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"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Monday, August 22, 2005

Self -destruction

Washington Post:

Democrats Split Over Position on Iraq War
Activists More Vocal As Leaders Decline To Challenge Bush

Democrats say a long-standing rift in the party over the Iraq war has grown increasingly raw in recent days, as stay-the-course elected leaders who voted for the war three years ago confront rising impatience from activists and strategists who want to challenge President Bush aggressively to withdraw troops.

Amid rising casualties and falling public support for the war, Democrats of all stripes have grown more vocal this summer in criticizing Bush's handling of the war. A growing chorus of Democrats, however, has said this criticism should be harnessed to a consistent message and alternative policy -- something most Democratic lawmakers have refused to offer.

The wariness, congressional aides and outside strategists said in interviews last week, reflects a belief among some in the opposition that proposals to force troop drawdowns or otherwise limit Bush's options would be perceived by many voters as defeatist. Some operatives fear such moves would exacerbate the party's traditional vulnerability on national security issues.

The internal schism has become all the more evident in recent weeks even as Americans have soured on Bush and the war in poll after poll. Senate Democrats, according to aides, convened a private meeting in late June to develop a cohesive stance on the war and debated every option -- only to break up with no consensus.

The rejuvenation of the antiwar movement in recent days after the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq set up camp near Bush's Texas ranch has exposed the rift even further.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) broke with his party leadership last week to become the first senator to call for all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by a specific deadline. Feingold proposed Dec. 31, 2006. In delivering the Democrats' weekly radio address yesterday, former senator Max Cleland (Ga.), a war hero who lost three limbs in Vietnam, declared that "it's time for a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy to get out."

Making a deadline to withdraw troops is like telling the terrorists exactly when they need to increase their attacks. As a moderate Democrat, I do not support immediate withdrawal nor a concrete deadline for withdrawal, though I was against the original war.

What's happening in Iraq is alarming, and something must be changed. Why doesn't Bush take this opportunity to get rid of Rumsfeld, bring on a new Defense Secretary, and rework the Iraq strategy? Simply speaking as a concerned American citizen, the slow progress there is extremely worrying.

Ed Kilgore has some good ideas on how to change course sensibly:
1) Publicly announce the United States is abandoning any plans for permanent military bases in Iraq to make it absolutely clear our presence is temporary.

2) Publicly announce benchmarks that will trigger withdrawal of American troops, including approval of a constitution and election of a permanent government; specific levels of trained Iraqi troops and other security forces; and renunciation of demands by major Iraqi communities that are incompatible with a stable and pluralistic regime (e.g., Kurdish right to secede, Sunni Arab privileges in a strong central government, Iranian-style Islamic Republic).

3) Initiate direct negotiations with insurgents.

4) Renounce any public or private-sector U.S. designs for control of Iraqi natural resources.

5) Launch an internationalized reconstruction effort which explicitly renounces U.S. exclusive privileges, with special attention to assistance from Sunni Arab countries.

Yes, I do disagree with point three. What for?

But the rest would be helpful.

Bets they'll happen?


Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Oh Boy....I have been looking for a wedding magician blog for a long time, thanks for spamming me about it you computerized troll.

8/22/2005 02:05:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Arrgh! I banish all comment spam! There shall be none in my domain!

8/22/2005 04:00:00 PM  

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