Barack Obama on Saturday accused Republican rival John McCain of embracing Bush administration policies that he said shortchange Americans by favouring an extended war in Iraq at the expense of fixing the nation's underfunded schools and crumbling roads and bridges.
Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, used a national radio address to trumpet his campaign proposals to end US dependence on foreign oil and to conclude the war in Iraq responsibly "by asking the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future and to invest in their own country."
The Illinois Democrat pointed to a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the Iraqi government could end the year with as much as a US$ 79 billion budget surplus while at the same time spending only a fraction on reconstruction costs that are largely borne by the US McCain will only continue Bush war policies with an "open-ended commitment" that has been unsuccessful, Obama said.
"Let me be clear: We are well over five years into a war in a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks," he said.
"Our country has spent nearly a trillion dollars in Iraq, even as our schools are underfunded, our roads and bridges are crumbling and the cost of everything from groceries to a gallon of gas is soaring."
"Now think for a moment about what we could have done with the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars that we've spent in Iraq," Obama said.
"We could have made historic investments in alternative energy to create millions of American jobs. We could have headed off US$ 4 dollar a gallon gas and begun to end the tyranny of oil in our time.