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.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. Steve (Independent)

    While I am an Independed (Ex-Republican), I am leaning very heavily towards Obama.

    I think the Republicans need to wake up and smell the coffee...

    Steve USN (Ret) Vietnam Vet.

    July 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    As usual, Obama is correct in saying this. The Iraqis have to learn to defend themselves sooner or later, and sooner would be more ideal.

    July 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Can anyone in the U.S. define what a victory is in Iraq if so help McCain out with this poser as he is completely asea on this issue.

    Elect McCain he is the only chance for America to make George Bush look like a genius.

    July 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Hey Mel, I served for 22 years. I've earned the right to have an opinion. More than can be said for Obama.

    July 22, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. kendall

    I believe and support our troops however I agree that if it weren't for Iraqis participating in the Sons of Iraq program and daughters of Iraq program and the Al-Sadr callig his militias to back down as a paid campaign to Al Sadr to stop shooting at U.S. troops and Al Queada killing innocent Iraqis that made Iraqi men mad has contributed to the reduction, but Political Tactics that state that McCain is the reason when was one of many to support the escalation. That he know how to win wars, by saying the surge worked, General Petraeus is to thatnk because the surge worked, not McCain, give credit where its due.

    July 22, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. no no no!

    Catty July 22nd, 2008 11:50 am ET

    For all the democrats viewing Obama as their savior, Read between the lines. He is NOT bringing the troops home, he is moving them to Afghanistan. No more lives will be saved, and the war will not end.

    Catty....if you were to punch me in the face why would i hit the person standing down the street? does that make sense to you ? we should NEVER have been in Iraq, we were only there because of the lies perpetrated by Bush and supported by McCain. if we kept our eyes ON the ball instead of the OIL may be those 4,000 soldiers would still be alive. the USA has the best military in the world and yet we fail to bring justice to the 3,000 who were killed on 911.....but no worries, EXXON got their no bid contract in Iraq, McCain's lobbyist friends must be very happy.


    July 22, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Pater servius, Ft. Myers

    Urrh. Mr. Obama–perhaps you should be a little more expansive in your simple explanations:

    Do you think the Sadr militia's are STANDING DOWN because they just "decided to"? When in fact most likely cause was that they were running out of hiding places–and they were nearing the point of being exterminated by surge military forces? Or perhaps because Sadr was having supply-chain problems getting men and weapons across the border from Iran and Syria because routes were shut down by coalition and Iraqi forces?

    I know little about foreign policy-but I know BS when I hear it.

    July 22, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Foreign observer

    Not the few thousand of American "surge" soldiers made the difference. Be honest – 100 000 Sunni fighters on American pay role made the difference !!! Stop these payments and the soldiers will face again violence.

    July 22, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Mark

    "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. (Barack Obama)

    This guy needs to get a clue.
    Obama needs to be honest wtih himself and the american people. The Sadr militias did not stand down because of kumbya diplomacy, they were defeated and surrendered.

    And this guy wants to be our president?

    We are screwed to say the least.

    July 22, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Foreign observer

    The money surge made the difference – not the American soldiers surge.

    July 22, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Frostlanta

    July 22nd, 2008 11:48 am ET







    I completely agree with you Dr. Mimi De la Cruz, It won't be long before CHANGE is here.

    Obama 08, 12

    July 22, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Why is no one mentioning how much we are paying the Sunnis not to fight?

    July 22, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Seriously Folks

    Ease up with the CAPS!

    July 22, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Love Huckabee

    See, McCain is a complete idiot. Did you see him on the Today show, he didn't answer the question, talked over her, and blamed Obama for everything. He's losing, and I love it.

    July 22, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. rw

    I agree... it is just not the surge; Sunnis supporting terrorists started co-operating with US Forces; that dropped a major reduction in violence; Maliki also stepped up Iraqi forces role; cracking on Iranian supplies, Al-Sadr working a peace deal with Maliki etc.. etc. lot of factors, just not the surge!!! McCain tell the 100% truth not part of the truth!!!

    July 22, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Safety & Comfort

    Obama needs to turn the discussion back to the economy. If the war is the talking point of the election Obama will not win.

    July 22, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. al





    July 22, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Silence Dogood

    Generic speech from a generic politician:
    " I think all the parties involved might or might not have had an effect, and some change stategy in the future would be a good course and it is in the hands of the people."

    July 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. malik

    Since I belong to that region I know what Obama is talking about, he is right when he said he will go against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan if Pakistani Govt. is not cooperating with us, Pakistan is the biggest challenge for next administration. In Pakistani Al-Qaeda plans all there killings either against our troops or innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they still roam freely on north western cities of Pakistan and kills innocents people on daily basis and here we are stuck in a country which has nothing to do with September Attack. The only way to do it is not just pull out from Iraq and increase our troop level in Afghanistan but to rebuild the country bottom up and make sure the funding which is our tax payer's money goes to the projects not in the pockets of corrupt Govt. of President Karzai.

    July 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. DJ in TX

    I still say, if the surge so called "worked", why can't our troops begin to come home. It wasn't just the surge. The US IS PAYING the Sunnis to fight Al Quaida. Obama is right, Al Sadr has worked something out with the Iraqi government to stand down and we still have 150K tropps there (more than the initial 130K that went).

    But what has it gotten us? What benefit has it brough to the US?

    – Iraq wants us gone
    – We are pretty much doing this alone, no real coalition (only 4K British troops)
    – Not one dime from the now 30 – 40 billion in Iraq's oil reserves
    – gas prices still going through the roof
    – 4200 American servicemembers dead
    – untold amounts of Iraqis dead
    – no WMD's found
    – no ties to 9-11
    – Iraq's government getting friendly with Iran

    What have we "succeeded" in (according to McCain).

    – The Taliban is strong and resurgent
    – Osama bin Laden still alive (or least not confirmed dead)
    – Pakistan refusing to allow us to use their land to track Osama

    Sure we've succeeded all right. Just please explain what.

    BTW – I'm a Desert Storm veteran.

    July 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. R.I.F.

    It's funny because the guys who have been embedded in Iraq for years have said numerous times that it was a lot more than the "surge" tharr has brought down viloence.

    July 22, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. White/female/age 55/Texan

    Slider – you are the one who is clueless.

    "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.

    July 22, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. ANGIE

    LISA he has to be elected first do you have any common sense????

    July 22, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. JimB

    It seems some republican politicians would-be politicians are always quick to take not just jumps, but flying leaps, at even the smallest glint of even a suggestion that any of their strategies have worked. Any nit-wit knows that if you continue to put enough war fighters on the ground, eventually you will begin to suppress the enemy. And even any nit-wit knows that doing so is not free. It has a cost, and that is not just measured in dollars.

    America, when are we going to stop electing officials who push their personal agendas, while convincing many Americans they are representing ours? When are we going to elect a president who listens to us, and who acts in accordance to what the majority of Americans want?

    Most of don't want to send more troops to Iraq. Most of us don't want to waste more billions on an area of the world where practically every inhabitant hates us. Most of us want out of this situation. Most of us want our troops home. We want jobs, health insurance, education...a future with our families here, not over there dying in Iraq.

    July 22, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Dave

    Nate, The Iraqi government is asking for us to pull out. They don't want us there or need us there.
    The GOP is measuring the success of the troop surge by the drop in monthly deaths of American soldiers. That is such a joke.
    There are still terrorist attacks in Iraq, they haven't dwindled in numbers. There are still various militant factions fighting for control of different areas, and this hasn't reduced either. The only reason less US troops are dying is because the US used the extra troops to bunker themselves in defensive positions. The people dying now are the civilians and the Iraqi police. The surge hasn't reduced the violence or death, just redirected it.
    US troops are still dying there. We are still sinking this country deeper and deeper in debt for a lie brought to us by the GOP. Our economy is in shambles, and we are loosing ground in the war we should have been focusing on in the first place. The generals are asking for more troops, but Bush is ignoring them and committing everything to Iraq.
    Bush and the GOP have done nothing but lie to us while they tanked our economy and fought the wrong war. McCain wants to continue this. Obama actually tells the truth about the surge, the situation, and what the Iraqi's want. He's willing to do what needs to be done.

    And if you want to find a flip-flopper. Take Lieberman, McCain and his bunch. They attack Obama's plan for Iraq while it mirrors what the Iraqis want. They attack Obama's energy plan, but praise Picken's plan even though Pickens says stop drilling and start finding alternatives.

    At least Obama is willing to talk to us like adults instead of slinging mud and giving us no substance like McCain.

    July 22, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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