Obama’s Iraq Speech: Tonight He Claims Credit for Policies He Always Opposed by Gregory Hilton

President Obama will address the nation tonight for only the second time from the Oval Office. The speech will occur just hours after his return from Fort Hood in Texas and it will mark the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the beginning of a new mission entitled Operation New Dawn. The last U.S. combat brigades have already left Iraq and over 90,000 troops have been redeployed. America’s armed forces will now focus on training and support activities, and only 50,000 soldiers remain in Iraq. The President will emphasize that the transition was possible because 640,000 fully trained troops in the Iraq National Army are now ready to assume the security burden. Yesterday the President visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Hospital and he is expected to call former President George W. Bush today prior to his national address.
Vice President Joe Biden is already in Iraq for the transition, and he previously said Iraq may be one of the Obama administration’s “greatest successes.” The comment immediately raised eyebrows because all of the difficult days in Iraq occurred during the Bush administration, and Biden was taking credit for a plan he always opposed. The President has already thanked U.S. troops for keeping the nation safe, but his rhetoric today is far different from what was heard during the 2008 campaign.
Tonight the President will mark a significant milestone in Middle East history, but it was not long ago when the nation’s most prominent Democrats said the achievements would not be possible. It is ironic to see the Obama administration and other Democrats claim credit for Iraq after they did so much to thwart America’s role. Bush’s surge of early 2007 led to the present transfer in Iraq, but prominent liberal Democrats were always in opposition. They wanted to stop the surge, cut off funding for Operation Iraqi Freedom and withdraw all American troops. Democrats captured the House and Senate in 2006 and they then sponsored over 40 roll call votes to end or restrict the war. Some of their past statements are listed below:
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), 9/12/07
The saddest irony of the Administration’s cynical use of 9/11 is that the Iraq War has left us less safe than we were before 9/11. . . I opposed this war from the beginning. 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. . . .Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was.
Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), 12/17/06
“This whole notion that the surge is working is fantasy. . . The President and others who support the surge have it exactly backwards.”
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), 8/21/07
“I think the best way of honoring their service is bringing them home.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), 1/9/07
“This war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything. . . I am totally opposed to the escalation.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 1/19/07
“I think it is very difficult for the President to sustain a war of this magnitude without the support of the American people, and without the support of the Congress of the United States. That’s why Congress will vote to oppose the President’s escalation.”
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), 12/24/06
“The proposal being considered by the administration to add between 15,000 and 30,000 soldiers in a ‘surge’ of American troops will do nothing … Instead, the president should announce in January that we will begin withdrawing and redeploying our troops.”
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), 1/7/07
“The surge makes no sense whatsoever.”
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), 1/8/07
“The surge has to be stopped. It is a reckless, almost mindless approach to a desperately difficult situation. And so we have to look at all options. . . Now Congress must — must use its main power, the power of the purse, to put an end to our involvement in this disastrous war and I am not talking here only about the surge or escalation. It is time to use the power of the purse to bring our troops out of Iraq.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appeared on Fox and Friends this morning to explain what the President was going to say tonight.
When Gretchen Carlson asked Gibbs if the President will admit the surge worked, the Press Secretary replied that Obama always said that putting 20,000 more troops would work.
Unfortunately for Gibbs, just before the interview, Carlson showed the audience a video where candidate Obama said that adding the troops would not work. Carlson also asked if President Obama was going credit President Bush with the success in Iraq. Instead of answering the question, Gibbs counted the number of times Carlson repeated the question – “That’s the second time you asked the question, the third time”, etc. Carlson asked the question five times but never received a response.
Starting in 2006 and 2007, these 31 Democratic Senators consistently voted to cut off all funding for Operation Iraqi Freedom which would have resulted in an immediate withdrawal: Akaka (D-HI), Biden (D-DE), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Stabenow (D-MI), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR).

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