Foreign Policy

What the Candidates Will Do in Iraq: Special 5th Anniversary Edition


From ABC News comes a summary of what Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) pledge to do in Iraq if elected president.

The short versions:

McCain: "emphasize his commitment to keeping U.S. troops in the country to secure it."

Obama: "go beyond his plan to pull troops out of Iraq and "outline a strategic vision for our country" to make the United States more secure."

Clinton: "renewed her pledge to begin withdrawing troops within 60 days of becoming president, using her platform to attack both McCain and Obama."

More here.

From surveys collected by the American Enterprise Insititute, a look at current U.S. opinion:

Strong majorities, 59 percent in Gallup's latest survey, say that the war in Iraq was a mistake. Virtually the same percentage of Americans, 60 percent from the same late February 2008 Gallup survey, also say that we should set a timetable for removing troops from Iraq. Policymakers should not jump the gun though. Only a small fraction of Americans—around 20 percent in most polls—support immediate withdrawal.

More here.

Coming later today: reason staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.

NEXT: Nonsense of Indecency

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  1. This is going to be a depressing news day. I can just tell.

  2. Oh, and that was mostly in response to this:
    Only a small fraction of Americans-around 20 percent in most polls-support immediate withdrawal.

  3. “Immediate” withdrawal is as irresponsible as foreign policy gets, even in Iraq.

  4. “immediate” isn’t really immediate, given that we’ve been talking about immediate withdrawl for… a couple of years now?

  5. Any coverage on the 30-strong Code Pink showing yesterday?

    How outnumbered were they by counter-protestors, aka, the support the troops to victory folk?

    BTW, today’s jammed DC-area metrorail commute is being attributed to the zads of satellite trucks to cover the ‘protestors’, rather than any actual protest.

  6. New conspiracy theory: Arthur C. Clark’s death was just a ploy to distract us from the war issue.

  7. There’s no way burning jet fuel alone could melt Arthur C. Clarke.

  8. What is “immediate withdrawal?”

    The troops START coming home immediately? A very large majority of Americans support that, when the question is asked with that language.

    They are all told to throw their stuff in a truck and hightail it to Kuwait by 5PM? Of course most Americans are against that.

    Without further explanation, it’s a meaningless statistic.

  9. In most people’s minds, this is immediate withdrawal.

    So the term is kind of loaded. “Phased withdrawl starting immediately” would be better.

  10. There’s no way burning jet fuel alone could melt Arthur C. Clarke.

    He must have been rigged in advance.

  11. What about the Israeli “students” in Sri Lanka yesterday?

  12. If the Republicans really have the courage of their convictions, one of them should be arranging to get caught with a gay hooker at this point. Would work better than a ninja smoke bomb.

  13. Nick,

    Has Obama so transcended politics with yesterday’s speech that we no longer identify him by party affiliation?


  14. At least we trust John McCain to be tough on the Iranians’ support of al Qaeda.

    What’s the deal with that? Does John McCain, who won the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency in Year Six of the Iraq War not understand the whole Sunni/Shiite thing? I sounds unbelievable, but I remember a Democrat and a Republican on the Intelligence committee both getting caught not understanding that there were Sunnis and Shiites within a week of each other a year or so ago.

    Or was it just a “senior moment?”

  15. Reinmoose … i agree whole-heartly.

    And for the 80% of america that doesn’t believe a SWIFT withdrawal from Iraq is the way to go…Check out this

    All it took to get out of Vietnam was Tricky Dicky goin on TV and saying that the war is over. We can do the same here.

  16. All it took to get out of Vietnam was…

    A hell of a lot more than you noted, Alice (if that is indeed your real name). If you start at Tet and end with the embassy choppers, that’s about 7 years.

  17. GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!!! What part of this do these people NOT understand? Lets be completely honest what threat do these people pose to the US? They have to make IED’s out of fertilizer and use a person to transport. Really folks quit letting politicians feed you BS by the spoon full- Spend a few months there and you let me know what threat these people pose to America-
    Lets just call it what it is- Bush’s OIL & ARMS WAR

  18. All it took to get out of Vietnam was Tricky Dicky goin on TV and saying that the war is over. We can do the same here.

    The post-withdrawal body count in the region was, what, under 2 million? And there were only a couple of short wars. No reason not to do it again.

  19. But we’re so close to achieving success! /sarcasm

    How long will ‘success’ take?

    “Taking all these factors into account, success in Iraq at this point might be defined as a unified country that does not offer sanctuary to Islamic militants and is governed by a stable regime that is not under the influence of a hostile foreign power, such as Iran.

    That, for example, is the bottom line of Andrew Krepinevich, a veteran Army planner and now president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

    Reaching this relatively stable state could take another three to five years – if it can be reached at all. Even then, the US might need to keep a substantial number of troops in the country – to keep Iraq’s internal factions from going after one another and to protect the nation from its external enemies.

    “A reasonable outcome would find something like 30,000 to 40,000 troops in Iraq for 25 to 50 years,” says Dr. Krepinevich in an e-mail.”

    The GOP should be more like Michael Scott:

    “It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, and I am that big man.”

  20. “Taking all these factors into account, success in Iraq at this point might be defined as a unified country that does not offer sanctuary to Islamic militants and is governed by a stable regime that is not under the influence of a hostile foreign power, such as Iran.”

    Kinda sounds like Iraq before the war. Saddam was stable, it was a secular regime (he disliked fundamentalists) and he hated Iran.

  21. All we need is a president to go on TV and say it’s over.

    Just yank them out of there as soon as possible.

    I’m not a military person…and I don’t know how long it will take. Considering that this is the US Government, it will probably take months to get out.

    It’s sad that we have to wait until GW Asshole Bush to leave office before we can even start.

  22. I note McCain is just back from burying his face in the laps of Israel’s leaders, an obligatory pre-election step. If any US politican showed some guts and took a balanced approach to Israel-Palestine, the world would be a different place and (some) attitudes would change. Remember, the so-called War On Terror cannot be won militarily. The IRA had only 300 active members, and the British Army spent over 30 years unsuccessfully trying to defeat them. And the IRA weren’t willing to kill themselves, like Islamic fundamentalists are. Closer to home, if the US cannot eradicate LA street gangs, how can it eradicate worldwide fundamentalist terror?

  23. Thank u GlobalYank.

    The US Government can’t even keep a $10 vile of crack off the street. They can’t deal with the GANG problem. And, we can’t fight a couple of insurgents in a 4th world nation.

  24. It’s very very humiliating for us Americans.

    The world has LOST FAITH in America in everyway.

    NOT that the war had any direct impact on the declining US Dollar…But the War on Terror (The BIG FLOP) definitely shook up everyone’s faith…especially Americans.

    Dick Cheney was able to pull off a Procurement Scam that tore this country apart. And anyone who supports this war is a REAL RETARD !

  25. R C, people who were cheering for this clusterfuck from the start have no business accusing anybody else of being irresponsible about foreign policy.

  26. The post-withdrawal body count in the region was, what, under 2 million?

    Good thing the North Vietnamese Army was available to kick the Khmer Roughe out of power. Because Lord knows, we weren’t going anything to stop them. Heck, there was no Khmer Rouge left to speak of until some Republican geniuses decided that widening the war to new countries was a really super idea.

    Think of how much higher that body count would have been if they were still tied down fighting us in the late 70s.

  27. Oh, and 2 million was the pre-withdrawal body count just in North Vietnam.

  28. Hillary not to be trusted, she signed for war, jobs leaving, to much money being spund in the war.

    Hillary signed for war knowing, the people would suffer, with no jobs, no money, just her own selfish reason, so she can claim to come and clean it up, young lifes have been losted, how untrustworthy can Hillary be. NO VOTE FOR hillary.

    Hillary do not know what’s it like to bewithout

  29. Hillary first said 30 days, I know and you all know, that is just not possible, we have to have good judgement, good judgement please. It’s should be a good process, for the better of the country.

    The world should not loose faith in America, just stop voting for the same old name recognization, for their greed. manipulating way and pardon their family for doing wrong,like Bill, Hillary will pardon her brother.

    Vote smart, change is comming, hope, and believe it.

  30. Is McCain’s “precipice” any relation to the one we went over when we first “won” the war so many years ago?

    Not another Bush/Quayle, PLEEEEEASE!

  31. Hillary can not be trusted. She’s a Hawk and will Pander to Israel…which basically would like America to perform a full service Holocaust on arabs.

  32. We should end this brutial regime. Look at this evil: George W. Bush. He led hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died and wounded because of the war, beacuse of the what he called the “new killer” weapon. But where is the “new killer” weapon after 5 years of occupation of innocent Iraq and her people? We should end this brutial regime and hang George W. Bush, a war criminal, lier, and world terrorist. Look, the economy falls like a rock! The falling banks, the falling market, the falling suprime, the falling credit… all because of this brutal regime and the evil and the terrorist George W. Bush! Hang George W. Bush! Hang George W. Bush!!!

  33. I’m late to the party, but I think all three R&D candidates will do basically the same thing: (1) reduce troops a bit, (2) brag about that, (3) keep on keeping on for at least four more years.

    Yeah, I’m a cynic.

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