September 12th, 2007
11:05 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama: 'We have to begin to end this war now'

Sen. Barack Obama will lay out his plan to "turn the page" in Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – In what his campaign is billing as "a major national security address," Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will outline his plan today to end the war in Iraq and "his vision for what America can achieve once it turns the page" in that country.

Speaking at Ashford University this afternoon in Clinton, IA, the Illinois senator will detail a four-part plan to turn that page, according to excerpts of his speech made available to CNN.

1. "Immediately begin to pull out troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year."

2. "Call for a new constitutional convention in Iraq, convened with the United Nations, which would not adjourn until Iraq's leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation."

3. "Use presidential leadership to surge our diplomacy with all of the nations of the region on behalf of a new regional security compact.”

4. "Take immediate steps to confront the humanitarian disaster in Iraq, and to hold accountable any perpetrators of war crimes."

In advanced excerpts of his remarks, Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, says the "bar for success" now in Iraq "is so low that it is almost buried in the sand... We've had enough of a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged."

"I opposed this war from the beginning," Obama says, according to the excerpts. "I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed it in 2003. I opposed it in 2004. I opposed it in 2005. I opposed it in 2006. I introduced a plan in January to remove all of our combat brigades by next March. And I am here to say that we have to begin to end this war now."

–CNN Associate Producer Stephen Bach

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iraq
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. BeReasonable, TC, Mi.

    All good ideas but very naive to think they will work. No way can you pull the troops out so quickly, no way will putting them in a room will make them come to an accord, no way will the surrounding countries take a unbiased stand, no way can we inforce humanitarian disasters without a presence.
    As a past Democrat I endorsed the war not because of the WMD but because of the ethnic cleansing that was going on, just like the war in Serbia. Sure the intel was faulty on some of the issues but it was the best at the time. And one pile was bigger than the other. So the question would have been do we wait until they are proven right/wrong or do we act before a disaster happens? The capability was there and the support of terrorists was there, both true statements.
    These sound bites from the candidates are just that and have no substance. They are easy to put out but without an exact detail of the plans, they are also easy to change once elected.
    For once I would like to see a candidate state that if they do not follow up on their promises within their first two years, they will step down quickly and take their party with them. That will eliminate the rhetoric.
    Don't be caught up the race to be the "First" to make history instead of making wise decisions. Unfortunately the former is why I no longer associate with his party.

    September 12, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. chudi Otis

    If Americans fail to elect Obama as POTUS, they can get ready for a draft because we will be facing a world war in the near future. Electing any other person will keep the status quo of the white house which is not good for the future. We need to lead the world again and fight terror wherever it is.Open your eyes people,Terrorists don't care if you are black or white, male or female, rich or poor, red state or blue state. They qualify you with only one criterion, are you American? If your answer is YES then kiss your stubborn head good bye. ONLY Obama can truly unite us please check his record on working with both parties. He is the only one to have an ad with a republican supporter there. Put all your racism, fascism, religiousness, and hatred away. We have enough hate from the world out there so why bother to add more. Elect him not for yourselfs but for the future generation. Posterity will never forgive us if miss this chance.

    We will cry forever if we miss this man because of our myopic sense of judgement on who a true leader is. When you have a dream it is because you have hope. You can't lose hope and say you have a dream that is crazy. The hope Obama talks about is the dream for every American because there is no other country like us. USA is a mini WORLD because it is the only country that you find people from every country under the sun aspiring and becoming Americans. GROW UP PEOPLE, FORGET FEMINIST AGENDA, RACIST AGENDA, WHITE OR BLACK AGENDA COS WE ALL HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS. Now go out there and vote for OBAMA, because as much as you hate to admit it, when you get into that voting box you'll never know what hit you to check Obama's name as your pick (cos u r hoping), don't be scared to hope. I have one word for that, its returning to the American dream of hope for a government OF the people, FOR the people (HEAR THAT!), and BY THE PEOPLE. For those of you who chosed BUSH stop crying and don't blame me you get what you vote for. Now lets see you make the same mistake again come 08. And if you do i hope you all cry blood this time when you let a good man like Obama go.

    September 12, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. John H., Indianapolis, IN

    For those of you who are attempting to bring race in to the mix:

    I don't think race has been mentioned here by anybody. When Mr. Obama forst announced that he was running for President, I thought "that's nice, he looks like a Presidents and he sounds like a President"... but then he started showing is in-experience as his mouth got bigger and bigger. If you're not qualified... you're not qualified. Thankfully, affirmative action doesn't apply to the Presidency. (I am a minority, so please don't try to lecture me on affirmative action)

    BTW. Sorry to inform some of you.. but FREEDOM isn't free. Where do you think we'd be if we would have said "let's end the war now" during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm... before the job was done? (I just retired from a 20-year career in the military, so please don't try to lecture me on FREEDOM and Patriotism... and neither one means that you are a war-monger)

    I would argue that the "job wasn't done" when we stopped during Desert Storm... but the political objective of liberating Kuwait was complete... so the President rightfully called a cease fire. Unfortunately, Saddam continued to threaten Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, so we had to deploy over there constantly to maintain a presence.(I was there as part of 3rd Armored Division... and several times please don't try to lecture me about Desert Storm or the defense of Kuwait).

    While Mr. Obama appears to by a fine human being, is green behind the years and is not qualified to the President of th greatest nation on earth... the United States of America. (Again... if you don't think so... you always have the Freedom to leave).

    Oh by the way, for those of you who claim that the United States and/or the military has committed "war crimes" in Iraq... then why isn't the United Nations charging us with anything. Hmmmm... could be because none of you understand International Law... and you need to stop reading the leftist blogs out there and find out the facts on your own. Wait a second... how many times has Obama been over there to Iraq? How can a State Senator from Illinois, with no experience, come up with a strategic military plan from a chair in his office here in the United States? Hmmmm... he can't and neither can anybody else... so what he's doing is blowing smoke up everybody's butt. (I spent 20-years in the Army and wouldn't be able to come up with a strategic plan by myself to withdrawal safely and honorably from Iraq without leaving the Iraqis hanging dry to get slaughtered).

    Yeah, Mr. Obama, maybe we shouldn't have gone in to Iraq... only time will tell, but we are there now and we have to try and fix it – running away with our tails between our legs is not the right answer.

    Isn't this country great?! You can post your views and opinions in a public forum without the "gestapo" coming to get you (a FREEDOM that many countries don't enjoy).

    I'm done with this blog.


    September 12, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    A fair number of the comments posted here suggest that opposing Barack Obama means one is racist. Those posters would likely also argue that opposing Hillary Clinton means one is sexist. If we're going to have to endure those kinds of nonsensical arguments until election day, I certainly hope the Republican nominee chooses a black woman for his running mate. I will readily vote for any black woman who believes in individual liberty, free market capitalism, a much smaller federal government, and protecting our nation's borders. Show me that person and I'll eagerly vote for her. But don't call me a racist or sexist simply because I think Obama and Clinton would cause this nation to advance further down a tragic collectivist path.

    September 12, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. Justin, Grand Junction, CO

    I find it funny how people can say that we are such a mighty and great country... and then in the same breath they say that a step-by-step withdrawl is impossible. How great of a country are we if we can't even get our military and equipment out? Did you see how fast we sent everything in? I sure did.

    September 12, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Amanda in Ca.

    The intention of Barak Obama is to shift the military effort to areas where the terrorists are actually hiding, while providing clear incentive to the Iraqi political leadership over the course of a year of progressive U.S. withdrawal from Iraq to form a viable working Parliamentary form of Government. Incentive is the thing!
    Also, regarding the question of leadership – I do see Barak Obama as
    a most fortunate and timely gift for us all. He is courageous, compassionate
    yet strong, energetic and committed, creative and charismatic, intelligent and articulate – Is there more that you could ask for as president of the United States? I respectfully submit.

    September 13, 2007 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  7. Archangel

    Obama says a lot of good things that we all want to hear and, it's easy to say them when you don't realize the consequences because of inexperience or ignorance. Obama smart? Maybe. Educated? Hum..... Americans are, or should be, seriously concerned about our near future. I was a young lieutenant in 1975, and through my 24 year career I've seen Viet Nam, Bangla Desh, Cyprus, Grenada and Desert Shield shed more than our share of misery. Yet, the silence and speed at which the USSR fell destroyed millions of livelyhoods. It fell politically, not by conventional warfare. Obama hasn't even lead a small country town. He wasn't even in the boy scouts. He does not understand the right to defend ourselves, he talks like somebody else is going to do it for us. I don't know what he protrays this attitude. Though he's a good man, he's not the best of the choices we have to get us out of the Mess Bush has gotten us into. We should be worried too, for our own decisions. None of us graduated from any great school of mention (if we graduated in the United States). A few colleges maybe, but all of our High Schools are terrible and we are products of these disaterous learning institutions. We cannot affort to have too much confidence in our ability to do the smart thing. After all, it's our families that will suffer. Study closely the candidates. Learn. Stay together. Disagree without becoming desagreeable. Arch

    January 6, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
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