''Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,'' Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. ''There's no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.''
The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.
''It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,'' he said.
The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush's hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.
''We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they're asking the wrong question,'' he said. ''We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.''
Obama said the answer to Iraq -- and other civil conflicts -- lies in diplomacy. ...
But you can't solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun,'' he said. ''There's got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts.''
Friday, July 20, 2007
New York Times: