Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Surge, Side by Side

Though it has been used, in the present case, against 'my' candidate, I like this sort of thing -- a side-by-side comparison revealing recent changes to Barack Obama's web site. While both Andrew Sullivan and a piece in the New York Daily News have suggested that McSame supporters have reveled in highlighting contradictions between the two versions, especially on Obama's view of "the surge," I don't see them. Here's the old version:

The goal of the surge was to create space for Iraq's political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq's civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq's political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.
And here's the updated version:
Since the surge began, more than 1,000 American troops have died, and despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge. Our troops have heroically helped reduce civilian casualties in Iraq to early 2006 levels. This is a testament to our military’s hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics, and enormous sacrifice by our troops and military families. It is also a consequence of the decision of many Sunnis to turn against al Qaeda in Iraq, and a lull in Shia militia activity. But the absence of genuine political accommodation in Iraq is a direct result of President Bush’s failure to hold the Iraqi government accountable.
While both versions deploy facts and figures a little tendentiously (this is politics), the thesis is unchanged: the stated goal of the surge, political reconciliation in Iraq on significant matters of Iraqi national interest, has not been achieved. This is true, and it was and remains Obama's view of "the surge."

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