Obama, in the Philadelphia debate:
MR. GIBSON: And Senator Obama, your campaign manager, David Plouffe, said, when he is — this is talking about you — when he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most; there should be no confusion about that. So you’d give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order: Bring them home.
SENATOR OBAMA: Because the commander in chief sets the mission, Charlie. That’s not the role of the generals. And one of the things that’s been interesting about the president’s approach lately has been to say, well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus.
Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission. And unfortunately we have had a bad mission, set by our civilian leadership, which our military has performed brilliantly. But it is time for us to set a strategy that is going to make the American people safer. Now, I will always listen to our commanders on the ground with respect to tactics. Once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberately in an orderly fashion out of Iraq and we are going to have our combat troops out, we will not have permanent bases there, once I’ve provided that mission, if they come to me and want to adjust tactics, then I will certainly take their recommendations into consideration; but ultimately the buck stops with me as the commander in chief.
Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice, today on MSNBC:
Susan Rice: He has said that the best military advice he’s received leads us to believe that we can safely withdraw our forces at the pace of one to two combat brigades per month, and depending on the number of combat brigades he inherits, our best estimate is that that could be accomplished in roughly 16 months. That’s not a deadline. That’s a timetable, and obviously if Senator Obama has said on numerous occasions, he will listen to his commanders on the ground, he will follow and heed their advice as he decides how at the strategic level we must proceed. So he will do this very carefully and responsibly as he always said but he will do it.
Hmm. She seems to be echoing Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power, in her March 7 statement to the BBC: “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.”
This post is dedicated to the fine Mark Levin for his kind words.