Obama: U.S. must end 'single-minded' focus on Iraq

"This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy," Obama said.

Obama: U.S. must end 'single-minded' focus on Iraq

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday a "single-minded" focus on Iraq was distracting the United States from other threats and he renewed his vow to end the war.

"This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century," Obama said in excerpts of a speech to be delivered later on Tuesday.

"By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe," he said.

Obama, who has been accused by his Republican rival John McCain of shifting positions on Iraq, is seeking to lay out his views on the war ahead of a planned trip to Afghanistan and Iraq soon.

Dates of the trip have not been disclosed for security reasons.

The Democratic candidate's critics have suggested he was wavering on the 16-month timetable he laid out for the withdrawal of U.S. troops because of his recent comment that he might "refine" his policies on Iraq based on consultations with military commanders.

But Obama has emphasized that while he is open to tactical adjustments, the 16-month timetable for withdrawal remains his goal.

"This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize," the speech excerpts said. "Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them."

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Monday found Americans evenly divided on the candidates' positions on Iraq with 47 percent of those polled saying they trust McCain more to handle the war, and 45 percent having more faith in Obama.

The poll showed the public is also evenly divided on whether Obama could serve effectively as commander in chief with 48 percent saying he would be an effective leader of the military and 48 percent saying he would not.

Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Temmuz 2008, 11:29
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