McNerney on Iraq: More in line with Obama, Clinton, or McCain?You decide...
April 2008 ABC Democratic debate:
GIBSON: [...]So, if the military commanders in Iraq came to you on day one, and said, this kind of withdrawal would destabilize Iraq, it would set back all of the gains that we have made, no matter what, you're going to order those troops to come home?Obama:
CLINTON: Yes, I am, Charlie. And here's why. Thankfully, we have a system in our country, of civilian control of the military. And our professional military are the best in the world. They give their best advice. And then they execute the policies of the president.
But I have been convinced and very clear that I will begin to withdraw troops within 60 days. And we've had other instances in our history where some military commanders have been very publicly opposed to what a president was proposing to do. But I think it's important that this decision be made. And I intend to make it.
GIBSON: [...]So you'd give the same rock-hard pledge, that no matter what the military commanders said, you would give the order to bring them home?McNerney, August 2007, Washington Post:
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.
"I am firmly in favor of withdrawing troops on a timeline that includes both a definite start date and a definite end date," he wrote on his Web site.McCain, March 2008, Associated Press
But in an interview yesterday, McNerney made clear his views have shifted since returning from Iraq. He said Democrats should be willing to negotiate with the generals in Iraq over just how much more time they might need. And, he said, Democrats should move beyond their confrontational approach, away from tough-minded, partisan withdrawal resolutions, to be more conciliatory with Republicans who might also be looking for a way out of the war.
Despite all that, McCain told reporters: "I don't think I would change the strategy now unless General Petraeus recommended it. I think he's trusted by the American people, the president and by me. And General Petraeus again showed me facts on the ground where the surge is succeeding."