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