Samantha Power: Obama’s Withdrawal Plan is “Best Case Scenario”

by Sean Hackbarth

Samantha Power

If Samatha Power didn’t resign because she called Sen. Clinton a “monster” her comments on Sen. Obama’s Iraqi withdrawal promise on a U.K. television show likely would have forced her to leave. Like Obama’s NAFTA talk foreign leaders should not take his words on an Iraq withdrawal literally [emphasis mine]:

STEPHEN SACKUR: Let me stop you just for a moment. You said that he’ll revisit it when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn’t a commitment isn’t it?

POWER: You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.

He will rely upon a plan, an operational plan that he pulls together, in consultation with people who are on the ground, to whom he doesn’t have daily access now as a result of not being the president.

So to think, I mean it would be the height of ideology, you know, to sort of say, well I said it therefore I’m going to impose it on whatever reality entreats me –

SACKUR: Ok, so the 16 months is negotiable?

POWER: It’s the best case scenario

It’s the best case scenario

POWER: It is –

SACKUR: And of course in Iraq we’ve never seen best case scenario

POWER: We have never seen best case scenario

SACKUR: So we needn’t necessarily take it seriously at all.

POWER: What we can take seriously is that he will try to get US forces out as quickly and as responsibly as possible. And that’s the best case, estimate of what it would take.

Those words won’t please the anti-war voters backing Obama.

Power’s words are a far cry from the promise on Obama’s website [again emphasis mine]:

Bringing Our Troops Home

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

Power was giving her candidate some wiggle room he wasn’t asking for. Last September, Obama didn’t tell Iowa voters about a “best case scenerio,”

“Let me be clear: There is no military solution in Iraq and there never was,” Obama said in excerpts of the speech provided to The Associated Press.

“The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year — now,” the Illinois senator says.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters, “He offered a withdrawal plan over a year ago….It’s something that is a rock-solid commitment.” Someone forgot to tell one of the primary foreign policy adviser who presumably had plenty of input in developing the plan.

Shhh! Did you hear that? That’s the sound of air leaving Obama’s authenticity balloon. Power was more authentic (and realistic) than the guy she was advising.

[via memeorandum]
[picture via jurvetson]

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19 Responses to “Samantha Power: Obama’s Withdrawal Plan is “Best Case Scenario””

1

Pffff.

The realist in me never thought the reality would be anything but. Casting it as a best-case scenario only makes sense. Another non-story.

2

It’s not a “non-story” since it contradicts Obama’s “authentic” rhetoric. I’d like the candidate to answer whether it’s “best-case” or “rock-solid.”

3

I’d like the candidate to answer whether it’s “best-case” or “rock-solid.”

It’s whatever turns out to be the best solution. If the “new politics” is anything, it’s a return to a time when we understood that changing your mind in response to new information was what reasonable people did, not an excuse to play “gotcha.”

4

What’s the new information? It’s plain as day Power was living in the real world while Obama plays the old-school politician saying what’s needed to win the nomination.

I’m impressed. He’s been so up-front about it. That’s audacity.

5

What’s the new information?

What the commanders on the ground have to tell a President that they don’t, typically, tell presidential candidates. Weren’t you listening?

6

[...] Samantha Power, formerly Barack Obama’s top foreign policy adviser, said something stupid about Hillary Clinton. She called her a monster. You don’t do that. Especially not if you want to convince people that you’re all about a ‘new kind of politics,’ one in which the tone is civil, etc. Therefore she should have been forced to quit. And she did quit. But there’s something else she said that doesn’t nearly get the amount of attention it deserves: it seems that Obama isn’t just playing games when talking about NAFTA. Iraq’s also up for negotiations. [...]

7

I watched her on BBC and could not help but think, she’s brilliant. She’s sane, rational and realistic. Obama will undoubtedly have her in his administration.

As for this non-story, it’s just that. The candidate articulates positions, the reality is what you find once elected. She mentioned that one could not make a final judgment now in light of how much would change between now and January. That’s logical, reasonable and certainly not something that would have resulted in her firing. Reasonable people would find this refreshing and honest rather than the Republican approach which we’ve seen for year – you don’t change anything, adjust to new realities, just barge straight ahead with ill-advised policies for fear of appearing to flip-flop. Power shows a maturity about these matters that only Colin Powell had during the Bush years. And we saw what happened to him.

8

It’s not a “non-story” since it contradicts Obama’s “authentic” rhetoric. I’d like the candidate to answer whether it’s “best-case” or “rock-solid.”

Pfffff. If Obama went into all these details during his speeches, Republicans like y’all would be criticizing him as being “too nuanced” like John Kerry. I find your take on this disingenuous.

NAPatriot–right on. Can’t add much more to what you said.

9

Thanks DJ. Power is an extraordinary talent and Obama knows it. She’ll be back and we’ll all be better off for it, even Republicans.

10

[...] The transcript below from The American Mind: STEPHEN SACKUR: Let me stop you just for a moment. You said that he’ll revisit it when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn’t a commitment isn’t it? [...]

11

>>>Reasonable people would find this refreshing and honest rather than the Republican approach which we’ve seen for year – you don’t change anything, adjust to new realities, just barge straight ahead with ill-advised policies for fear of appearing to flip-flop.

What load of crap.

The surge worked, the Iraqi government is gaining cohesion and strength, Iraqi security forces are vastly improved and continually taking on more autonomous roles, infrastructure is returning, oil output is up, economies are growing.

Power simply parroted a game plan which has been a basic military strategy: Responding to the situation on the ground.

Too bad Oba-wan hisself can’t understand this simple concept.

But to suggest Obamamama doesn’t have access to info on existing conditions is ludicrous. It is his being beholden to the leftnuts that is the his problem. His introduction last year of legislation to have all troops pulled by THIS spring and his current insane “Pull Out Now but Return” policy clearly demonstrates that he should not be allowed anywhere near the role of commander-in-chief.

12

The surge worked

Sorry, but there’s absolutely nobody serious who thinks this is true. The surge was a manifest failure from day one, not a single political objective was accomplished and no indication of future success is on the horizon.

Just more US deaths.

infrastructure is returning

There’s less electricity, in less hours per day, in less areas of Iraq than there was the day after the invasion. Are you ever going to start saying things that are true, MjM?

13

[...] (transcript from american mind) [...]

14

Samantha Powers was pushed out of the picture for telling the truth that Barack Obama knows would alienate him from base of the Democratic Party, which is solidly anti-war. So he pretends to be a dove on Iraq for the campaign, hoping most people won’t read his article in Foreign Affairs, realize he intends to leave the mercenaries in Iraq, as well as troops to guard US installations, fight Jihadists, and be ready for emergencies.

Furthermore, Obama is a hawk on all other aspects of US foreign policy, which most voters don’t know or care little, such as expanding the military, initiating national service, esclating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, aligning with the Likud in Israel, selling weapons all over the Middle East,and maintaining a vast network of foreign bases and fleets.

Obama’s anti-war supporters should get ready for the move to the right if he becomes the next President or returns to the Senate. Woodrow Wilson did it, LBJ did it, and so did W.

15

[...] Earlier this month, Power told a U.K. television audience Obama’s promise of pulling out U.S. troops in 16 months was a “best case scenario.” I think speaking that truth was the real reason Power left Obama’s campaign. [...]

16

[...] Malley was no Samantha Power who traveled around the country as a surrogate for Obama. [...]

17

[...] That’s not the only thing confusing about Obama’s foreign policy. He’ll talk with Iran, a state sponsor or terrorism but not Hamas. Then there’s Sarah Power’s truth telling that Obama’s planned Iraq pull out was a “best case scenario.” For Obama when talking about “hope” and “change” such details as consistency isn’t as important. [...]

18

[...] Obama’s “superior judgment” rests on being against the Iraq War from the start. Ok, but that’s not the problem facing the next President. What to do with Iraq is. Obama says he’ll pull out all troops within 16 months while his former adviser Samantha Power (who might be part of an Obama administration) has said that’s a “best case scenario.” Voters should know which path a President Obama would take. [...]

19

[...] In the case of Iraq Samantha Power was more accurate than her ex-boss. In her infamous U.K. interview she said: You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator. [...]

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