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July 02, 2008

Obama Adviser Lake: Oh Yeah, About That Withdrawal -- Just Kiddin'

Although some, maybe many, predicted this, I didn't buy it. Reneging on the core promise of a campaign that was, at its heart, about who would promise to withdraw from Iraq in the most irresponsible way promise seemed like a flip-flop too far.

I was wrong.

Mr Lake depicted the ­Democratic candidate as a tough-minded realist rather than an anti-war politician. “When I joined the campaign, I remember asking someone at the very beginning: ‘Is this a protest campaign or a presidential campaign?’” he said, before insisting that the answer was clearly the latter.

He stressed that Mr Obama, even after withdrawing troops from Iraq over 16 months as he has promised, would maintain “a residual presence for clearly defined missions”. These would include military training, and “preparedness to go back in if there are specific acts of genocidal violence”.

“That is not ‘cut and run and let’s just see what happens’,” Mr Lake said. “It seems to me a very responsible strategy.”

Highlighting a parallel with his first posting as assistant to Henry Cabot Lodge, a US ambassador in 1960s Saigon, he said: “It is common sense that we could not leave Vietnam successfully unless we left behind a government in Saigon that could govern successfully.

“It seems obvious in retrospect; it was not obvious enough to too many politicians at the time. In Iraq it’s the same problem.”

So an immediate withdrawal has become a 16-month draw down, with troops left behind in case of trouble. (For how long? Maybe 50 years? Why not 100?) Obama will re-invade the country if "specific acts" of genocide occur. (What the hell does that mean?)

And, of course -- just like in Vietnam (of all places), we can't leave until we leave behind a stable, functioning government.

Prepare for the welter of praise for Obama -- he's flip-flopped his Iraq policy to more resemble John McCain's.

You know who also has an Iraq policy that resembles John McCain's? John McCain. And yet that policy gives Chris Matthews no thrill up the leg, nor does it send Andrew Sullivan into epileptic fits.

Two more flip-flops occur in the same interview -- double-back reversals on preconditions on sit-downs with Ahmadinejad (no preconditions, again) and he's against the McCain-proposed "League of Democracies" again, which Ed Morrissey says he had just endorsed Monday.

I'll take his word for it. I can't keep up with Obama's "re-calibrations" anymore.

Are those flip-flop-flips designed to console the left about his Iraq flip-flop? I don't know. I don't know if Obama's even thinking that much about it.

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posted by Ace at 09:59 AM

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