Archive for the ‘Obama (D)’ Category

Question: UN Resolution 687 was approved by the UN Security Council which ended the first Gulf War, which calls for a nuclear free Middle East. Do you support this proposal and, if so, what steps will you take to encourage a nuclear free Middle East?

Answer: Well, here’s what I think we should do. Obviously UN Resolutions ___ [inaudible] all the time don’t get enforced so they’re only worth as much as the great powers are willing to invest in making them enforceable. I want to come at not just by focusing on the Middle East alone, but by focusing on generally of the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. The reason I say that is this: There’s been a lot of focus on Iran and a lot of focus on North Korea. Understandable. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorists. They are pursuing a nuclear program, and they’ve said some horrific things about Israel.

So they are a problem just as North Korea has said serious things that we have to be mindful. But, we are in a very difficult position to try to mobilize the community to reduce nuclear weapons there when we haven’t made any effort on our part. Now there is a bipartisan tradition that George H.W. Bush–George 41–he negotiated the last major nuclear non-proliferation treaty and it called for the United States and Russia to start reducing their stockpiles.

As far as the overall scheme that says our countries should not develop nuclear weapons but we’ll supply them with peaceful nuclear power.

Laconia Citizen article

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Barack, I thought Hillary Clinton was known as the Great Triangulator, but you are learning well. The problem with setting up false polarities to position yourself in the “center,” however, is that it’s unproductive both politically and intellectually.

Politically, it is a mistake because there last time I looked there were a whole lot more “Tom Hayden Democrats” voting in the California primary and, I suspect, around the country, than “‘Scoop’ Jackson Democrats.” In fact, they are your greatest potential base, aside from African-American voters, in a multi-candidate primary.

More disturbing is what happens to the mind by setting up these polarities. To take a “centrist” position, one calculates the equal distance between two “extremes.” It doesn’t matter if one “extreme” is closer to the truth. All that matters is achieving the equidistance. This means the presumably “extreme” view is prevented from having a fair hearing, which would require abandoning the imaginary center. And it invites the “extreme” to become more “extreme” in order to pull the candidate’s thinking in a more progressive direction. The process of substantive thinking is corroded by the priority of political positioning.

Read the rest

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Obama calls for nuclear abolition and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Poached from Caucus 4 Priorities

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Question: Senator Obama, when will you sign onto the Webb Amendment

Answer: I thought we already signed onto it. I’m a strong supporter of it.

Questioner: No you haven’t. When will you sign on?

At this point, Senator Obama started to walk away. Questioner asked: “Tomorrow?”

Answer: I’ll find out.

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A gorgeous autumn day greeted Senator Barak Obama today.

Question: Senator Obama, at DePaul University you stated you want to “dramatically reduce our stockpiles of nuclear weapons.” What are the first three steps your going to take to dramatically reduce our nuclear weapons.”

Answer: Step number 1 is to work diligently to sign a comprehensive test ban treaty. I think it’s appalling we made a decision *not* to pursue that in part because Bush and Cheney decided they may want to develop some new nuclear weapons, which was completely contrary to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that we were signatories to…and that built this regime of actually reducing nuclear stockpiles over the last two decades. They stalled that and we’ve got to spark that and get that done.

We need to negotiate directly with Russia starting with some confidence building measures that are in both of our interests. Taking off hair trigger alert some of the nuclear weapons, that are pointed at each other, and are still at the same hair trigger alert levels that existed during the Cold War.

That makes no sense.

Taking those simple steps, then set the stage for a comprehensive renegotiation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in which the United States says to primarily Russia, but also to the other nuclear powers, we are committed to reducing our stockpiles if you are to and lets start to bring them down. That will give us leverage, by the way, to deal with Iran and North Korea because part of the problem we’ve got right now is we’re trying to put pressure, rightly, on countries like Iran and North Korea to stand down their nuclear weapon programs, and yet we’ve shown no willingness to reduce the nuclear threat. And so, understandably, you get accusations of hypocrisy around the world.

We need to lead by example and by deed.

Question 2: [The questioner was not called on so he held up a sign which said 2013.]

Answer: What I think that number refers to is we had a debate in Dartmouth and the question posed was “can you guarantee that you will have all US troops out of Iraq by 2013?” And I said no. Let me describe what I said. I think this is really important. It’s important for us to be precise and clear about where we’re at.

I was opposed to this war from the start. I stood up in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. The beginning of this year I said “We’re going to have…I asked for legislation that would begin the process of getting our troops out…we’ll have all our combat troops out by March 30 of next year. That was the time table that was used by the Senate bill that passed was sent to the President’s desk and then he vetoed. So I’ve led, consistently, I’ve wanted to get our troops out. But, the way the question was posed was “can you guarantee that you will have *all* US troops out?” and I said “no.”

Here’s the reason: we are still going to have an embassy in Baghdad. If we have done it right, we should get one to two brigades out every month, and I would start that now. If it’s not started by the time I’m President, I will start it then. It will be sixty months during that period that we can get our troops out safely. At that point, we are no longer engaged in war as we understand it right now. We’re not going to be patrolling Baghdad, we’re not going to be in the midst of a civil war. But we will still have an embassy there that will have to be protected. If we’ve done it right, we will still have humanitarian and diplomatic workers –civilians– who are going to have to have some protection. I don’t want Blackwater to be doing..to be providing their protection. And, last point is there is the possibility of al Qadea in Iraq, which didn’t exist before we went in, trying to reform bases in Iraq as we pull out. We have to have some counter-terrorism strike capacity, on a limited basis, those folks may not be in Iraq, they may be in Kuwait, but we’ve got to be able to have some troops in the region to target those terrorist organizations, the same way we should be targeting bin Laden’s base camps between Afganistan and Pakistan.

So, here’s the bottom line: when I say I will bring this war to an end, I will bring this war to an end. But that does not mean I can’t say there won’t be a single US troop in Iraq. Anyone who says they will have that, that means that you will have to close the Embassy, that you will have no presence at all in that country, diplomatic or otherwise, which is the equivilant to saying “we’re not going to have any US troops in France.” We’ve got US troops in France, they just aren’t in the middle of a civil war.

So, I just make sure I’m being perfectly clear in terms of my intentions here.

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Our friends over at AFSC-NH tipped us off about Obama’s newfound dislike of nuclear weapons.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — Senator Barack Obama will propose on Tuesday setting a goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world, saying the United States should greatly reduce its stockpiles to lower the threat of nuclear terrorism, aides say.

In a speech at DePaul University in Chicago, Mr. Obama will add his voice to a plan endorsed earlier this year by a bipartisan group of former government officials from the cold war era who say the United States must begin building a global consensus to reverse a reliance on nuclear weapons that have become “increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective.”

Mr. Obama, according to details provided by his campaign Monday, also will call for pursuing vigorous diplomatic efforts aimed at a global ban on the development, production and deployment of intermediate-range missiles.

A different tune from Saturday when I saw him in Concord:

…Questioner then asked: so will you work for nuclear abolition?

Answer: I will work for [long pause as he stopped to think] huge reductions. Huge reductions.

Regardless of how he got to the mindset of elimination, he’s there.


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Senator Barack Obama said the United States should immediately start removing one to two combat brigades from Iraq a month, with a goal of withdrawing all combat troops by the end of next year and leaving a substantial presence of American forces for a limited humanitarian mission.

“The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops,” Mr. Obama said. “Not in six months or one year – now.”

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