Town Square

Post a New Topic

Obama tried to stall Iraq withdrawal

Original post made by Sharon on Sep 15, 2008

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview. Web Link

Comments (35)

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 7:09 am

Ah yes. The New York Post.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:05 am


Did Obama Violate The Logan Act?

If memory serves, Taheri hasn't always panned out, but this certainly seems worth investigating further.

If this is true then Obama is in Big trouble.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:16 am

The next reporter who asks him a question, should make that question be:

Senator Obama, did you have conversations Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari? If so, did you discuss American troop withdrawls?

This is a very serious charge, and Obama should be given the opportunity to deny it.


Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:33 am

Ah yes, the latest "violation" by Obama as noted above.

Let's get this straight, it is forbidden for a US senator, who for example is visiting Iraq to discuss troop withdrawals with the Iraqi government? Who's law is that? The Sharons and Janes on this list?

Didn't McCain meet with Zebari the day before Obama? What did they talk about? Did Mccain violate the Sharon (Logan) Act?

Give me a break.


Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:37 am

BTw, here is a link to info on the Logan act:

Web Link

From that web page, the following below may be of interest:

"In 1975, Senators John Sparkman and George McGovern were accused of violating the Logan Act when they traveled to Cuba and met with officials there. In considering that case, the U.S. Department of State concluded:

The clear intent of this provision [Logan Act] is to prohibit unauthorized persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and foreign governments. Nothing in section 953 [Logan Act], however, would appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative duties under the Constitution. In the case of Senators McGovern and Sparkman the executive branch, although it did not in any way encourage the Senators to go to Cuba , was fully informed of the nature and purpose of their visit, and had validated their passports for travel to that country. Senator McGovern's report of his discussions with Cuban officials states: "I made it clear that I had no authority to negotiate on behalf of the United States — that I had come to listen and learn...." (Cuban Realities: May 1975, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., August 1975). Senator Sparkman's contacts with Cuban officials were conducted on a similar basis. The specific issues raised by the Senators (e.g., the Southern Airways case; Luis Tiant's desire to have his parents visit the United States) would, in any event, appear to fall within the second paragraph of Section 953. Accordingly, the Department does not consider the activities of Senators Sparkman and McGovern to be inconsistent with the stipulations of Section 953.[5]"


Give me a break, Sharon, with your "violation of the Logan act" shtick


Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

There is a nuanced view of Obama's position on Iraq deep in a detailed profile of General Petraeus in the last issue of the New Yorker: Web Link


Posted by Snooze, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 10:10 am

This is obviously a law with a lot of grey and mainly ignored. In fact Al Gore should have been hung up to dry on this one. (read here private citizen interfering with matters surrounding Kyoto) However Bo Gritz was not so lucky. As far as this being applied to Obama wont happen.

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 45 >
953. Private correspondence with foreign governments

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.


Posted by Left of Boom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2008 at 10:13 am

Left of Boom is a registered user.

Peter,

Thanks for the link to the New Yorker article. Much more informative than Sharon or whatever. Better to get past slogans and sound bites to real questions and answers from Petraeus and Obama.


Posted by bike, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 15, 2008 at 10:43 am



Re new Obama ads attacking McCains ads

Karl Rove Is a Genius

Rrom the Obama campaign:



"Even Karl Rove had to admit yesterday that the McCain campaign's lies and negative attacks have gone "too far.".........."




Karl Rove Is a Genius!

What's a better way to combat the Bush-third-term line than to have Rove attack you?
And in case you missed it, the Obama campaign is spreading the word on their dime!


Posted by tj, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

This is shocking, although, coming from Obama, not surprising. It's not just that he has tried, in private, to achieve the exact opposite result from the one he has advocated in public.
Worse, Obama has in effect tried to conduct his own foreign policy as a President-in-waiting, thereby undermining the actual foreign policy of the United States:

"Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

For Obama to engage in this kind of politically-motivated backstabbing of the United States government is deeply dishonorable. Moreover, as Taheri notes, Obama has a conflict of interest here: the United States wants our efforts in Iraq to succeed, but Obama wants--needs--for them to fail:

"Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive" war - that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America."

Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense.
To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.

So, if what Taheri says is right, Obama is carrying out his own foreign policy, in opposition not only to his own stated position on Iraq, but in opposition to the foreign policy of the United States, with a view toward bringing about failure, not success, in Iraq.
Nice.


Posted by Samuel, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm



This will be a great topic to discuss at the foreign policy debate (10/15/08 in Hempstead, NY).
If McCain wants to blow Obama out of the water, the ammunition is available.


Posted by Samuel, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 15, 2008 at 5:29 pm



What was it rev wright Obamas pastor said, some thing about chickens---------

Well something is roosting right now

McCain Responds to Obama's Reported Undermining of the Commander-In-Chief During Wartime Web Link

The McCain Campaign has issued a statement responding to the report from Amer Taheri that Sen. Obama secretly negotiated with the Iraqi government regarding U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
McCain spokesman Randy Scheunemann stated as follows:

"At this point, it is not yet clear what official American negotiations Senator Obama tried to undermine with Iraqi leaders, but the possibility of such actions is unprecedented.
It should be concerning to all that he reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power.
If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas.
Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq's Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting.
The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama's judgment and it demands an explanation."


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

This is nothing new or surprising.

Prosecuting "US Citizen interfering with the Administration's policies with other countries" stopped long ago..roughly just after Carter left office and started trying to undermine us.

Followed by Clinton after he left office.

Followed by several Senators ( Obama is just the latest) to travel to other countries and meet with leaders without Admin approval, in attempts to undermine Admin authority.

It seems to be standard practice now for Dems to go to foreign countries in order to undermine Republican Admins.

Even my French cousin has noticed how odd it is that we have former and current "leaders" and leader wannabes going around dissing our country abroad, and really thought it was odd that Obama was meeting with Sarkozy ( her words..he isn't elected yet! Why is Sarkozy meeting with him?.


Posted by hubris/nemesis, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm



At the very least we need a Senate Investigation into this matter to clear the air of all legitimate charges of sedition and treason by Obama.

Unfortunately that will put him in deposition and hearings for the next 3 months, but he must clear these allegations otherwise he will not only loose his Senate seat but also face felony charges, loss of law credentials and 3 years in state prison.


Posted by Shocked, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Just when it seemed McCain couldn't sink any lower. He has no shame....



Posted by Tom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2008 at 6:55 pm

With respect to the American peoples interests, what is a minimally acceptable end game in Iraq?
"Here is the truth: fighting a war without end will not force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. And fighting in a war without end will not make the American people safer.

So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on day one: I will end this war. Not because politics compels it. Not because our troops cannot bear the burden- as heavy as it is. But because it is the right thing to do for our national security, and it will ultimately make us safer."

—Barack Obama, Clinton, Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 19, 2008

Then when confronting the truth of the matter Obama says this:

Under the Obama plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. He will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.

Mr. Obama what is the military to do? Stay at the Holiday Inn? What is interesting is under the Obama plan is EXACTLY what is happening right now today in Iraq.

Obama's style, side stepping the truth and claim the Bush plan as your own.

Holly Mackerel, what does this guy stand for? This is not change.

Perte fact check this: Web Link


Posted by Yikes, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Tom,

What are you trying to say?

There is no contradiction between the two statements. Yes, both Bush and McCain have been following Obama's lead on Iraq and Afghanistan for some time, but no they have not fully adopted his plan.

Holiday Inn? You seem a smidge confused.



Posted by might doesn't make right, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 16, 2008 at 12:23 am

uh, what about the troop redeployments to afghanistan; we're stuck now because of bush, but obama is lying through his teeth when he says he's going to bring the troops home and end the war. this is another flip from his original position. of course, his supporters say he's 'evolved' (probably after visiting iraq for the first time to gain 'experience')...and some say palin is challenged?


Posted by wow, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2008 at 6:17 am

Yikes....you honestly believe there is no difference between the 2 statements of Obama's? Wow.

Well, go vote for Obama and have fun with the fall out!

The older I get, the more I realize we need to RAISE the voting age until the brain finishes developing. Say, 23?

And, while we are at it, only those who take no money from others ( governnment checks and subisdies) would be allowed to vote, to stop this insanity of wolves and sheep voting on what they will have for dinner.


We had better do it soon before there are more wolves than sheep in this country.


Posted by Bush and McCain are following OBAMA's plan???, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2008 at 6:21 am

I crack up when I read this stuff. I almost think that it has to be a joke, but I know that there are some people who REALLY believe this. It is like saying Bush has been following Pelosi's plans for the last 2 years, when Congress finally gives in and does something.

Next thing you know, it will be that McCain is following Obama's lead on oil drilling.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 16, 2008 at 10:07 am

Obama and Negotiating with Iraq

I am against invoking the Logan Act regarding Obama's alleged negotiations with Iraqi officials.
I think, that the matter should be handled politically, i.e., the McCain campaign should draw voters' attention to it and let it be a factor in the electoral process.

If what Taheri claims is true, however, Obama's actions are of sufficient gravity that more formal, albeit still political, actions are indicated.
At minimum, the Senate should consider investigating the allegations (heck, Congress doesn't seem to have any hesitation investigating the likes of Blackwater, Halliburton, etc for alleged transgressions of arguably lesser magnitude), not with an eye toward impeachment or even censure, but to
1) verify the claims,
2) determine the extent to which U.S. interests may have been compromised, and
3) suggest appropriate remedial action.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

Yikes, a resident of the Fairmeadow are you saying?

Don't confuse me with facts I have already made my mind up for the BHO!

One more thing silly, Obama said this as well:
1) Issues are never simple. One thing I'm proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues. (MSNBC interview, Sep 25, 2006)
2) Why can't I just eat my waffle? (April 21, 2008, SCRANTON, Pa )
Barack Obama


Posted by Yikes, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

Tom,

I was politely pointing out that you have a reading problem or a thinking problem.

There is no contradiction between the statements.

Bush,

Yes, it would be funny if it weren't so serious.

Just a fer instance: Obama said months ago that the U.S. should pursue Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Bin Laden into Pakistan and not ask permission from Pakistan. McCain immediately shot his mouth off about how dumb that would be, though Bush kept his shut.

By July, Bush decided to take Obama's advice and issued a directive (which led to the recent incursion by the SEALs). I haven't heard a McCain statement on the issue, but an honest response would be to admit how stupid he'd been (when he first reacted) and to concede he has a poor understanding of foreign policy, Iraq, and war in general.



Posted by Tom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:40 am

OBAMA
1) Here is the truth: fighting a war without end will not force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. And fighting in a war without end will not make the American people safer.

2) So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on day one: I will end this war.

3) Contrast to Obama's statement which directly in line with the Bush Doctrine. ..force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel."

Yikes you absolutely know nothing about SOC and/or whatever they are up to.
So until you do here a little primer. LMAO (recent?) Web Link



Posted by Yikes, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:56 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Tom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:21 pm

This morning I noticed that one of Obama's surrogates absolutely denied that Obama had tried to interfere and extend troop deployments. He said that the source of this is an ideologue, and is telling a complete lie.

The question is: Who is telling the truth? There is no grey zone on this one.


Posted by The Post reports, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Why is there no gray zone on this one, Gary?
Clearly, on ehas to read the Post article (for what' sit worth) and see what Obama supposedly said, in what context he said and the reasons for it.
there are plenty of gray zones in this one.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

The Post,

"According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview."

If that statement is true, it is damning of Obama. There is NO grey zone on that one. He does not run foreign policy, the president does.

It is either a true or false statement.


Posted by spelling, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2008 at 1:58 pm


I agree with Janes post
"At minimum, the Senate should consider investigating the allegations (heck, Congress doesn't seem to have any hesitation investigating the likes of Blackwater, Halliburton, etc for alleged transgressions of arguably lesser magnitude), not with an eye toward impeachment or even censure, but to

1) verify the claims,

2) determine the extent to which U.S. interests may have been compromised, and

3) suggest appropriate remedial action."


The thing I am more concerned with is that Obama does not know that congress has no authority to do anything when it comes to troop withdrawals.
That is the President's decision and congress cannot approve or disapprove.
It is in the constitution, the Executive branch has authority for defense action, the legislative branch writes and passes laws. Congress has no authority to negotiate troop withdrawal or anything else regarding military operations.
Isn't Obama a Constitutional lawyer?
Didn't he teach Constitutional law?
Boy, that is scary, isn't it.
And he says Palin has no experience in foreign and defense affairs.



Posted by The Post reports, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Doesn't congress vote on defense budgets? Isn't that different from writing and passing laws?
But isn't the real issue how the Obama bashers are trying to misinterpret what Obama said (the other question is how honest is Zebari and the Post reporter) in order to castigate Obama for another "transgression".
If it is such a major issue contact your congressperson to complain


Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2008 at 3:29 pm

This is another example of not checking the veracity of sources. Taheri is known for his unreliability. This post from Talking Points Memo explains, I believe, what the problem is:Web Link

There are two different agreements, one is the long-term Status of Forces agreement, which Obama has consistently maintained should be submitted to the Congress so the American people would have a voice, the other is a shorter-term pact for the drawdown of troops. He has never claimed that the drawdown be delayed or in negotiations to reduce troop presence.

Obama has consistently called for a timetable to drawdown the troops in Iraq and redeploy some to Afganistan.

Taheri is the guy who wrote a 2006 story that the Iranians were forcing Jews to wear yellow stripes raising specters of Nazi Germany. The story was debunked and publications that had run the piece repudiated it.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Peter,

I agree...we need to know if this story is true or false.

It seems to me that a cub reporter, preferably Iraqi, wanting to make his spurs, could simply ask Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari if it is true or not.

Fair enough?


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm



Why doesn't obama give a forthright answer to this issue?

He either did what is alleged or he did not.

If he did then the Senate needs to investigate ASAP, if he claims he did not then he needs statements from the relevant Iraqi officials to prove that the allegations are false.

This issue is orders of magnitude more serious than Sarah's " Tasergate" allegations


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2008 at 3:11 am

Looks like the Obama campaign did respond to it. It's not in their interest to draw this out.

Sounds like a mountain out of a molehill--basically hearsay single-sourced by an excitable "journalist" with an agenda.

It's not going anywhere without something a lot more solid. Particularly not with the Wall Street meltdown.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

To post your comment, please click here to login

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 21 comments | 3,361 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 23 comments | 2,205 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 1,919 views

PAUSD Leadership Challenges
By Paul Losch | 23 comments | 1,700 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,094 views