Protesters Say Obama’s Not an Anti-War Candidate
August 29, 2008 - 3:52 AMSen. Barack Obama claims to be an anti-war candidate, but he's not, protesters complained.
Giovanni Jackson, spokesman for the San Francisco-based grassroots group The World Can’t Wait, told CNSNews.com that Obama would not remove all troops from Iraq, would increase the troop presence in Afghanistan and has a record of supporting U.S. military aggression around the world.
“Obama claims to be an anti-war candidate when he really is just a new face on the war on terror that Bush has locked into place,” Jackson said. “He's pledged pre-emptive war on Iran and on Pakistan. He's not an anti-war candidate. He's pledged 14,000 more troops to the war in Afghanistan … and wants to keep 80,000 troops in Iraq.”
In his acceptance speech Thursday night, Obama noted that he “stood up and opposed” the war in Iraq from the very beginning -- but “I argued for more resources and troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.”
Obama also mentioned that he’s called for a “time frame” to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.
“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he said, but he didn’t give a time frame in his acceptance speech.
However, Obama previously has said that he would pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and send more troops to Afghanistan.
In a July 14 op-ed in the New York Times, Obama mentioned removing most U.S. troops from Iraq over a 16-month period (by the summer of 2010, he said). He said a “residual force” would remain behind to mop up al-Qaeda remnants, protect Americans in Iraq, and train Iraqi security forces. “That would not be a precipitous withdrawal,” he said.
At the same time, Obama wrote in the op-ed, “we need more troops” in Afghanistan. He has said that as president, he would send two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan -- a fact repeated Wednesday night by Sen. Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate.
As CNSNews.com reported earlier, the Democratic platform includes a statement saying the party is committed to increasing the U.S. troops in Afghanistan while drawing down, but not completely removing, U.S. troops from Iraq. (See earlier story)