TIME | July 18, 2008
By Barack Obama
What has long been missing from our national debate is an honest and serious discussion about the strategic consequences of our long-term presence in Iraq.
This war prevents us from tackling nearly every serious threat we face, from a resurgent al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to a hostile Iranian regime intent on possessing nuclear weapons to the spread of extremist ideology around the world.
Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I will harness all elements of American power to overcome them. My first order as Commander in Chief will be to end the war in Iraq and refocus our efforts on Afghanistan and our broader security interests.
Let me be clear--my plan would not abandon Iraq. It is in our strategic interest to maintain a residual force that will go after al-Qaeda, train Iraqi security forces and protect U.S. interests.