Barack Obama/National Security and Foreign Policy
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|This article is part of the Wiki-The-Vote project to detail the positions and records of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. This article covers Obama and National Security and Foreign Policy. See the main page on Barack Obama for other positions and more info.|
|Summary (how summaries work)|
President Barack Obama was against Iraq invasion from the beginning. He vote against the Iraq war when he was a senator from Illinois. Obama called on Bush administration many time to end this war and bring our troops back home. He promised the nation during his campaign for the white house that he will end the Iraq war and bring the Troops back hoe in sixteen months.
Barack Obama opposed the Iraq War even before it began in 2002, though he hedged that opposition during the 2004 election, when the Democratic ticket had voted for the war. In 2007, Obama introduced a bill to remove most troops from Iraq within 16 months, a position he continues to hold, though an advisor has referred to this as a "best case scenario." Obama has a mixed record on Democratic attempts to end the war by defunding it - he has spoken against the tactic but also voted at least once against a bill containing further funding.
Veterans and soldiers conditions
In the wake of the Walter Reed scandal, Obama introduced legislation increasing standards of care and oversight of VA programs.
Barack Obama advocates a system of government that provides terrorists with maximum protection, while at the same time prosecuting Navy Seals for capturing a Most-Wanted terrorist. Obama wants to put CIA agents on trial while giving terrorists Miranda rights.
Obama has called on the Bush administration to support a UN or NATO force in Darfur, increase pressure on Sudan to share power in Darfur, put pressure on nations supporting Sudan, and impose sanctions on Sudan.
In 2002, Obama opposed the war. Obama was an early opponent of Bush administration policies on Iraq, when many Democratic leaders supported the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which allowed the Iraq War. At the time, Obama was not yet in the U.S. Senate and was therefore unable to vote on the resolution. On October 2, 2002, the day George W. Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally and said, "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars... You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a Homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings."
In 2004, Obama hedged his opposition to the war during the U.S. presidential campaign. During a July 2004 interview reported by the New York Times when asked how he would have acted in regard to the Iraq War resolution in 2003, Obama answered, "What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case [against invading Iraq] was not made" and that he was "not privy to Senate Intelligence reports," using it as a reason to support John Kerry and John Edwards in the 2004 election. Obama defended his words on a later edition of Meet the Press saying that he made the statement because it was during the middle of an election in which his party's presidential nominees had both voted to authorize the war and noting his strong early opposition to the war.
Obama has basically urged a withdrawal of American troops: Speaking before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in November 2006, he said: "The days of using the War on terror as a political football are over... It is time to give Iraqis their country back, and it is time to refocus America's efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won." In his speech Obama also called for a phased withdrawal of American troops starting in 2007, and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran.
A few months later, on January 30, 2007, Obama introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 into Congress. Among other things, the Act calls for capping the level of troops in Iraq at January 2007 levels, and for commencing a phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq "with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008, a date consistent with the expectation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Announcing the Act on the Senate floor, Obama stated that "no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war."
Obama has not, however, supported using "hard ball" tactics to end the war: Obama has not supported cutting funding to the war as a way to end U.S. involvement in the conflict. He stated that, "Once we were in, we were going to have some responsibility to try to make it work as best we can".
Several days later, following initial Senate passage of an Iraq supplemental spending bill which included a provision for troop withdrawal and President Bush's veto threat, Obama said he expected the Senate to pass an Iraq Appropriations bill without provisions for withdrawal if President Bush Vetoes the current bill. "My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course... I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage," he said. However, Obama was also one of 14 senators who voted against the successful passage of H.R.2206 in May 2007, a bill meant to provide continued funding for the Iraq war free from withdrawal deadlines that had been previously passed by the House.
- Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007 (H.R.1591)
- Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007
Despite Obama's sponsoring of a bill in 2007 that would withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months, (now former) Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power told the press on March 6, 2008 that having "all [US] combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months" was a "best case scenario" that "he will revisit when he becomes president." She continued, saying that "what we can take seriously is that he will try to get US forces out of Iraq as quickly and responsibly as possible."
On February 11, 2007, the day after Obama announced his candidacy, Australian Prime Minister John Howard criticized this plan saying that, if he were a terrorist, he "would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.” Obama responded to this criticism by suggesting that, if Howard was so adamant about his support for the Iraq troop increase, then he should "call up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq," a reference to Australia's comparatively small troop committment (1,000 troops at the time) and President Bush's proposed troop surge in Iraq. He further suggested that Howard's support of the current policy and criticism of his proposal was otherwise a "bunch of empty rhetoric." 
Veterans and soldier conditions issues
Improvement of conditions at Walter Reed
In February 2007, after the Washington Post reported about the "neglected" state of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a major hospital for the recovery of military veterans, Obama and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sponsored a bill that would "improve the lives of recovering veterans" at that facility. Called the Wounded Warriors Act, the bill would mandate standards of care and facilities for wounded soldiers. It would create a congressionally appointed Wounded Warrior Oversight Board, a 24-hour bilingual hotline, employment protections for caregiver family members and a zero-tolerance for pest infestations at recovery facilities. The bill was introduced in the wake of public furor over a series in the Washington Post detailing squalid conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
- Main article: U.S. veterans and soldiers legislation
Foreign aid and policy issues
On December 27, 2005 Obama and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) penned an op-ed calling for a new policy focus on the strife in Darfur. They offered up four points to fix the crisis to the Bush Administration:
- "It has become clear that a U.N.- or NATO-led force is required, and the administration must use diplomacy to override Chinese and Sudanese opposition to such a force and persuade outside troops to join it."
- Put pressure on the rebels and "enlist Sudan's allies to increase the pressure on Khartoum to share power and resources."
- Put "additional pressure on key nations -- Chad, Eritrea and Libya -- to stop playing a destructive role in the conflict."
- Support the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, "which would impose targeted sanctions on the leading perpetrators of the genocide."
National security and defense
Articles and resources
- Barack Obama
- Barack Obama/Economic Policy
- Barack Obama/Education Policy
- Barack Obama/Elections and Government Policy
- Barack Obama/Energy and Environment Policy
- Barack Obama/Food and Agriculture Policy
- Barack Obama/Health Policy
- Barack Obama/Infrastructure and Transportation Policy
- Barack Obama/Labor, Immigration and Retirement Policy
- Barack Obama/Rights, Liberties and Courts Policy
- Barack Obama/Communications, Science and Intellectual Property
- Barack Obama/Social Policy
- Barack Obama/Controversies
- John McCain
- John McCain/Economic Policy
- John McCain/Education Policy
- John McCain/Elections and Government Policy
- John McCain/Energy and Environment Policy
- John McCain/Food and Agriculture Policy
- John McCain/Health Policy
- John McCain/Infrastructure and Transportation Policy
- John McCain/Labor, Immigration and Retirement Policy
- John McCain/National Security and Foreign Policy
- John McCain/Rights, Liberties and Courts Policy
- John McCain/Communications, Science and Intellectual Property
- John McCain/Social Policy
- John McCain/Controversies
- ↑ Barack Obama, "Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama Against Going to War with Iraq," Oct. 2, 2002.
- ↑ Obama and Iraq - Fact Checker
- ↑ MTP transcript for Nov. 11, 2007 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com.
- ↑ Barack Obama, "A Way Forward in Iraq," speech before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Nov. 20, 2006. Also available in text and video at Obama 2010 Re-Election Campaign.
- ↑  Obama introduces Iraq Bill
- ↑ Obama Calls For Withdrawal Of All Troops From Iraq By March 2008
- ↑ Floor Statement on Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007. 30 January 2007 at Barack Obama: US Senator for Illinois.
- ↑ "Obama Changed Position on War Funding," ABC News, Mar. 21, 2007.
- ↑ OpenCongress page on H.R.2206.
- ↑ Obama's website on Iraq BarackObama.com.
- ↑ "Samantha Power," BBC's HARDtalk, Mar. 6, 2008.
- ↑ Barack Obama and Sam Brownback, "Policy Adrift on Darfur," Washington Post, December 27, 2005.
- Project Vote Smart's database of Obama's interest group ratings, Obama's important votes, McCain's important votes and McCain's interest group ratings.