More support for Obama’s Foreign Policy

The Afghan ambassador likes his plans:

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States trumpeted major portions of Barack Obama’s approach towards his country on Tuesday, marking the second time in as many weeks that an official at the center of U.S.-Mideast policy has echoed the Illinois Senator’s agenda.

Said Jawad, who has been at the ambassador’s post since 2003, avoided specific references to Obama and his rival Sen. John McCain. But on a broad range of issues that divide the two candidates — defining the main battleground in the war on terror, U.S. military commitments to Afghanistan, and combating terrorist activity in Pakistan — he agreed with the prescriptions of the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Sipping occasionally from a glass of mint-flavored iced tea, the ambassador argued that the war in Iraq had diverted military and material resources from Afghanistan. He described the border his country shared with Pakistan as “the central front of the war on terror, certainly,” stressing the need for additional American forces. And he offered what amounted to a heartfelt endorsement of Obama’s proposal to target high-level al Qaeda figures in northwest Pakistan, even without that country’s acquiescence.

“We would appreciate it if Pakistan could take full responsibility in dealing with them,” he said. “But if they can’t, if they don’t have the resources, they should allow the international community to take these elements out, for the sake of Pakistan, for the sake of Afghanistan, and for the sake of the world. These are criminals. We should allow the humanity to go out and eliminate these enemies of humanity. We should not fool ourselves with the legal questions such as sovereignty.”

And Petraeus says that Iraqis could take over by 2010:

General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, has offered his most optimistic assessment so far, forecasting that US forces could hand over control of the entire country to the Iraqi military by the end of next year.

His estimated timeframe for transferring military responsibility fits with Senator Barack Obama’s goal of withdrawing US combat troops by mid-2010, and is likely to hand the Democratic presidential candidate some kudos on the campaign trail.

McCain Camp to Obama: “We went to Mexico and you haven’t so there”

I’m not making this up

Following Obama’s trip abroad, it looked like the McCain campaign had lost a key talking point about Obama’s failure to visit Iraq and Afghanistan recently enough.

But have no fear. Here’s McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds on CNN today:

In fact, [Obama’s] never met with President Uribe in Colombia, as John McCain has. He has still yet to take a trip to Mexico City to have those meetings there and his relationship with Canada, I think, took a turbulent roll through the primaries. So I think actually if you’re to look at the experience of both candidates, that there are very telling differences.

These meetings that Barack Obama had taken throughout the week were a lot of meetings that John McCain was making for the fifth, sixth or seventh time in many cases, and these were his first meetings. So to compare them on the substance, we think, is really incomparable.

Perhaps McCain is hoping that while everyone is distracted watching Obama overseas he’ll have enough time to sneak into the white house?

Rove attack machine lives

With this its clear that McCain’s respectable campiagn is finished:

McCain takes aim at Obama’s character

As Senator Barack Obama traveled overseas, the campaign against him appeared to take a decisive new turn with Senator John McCain zeroing in on his Democratic opponent’s character.

In a year when polls show an easy victory for a generic Democratic candidate, McCain has until now been loathe to employ the tack many strategists see as essential and which anonymous e-mailers and commenters with no apparent links to his campaign have been practicing since last summer: hitting Obama not on his record or his platform, but on his values and person.

The Democrat’s Achilles’ heel in this model is an inchoate sense among some voters that the new arrival on the national stage with the unusual biography—and who’s the first black nominee from either party—isn’t American enough.

Prior to Obama’s trip overseas, though, McCain had instead employed, without appreciable effect, a more conventional critique of his opponent as an ordinary politician, a “flip-flopper,” and, of course, a liberal.

On Saturday, though, McCain released a new television advertisement in which the announcer says that on his trip, Obama “made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.”

“John McCain is always there for our troops,” adds the announcer, before concluding with the campaign’s new slogan: “McCain, country first.”

The slogan’s inverse implication for his opponent was made clear earlier in the week, when McCain accused Obama of placing the his political ambitions before the national interest.

Read the rest

McCain’s shifts on Iraq

McCain slams Obama for not visiting troops, by showing him with the troops

Politico has the story:

McCain’s campaign didn’t have footage of Obama’s actual trip to the gym Wednesday in Germany, so for the portion of their new ad when they ding the Democrat for making time to work out they flash imagery of Obama shooting hoops.

The problem, as noted by many emailers, is that the shots are taken are from a gym on an American military post. That’s right, McCain’s camp went after Obama for ditching a trip to see wounded troops with images of Obama’s visit to see American military personnel stationed in Kuwait last weekend.

Good thing for McCain, the picture is too blurry to make clear Obama is with soldiers at the time.

So McCain has gotten so desperate he’ll now use the troops in an underhanded way to gain political points

McCain gaffes on Surge and Sunni awakening

McCain in an interview with Katie Couric stated:

COURIC: Sen. McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of US troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What’s your response to that? MCCAIN: I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history. Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn’t make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed.

They were out there. They were protecting these sheiks. We had the Anbar awakening. We now have a government that’s effective. We have a legal system that’s working, although poorly. And we have progress on all fronts. Including– an incredible measure of security for the people of Iraq. There will still be attacks. Al Qaeda’s not defeated. But the progress has been immense. And to not recognize that, and why it happened, and how it happened, I think is really quite a commentary.

However Macfarland said this on September 29th 2006, months before the surge:

With respect to the violence between the Sunnis and the al Qaeda — actually, I would disagree with the assessment that the al Qaeda have the upper hand. That was true earlier this year when some of the sheikhs began to step forward and some of the insurgent groups began to fight against al Qaeda. The insurgent groups, the nationalist groups, were pretty well beaten by al Qaeda.

This is a different phenomena that’s going on right now. I think that it’s not so much the insurgent groups that are fighting al Qaeda, it’s the — well, it used to be the fence-sitters, the tribal leaders, are stepping forward and cooperating with the Iraqi security forces against al Qaeda, and it’s had a very different result. I think al Qaeda has been pushed up against the ropes by this, and now they’re finding themselves trapped between the coalition and ISF on the one side, and the people on the other

McCain is allowed his own opinions on Iraq and the surge, but not his own facts

Maliki Supports Obama withdrawl plan

This is going to be bad for McCain

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

“U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”

It is the first time he has backed the withdrawal timetable put forward by Obama, who is visiting Afghanistan and us set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Obama has called for a shift away from a “single-minded” focus on Iraq and wants to pull out troops within 16 months, instead adding U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan.

Asked if he supported Obama’s ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.

“Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”

Maliki, who is due to visit Germany this week, has suggested a timetable should be set for a U.S. withdrawal but U.S. officials have been more cautious, despite an improving security situation.

The White House said on Friday President George W. Bush and Maliki had agreed that a security deal under negotiation should set a “time horizon” for meeting “aspirational goals” for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq.

“The Americans have found it difficult to agree on a concrete timetable for the exit because it seems like an admission of defeat to them. But it isn’t,” Maliki told Der Spiegel.