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. AJ

    It is ironic that the republicans are saying that McCain is a better Commander in Chief – CIC (and a large percentage of ignorant electorate also says that). Obama's Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East tour has proved that he will be a better CIC. He has articulated the job of CIC better than McCain has – just saying that you will listen to commanders on the ground is not good enough for the CIC. The CIC has to lay down the overall strategy that is best for the our and Iraq's security (including our and their economic security which is in doldrums) and well being and let the commanders in the field execute (tactical) the overall strategy. If not, you are not a CIC but a subordinate to the generals who are in the field and armed forces!!!!

    July 22, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Richard

    I am a republican voting for Obama. He is right on Iraq and McCain is wrong. I believe it is Obama who has the better judgement.

    Obama /Hagel 08

    July 22, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. morefromLA

    I saw Obama's 45 minute press conference this morning. Presidential is the first word that comes to mind. Intelligence and command are two others. If only Bush were presidential. If only McCain had the command to remember a four part question and answer it intelligently. Republicans should quickly realize that Barack Obama is Karl Rove's good twin. He has taken McCain's supposed large advantage in foreign relations and significantly reduced that advantage not through the dark forces of lies and distortions that play to our fears but through the forces of light exemplified by good judgement and vision that call to our courage. "President Obama:" Get used to it, the man shows he has the right stuff.

    July 22, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Casey

    Well said, Senator Obama. While you make intelligent statements based on facts, McCain is over here whining about media bias and trying to blame 30 years of no real energy legislation (and by some bizarre logic, high gas prices) on YOU. What a laugh!

    Does he REMEMBER where he's been for the past 26 years? IN CONGRESS...

    We have BUSH (DUMB) and god forbid we end up with McCain (DUMBER)

    July 22, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    I’d for one like to thank Barack for what he’s doing overseas. I can’t remember the last time we had so many world leaders and citizens of other nations as anxious as they are now in hearing what one of our premier political figures has to say.

    Not to mention when he speaks, he actually knows what he’s talking about and is able to construct constructive and articulate statements. I’ve grown accustomed over the past eight years of people domestically and abroad running from the presence and words of these ‘politicians’. Barack appears to be genuine in his ability to actually want to hear the concerns of these individuals.

    It will be amazing or should I say less so, the criticism he will face for being liked by those other than left of center Americans or those disaffected by the last eight years. Who knew being liked around the world would be such a bad thing.

    July 22, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Rave

    First.... think about what are we getting in return to run their (Iraq's) security, police, army ??? Are we being paid for these services – NOOO. Are we really destroying the terrorist roots – NOOOO....
    People like Bush, Cheney, McCain get paid with hefty contracts that suck up our Tax dollars.
    Every American by now clearly understands this.
    Still, why do some Americans support this McPain's war policy.. cause they have to. Democrats want us out, so Republicans want to stay.
    Are you guys crazy?? Look at ourselves. We cant afford to sacrifice our troops and resources for years to come – for some country's security that doesn't even want us there.
    Get out and get out as soon as possible. Obama is leading us in the right direction
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. Ron democrat turned independent

    sen. obama said he would listend to the commanders on the ground.( as long as it agrees with is vast milatary experience) which i guess general petraes did't do.re troop removal from iraq. he quotes the obvious like it was his personal observation, about having more troops in afgahnistan. we just forced al qeada from iraq so they have to save face by going to afghanistan. if we pull out of iraq to chase them out of afghanistan, whats to stop them from going back to iraq. not the iraqi army they only have confidence and loyalty because they are proped up by us forces. take them away to soon and they will revert to what they were and it will all have been for naught

    July 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Lisa

    I don't think Obama has a clue to what he's doing. He looks terrified to be there and can't wait until he gets home. He will say and do whatever it takes to get votes.

    July 22, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. McBUSH

    GO BAMA!

    GO BAMA!

    GO BAMA!

    GO BAMA!

    GO BAMA!

    July 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. DJ, LA, CA

    Yes that is absolutely correct. The future of Iraq should be determined in 16 months solely by the Iraqi's. It is up to them. I'm sick and tired of my tax dollars and $10- $12 B spent every month to pay to Cheney's Haliburton and more windfall profits to the petroleum industry.

    July 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. McCain & Bush Manipulate / Change "THE RULES"

    In 2004, John McCain said "when the Iraqi's want us to leave, we will"

    In May 2007, President Bush said," it is the soveriegn government of Iraq that will determine when US troops are no longer needed in their country".

    The two gentlemen are the standard bearers for the Republican party's agenda.

    Both the Iraqi Prime minister al Maliki and his 2nd in command have both echo'd Senator Obama's call for our troops to be completely out sometime in 2010. Seems the "naivety" claim touted by McCain about Senator Obama has been revealed as political gobble-de-gook.

    McCain and Bush feel politically insulated from the rest of the country's concerns by there being a war in Iraq. They describe failure as US troops leaving Iraq.

    This war was started under false pretenses because the Bush administration was floundering politically in 2001. Do the research and see what was being written & reported about George Bush's lack of leadership accumen at that time. He felt he had to do something to protect his chance at a 2nd term.

    Similarly, McCain believes the war and fear-mongering about another potential terrorist attack is good for his politcal career. Unfortunately 4200 young Americans have paid for this type of job insurance with their lives.

    That's not patriotism. That's not success.

    Now that the US-backed, elected Iraqi leadership wants us to leave, let's see what "spin" Bush and McCain come up with to justify continuing our presence there.

    July 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. BTHogan

    "The Iraqi people are absolutely responsible for the outcome once we move out. We have given them the fishing pole, the bait, and showed the the best spot to fish at the lake but we cannot stick around and do the fishing for them. We have taught them to fish, it is now time for them to fish without us."

    We took their fishing poles and destroyed them, and that was after we'd poisoned the lake.

    And that's why the Iraqis must become independent and self-sufficient. We're the worst thing that ever happened to them – we were in the 80s, when we helped Saddam brutalize his people and the region, and we are today. God help them.

    July 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Jason for Obama '08

    It's sad that McCain and the Republicans see their only out as just attacking Obama's points on different issues. McCain wants the American public to belief that the surge, by itself, is what has led to the quelling of violence in Iraq. In fact, the decisions by ordinary Iraqis to turn against the insurgents, Sadr's decision to agree to a cease-fire, semi-political stability, and the surge all worked together to calm things down. The surge, by itself, WOULD NOT have done everything that has been done at this point. The decision of the PEOPLE to turn things around is what has changed everything. They have HOPE!

    Al-Maliki agrees with Obama that there should be a working timetable for withdrawel from Iraq. End of story there, no more Bush "translations" that are wrong! McCain wants to occupy Iraq for 100 years, which is what was done in Japan following WWII. Get the policies that are the same age as you out of here McCain!

    Obama has always believed Afghanistan should be the focal point of the fight against extremist activities; look where forces have been built up, supplies replenished, and numbers increased in the region. Where is Osama? You mean to tell me Hussein is suppose to make-up for dropping the ball on not catching the person RESPONSIBLE for 9/11? Take the U and H out of BUSH and that'll tell you what you get!

    The distraction of the ignorance that got us in Iraq needs to be ended ASAP! Let McCain focus on the countries he remembers, like Checkloslovakia, Burma, the U.S.S.R., and others that haven't been around for 15 years or more. Meanwhile, let Obama focus on the future, improving America's image around the world and bringing us all the hope that we have so desperately needed for a long time now.

    Vote Obama!

    I had a dream today.... a dream of hope.... a dream of change....
    From the Rocky Mountains to the foothills of Georgia....
    I had a dream today.... Obama '08/'12

    July 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Democracy itself over loyalty to democratic party

    Pompous self-serving windbag

    July 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Messiah complex

    The infallible one has spoken.

    His perfection is astounding.

    July 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. David W.

    Obama you twit, the surge caused Sadr to stand down. He didn't just do it on his own. Geez what a knumbskull you are to suggest the Surge didn't have anything to do with reduced violence.

    The folk see through you despite the Media's fawning over you. So enjoy the ride, it's over in November.

    July 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Wisconsin

    Obama Bashers:




    "All talk and no substance." What are each one of your post then LISA!

    LIKE Catty:

    Who just now figured out what Obama has been saying for over a YEAR NOW.

    I A VOTER am sick of hearing your CRAP McWar!!! Talk about the issues!

    July 22, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Obama Christian

    I like the phrase someone ahead of me used..."recovering Republican." I am a recovering Republican in Kansas and very worried our country may not recover from the damage of the last 8 years. If McWar gets in I am sure we will not. Either he is stupid, senile, or clueless confirmed by his last "mis-spoken" comment regarding the tensions on the "Iraq/Pakistan boarder." Give me brilliance over experience any day of the week. If we would have stayed with President Carters energy plan from 30 years ago we would not be in the mess we are in today.

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Sheople for Obama

    Obama opposed the surge.

    The surge has worked.

    The success of the surge now enables Obama's plan to withdraw, and Malaki's call for American withdrawal.

    Without the surge... it would all be just talk...none of it would be possible.

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Adam

    A big difference between Obama and McCain seems to be where the responsibility gets put. McCain says, "It's all because of the surge. The surge is what made it safer." Obama seems to realize that it goes much further beyond this. "It was also the Iraqis themselves who made it safer." I trust the person who is less egotistical and willing to see that it will take EVERYONE to make Iraq safe, but mainly the Iraqis. It is their country, and if they want it to be a safe and happy place then that is on them.

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Wisconsin

    Obama Bashers:




    "All talk and no substance." What are each one of your post then LISA!

    LIKE Catty:

    Who just now figured out what Obama has been saying for over a YEAR NOW.

    I A VOTER am sick of hearing your CRAP McWar!!! Talk about the issues!

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Dems Unify & Vote Big

    A fantastic Obama press conference. His tour abroad makes McCain's trips look like a grade school fieldtrip.

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. @ANGIE (clueless)

    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!
    Are you clueless? Jindal is a guy who has not held the same office for more than 2 years in a row; he's held a lot of positions, that's for sure, at least 3 times resiging an office to accept a position in another job.

    in the 1 year he has been in the office of governor of LA, at least one recall petition was supported because of Jindal's position to double legislators salaries... he also is known for CUTTING public programs, hospitals and clinics.

    Did you know he was a HINDU until high school. How does that fit into your Republican mold? His REAL name isn't even "Bobby" - it's Piyush Jindal (FACT)...

    It would be a welcome change for people to do some research before exposing their ignorance... but then, it would help if McCain did that, too.



    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. jet in memphis

    good job may God bless you and lead our soldiers away from harm's way.

    Obama the way to go

    July 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Bayou Joe

    The future of Iraq is in Iraq's hands... Wow what a revelation... Tell us something we don't already know.... Like where is your money coming from to buy the presidency. With the poor people that allegedly support you and the downtrodden minorities scraping to pay their bills, where is the MONEY coming from. Venture to Guess Overseas
    Arab Money... which is illegal. But then what are a few illegalities.

    McCain and ( ) for President. Semper Fidelis (Always Faithfull).

    July 22, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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