Nov. 2007: Obama on "protecting our [Baghdad] embassy"
It’s fascinating to go back and read interviews from 2007 with then-Democratic primary candidate Sen. Barack Obama as he tried to distinguish himself from party favorite Sen. Hillary Clinton. In a Q&A with the New York Times, he discussed his plan for an Iraq withdrawal, and included a reference to “embassy security.” Note that he sounded fairly reasonable on this one point—saying the “level” of security would depend upon the changing “security environment” on the ground:
Q. You’ve argued that the United States should leave behind residual force in Iraq and the region. How large would the force be and how much would be inside Iraq versus the Persian Gulf Region?
A. I have not ascribed particular numbers to that and I won’t for precisely the reason I was just talking to Michael about. I want to talk to military folks on the ground, No. 1. No. 2, a lot of it depends on what’s happened on the political front and the diplomatic front. Even something as simple as protecting our embassy is going to be dependent on what is the security environment in Baghdad. If there is some sense of security, then that means one level of force. If you continue to have significant sectarian conflict, that means another, but this is an area where Senator Clinton and I do have a significant contrast. (italics added)