Barack Obama scrubbed clean his campaign website over the weekend to remove harsh criticisms of the U.S. troop “surge” initiated by President George W. Bush last year in Iraq. The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue web page which described the surge as a “problem” that barely reduced violence; a fact now clearly refuted. This action, his campaign says, is part of a so-called “refining” of his policy on Iraq in advance of his visit to the area.

Debate over the true impact of the Bush troop “surge” has been at the center of a few good jabs this week between Obama and rival John McCain. Obama opposed the war and the surge from the start — getting almost cult-like support from his left-wing base in return — while McCain was for both the invasion and the troop increase, to the mocking and ridicule of moonbats everywhere.

So the conundrum for Obama? The surge has created a safer and more secure Baghdad opening the door to yet one more opportunity for Obama to step closer to the center and for John McCain to point out Obama’s ever growing list of flip flopping moments.

“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” the Illinois senator said that night, a month before announcing his presidential bid. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Obama continued to argue throughout 2007 that the troop increase was a mistake. By the early part of this year, he was acknowledging that it had improved security and reduced violence, but he has stuck by his opposition to the move.

“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated on his website, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks – not U.S. military muscle – for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

But by all accounts, thanks to the surge, insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama’s “new and improved” language regarding the surge now says in part:

“despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.”

Just words nuances I suppose.

A year and a half after President Bush announced he was sending reinforcements to Iraq. That move, called “the surge,” is widely credited with reducing violence there. With most Americans ready to end the war, McCain is using this recent surge debate with Obama to argue he has better judgment and the troops should stay to win the fight. Obama, though acknowledging a lessening of violence, argues the troop increase has not achieved its other goal of fostering a political reconciliation among Iraqi factions.

John McCain capitalized on Obama’s “refining” of his policy on Iraq by concluding:

“Today we know Senator Obama was wrong. The surge has succeeded. And because of its success, the next President will inherit a situation in Iraq in which America’s enemies are on the run, and our soldiers are beginning to come home.”

Um, Barry? May I make a couple suggestions for you to add to your refined policy statements? Iraq has achieved 15 of 18 benchmarks and violent attacks throughout that liberated country are down by 90% over last year. And the Iraqi government that you have condemned repeatedly, has passed more important pieces of legislation than the Democratic Congress of which you are a member, just this past year.

Just a few ideas for the next time you “refine.”

Barack Obama Video

“Barack Obama on Iraq, Opposition from the Start”