Obama inviting criticism of selling out on Iraq by picking hawks to run foreign policy

November 23rd, 2008 - 1:26 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

London, Nov 23 (ANI): US President-elect Barack Obamas inclination towards retaining George W Bush’’s Defence Secretary Robert Gates, and other hawks, has reportedly attracted huge criticism of selling out on his promises of change in US foreign policy.

He has been accused putting national security policy in the hands of establishment figures who supported the Iraq war, said an article in The Telegraph.

His preference for General James Jones, a former NATO commander who backed Obamas rival Republican presidential candidate John McCain, as his National Security Adviser and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a supporter of the war, to run the Homeland Security department, has dismayed many of his earliest supporters.

Chris Bowers, of the influential OpenLeft.com blog, complained: That is, over all, a centre-right foreign policy team. I feel incredibly frustrated. Progressives are being entirely left out of Obama’’s major appointments so far.

Likewise, Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos site, the in-house talking shop for the anti-war Left, warned that Democrats risk sounding “tone deaf” to the views of “the American electorate that voted in overwhelming numbers for change from the discredited Bush policies.”

Following the criticism, Obama moved quickly in the past 48 hours to get his cabinet team in place, unveiling a raft of heavyweight appointments, in addition to Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.

The likelihood that Obama will retain George W Bush’’s Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has reinforced the notion that he will not aggressively pursue the radical withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq over the next 16 months and engagement with rogue states that he has pledged.

A spokesman for the President-elect was forced to confirm that Mr Obama holds to his previous views. His position on Iraq has not changed and will not change, the paper quoted him as saying.

According to the paper, there is a growing concern among a new generation of anti-war foreign policy analysts in Washington, many of whom stuck their necks out to support Obama early in the White House race, that they will be frozen out of his administration.

A Democratic foreign policy expert was quoted as saying: They were the ones courageous enough to stand up early against Iraq, which is why many supported Obama in the first place. Their fear is that they will not now secure the mid-level posts which will enable them to reach the top of the Washington career ladder in future.

Others are troubled by an announcement on Friday night that Mr Obama will retain the White House political office, an institution recently associated with George Bush’’s adviser Karl Rove, who has been blamed for running government as a permanent and highly partisan election campaign. (ANI)

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