March 28, 2008

Amy Goodman Questions Sen. Obama on Heeding Iraqis’
Call for Full US Withdrawal

Following his speech on the economy at New York’s
Cooper Union, Amy Goodman asks Sen. Barack Obama why
he is not calling for a total withdrawal of US troops
from Iraq in accordance with the 70 percent of Iraqis
who say they want the US out. [includes rush
transcript]

Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate.
—————————————————–
AMY GOODMAN: Obama was speaking at the Cooper Union. I
had a chance to briefly interview him as he was
shaking people’s hands after he left the stage. I
asked Obama why he’s not calling for a total
withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in accordance with
the 70 percent of Iraqis who say they want the US out.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Obama, quick question: 70 percent
of Iraqis say they want the US to withdraw completely;
why don’t you call for a total withdrawal?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I do, except for our embassy.
I call for amnesty and protecting our civilian
contractors there.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve said a residual force—

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Yeah, but—

AMY GOODMAN: —which means [inaudible] thousands
[inaudible].

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, no. I mean, I don’t think
that you’ve read exactly what I’ve said. What I said
is that we do need to have a strike force in the
region. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in Iraq; it
could be in Kuwait or other places. But we do have to
have some presence in order to not only protect them,
but also potentially to protect their territorial
integrity.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you call for a ban on the private
military contractors like Blackwater?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I’ve actually—I’m the one who
sponsored the bill that called for the investigation
of Blackwater in [inaudible], so—

AMY GOODMAN: But would you support the Sanders one
now?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Here’s the problem: we have 140,000
private contractors right there, so unless we want to
replace all of or a big chunk of those with US troops,
we can’t draw down the contractors faster than we can
draw down our troops. So what I want to do is draw—I
want them out in the same way that we make sure that
we draw out our own combat troops. Alright? I mean, I—

AMY GOODMAN: Not a ban?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I don’t want to replace those
contractors with more US troops, because we don’t have
them, alright? But this was a speech about the
economy
.

AMY GOODMAN: The war is costing $3 trillion, according
to Stiglitz.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: That’s what—I know, which I made a
speech about last week. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Barack Obama at the
Cooper Union in New York.

————————–

“Boo, hoo, I don’t want to answer questions about the war anymore. This speech was about the economy.”

–Good for you, Ms. Goodman.

And thanks to Kev.

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