing Bush and McBush lies.

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Slider

    Did anyone get a load of how Obama handled the question referring to how the situation has changed in Iraq as opposed to 2006?

    I suggest the man get a teleprompter because he can't even handle a staged interview.

    Once he got through stuttering and his "uh's", he says, "Hindsight is 20/20, and we had to change the political debate in this country".

    HA! Very well, Obama, now, you need to change your debate and give the credit to the tireless efforts of our military and diplomats who have crafted a situation on the ground that you and the media have tried so hard to hide.

    The man is clueless.

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. baracomama

    Tell me why we still need troops on the ground?
    Why we still need a strong military presence in Iraq ?
    I Thought McCain said he won the War !!!!!
    Everyone has all gotten on the same page, Idiot Bush, The Iraq Government, The Iraq people, The American People. Even Blackwater has deciced to pull out

    But Not Bomb,Bomb, Bomb Bomb McCain

    July 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. georgia

    I agree !!!! It's all they got & McShame Manchurian Candidate has already started !! What a loser !!!! Obama 08 !!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Debby, NJ

    OBAMA '08

    July 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. James Hussein, SC

    South Park Conservative – The war is lost. What have we won and what can we win? If you don't have an answer, then we lost before we started.

    Catty – Obama is no savior! Yes, Senator Obama would like to see troops slated for replacements to Iraq sent to Afghanistan. The folks who are already in Iraq will come home. The ultimate plan is to end both wars and get our American citizens HOME.

    July 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. soy

    It is logical that if you put enough US troops on the ground in Iraq that violence will reduce to nothing in that nation. That was never the issue with the surge. The issue was we can't continue to be the personal security army for the sovereign nation of Iraq. They need to take responsibility for their security and for the future of their nation. The fact remains that if the reduction in violence is only as a result of us being there and our men and women in uniform being trained and capable. But ultimately we can't remain their indefinitely and the Iraqis need to take responsibility and till they do that no real victory has been achieved. The victory that McCain speaks of is only temporary. It can only be solidified if the Iraqis can keep themselves secure.

    July 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |






    July 22, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Nate

    Obama's policy woudn't give the Iraqis a chance to stablise their country. He wanted to leave them high and dry.

    July 22, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Steve

    @Angie: Are you insane? Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia, NOT Iraq. I hope I read your post incorrectly, as it would make me even more sad to think that someone in America is that stupid.

    BO is very much on the mark as far as talking of the people of Iraq need to stand up and live with each other. Whether they pick democracy is hinged on their abilities to confront their problems and deal with them in some sort of singular solution.

    Saddam was not a good leader, he killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, his family bathed in the blood of the Kurds, and needed to be replaced; However, it was never the job of the US to replace him. We had that opportunity to do that in 1991, and we did not for some reason. Afghanistan IS the correct place that should have been attacked, that is where the 9/11 bombers were trained, and where OBL was being harbored. That is where we should be focusing on, and where we need to 'win' .. If any war can truly be won...

    These comments from a 10 year Army veteran that fought in Panama, Iraq/Kuwait, and did one tour in Bosnia. I have seen the 3 mile Road of Death, and can tell you no war is "won", it is simply put on hold till someone else wants to kill us.

    July 22, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. John

    ARB, you're statements are illsupported and hate-driven... We really have no use for them in this forum. Kindly stop your blind hatred and take some time to objectively review senator Obama's positions, history and character. I have given Sen. McCain the benefit of doubt and reviewed his policies, read his books and even attended a rally and while I respect him for what he endured for our country during the Vietnam War, I believe his judgment is clouded and ill-suited for the challenges ahead.

    July 22, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Darlene, NH

    Our next POTUS is speaking excellently. We will win this election and take our country back. We will stop the torture (that may still be going on), and we will put the rogues in jail who violated our Constitution.

    Kick the bums to the side and let's move forward in getting our country to be number one in decency and honor.

    Obama 08

    P.S. McPain is screaming about nothing again. Please hurry up November; I can't wait to send this guy back to the Senate, for good.

    July 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Matt

    Even in a speech about Iraq, Obama disses the troops by making it out to be some kind of coincidence American Forces have succeeded over there.

    Yeah, Obama, keep telling yourself we would have failed if Sadr hadn't turned tail and run.


    July 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. NY State of mind

    Oil prices have fell between 10-14 dollars over the last week

    Gas has fell 1-2 cents in same time period!
    Oil drop about 8%
    Gas less than 1%

    Gouging in this country is suppose to be illegal but is being done at all levels

    Unemployment on the rise again

    More factories moving or closing

    Millions without health care

    Thousands losing homes monthly

    Price of food on the rise

    Heating oil over 5 dollars a gal. in NY already

    2% of the people in US control 80% of the money

    Vote with your heads, not your hearts (party line)
    It will take us all to turn the ship around so stop yelling at each other, grab an ore and start rowing. It’s a long way to the shoreline!!!

    Obama 08
    CNN please post!!

    July 22, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. KP

    Obama is a born leader. He is a good listerner and is willing to incorporate all ideas to make a policy or strategy work. He is also willing to admit mistakes and try again. He doesn't exclude anyone who has a valid point to make unlike the leadership we have been forced to endure for the last eight years.

    Obama for America and America for Obama!!!

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