Obama says he will ‘refine’ Iraq policy

July 4th, 2008 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
Washington, July 4 (Xinhua) US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has said that he will “refine” his Iraq policy, but pledged not to change his basic policy position on the issue. At a brief press conference in Fargo, North Dakota, the Illinois senator Thursday said his plan to withdraw troops within 16 months after taking office had always been relying on the ground situation.

He also said that he would “do a thorough assessment” when he visits Iraq, a trip he is expected to make before the Nov 4 presidential election.

“My position has not changed but keep in mind what that original position was. I have always said that I will listen to commanders on the ground; I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability,” he said.

“That assessment has not changed and when I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies,” Obama added.

Obama’s fresh statement on Iraq, however, gave the chance to the National Committee of the Republican party to accuse the Democrat of opportunism.

“There appears to be no issue that Barack Obama is not willing to reverse himself on for the sake of political expedience,” said the committee’s spokesman Alex Conant.

“Obama’s Iraq problem undermines the central premise of his candidacy and shows him to be a typical politician,” he said.

Obama’s Republican rival John McCain put out a statement, saying Obama’s words “do not matter”.

In fact, this is not the first time that Obama has showed flexibility on the Iraq issue.

The remarks echo what he said at a debate in Dartmouth Sep 26 last year that he wouldn’t commit to having all troops out of Iraq by 2013.

“I think it is hard to project four years from now, and I think it would be irresponsible,” he had said then.

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