How Obama Evolved on the Issue of “Genocide” in Iraq

TIME

As a first-time presidential candidate in 2007, Barack Obama built his campaign around a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Nothing could shake him from his plan to end what he called a “dumb” war. At a New Hampshire campaign stop that July, Obama was asked whether he might delay a pullout if it meant preventing outright genocide in Iraq.

No, Obama said. “[If] that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done.”

Almost exactly five years later, Obama has ordered military action in Iraq “to prevent a potential act of genocide,” as he put it in his public remarks Thursday night.

For now, that action will consist of airlifting supplies to thousands of…

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