FactCheck: on War & Peace

Joe Biden: FactCheck: removed troops from Iraq, but they went back

Biden spun his role in bringing troops home from Iraq when he was vice president. Biden said, "The president [Obama] turned to me with the entire security apparatus and said, 'Joe, I want you to organize getting 156,000 troops out of Iraq.' I did that."

It's true that in 2009 Biden chaired a committee that oversaw the troop withdrawal, while also keeping an eye on economic and political issues in Iraq. The Biden committee included representatives from the Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Treasury Department and other agencies.

But what Biden fails to mention is that later--in Obama's second term, with Biden still vice president--the U.S. sent troops back into Iraq to combat the Islamic State fighters who had occupied much of the country. Near the end of the Obama administration, in late September 2016, the number of U.S. troops deployed exceeded 5,000.

Source: FactCheck.org on 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate Feb 8, 2020

Tom Steyer: Obama got Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions

Steyer claimed that Obama got "Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions." This is a matter of dispute. Iran's intent is unknown, but the Iran nuclear agreement could also be viewed as curbing or delaying the country's ambition--not ending it.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was implemented in 2016. Its aim was to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It attempts to do this by requiring Iran to reduce the number of operating centrifuges and its stockpile of uranium, while allowing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to monitor Iran's declared nuclear facilities. In exchange, Iran won relief from international sanctions and the ability to continue to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Under Trump, the U.S. has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. The president and other Republicans have criticized the deal for allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium and giving it access to billions of dollars in frozen assets.

Source: FactCheck.org on 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate Feb 8, 2020

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Iraqis have $29B surplus, not $79B

Obama repeated a stale talking point when he said, “We’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq at a time when the Iraqis have a $79 billion surplus, $79 billion.”

As we’ve pointed out when Obama said it on the campaign trail, when he repeated it at the last debate, and even when Biden mentioned the figure in the vice presidential debate, that number is wrong. The Iraqis actually “have” $29.4 billion in the bank. The Government Accountability Office projected in August that Iraq’s 2008 budget surplus could range anywhere from $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion, depending on oil revenue, price and volume. Then, in early August, the Iraqi legislature passed a $21 billion supplemental spending bill. The supplemental will be completely funded by this year’s surplus, and that means that the Iraqi’s will not have $79 billion in the bank. They could have about $59 billion.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 second presidential debate Oct 7, 2008

Sarah Palin: FactCheck: No, we’re not back to pre-surge troop levels

Palin got her numbers wrong on troop levels when she said “and with the surge that has worked, we’re now down to pre-surge numbers in Iraq.”

The surge was announced in January 2007, at which point there were 132,000 troops in Iraq. As of September 2008, that number was 146,000. President Bush recently announced that another 8,000 would be coming home by February of next year. But even then, there still would be 6,000 more troops in Iraq than there were when the surge began.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Vice Presidential debate Oct 2, 2008

Sarah Palin: FactCheck: No, Afghan general did not say a surge would work

Biden and Palin got into a tussle about military recommendations in Afghanistan. Biden said, “Our commanding general in Afghanistan said today that the surge principles used in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan.” Palin responded, “First, [Gen. McKiernan] did not say definitively the surge principles would not work in Afghanistan. Conditions are certainly different. Even the geographic differences are huge but the counterinsurgency principles could work in Afghanistan. [Gen. McKiernan] didn’t say anything opposite of that.“

Point Biden. Gen. McKiernan clearly did say that surge principles would not work in Afghanistan, stating, ”The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge.’ “ McKiernan stressed instead a ”sustained commitment“ to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution. However, it is worth noting that McKiernan also said that Afghanistan would need an infusion of American troops ”as quickly as possible.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Vice Presidential debate Oct 2, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Iraq has at most $59B surplus, not $79B surplus

Obama was out of date in saying the Iraqi government has “$79 billion,” when he argued that the US should stop spending money on the war in Iraq. Obama, said, “We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus.”

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate Sep 26, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Promised 16-month exit; now 16-month reduction

Obama stretched out his schedule for withdrawing troops from Iraq. During the debate, Obama said we could “reduce” the number of combat troops in 16 months. Obama said, “We should end this war responsibly. We should do it in phases. But in 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops, provide some relief to military families and our troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda.”

But in Oct. 2007, Obama supported removing all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, saying, “I will remove one or two brigades a month, and get all of our combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months. The only troops I will keep in Iraq will perform the limited missions of protecting our diplomats and carrying out targeted strikes on al Qaeda. And I will launch the diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives that are so badly needed. Let there be no doubt: I will end this war.” The quote appears on the campaign’s Web site.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate Sep 26, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Opposes surge--hasn’t produced political solution

McCAIN: “Senator Obama said the surge could not work, said it would increase sectarian violence, said it was doomed to failure.”

FACT CHECK: Obama said at the time that the increase in roughly 30,000 US troops in Iraq could improve security in “certain neighborhoods” but that it would not solve the long-term political strife between Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups. “I don’t think there’s been any doubt that if we put US troops in that, in the short term, we might see some improvement in certain neighborhoods,“ he said in March 2007. In a September 2007 speech Obama said ”the stated purpose of the surge was to enable Iraq’s leaders to reconcile. Our troops fight and die in the 120-degree heat to give Iraq’s leaders space to agree, but they aren’t filling it.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first presidential debate-Boston Globe Sep 26, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Pakistan has lost 1,200 troops fighting Al Qaeda

Obama said that the Bush administration has “coddled” President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan while the Pakistanis “weren’t going after Al Qaeda.”

FACT CHECK: The Pakistani military has lost 1,200 soldiers since 2004 in the war against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the tribal areas and flown more than 100 F-16 missions against tribal fighters, according to Pakistani military officials.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first presidential debate-Boston Globe Sep 26, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Kissinger says Iran meet ok; but only lower level

OBAMA: “Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who is one of his advisers, who along with five recent secretaries of state just said we should meet with Iran - guess what? - without preconditions.”

FACT CHECK: Kissinger did call for high-level negot

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first presidential debate-Boston Globe Sep 26, 2008

John McCain: FactCheck: Admiral did not call Obama’s plan dangerous

Obama contradicted McCain about what Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen’s said regarding “Obama’s plan” for troop withdrawals. McCain claimed, “Admiral Mullen suggests that Senator Obama’s plan is dangerous for America.” Obama countered, “That’s not the case. What he said was a precipitous withdrawal would be dangerous.”

Admiral Mullen did say in a Fox News interview that having a time line for withdrawal would be dangerous. On July 20, Mullen said, “I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard. I’m convinced at this point in time that making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important.” However, interviewer Chris Wallace had just told Mullen to take Obama out of the equation. So strictly speaking Mullen was not talking specifically about “Obama’s plan.” He did say a rigid timetable could have dangerous consequences.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate Sep 26, 2008

John McCain: FactCheck: Obama did declare Republican Guard terrorists

McCain repeated the false insinuation that Obama opposed naming Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. McCain said, “There is the Republican Guard in Iran, which Senator Kyl had an amendment in order to declare them a sponsor of terror. Senator Obama said that would be provocative.” Obama replied, “I believe the Republican Guard of Iran is a terrorist organization. I’ve consistently said so. What Senator McCain refers to is a measure in the Senate that would try to broaden the mandate inside of Iraq, to deal with Iran.“

Obama has in fact said that the IRGC should be named a terrorist group. He was a cosponsor of the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which, among other things, named the IRGC a terrorist organization What he voted against was the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which also called for the terrorist group distinction. But Obama said that he opposed the amendment on the grounds that it was ”saber-rattling.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate Sep 26, 2008

John McCain: FactCheck: Bush vetoed troop bill that Obama voted against

McCAIN: “Obama, after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, [voted to] cut off funds for the troops in Iraq & Afghanistan.”

FACT CHECK: Obama did vote against a 2007 spending bill that did not include language calling for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but voted for the version that did. That version was vetoed by Pres. Bush, though McCain does not say Bush cut off funding for the troops. Overall, Obama voted yes on at least 10 other war-funding bills prior to the single no vote.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first presidential debate-Boston Globe Sep 26, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: Overstated displaced Iraqis; actually 4.2 million

Obama stretched the facts when he said there are “two-and-a-half million displaced people inside of Iraq and several million more outside of Iraq.” The Red Cross put the figure of those displaced inside the country at 2.3 million as of Sept. 2007, and lowered its estimate to 2.2 million as the security situation improved and some people have returned home. As for displaced Iraqis outside the nation’s borders, according to a recent report from the UN, that figure is around 2 million.
Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

George W. Bush: FactCheck: Troop drawdown of 20,000 still above pre-surge

Bush was correct when he said that some US troops are returning from Iraq, but so far the drawdown only amounts to a few thousand. Bush said that all drawdowns “taken together [mean] more than 20,000 of our troops are coming home.

This is accurate. But to put that in context, at the peak of the surge about 162,000 US troops were in Iraq. Prior to the surge, the total was about 130,000, [so the 20,000 troop reduction now does not reduce to the pre-surge level].

And Bush left out a bit of the back story of the sheer numbers of Iraqi Security Forces. Bush said, “Today, this grassroots surge includes more than 80,000 Iraqi citizens who are fighting the terrorists.” But at least 60,000 of the Iraqi citizens to which Bush refers--they’re called “Concerned Local Citizens” by the US military--are under contract with the U.S. military and being paid about $300 a month.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 State of the Union address Jan 28, 2008

Barack Obama: FactCheck: No, violence in Iraq is LOWER than 2 years ago

Obama vastly understated the improvement in the security situation in Iraq when he said, “We saw a spike in the violence, the surge reduced that violence, and we now are, two years later, back where we started two years ago.” There was indeed a spike in the violence in Iraq during the last two years that has been receding as of late. Most recently, nearly all statistical indicators show that violence is sharply lower than it was two years ago, according to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index.
Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic debate Jan 5, 2008

John McCain: FactCheck: Yes, criticized Rumsfeld, but not before invasion

In his rush to criticize Donald Rumsfeld’s defense strategy, Sen. John McCain did some rewriting of his personal history. McCain said, “I strongly disagree with the strategy employed by Secretary Rumsfeld, and by the way, I’m the only one here that disagreed at the time. And I said at the time I had no confidence in the then-secretary of defense.”

It’s true that McCain was an early critic of Rumsfeld’s strategy in Iraq, as early as Nov. 2003. And it’s also true that McCain refused to offer Rumsfeld a vote of confidence when President Bush reappointed Rumsfeld as secretary of defense following his 2004 reelection.

But McCain’s expression of no confidence came in December 2004--well into the Iraq war. Rumsfeld’s decision to invade with a much smaller force than the one suggested by his more traditional generals--the famous “shock and awe” strategy--was implemented in March 2003.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican debate Jan 5, 2008

Mike Huckabee: FactCheck: Correct that Romney did support timed withdrawal

Huckabee charged that Romney had supported a timed withdrawal, and Romney countered, “I do not support and have never support a timed withdrawal. So that’s wrong, Governor. My policy is I’ve never talked about a time withdrawal with a date certain for us to leave.” Huckabee wins this one. It’s true that Romney has never cited a date certain for pulling out the troops. But he has said that “there’s no question” there would have to be a timetable, it would just be kept hush-hush. Here’s what he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in April 2007:

Q: Do you believe that there should be a, a timetable in withdrawing the troops?

ROMNEY: Well, there’s no question but that the president and Prime Minister al Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn’t be for public pronouncement. You don’t want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you’re gonna be gone.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican debate Jan 5, 2008

George W. Bush: Fact Check: No evidence of bio, chemical, or nuclear WMDs

FACTCHECK on WMD: The President made no mention of the failure so far to locate nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

BUSH: We are seeking all the facts. Already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the UN.

FACTCHECK: True, former UN weapons inspector David Kay, now heading the US effort to locate Saddam Hussein’s unconventional weapons, did report that last October. But Kay also told the House and Senate intelligence committees:

KAY: We have not yet found stocks of weapons. We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile biological weapons production effort. Multiple sources say that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled chemical warfare program after 1991. To date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material.

Source: FactCheck.org on the 2004 State of the Union address Jan 20, 2004

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2020 Presidential contenders on War & Peace:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
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Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
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Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
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