Iraq

In Search of…the Anti-War Democrat

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Steven Thomma asks: Of the Democratic candidates who talk about withdrawing U.S. soldiers from Iraq, which ones would leave troops there and which ones would actually get them all out? Only three contenders come out for a clear-cut, full-fledged withdrawal: Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

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  1. This could be right. I’ve been saying that the uncomitted voter won’t go for another Republican. However, the Dems were voted into the majority in Congress with the idea they would get us out of Iraq. Now those there is wide spread disappointment and distrust from those that voted them in. I always thought Kerry lost because he wasn’t sufficiently different from Bush (Why vote for Bush Lite?)

    However vast the party faithful on both sides consider the gulf between them, the undecided might conclude it’s better to have a war monger in charge of the war, than Hillary unable to bring it to an end ala LBJ.

  2. I think an equally important question is which canidate will keep us out of similar situations (Iran, Pakistan, Darfur) in the future?

  3. I think an equally important question is which canidate will keep us out of similar situations (Iran, Pakistan, Darfur) in the future?

    Since Democrats never walked away from the concept of Nation Building, don’t expect any of them to keep us out of further troubles.

  4. I am pretty sure a Dem will win the white house next time around, but I doubt she or he will do much of anything useful regarding the Iraq situation.

    I have a hard time believing either side would consider war against yet another country though.

  5. You know, I think that most people are kind of assuaged by the kind-of-opposition that the Dems have been giving Bush. I mean, everybody knows that they don’t have actual command of the troops, even if they have no understanding of separation of powers.

    And I don’t know that many people REALLY want to have the rug pulled out from under the troops by a unilateral funding cut. They might say “Congress should DO SOMETHING!” but when you say “cut funding” people get a little skittish. I think people picture a bunch of guys stuck in the desert with no ride home.

  6. Note – the above is only a response to Warren’s comment on the ineffectuality of the current congress.

    I am willing to compromise on a slower draw-down and pullout if it gets me a better candidate on other issues, but I’d kinda like a good “Seriously bring ’em home” guy if I can get ‘im. Most of the opposition to Richardson is for his smoking ban. If that’s the worst he does (it isn’t but it’s what H&R gives hime the most grief about) then I can certainly live with that for a withdrawal and an even moderately gun-friendly guy on the ballot for Team Blue.

  7. Again, this is why Richardson is the only Democrat I could vote for.

  8. Ok, just read the article.

    No one really took a “stay the course” position. Some democrats favor a timetable over an immediate pullout. And there’s also talk of leaving some troops in Kuwait and the Kurdish Autonomous Zone. I’d say thats a major improvement over the current situation.

    A timetable would hopefully provide an incentive for the relevant factions to negotiate while allowing them time to do so. Of course, that also might not happen, and the country could collapse into an even greater clusterfuck than it is now when the timetable ends. But a timetable (coupled with some kind of diplomatic effort) might be he best chance there is of leaving behind a somewhat peaceful, prosperous, and (kind of) free Iraq. And at least the troops would be out at the end of it either way.

    Keeping troops in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone would mean they are technically still in Iraq. But they would probably be targetted far less than they are now due to a more favorable attitude from the host population. And their presence might make it possible for the kurdish security forces to: keep Iraq’s chaos out of their region, crack down on the PKK, enforce laws against stoning your daughter to death for having a crush on the wrong guy, etc.

  9. What they seldom emphasize as they court anti-war primary voters is that they’d leave at least some U.S. troops – perhaps tens of thousands – in Iraq, or nearby, indefinitely, perhaps for years.

    There’s a rather significant difference between “in Iraq” and “nearby,” you know.

    Bill Richardson, for example, would “leave” thousands of troops in Kuwait, Qatar, and in the Gulf to carry out counter-terror missions and be ready for contingencies. That’s not remotely the same thing as leaving them in Baghdad.

    As so often happens in the mainstream press, the author has bought into the Republican framing of the issue, implying a binary choice between “staying the course until Victory!” and a complete withdrawal of all forces from the Greater Middle East and a cessation of all efforts to fight terrorists there.

  10. There’s a rather significant difference between “in Iraq” and “nearby,” you know.

    Bill Richardson, for example, would “leave” thousands of troops in Kuwait, Qatar, and in the Gulf to carry out counter-terror missions and be ready for contingencies. That’s not remotely the same thing as leaving them in Baghdad.

    While I would prefer pulling our troops entirely out of the Mideast and let them sort out / shoot out their differences without our interference, I agree that there is a huge difference between having troops in nearby countries, not being shot at — and actually in Iraq, being shot at, as most of the presidential candidates of both parties advocate for.

    Out of curiousity, joe, do you support Richardson, Kucinich, or Gravel? Or do you prefer one of the Warmongers Lite TM?

  11. jh,

    I’m still holding out a thread of hope that Gore will jump in.

    But, in the real world:

    Richardson
    Obama
    Dodd
    Hillary

    And I don’t think calling everyone who doesn’t call for an immediate and complete withdrawal a “warmonger” is fair, either.

    If we could get out of these quagmires easily and without negative consequences when they turn bad, I wouldn’t be so opposed to them. Bush done got us stuck but good, and getting us out relatively cleanly isn’t just a matter of desire or will. It’s going to take some doing.

    By my lights, someone can be serious about ending our involvement there and still recognize that it needs to be an iterative process.

    Although I like Richardson the best, I would hope that he would withdraw from Kurdistan last, so that we could prevent the Kurds from being overrun in case the withdrawal-boosted diplomacy he’s talking about isn’t enough to stave off the Turks coming in from the north, or the Arabs from the south.

  12. And I don’t think calling everyone who doesn’t call for an immediate and complete withdrawal a “warmonger” is fair, either.

    Seems like if you’re monging for war, it isn’t a complete stretch to be labeled a warmonger. 😉

    If you believe, as I do, that we had no business invading Iraq at all, and that keeping the troops there will just get them killed without accomplishing anything productive, how can you advocate anything but getting out and letting the Iraqis duke it out amongst themselves?

    Which part of these premises do you not agree with, so that in your mind it is OK to let our troops be used for target practice during a civil war? What possible good will that do?

    Not being snarky, just trying to understand how you think our troops being there will help American interests at all.

    Re: this quote of yours: “If we could get out of these quagmires easily and without negative consequences when they turn bad, I wouldn’t be so opposed to them.”

    Would you be more amenable to quagmires that can be easily exited from?

    Perhaps you would like to rephrase that so that it doesn’t scream quite so much for a snarky retort?

    P.S. Trying to tone down the more contentious aspects of our back and forth, get a more respectful dialogue going. Truce? (pun intended)

  13. jh,

    If you believe, as I do, that we had no business invading Iraq at all, and that keeping the troops there will just get them killed without accomplishing anything productive, how can you advocate anything but getting out and letting the Iraqis duke it out amongst themselves?

    You can’t. You have to call for a withdrawal. That is not the distinction between Biden/Hillary vs. Richardson vs. Kucinich.

    The question that they answer differently is HOW you carry out a withdrawal.

    If you ever have the misfortune to go into the ER with a knife stuck in you, you will notice that the doctor doesn’t immediately gragb the handle and yank. That is not because supports stabbing you, but because such things need to be done carefully.

    Withdrawal is not a do-over. It’s a policy for where we find ourselves now.

    Would you be more amenable to quagmires that can be easily exited from? If we can easily extricate ourselves, it’s not a quagmire, is it? It’s only a quagmire if you’re sinking, and you can’t get out. Hence, the analogy to quicksand or a mucky swamp.

    I’ve always been quite willing to discuss things civilly, if people are civil to me.

  14. Only three contenders come out for a clear-cut, full-fledged withdrawal: Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

    So no viable Dem opposes the Iraq War.
    How does that play to their supposed advantage next Fall?

  15. If you ever have the misfortune to go into the ER with a knife stuck in you, you will notice that the doctor doesn’t immediately gragb the handle and yank.

    Spend a lot of time in ERs with knives stuck in you, joe? A few downsides to being argumentive, yeah? 😉

    You pull out by taking the troops farthest from the port of exit, moving them South, and covering them from attack while doing so. Repeat, bit by bit, until all the troops are loaded on ships. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take years, even if you dismantle and take with you the more expensive equipment you’ve installed. And if all hell breaks loose in the areas you’ve left, well, not your problem.

    We got the troops to Baghdad quickly. It shouldn’t take too much longer to extract them, especially if you’re only facing insurgents who *want* you to leave, rather than an actual military opposing your advance.

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