For the Record:
Barack Obama on the War

March 12, 2007

Barack Obama is running for President and advertising himself as an anti-war candidate.

But the facts tell a different story.

Since becoming a Senator in 2005, Obama has voted to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on every occasion, including at least 3 major funding bills (see below).

Furthermore, in a series of recent speeches and a bill introduced in the Senate ("Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007"), Obama completely rejects the demand "U.S. troops, Out of Iraq, Now!" Obama's homepage summarizes his bill, introduced in the Senate on January 30, 2007: "a phased redeployment of U.S. troops . . . a residual U.S. presence may remain in Iraq for force protection, training of Iraqi security forces, and pursuit of international terrorists . . . troops should be redeployed . . . to Afghanistan and to other points in the region."

In a major policy speech on November 20, 2006 at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Obama further elaborates his plan, underlining that "U.S. forces might remain in Iraq for a more extended period of time . . . dedicated to the critical, but less visible roles, of protecting logistics supply points, critical infrastructure, and American enclaves like the Green Zone, as well as acting as a rapid reaction force to respond to emergencies and go after terrorists."

Obama further insists that any "drawdown" or "redeployment" of U.S. troops in Iraq should be used to escalate the so-called "war on terrorism" in other places. Obama writes: "drawing down our troops in Iraq will allow us to redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq and elsewhere in the region as an over-the-horizon force. . . . Perhaps most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan. . . By redeploying from Iraq to Afghanistan, we will answer NATO's call for more troops and provide a much-needed boost to this critical fight against terrorism."

How many troops would be "redeployed" and how many would remain in Iraq? Obama himself avoids giving specific numbers but he repeatedly emphasizes that his plan would implement the "recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group" which issued a report last December. The Iraq Study Group was built on the idea of a long-term occupation of Iraq by 70,000 U.S. troops.

Even Obama's promise for a partial "redeployment" of troops turns out to be empty. While promising out of one side of his mouth, Obama, provides a loophole, out of the other side. Obama's bill allows for the "suspension of the redeployment . . . if the Iraqis are successful in meeting the thirteen benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration."

No, Barack Obama's plan for Iraq is not a program for peace. It is a plan for a long-term occupation and a protracted U.S. war against Iraq. It is a plan for escalating U.S. imperialism's so-called "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In short, Obama is a war-wolf in sheep's clothing. His empty promises and false advertisements aim only at diverting the American people's anti-war struggles and buying time for the warmakers to continue their occupation of Iraq.

Obama's Votes on the War