…Sen. Barack Obama has gone to see it firsthand.
Obama advocates ending the U.S. combat role in Iraq by
withdrawing troops at the rate of one to two combat brigades a month.
He said this past week that the war in Iraq has become a distraction
from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and keeping nuclear weapons out
of the hands of rogue regimes.
Obama supports increasing the military commitment to Afghanistan,
where the Taliban has been resurgent and Usama bin Laden is believed to
McCain, in his radio address released Saturday, criticized Obama for
announcing his strategy for both countries before departing on his
“fact-finding mission” abroad.
For all the talk this week about media celebrities joining him (what
happened to the big three network news anchors reportedly tagging
along?), he actually snuck out and made his way quietly to Afghanistan. Chicago Tribune’s political reporter John McCormick was one of two journalists who flew to Washington with him beforehand.
McCormick says the senator then was asked whether he
plans to deliver some tough talk to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki about doing more to stand up as
the instruments of self-governance in their own nations.
“Well, you know, I’m more interested in listening than doing a lot
of talking,” Obama replied. “And I think it is very important to
recognize that I’m going over there as a U.S. senator. We have one
president at a time, so it’s the president’s job to deliver those
Good answers, both.
Obama’s trip is the first time a U.S. presidential
candidate has gone on such a heavily orchestrated and publicized
international road show. He will meet with foreign leaders and U.S.
officials overseas and attract extensive media attention everywhere he
goes. Obama is not expected to announce any policy decisions, and his
every word will likely be carefully parsed, to avoid any of the
foreign-policy gaffes made in the past.