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Obama website's opposition to successful surge gets deleted

A funny thing happened over on the Barack Obama campaign website in the last few days.

The parts that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared. John McCain and Obama have been going at it heavily in recent days over the benefits of the surge.

The Arizona senator, who advocated the surge for years before the Bush administration employed it, says the resulting reduction in violence is proof it worked with progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks and Obama's plan to withdraw troops by now would have resulted in surrender.

When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse,"  a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.

Tuesday, while Obama gave a speech on foreign policy, the New York Daily News was the first to notice the removal of parts of Obama's campaign site listing the Iraq troop surge as part of "The Problem." An Obama spokeswoman said it was just part of an "update" to "reflect changes in current events," as our colleague Frank James notes in the Swamp. The update includes a new section on the rise of Al Qaeda violence in Afghanistan.

But some might see the updating as part of Obama's skip to the political center now that he's secured the Democratic nomination. "Today," McCain said Tuesday, "we know Sen. Obama was wrong" to oppose the troop surge.

An old quote of Obama's criticizing the "rash war," which helped him with the left wing of his party and helped differentiate his stand from that of Sen. Hillary Clinton, a primary opponent who voted for the use of force in Iraq, has been replaced on his site by one saying that ending the Iraq war will make America safer. That's more of a general election message.

And hat tip to the folks over at the Wake Up America blog for their continuing trenchant analyses of the summer campaigns in general and, specifically, for highlighting the video below that contrasts Obama's pre-surge position with a more recent interview of David Axelrod, his chief campaign strategist, denying Obama's statements. A reminder of how carefully voters must listen during these last four campaign months.

--Andrew Malcolm

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I'm glad someone's paying attention, Mr. Malcolm, because it seems John Q. Public is asleep at the wheel.

Wake Up America + hat tip indeed...

is this the real change he has been talking about?

Okay, it looks like Axelrod was wrong. Doesn't mean Obama himself has been inconsistent, although I understand it's Axelrod's job to speak for Obama. Unfortunately I'm not part of the <1% of the American public who actually knows enough about the situation in Iraq to say whether the "surge" was worthwhile or not. I do expect, though, that Obama will end the war sooner than McCain, and will be generally less belligerent and more alliance-building in his foreign policy, which would mean a much better world for everyone.

Your continual bashing of Obama on matters of such little importance as the difference between stating that the war is a mistake, the surge is a mistake, and the surge won't tamp down violence versus the war is a mistake, the surge is a mistake, and the surge won't lead to meaningful political solutions is so desperate it makes the LA Times look foolish for publishing it. I mean, really.

Oh, and Wake up America? You're actually citing Wake up America? Did you actually do that?

First of all, our troops already won this war. We invaded Iraq, killed the leader and occupied the country. Second, 100's of thousands of insurgents, who were hostile and fighting against US troops, are being paid to be on our side. Therefore these gains would have happened whether there was a surge or not. When we stop paying these factions all these false gains will disappear.

I think we should deploy all our troops to Basra and take over the oil wells and start shipping the oil to the US to pay back the half a trillion dollars that Bush/Cheney said would be paid back by oil production profits in Iraq. Use this oil to reduce our gas prices causing our economy to drastically improve.

It seems that there are very good reasons as to why some people refer to Obama..

As "Osama"..

He's advocated surrender for a long time.. and now he has to suffer the consequence of his foolish "appeasement" philosophy.

Oh yes and he wants to talk with Iran too.. Not exactly the wisest thing when their leadership in the process of building nukes and openly stating their desire to eliminate the only real democracy in the region which is Israel.

He's a complete political and international affairs newbie.. Not to mention a socialist tax loving fool.

And he has a lot to learn before he can join the big boys and understand reality..


There was no reason to delete the information. It implies that he is recommending a surge for the af/pak region ... He needs to spend time explaining a lot more than he has. One shoe does not fit all ... bad application in Iraq, but then why would it be a good recommendation for another region? Similar to sanctions working in South Africa but not necessarily applicable to Iran. Why? I think many of us would like him to win, but our fear of the worst case scenario - which happens to be what we just lived through - shouldn't stop us from pressing for continued dialogue. Obama has not 'skipped to the center' - some of what you are hearing is part of his biography ... it is a FALSE over exageration of his position. Also known as a fabrication. Also known as the case to go war with Iraq ... and a few other things foreign policy is based on. IHowever, I rather think the Obama camp would do wel to explore his thinking in some areas, such as the FISA bill. I really want to hear more on what entails a diplomatic solution - I think that vision needs to be place squarely, visibly and concretely on the table.

The choice is clear. McCain wants to drag out the war Bush started. Obama wants to take on the war Bin Laden started.

I don't know what Obama's website used to say but his main argument (made during a primary debate with Clinton) was not that "20,000 troops would not make a difference" but that the main reason for the reduction in violence that we have seen recently was not due to the surge but due to political reconciliation between warring factions in Iraq. Further Obama argued that it was the 2006 election of democrats that signaled to those Iraqi leaders that they had better get their act together because America was not going to stay in Iraq forever. To summarize... the main reason the surge "appears" to be working is because Iraq knows we are pulling out. McCain and Bushes insistence on not having timetables for withdrawal signals the opposite. It signals that we will be in Iraq forever. This fuels the radicals and tells the Iraqi politicians they have time for infighting. This is a wrong strategy and Obama knows that. And that is why I am voting for him.

The real Obama comes out. He's just a pretty face who says whatever gets him elected.

Flip Flop! Flip Flop! Another Obamaflop or Obamaflip. This guy can't make up his mind, he can however outline a plan for Iraq without facts, then go to Iraq to get the facts. Just the the guy you want in the White House. Vote for Obama.........not.

Can Axelrod stutter any more- he choked on that question - very telling comparison - Obama very smooth and VERY shallow- very UNDERqualfified to be President -scary and dangeruous for our own safety

Is anyone really surprised?

Obama and McCain are the same, and neither of them will end the war if elected.

If the American people wanted real change, a change for the better, they should have nominated Ron Paul.

Obama is such a fraud it's not even funny how blind so many American have become... he really will say anything, wear anything and act like whatever is local just to get that vote - I don't want a chameleon in the White House and I don't Obama leading this country...anywhere...

An analysis by the New York Times found that the main success by the surge was brought about by an air attack surge which usually entails taking out family living quarters (and often the family) when someone fingers an insurgent in the area. It seems to me that neo-Stalinist tactic was doable without a troop surge. In fact, that kind of extreme violence against an occupied nation has surged into Afghanistan in recent weeks. Remember the 47 people including the bride killed at a wedding last week?

Funny, but the same kind of air war was done over and over again in Vietnam even while our military and government talked about "Winning 'Hearts and Minds' ". And we all saw how that war worked out.

And McCain offers us more chances to be bloody invaders for resources (think Japan, Germany WW2) with his Theodore Roosevelt emulation (Cuba, Panama, PhillippinesManifest Destiny). I am truly shocked. I thought he was a different person than the foreign affairs nutcake Giuliani. It's would be an interesting study to find out what really happens to a presidential candidate's brain waves when over 50% of his donations come from "bundlers".

HE's as big a liar and a fraud who does not exceed what he railed against in terms of the "standard politician" to get to where he is -- I have never met such an arrogant and driven by all cost individual as I have with Obama -

America needs to wake the HELL UP! Before it's too late and then the AHHHHHH (Homer Simpson) mentality pervades us all.

The surge has been successful because the United States has been paying militias to back off. It has very little to do with increased troop deployment.

I count the slimy assertion "the successful surge" inserted in this and other "news" pieces as pro-war propaganda.

Last I checked it's not a war unless:
* the Congress has formally declared it
* there's a real reason to wage it
* there are at least two sovereign nations who can negotiate.
We are not at war with Iraq. Our forces are fighting terrorists, with whom there is no authority to negotiate with.

All we can do is to have our covert operatives talk to the covert operatives for whomever is funding the terrorist activity. Sick, sad, and desperate--and the band plays on, and our money pours down the drain with no accounting. What are we paying for?

Although with all the other lies we've been fed about Iraq who knows if the troop surge worked or was manipulated. Furthermore the huge amounts of money we pay to insurgents may be more responsible than any additional troops. But in the end it is still a mute point. It is an illegal war for oil and corporate interests and we should'nt have been there in the first place. Bring the troops home , now!

Instead of saying "I made a mistake", doesn't Mr. Obama sound remarkably like Mr. Bush has been accused? Not willing to admit he was wrong? Each time Mr. Obama opens his mouth, something spills out that reminds me that this youngster is not ready for prime time.

Example: Even I know that the Joint Chiefs are an advisory board to the president and carry no command option in our military.

Obama = Neville Chamberlain = Appeasement = Terrorists win. we DIE.

Obama's just another Chicago style poitician period.

This post seems to be implying that Obama now believes that the 20,000 troops did solve the sectarian violence in Iraq. I have not seen Obama say anything close to that. Crediting the "Surge" with fixing the sectarian violence is like crediting the fire department for putting out a fire...after the structure has already burned to the ground.

One can only marvel at OHB's ability for flip flops on the issues and for leap frog from the liberal. This is without question the most arrogant, inexperienced, and old "big lie" politician in the absolute history of this nation. OHB gives new meaning to implausible deniability.

Voting for him would take an act of total blindness and insanity. Yet, those are those who remain totally delusional. Bill L and Norm W, you guys really gotta get a life.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal and remains so. The coming US economic collapse is attributable in large part to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vote for change. Vote Green Party - Cynthia McKinney.

Wake Up America are a bunch of LIARS funded by the Reich Wing. They are the most dishonest group of all the Neo-Fascist groups out there. So, the LA Times had better try to legitimize them.

And, it's not that Wake Up America simply uses the stigmatized words, and half-truths the other Reich Wing pundits do. Wake up America actually blatantly lies.

Last year, they published a photo of someone at a European demonstration defecating on the American flag, accompanied by a caption that it was the "Anti-War Crowd"! -- implying, directly, of course, that the photo was of Anti-War persons in America.

Then, when someone defaced the Viet Nam Memorial, Wake Up America blamed it on the "Anti-War Crowd" again -- spewing their hateful bile.

Wake Up America is the trashiest of the trash. Susan whats-her-face, at Wake Up America is simply another mindless Nationalist (look up the difference between Patriotism and Nationalism), paid by the corporations.

And, of course, it all originates from the deep South, where 1/3 of the people are illiterate. Go figure.

These people are absolutely just as un-American as Al-Qaeda.

First of all, I had voted for Obama in primary. Now after his speech, I don't think he is would be a good president, here is why. First, he want to start a new front war with Pakistan, thats a nuclear power nation, that would be like Bush's action. We don't need wars, we need to work on the peace process. We can't just pull out troops from Iraq just like that, we need to see what goes on the ground, we can't just put our troops in more danger. See we can't just let the blood of our soliders wasted, we need to achieve sucess, and that is what they gave their life for. what you guys think?

And they're off (and running too fast)! It looks like another presidential election will be decided on (false ?)interpretations of already faulty interpretations of ill-thought-out comment.

I am not a "media basher" (being a journalist myself - not officially concerned with reporting the presidential campaign), but it is ABOUT TIME that the US press itself WOKE UP - to the fact that it is not serving the cause of electing the candidate that will be the best person to drag this country's cart out of the muck.

LA Times and other national media: Please start addresing the issues on their merit and stop forcing the candidates to play silly games and then accusing them of "flip-flopping" or opening the floodgates for others to do so.

The "wake up and think" message goes to the New Yorker, too!

Ok, here's the score for inconsistent statements:
Obama: 1, McCain: 1 million

What's the problem here? Did you report that with this so-called surge that 35 Iraqis were killed yesterday? But the surge is working, right? Everyday 15 to 30 Iraqi's are killed. Everyday. Aren't we "liberators?" Why aren't you reporting on that? Is the surge helping just us Good Ole 'Mericans' or what? We need diplomacy. Why all of a sudden after SEVEN years of war, this ONE act with the surge is suddenly turning the war around? Please go on and see for yourself how many people are dying DAILY. Not just American's and Iraqi's but all. We need DIPLOMACY over there. It's amazing to me that everything Obama has suggested is now being done by the Bush adm. and MCcain. Obama says 2 brigades in afganistan, the next day mccain says 3. My God, now they are going to meet with Iran. WHAT??!! You mean like negotiating with some terrorist organization like some ingenious argument might convince them they were wrong all along? Or Obama would "appease" terrorist?! Now there are going to be talks with, hey guess what, IRAN. You mean America appeasing some rogue and radical nation. Can't be. Why is diplomacy talked about this way? Why is that so hard for people to wrap their minds around. Don't be stupid, please. 7000 people are going into foreclosure EVERYDAY. Please, let's do it right this time before we all suffer. Rich, old, whatever race. When it comes down to it, our money is green and it's leaving our pockets by the barrel to fight a war with a country that should never have been waged. Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11 and now there are over 4 million displaced Iraqs, thousands of soldiers dead, and millions whom are affected. Let's get real people. Please, for the sake of everyone's future.

What has Obama done? People expect him to change the world. Heck he hasn't done any good in Chicago. What has he done there? Is the south side of Chicago now in Utopia because of Obama? He's ran for president longer than he's been in Congress. I mean, come on. He flips and flops on almost every thing he's says. My favorite Obama line, " We live in the greatest country in the world, help me change it." If it's the greatest, why change it. Change to what? What you see of Obama is what his handlers are telling him to do. Can you say puppet?

Obama..McCain...same difference. Neither one has a clue.

It's not about alliance building, it's not about Iraq. It goes back a longer time than Bush and Obama.

America is built on fake money. Used to be gold, now it's oil.

Now, Iraq doesn't need America's fake money any more. It has Euros.

And our government can print as much money as it wants.

This screws everything up. It will continue to screw everything up.

Until you people understand what Ron Paul has been saying, you are wasting your time and letting the gov waste your country's potential. Instead of chatting on these boards, read about what Ron Paul says. Think. We have to pressure our congress and Fed's standards --- before things get more screwed up. They are already getting there. The countries with oil are winning thanks to our greed and consumerism.

Obama - Change we can believe in!

Ya I believe he is for change -- he is big on change. Obama changes positions more often and faster on more major issues than any politician I have seen.

Obama only does what Axelrod tells him is politically au courant. He absolutely will say and do anything to get elected. I, for one, am not fooled by his change of words. No experience, weak resume, dubious assocations and now, consistently shared viewpoints with his much more qualified and experienced opponent. Why would anyone vote for Obama over McCain?

I would like to see Obama come forward and say he was wrong about the surge. A recent poll found that the vast majority of americans feel that updating one's positions in light of current situations is more important than being consistent. I agree with this majority. I initially thought the surge was a bad idea; now I acknowledge, grudgingly, that it worked. Obama has an opportunity to show the kind of change he will bring to washington: a new openness, and the courage to say, "I was wrong." Meanwhile, he needs to continue to emphasize that we must withdraw from Iraq, with 15 months being the goal.

This isn't the first time the Obama site has been "scrubbed." You should pay more attention and report the truth in a timely manner instead of behaving as if you were part of the campaign machinery instead of a news organization. This comment is for you and 99% of the "media." What a shame. The fear of criticizing this shallow candidate has taken away the freedom of the press and the public's right to know.

funny, how can the american people be that damn fighting over irrevalent things like troop surge helped or it doesn't. It isn't about troop surge in Iraq or any of the two candidate positions that should ever determine who gets elected. The job america is required to do is over. That job was killing evil Saddam and getting rid in Iraq off any evil ruler. It should never have entertained the idea of any of its troops presence in the Iraq in the first place after capturing Saddam. It should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan right now or as soon as possible because its presence will only complicate matters there and give rooms for corrupt politicians there to be irresponsible and inaccountable to the people they are supposed to represent. So, from now on, America as the leader of the world job should be just getting rid of evil dictators around the world by all means necessary, including execution and leaving the rest to the people there to sort it out. Then, the world will sort of respect America for its military might and at the same time, its moral authority will be highly respected because of what it is, the hope it gives to the world and the world will have no dictators or tyrants no more. There's in enough smart and uncorrupt people in any country ruled by evil tyrants and dictators.

Barack Obama has no idea what to say unless told. The reason the man isn't consistent is because he makes it up as he goes. He has no idea what he's talking about.

If elected president, Obama will be JUST LIKE JIMMY CARTER! NO EXPERIENCE JUST LIKE JIMMY CARTER and ALL HYPE! Those young voters who like Obama better read what happened to the US under Carter's presidency. THOSE WHO DON'T LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DAMNED TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!

Now that Obama won the DNC, he changes his position to Clinton's. After all, that was a sore point to many Democrats.
Obama is now moving more towards Center hoping to get additional votes.
Obama will say or do what he needs to. It is all about, I want to be in the History Books as the first Black American President.
He doesn't care about the US, is not Patriotic, sits in a church for 20 years preaching hate to all things White, has good freinds that are terrorists and blames others for his mistakes.
This man is not qualified, or WORTHY to be our President.
This is one Democrate that will do the right thing and vote Republican.

mc...I think your score is a "little" off. It would take hours for me to cite Senator Obama's inconsistencies. Some of his major ones which demonstrate he has absolutely no moal core:
1. DC's gun ban is constitutional - The Supreme Court got it right.
2. I will accept public funding - I'll forego public funding.
3. I'll talk to Iran's leaders w/o preconditions - Preconditions will have to be set before I talk - I'll solve Iran's nuclear weapons crisis through negotiations (because I'm just that good - editorial comment)
4. Can't throw pastor under the bus - Pastor thrown under the bus.

Ironically, I think it was the harsh reality that Americans might actually leave Iraq which forced them to adjust their behavior. We can thank Senator Obama for that threat, even though his proposed 16-month timetable for re-deployment of forces is a rather conservative position.

What amazes me (a Republican) is the willingness of many R's to buy into the Bush/McCain delusions on their success at fighting the war on terror. The diversion of resources to Iraq has been an economic disaster already, and will be a pyrrhic victory at best when we finally do get out of there. Meanwhile, the front-line of the war on terror, Afghanistan, is crumbling, and due to the utter exhaustion of our forces over 5 years in Iraq, we can't do much about it except beg our NATO allies to send more troops.

Die hard Bush apologist google-jockeys obviously enjoy calling Obama funny names, and accusing him of just about every crime but child-molestation. Meanwhile, in the real world, our incompetent President has run this country to the edge of an economic precipice, while allowing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup, rebuild and live to fight another day...and that day has now arrived.

No one has benefited more from the Bush Presidency than Osama Bin Laden (and maybe Halliburton). The only remaining question (assuming we survive the last 4 months of that Presidency), is whether Bush' successor will be smart enough, and find a way to repair at least part of the damage that has been done. I'm betting on the new kid.


That is EXACTLY what is wrong with the media.... you. The media's job is NOT to try to sway public opinion, its to report the news, regardless of how damaging it is to Obama or McCain. Just because you think Obama(for whatever reason) would be a better president, that is no excuse for slanting news stories to benefit him. Thats called propaganda.

Whoa- Obama, the flip-flopper?
McCain initially said that he could not "in good conscience" support Bush's tax cuts because they favored the rich too much. Now he supports making them permanent, and calls for a flatter tax code. But perhaps we can excuse him-- after all he did admit himself that he doesn't know much about the economy. However, he has also tacked right on torture his signiture issue: once an unyielding opponent of all forms of tortre or 'enhanced interrogation', he recently voted to allow many forms of torture to continue.

These are 180 degree turnarounds. It looks to me like Obama's position on Iraq has changed slightly-- from leaving in 15 months to trying to leave in 15 months but adopting to the situation on the ground.

I am baffled as I read some of these responses. Some of you people are either totally delusional, ignorant, or both.

Nobody was paid off, there was no air surge. I bet none of you can produce legitimate documentation to verify your brain-dead claims. Read Michael Yon and get informed on what's actually happening on the ground.

We are winning this war now because of a better strategy with regards to dealing with the Iraqis (thank you Mr. Petreaus), because we have killed and exhausted insurgent terrorists, and because the Iraqi army is beginning to handle it's own security. May 31, 2008. Read about what happened. Get informed before you start spouting misinformation.

This, you would already know if you knew anyone that had served in Iraq 2007-2008. Or if you weren't idiots.

Obama is a tool, and he is playing the political game to the max. Notice his Iraq policy speech was made before talking to any of the ground commanders, and well timed to Mr. McCain's attacks. He's hoping that we, the public, are too stupid to notice this and hold him to it. Some of you are that stupid.


Recently in a speech, Obama decalred "I'm going to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and give them a new mission, and that is to bring the war in Iraq to a close."

Obviuosly, Obama and his speech writers have absolutely no clue of the role of the Joint Chiefs of staff. If he did, he would have realized that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no Operational command of US military forces.

A person who is a US senator and seeking the Presidency of the US should certainly know this. It's clear that Obama simply reads teleprompters real well, but has no clue of what he's spouting.

For those who don't know, CENTCOM has the responsibility for carrying out operation orders for Iraq, not the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Proof again that Obama is simply a clueless "local community organizer" who is the most under-qualified candidate in the history of this country.

Great going radical leftist democrats for pushing a smooth talking empty suit...

Your continual bashing of Obama on matters of such little importance as the difference between stating that the war is a mistake, the surge is a mistake, and the surge won't tamp down violence versus the war is a mistake, the surge is a mistake, and the surge won't lead to meaningful political solutions is so desperate it makes the LA Times look foolish for publishing it. I mean, really.

It's a bit difficult to respond to such a post. It's so idiotic that it almost defies comment. It's almost better just to let it prove it's own idiocy.

Let's just say that the fact that you think the surge and victory in Iraq is of "little importance" demonstrates you to be an absolute moron in terms of foreign policy, national security, and...pretty much everything actually.

Oh, and Wake up America? You're actually citing Wake up America? Did you actually do that?

Did he actually just cite an ad that Democrat Kathleen "Dear in the Headlights" Blanco ran against Republican and Indian American Bobby Jindal?

No, I doubt it. I think he was actually asking them to realize that Obama is the least experienced candidate for President we've had in a century, and that his "judgment" or whatever he's running on is pretty suspect too.

Where can I buy a pair of official Obama campaign flip flops? A Monster bus would be nice, but fuel is so expensive these days....

Richard, we did NOT "kill their leader" in Iraq. Saddam was charged by his own people, using Iraqi law set into place during the Saddam regime, and executed. By his own people.

The gains we're seeing would NOT have happened anyway. The warlordism, like al Sadre's, for example, would have continued to worsen, though IMO, both Iraq and the US would be better off if al Sadre would meet with an unfortunate accident during one of the many mini coups he engineers in order to continue to appear relevant to his Iranian masters.

And REALLY want us to turn around and steal Iraq's oil? Why? So the paranoid, Bush/Cheney/Halliburton Grand Conspiracy can be a self fulfilling prophecy? Iraq's oil fields will begin coming online before the end of summer WITHOUT us stealing it from them.

I will not support Socialism. Obama is a pure Socialist.
And a pretty poor politician.

Obama looks like an American Idol winner, for President..

I agree with GL. socialist taxing. redistribution? ya that always helps... anyways even though I am sick of seeing Obama all over news by a bias media this article in particular gives more fact than opinion

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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