Election Issues

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Jerome Delay/AP

Election Issues: Iraq War

July 26, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Barack Obama has made his opposition to the Iraq War a signature of his campaign, while John McCain advocates maintaining a presence abroad until Iraq is capable of governing itself. Learn more about their conflicting stances in findingDulcinea’s survey of the key issues in the November election.

Obama’s Timetable for Withdrawal

Barack Obama plans to withdraw all American combat brigades within 16 months of his inauguration. He believes that the United States should discuss the process of its drawdown with the Iraqi government, removing troops from secure areas first and volatile regions second. He plans to help secure Iraq’s borders, support its unity, and isolate al-Qaida, but emphasizes that U.S. withdrawal will proceed at an aggressive pace because “The future of our military, our foreign policy, and our national purpose cannot be hostage to the inaction of the Iraqi government.”
In a speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 20, 2008, Senator Obama announced plans to put pressure on Iraqi leaders to reach national reconciliation. He stated that the United States would facilitate this by engaging the United Nations and launching humanitarian initiatives to support the Iraqi people and refugees. Following deployment, Obama proposes leaving only enough troops in Iraq to protect the U.S. Embassy, and establishing a counterterrorism base to combat al-Qaida.

McCain Seeks Victory

John McCain believes that American troops should stay in Iraq until the American mission is achieved. He seeks to distance himself from the Bush administration by highlighting his criticisms of its management of the U.S. presence in Iraq. He is also a strong supporter of the recent surge of American troops and the diminished violence that resulted.
In a speech given in Columbus, Ohio, in March, Senator McCain envisions that the Iraq War will be won by the end of his first term as President. “Iraq is a functioning democracy ... Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent.” He predicts that by January 2013 Osama Bin laden will be captured or killed, al-Qaida will be defeated, and the United States will be “well on the way to independence from foreign sources of oil.”

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