September 9th, 2008
12:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama lukewarm on Iraq drawdown announcement

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Bush announced that he plans to withdraw 8,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by February, 2009 ."]

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (CNN) – Senator Barack Obama said Tuesday the Bush administration’s announcement it was bringing some U.S. troops home fell short, calling it a “modest” step that indicated no real change in policy.

“At this point what it appears is the next president will inherit a status quo that is still unstable, Obama told reporters at a high school outside Dayton. “And what’s going to be required is a comprehensive strategy, and that’s what I’ve been offering for the last two years.

“We should have a comprehensive strategy for bringing this war to a close and not what we heard from president today, which is essentially some tinkering around the edges and kicking the can down the road to the next president.”

Obama gave lukewarm praise to the president’s announcement that more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan, something the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee routinely calls for in his stump speech.

“I am glad that the President is moving in the direction of the policy that I have advocated for years. But the most substantial increase will come when an additional Army brigade is deployed five months from now – in February, after the President has left office. His plan comes up short – it is not enough troops, and not enough resources, with not enough urgency,” he said.

The Democratic nominee also continued his regular practice of linking John McCain with President Bush on foreign policy.

“Last week, we heard a lot of tough talk in St. Paul, but we didn’t hear much about the Bush-McCain record,” he said. “Because seven years after 9/11, we are still fighting a war without end in Iraq and we still haven’t taken out the terrorists responsible for 9/11. That’s where George Bush and John McCain’s judgment has gotten us."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Fort Collins,Colorado

    Maybe Bush should have had Obama as one of his advisers....Bush seems to be following Obama's lead. He did the same thing with Iran, now he's talking to them, that is what Obama felt should be done.
    LILOWHISKEY DENVER , you haven't kept up have you....these are Obama policies...McCain wanted to stay in Iraq 100 years. McCain never had any strategy....what was there to adopt. He found a VP that is getting her 15 minutes of fame, and then we will have the election and Obama will win...and you will get to benefit from his achievements wil the rest of us.

    September 9, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. V from London

    Once again Barack's judgement is proven correct. From new diplomatic efforts between israel and syria to rice going to libya to talk diplomacy to troop reduction in iraq to increased troops in the real war in afghanistan, everything Barack has wanted the administration has started to succomb to.

    As is said in Europe: Only in America is there even a debate about a man like Barack being President.

    Send him to Europe, you people are too ignorant to realize a great man when you see one.

    and please, leave the educational reform to the guy with 2 ivy league degrees that understands the importance of a good education, rather than two people with barely enough academic credentials to get a job at fortune 500 company let alone the executive branch!

    September 9, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. facts are facts

    If McCain and his floozy are elected and continue on the their holy war in Iraq all other nations with troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawing them. The world it seems is so much smarter than the American public on issue both domestic and abroad.

    September 9, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Another Republican for Obama

    Well look at that – Obama was right after all.

    Shocker – anyone who thinks the idiots leading my party know what they are doing are just...stupid. And if you think McCain is anything different, well you are a Darwin case study. You get what you deserve – more taxes, more war, more torture, more religious radicals, more Constitutional violations, more lies, and more scandals. Palin is a joke of a candidate, and while people may like her looks, she is the epitome of condescention towards wualified women – and people are too dumb to notice.

    Vote Obama '08 – '12 and force a moderate swing in my party back to our roots, and get rid of these radical Rovian morons. PLEASE.

    Begrudgingly, Obama '08 – '12

    September 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Lin

    Obama is so not ready to be president, I was against the war at the start and I'm no fan of Bush but I have to admit that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and victory in Iraq is in sight . It looks like Iraq will be a democratic free country in the center of the middle east. What a mistake it would be to leave now prematurely with a divided Iraq split in three like Biden wanted. To be against the war when your not a US senator is one thing, but to be against the surge that is saving lives shows a big lack in judgement and knowledge in foreign and security policy.

    September 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |

    Here they come: Obama haters who refuse to credit him for calling for troops withdrawal from Iraq in. . . 5 4 3 2 1. . . .

    September 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Bush is no longer running folks

    President Bush is not on the ticket and John McCain is his own man, dispute that as you may we know better. I was going to vote for Hillary but that is no longer a possibility. She is not on the VP ticket, Obama's big mistake. I am going to vote for McCain/Palin. I really like her and I also feel safer with McCain. I do not feel like a traitor to Hillary – I feel that Hillary should not be endorsing Obama and asking us to. We never wanted him and I was distrubed at the treatment Hillary got from the dem. party and the media. It even turns me off more to hear that her and Bill are going to come out together again for Obama. Hillary and Palin are different, but Hillary is out of the picture and I truly believe since she is out – that the McCain/Palin ticket is the best and right ticket for the future of America.

    September 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. CM

    I would be lukewarm too if the worst president in the history of the US started realizing that my plan was the right one and rebranded it as his own.

    I mean come on, time horizon and not timetable? They're just playing on words because Obama got it right from the start.

    No more dumb presidents. Elect the Harvard grad that chose to help people rather than the D student who got an east ride due to his family's military connections.

    September 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. AngieS

    Talk about a FLIP-FLOP!! First the Pentagon says it doesn't advise the removal of any troops, then 24 hours later the Pentagon advises the draw down of 8k troops by January. Next the p-resident says he doesn't plan on recalling any troops during his term, now he's bringing those 8k home. WHICH IS IT, PEOPLE?????

    September 9, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Mike

    Maybe in four years after the violence gets ramped up again in Iraq and another 4,000 soldiers die will the American people finally get it.

    September 9, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. proud army and navy mom

    The repugs are desparate again, because pit bull Palin is going down. They are using other names, including mine to post because they can find any people to agree with their lies and deceit.

    Thank you Obama/Biden calling out the repugs lies.

    September 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. arc, Lugano CH

    Had the REPUBLICANS never waged an unecessary illegal war, then there would be no troops to drawdown and 4000+ lives would have been saved.

    Thank you Republicans, McCain, Palin and 'Values' voters.

    In 2008, there is nothing more despicable and lower than a Republican, except perhaps a child molester/murderer.

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Open Your 3rd Eye







    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Obama is right that he will be better then MCSAME in the office I trust Obama over MCSAME and Palin

    OBAMA/Biden 08
    Hillary/Michelle 16

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Southerner

    There is a big difference between the current strategy of drawing down troops AFTER the situation is stable and the cut-and-run strategy proposed by Obama.

    Why is Bush drawing down troops? Because Anbar province, which had been a hotbed of terrorist activity earlier in the war, is now stable and has been turned over to Iraqi troops. That makes 11 out of 18 provinces that are now under the control of the Iraqi army and police.

    If we had listened to Obama and 1) not had the surge, then 2) cut and run with no concern for the stability of Iraq, the most likely scenario is that Iraq would either be under the control of Al Qaeda or Iran.

    Obama refuses to admit he was wrong. His Kool aid drinking followers will cling to any story he tells them, no matter how weak or far fetched.

    McCain is the candidate with the knowledge, expertise and fortitude to be commander in chief. Obam doesn't even have the experience necessary to take over Palin's role as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard.

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Lisa M

    So did Bush now surrender?
    Is the Iraq war over(I thought it was over a LONG time ago)?

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Candace- Texas

    Obama has been a rock star for a long time.....and still is. He was a rock star when he entered the Senate... as all pop star inspire to be better so is Obama...Palin just made Senator Obama Iconic! Know he is a icon and no one compares!! We have not seen anything like Obama in a very long time and he will always be popular unlike Gov. Palin that will lose her air in about 3....2....1....

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Jeff

    And I'm a lifelong Democrat who is lukewarm if not downright cold on the idea of Obama as President. I'm going to avoid the polls in November as I can’t support and I sure as heck can’t support McCain. Then I will sit back and watch as the clowns put on a show for the next 4 years. What a disaster.

    September 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |

    Again Obama demonstrates he is the one with the right

    September 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. maddie much has this war cost this nation? I'm talking lives not money. McCain and Lieberman pushed war with Irag even before the words were muttered from Bush's mouth. In fact, I remember John McCain demanding war on 9/11. And he chooses a so called "strong woman" who happens to also be a war monger. Four more years? ENOUGH ALREADY!

    September 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Debbie

    Sure John and Sarah…..are "the real mavericks alright"

    TROOPERGATE INVESTIGATION SHUT DOWN-abuse of power….we are Americans (we follow the laws) as least some of us do.

    THE USA MEDIA SHUT DOWN-cnn, msnbc, bet, abc, nbc, fox =isn't this the reason we are at WAR right now because you refuse to question BUSH properly regarding IRAQ …and now you won't VET sarah palin(your all a disgrace)

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH SHUT DOWN (Chris Mattews *Keith Olbermann)

    Repubs you can truely wave your little flags about YOUR TRUE AMERICAN SPIRIT….=what a FREAKIN JOKE


    September 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Independent

    I don't want to see another idiot in the White House. Obama is no different, he is another version of Bush!

    September 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. faye, NV

    In my opinion Bush does not deserve and praise for nothing. After watching Larry King last night Bush is no commander in charge.
    Bush=Palin+McCain this is a chain reaction to fail policies.

    We need REAL CHANGE

    September 9, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. troy of Mississippi

    Mr. Obama, I am a retired military person. I served for over 22 years. I can tell you that this is just a cover up. I do not believe that there is going to be a real drawdown, just something for Americans to believe that our servicemembers will be coming home soon. I have set in many briefing and I know that way they are thinking. John McCain wants to fight someone, anyone and he is hoping that he has a chance to by becoming the president. Young Men and Women of America if you do not want to be at war for years to come your best bet is to vote for OBAMA. John McCain wants to get revenge for being a prisoner and maybe in his mind he is still in prison. The Drawdown in a LIE. VOTE OBAMA. Troy

    September 9, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. demwit

    Retreat is a Frence policy. Obama must have learned that from his buddy....

    September 9, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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