Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama's Press Conference in Israel: Transcript (7-23-08)

Obama proved today that he is a just another U.S. politician who grovels before the powerful Israeli lobby. It guarantees that there will be no change in the status quo in the Middle East if he is elected President. Which means there will be no peace, and plenty of war. Read the complete transcript.

The threats to Israel security begin in Sderot, but they don't end there. They include outrageous acts of terror like the attack we just saw yesterday in Jerusalem. Rearming Hezbollah in Lebanon and an Iranian regime that sponsors terrorism, pursues nuclear weapons and threatens Israel's existence. A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Today I had a series of productive discussions with many of Israel's key leaders about how to address the broad range of security threats that Israel faces and the broad threats that all of us face. I look forward to continuing these consultations with Prime Minister Olmert this evening, and I'm also looking forward to consulting closely with our European allies about Iran and other challenges in the days ahead.

Now let me just close by saying that I bring to Sderot, an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. The state of Israel faces determined enemies who seek its destruction. But it also has a friend and ally in the United States that will always stand by the people of Israel. That's why I'm proud to be here today and that's why I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope.

[...]QUESTION: Senator Obama, you said in OPEC convention that the (INAUDIBLE) Jerusalem could continue to be the capital city. Then you changed it and clarified later on in the -- (INAUDIBLE) wonder.

How could you be sure if your other statesmen, that you are going to be committed to the security and safety of Israel and you're not going to change it even when you're the President of the United States?

OBAMA: First of all, I didn't change my statement.

I continued to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. And I have said that before and I will say it again. And I also have said that it is important that we don't simply slice the city in half. But I've also said that that's a final status issue. That's an issue that has to be dealt with with the parties involved, the Palestinians and the Israelis. And it's not the job of the United States to dictate the form in which that will take, but rather to support the efforts that are being made right now to resolve these very difficult issues that have a long history.

Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon.

When Israel invaded Lebanon, in response to the kidnapping of Israel's soldiers, I was one of the first people to state that Israel had an unequivocal right to defend itself and to rescue soldiers that had been captured. And that is what any country would do. On vote after vote I have demonstrated my support of the state of Israel.

So, the way you know where somebody's going is where have they been. And I've been with Israel for many, many years now. What is also true is I believe it is strongly in the interests of Israel's security to arrive at a lasting peace with the Palestinian people. I don't think those positions are contradictory. I think they're complementary. You know, it is going to be hard for Israel over the long term and this is something that I think the vast majority of Israelis understand. That it's going to be hard to achieve true security if there's still hostile neighbors only a few miles away.

John McCain Interview with ABC News: Transcript (7-23-08)

Read the entire transcript:

WRIGHT: Senator, I want to start by asking you about an extraordinary statement you just made in that town hall meeting, something you also said in New Hampshire yesterday, talking about how you would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war, but then you go on to say, "It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

That's pretty strong language. Do you really think he's that craven?

MCCAIN: I think that it's very clear that Senator Obama has refused to recognize that the strategy in Iraq called the surge has succeeded and that America has succeeded in Iraq and will come home with victory and with honor. If he would've had his way, they'd have been out last March. And the fact is...

WRIGHT: So you what you're essentially saying there is that it's all about personal ambition for him, and not about what he honestly thinks is right for the country?

MCCAIN: I do not believe that any objective observer can conclude that the surge did not work and is not succeeding. It's not possible. The facts on the ground are very clear.

And the future of young Americans are at stake here, because if we do what he wants to do -- and that's withdraw, which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a certain date, has said is very dangerous -- and even, in Senator Obama's own admission, we could have to go back, then that's dangerous for the future of America. And he should know better if he wants to be commander in chief and certainly behave differently, as far as this -- our presence and our strategy in Iraq.

Video: Bush Compares Wall St. to Drunks

Good analogy. Coming from a pro-business President its saying a lot. But then again Mr.Bush is looking for scapegoats to divert attention from his total ineptitude.

Video: McCain Gets Facts Wrong on the Surge

This is becoming a regular event. Is McCain ignorant or is he becoming senile? Either way it is getting scary: a major Presidential candidate can't get his facts right about serious matters relating to a job he is applying for. These gaffes on foreign policy seriously undermine his campaign's contention that the Senator is superior to Obama in this respect. McCain is sounding almost like George Dubya when he ran in 2000. We've seen the consequences of electing Bush. Let's not make that terrible mistake again.

Obama Interview with Katie Couric: Transcript (7-22-08)

Read the entire transcript of Katie Couric's (CBS anchor) interview of Barack Obama:

Couric: ... Prime Minister Maliki on the same page when it comes to a troop withdrawal by 2010. Why do you believe that the Iraqi security forces, which have taken so long to get up to speed, will be equipped to protect the country at that point?

Obama: Well, keep in mind that, and I can't speak for Prime Minister Maliki now, but under my proposal, you'd still have U.S. forces with a capable counterterrorism operation in the region. You would still be training Iraqi security forces. We'd still be providing logistical support. We would still provide protection for our diplomatic corps and other civilians as well as our forces on the ground.

So we would still have the capacity to help promote effective actions by the Iraqi security forces. And, in fact, we're already starting to see more and more of those forces take the lead in actions where we're playing more of an advisory role. The key is for us to not inhibit the Iraqis from taking that kind of responsibility on.

[...]Couric: Before the surge, as you know, Senator, there were 80 to 100 U.S. casualties a month, the country was rife with sectarian violence, and you raised a lot of eyebrows on this trip saying even knowing what you know now, you still would not have supported the surge. People may be scratching their heads and saying, "Why?"

Obama: Well … because … what I was referring to, and I've consistently referred to, is the need for a strategy that actually concludes our involvement in Iraq and moves Iraqis to take responsibility for the country.

Couric: But didn't the surge …

Obama: And …

Couric: …help do that?

Obama: Let me finish, Katie. What happens is that if we continue to put $10 billion to $12 billion a month into Iraq, if we are willing to send as many troops as we can muster continually into Iraq? There's no doubt that that's gonna have an impact. But it doesn't meet our long-term strategic goal, which is to make the American people safer over the long term. If that means that we're detracting from our efforts in Afghanistan, where conditions are deteriorating, if it means that we are distracted from going after Osama bin Laden who is still sending out audio tapes and is operating training camps where we know terrorists' actions are being plotted.

If we have shifted away from the central front of terrorism as a consequence of enormous and continuing investments in Iraq, then that's a poor strategic choice. And ultimately, what we've got to do is - we have to recognize that Iraq is just one of our … security problems. It's not the only one.

We've got big problems in Afghanistan. We've got a significant threat in Iran. We've got to deal with Pakistan and the fact that there are safe havens there. Those are all the factors and all the issues that I've gotta take into account when I'm president of the United States.

Couric: All that may be true. But do you not give the surge any credit for reducing violence in Iraq?

Obama: No, no … of course I have. There is no doubt that the extraordinary work of our U.S. forces has contributed to a lessening of the violence, just as making sure that the Sadr militia stood down or the fact that the Sunni tribes decided to flip and work with us instead of with al-Qaeda - something that we hadn't anticipated happening.

All those things have contributed to a reduction in violence. So this, in no way, detracts from the great efforts of our young men and women in uniform. In fact, that's one of the most striking things about visiting Iraq is to see how dedicated they are, what a great job they do - all those things … are critically important. What I'm saying is it does not solve the broader strategic question that we have been dealing with over the last five, six, seven years. And that is how do we take the limited resources we have, both militarily and financially, and apply them in such a way that we are making America as safe as possible? And I believe that my approach is the right one.

CBS' Katie Couric Interviews McCain: Transcript (7-22-08)

Read the full transcript:

Katie Couric: Sen. McCain, Prime Minister Maliki and Sen. Obama seem to be on the same page when it comes to a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops by 2010. Are you feeling like the odd man out here?

Sen. John McCain: Prime Minister Maliki, General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen and the other leaders in Iraq have all agreed that it's conditioned-based. Sen. Obama said the surge would fail. He said that it couldn't succeed. He was wrong. He said he still doesn't agree that surge has succeeded now that everybody knows that it has succeeded. I said at the time that I supported the surge. I would much rather lose a campaign than lose a war. Sen. Obama has indicated that by his failure to acknowledge the success of the surge, that he would rather lose a war than lose a campaign.

I know what this conflict is all about. I will bring our troops home. I will bring them home in victory. I will not do what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said would be very dangerous. We will have a stable Iraq that we won't have to return to because we have succeeded in the strategy and we will come home with victory and honor and not in defeat. Sen. Obama has said that if the surge failed that he might have to send troops back. After this surge has succeeded and we’ve won a victory, we’ll never have to send Americans back.

Couric: Why do you think Prime Minister Maliki publicly supported and endorsed the concept of a timetable - a 16-month timetable? And isn’t that one of the main objectives of the operation, Sen. McCain, to get the Iraqi military to stand up so U.S. forces can, in fact, stand down?

McCain: Well that’s what they’ve been doing and we’ve succeeded. And the fact is that Prime Minster Maliki … always said it would be conditioned-based. And so has all of our leaders, and so has General Petraeus, who has had enormous success. If Sen. Obama had had his way, we'd of never had the surge.

And we'd of been out of there last March. Probably having to come back because of chaos in the region. Increased Iranian influence. So the fact is that we have succeeded. We are winning. They'll come home with honor. And it won't be just at a set timetable.

It'll be condition-based, which all of us are in agreement. We're including our military leaders. Including one of the great generals in history, General Petraeus, who device his strategy was succeeded when, frankly, most people, and those who thought, including political pundits, said we had lost the war, including Harry Reid, including Sen.Obama. So we've succeeded. And we will come home in victory. And it'll be based on conditions. But al Qaeda is not defeated. They're on the run, but they're not defeated. So we have to be prepared to continue to do what's necessary to succeed. But we have in order to win the war. But we have succeeded in the strategy. There's no doubt about it.

- Read the transcript of Couric's previous interview of McCain done in early July

Video: Protester Spits on Iraq War Veteran

Those of us who oppose the Iraq War and love America are offended by those protesters who attack our troops. It happened during the Vietnam War and we shouldn't allow to happen again. It is sad that so many protesting the war are anti-American.