Obama: "Security Gap" Exists Between Rhetoric And Reality

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UPDATE: John McCain's camp has responded to Obama, saying his speech fails "National Security 101".

On McCain's Iran-Al-Qaeda flap:

"To say that invading Iraq was used as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda is one thing. To pretend that our defeat there won't provide an even bigger one is foolish supposition," Salter continued. "Iran, which trains Shia extremists and is known to arm and equip Sunni extremists, a fact Senator Obama is apparently unaware of, will also view our premature withdrawal as a victory, as will other countries in the region, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly."

On McCain's Tactics:

"The reason violence is down is because General Petraeus' counterinsurgency is, which even Senator Obama recognizes, succeeding. Those 'tactics,' are advancing our 'strategy.' Deprive General Petraeus of the resources and manpower to employ those tactics, or worse, leave Iraq altogether, and our strategy will collapse," Salter said. "That is national security 101."

He said McCain will bring American forces home when U.S. interests in Iraq are safe, when al Qaeda is defeated, when Iran's influence is contained and civil war in Iraq is remote.

"That, I think, is what is called 'making us safer,'" Salter said. "Senator Obama's plan, if it can be charitably described as one, would do the reverse."

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On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Sen. Obama has offered a speech on the military future of the country. He attacked his opponents on their judgment and their political rhetoric, describing what might be considered an alternative standard for the "Commander-in-Chief test":

On McCain:

"These are the mistaken and misleading arguments we hear from those who have failed to demonstrate how the war in Iraq has made us safer," Obama said.

Just yesterday, we heard Sen. McCain confuse Sunni and Shiite, Iran and Al Qaeda. Maybe that is why he voted to go to war with a country that had no Al Qaeda ties. Maybe that is why he completely fails to understand that the war in Iraq has done more to embolden America's enemies than any strategic choice that we have made in decades.

On Clinton and McCain:

Senator Clinton says that she and Senator McCain have passed a "Commander in Chief test" - not because of the judgments they've made, but because of the years they've spent in Washington. She made a similar argument when she said her vote for war was based on her experience at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But here is the stark reality: there is a security gap in this country - a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions. A gap between Washington experience, and the wisdom of Washington's judgments. A gap between the rhetoric of those who tout their support for our troops, and the overburdened state of our military.

It is time to have a debate with John McCain about the future of our national security. And the way to win that debate is not to compete with John McCain over who has more experience in Washington, because that's a contest that he'll win. The way to win a debate with John McCain is not to talk, and act, and vote like him on national security, because then we all lose. The way to win that debate and to keep America safe is to offer a clear contrast, and that's what I will do when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party - because since before this war in Iraq began, I have made different judgments, I have a different vision, and I will offer a clean break from the failed policies and politics of the past.

Nowhere is that break more badly needed than in Iraq.

He also put forward a new challenge to Sen. Clinton, suggesting that her call to end the Iraq does not constitute military judgment:

"Who do you trust to end a war: someone who opposed the war from the beginning, or someone who started opposing it when they started preparing a run for president?"

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Meanwhile, Sen. Reid's office has offered a comprehensive list of the costs of Iraq, and President Bush has offered a speech arguing that Iraq has been worth the price.