Now that Obama has finally made his so-called fact-finding trip to Iraq, we find that it was too audacious to expect the antiwar champion of the liberal/progressive left to keep an open mind.
Obama's closed-minded opposition to the surge and support for a firm an arbitrary time table for the withdrawal of troops hasn't changed. When asked if knowing what he knows now, he would support the surge, Obama said no.
On ABC's World News, Obama told Terry Moran that, despite the progress that has occurred in Iraq, he would not have supported the surge:
Moran: "'[T]he surge of U.S. troops, combined with ordinary Iraqis' rejection of both al Qaeda and Shiite extremists have transformed the country. Attacks are down more than 80% nationwide. U.S. combat casualties have plummeted, five this month so far, compared with 78 last July, and Baghdad has a pulse again.' If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you -- would you support the surge?"
Obama: "No, because -- keep in mind that -"
Moran: "You wouldn't?"
Obama: "Well, no, keep -- these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult . Hindsight is 20/20. I think what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate, because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with." Moran: "And so, when pressed, Barack Obama says he still would have opposed the surge."
We were warned. Obama made it clear, before he left on his fact-finding trip, that as far as he was concerned the facts were already found.
The Washington Post blasted Obama's "Iron Timetable":
Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.
[. . .]
Mr. Obama reiterated yesterday that he would consult with U.S. commanders and the Iraqi government and "make tactical adjustments as we implement this strategy." However, as Mr. McCain quickly pointed out, he delivered his speech before traveling to Iraq -- before his meetings with Gen. David H. Petraeus and the Iraqi leadership. American commanders will probably tell Mr. Obama that from a logistical standpoint, a 16-month withdrawal timetable will be difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill. Iraqis will say that a pullout that is not negotiated with the government and disregards the readiness of Iraqi troops will be a gift to al-Qaeda and other enemies. If Mr. Obama really intends to listen to such advisers, why would he lock in his position in advance?
The Wall Street Journal didn't think much of Obama's rigid timetable for withdrawal either:
"Mr. Obama does promise to 'consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government' in implementing his plans. But he would have shown more sincerity on this score had he postponed Tuesday's address until after he visited Iraq and had a chance to speak with those generals and Iraqis."
[. . .]
"To say you're going to get out on a certain schedule - regardless of what the Iraqis do, regardless of what our enemies do, regardless of what is happening on the ground - is the height of absurdity."
Obama spokesmen now say everyone knew that President Bush's troop surge would create more security. This is blatantly false: Obama said in early 2007 that nothing in the surge plan would "make a significant dent in the sectarian violence," and the new strategy would "not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly." He referred to the surge derisively as "baby-sit[ting] a civil war."
And even though Obama claimed he would listen to the commanders in the field, Obama does not, or does not want to, hear when General Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen and even former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers say withdrawal of U.S. forces must be based upon conditions on the ground, not some arbitrary and politically expedient time table.