and from the Boston Globe, 15 July 2008
Barack Obama and John McCain today offered diametrically opposite views of the war in Iraq, even as both called for sending thousands more US troops to Afghanistan.
Democrat Obama declared that the failed policy in Iraq -- which he argued was never the central front in the war on terror -- has distracted attention from the growing terrorist threat in Afghanistan and proves the need to withdraw from Iraq. "If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned," he said in a speech in Washington. "And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan."
. . .
In what is being billed as a major policy speech, Obama declared this morning that if elected president, he would redirect attention and US forces to Afghanistan.
"It is unacceptable that almost seven years after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on our soil, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are still at large," he said. "Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari are recording messages to their followers and plotting more terror. The Taliban controls parts of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has an expanding base in Pakistan that is probably no farther from their old Afghan sanctuary than a train ride from Washington to Philadelphia."
. . .
"As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy -- one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin," he continued. "I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century."
. . .
Obama on CNN, 21 July 2008:
Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that United States needs to focus on Afghanistan in its battle against terrorism.
Sen. Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet Sunday in Kabul.
"The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.
Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.
"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three," he told CBS. "I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough."
Here are more citizen perceptions, this time from Yahoo answers rather than a2k:
Finally, from Time, 17 July 2008:
"My first order as Commander in Chief will be to end the war in Iraq and refocus our efforts on Afghanistan and our broader security interests. Let me be clear--my plan would not abandon Iraq. It is in our strategic interest to maintain a residual force that will go after al-Qaeda, train Iraqi security forces and protect U.S. interests. But we must recognize that the central front in the war on terror is not in Iraq, and it never was. The central front is in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Barack Obama
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1823945,00.html#ixzz0seCn3yDq