Wednesday, August 29, 2007

That's more like it!

See updates at end, and helpful clarification from Thomas Nephew in comments.
New Edwards statement on Iraq:

Edwards' plan for Iraq calls for Congress to:

Cap Funds: Cap funding for the troops in Iraq at 100,000 troops to stop the surge and implement an immediate drawdown of 40-50,000 combat troops. Any troops beyond that level should be redeployed immediately.

Support the Troops: Prohibit funding to deploy any new troops to Iraq that do not meet real readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped, so American tax dollars are used to train and equip our troops, instead of escalating the war.
Require Authorization: Make it clear that President Bush is conducting this war without authorization. The 2002 authorization did not give President Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. President Bush exceeded his authority long ago, and now needs to end the war and ask Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence and to help Iraq achieve stability.

End the War: Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq in 12 to 18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. [emphasis added]
Whew; he's ditched the "residual force" b.s., and not a moment too soon. Primary campaigns are truly pointless, massive wastes of money and effort if there's no significant difference among major candidates. This is a healthy step forward. I'd also expect it to help Edwards in Iowa.

Yes, yes, I'm too easily sucked back in. But this does put some much-needed pressure on Congress. Dodd endorses the same plan, blunting the "easy for you to say" retorts from Clinton and Obama supporters who want to rationalize their candidates' passivity.

Update: 4 Sept, 3:35 pm - Hm. The text at the Edwards site linked above has changed since I posted; my excerpt was cut and pasted from the text then.

Update 2: 8 Sept, 6:00 pm - Good for Bill Richardson for laying out his proposal for getting out of Iraq quickly and challenging the other candidates to answer these questions: How many troops would you leave in Iraq? For how long? To do what, exactly? I look forward to hearing Edwards' answer.

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At 11:15 PM, September 06, 2007, Blogger Thomas Nephew said...

I've just compared your text with what I'm seeing, and I think the changes are minimal. I can send you a side by side comparison, where I moved some text around to get the new text to the corresponding old text. It's prettied up, less bullety, but largely the same words and sentences.

The main difference I see is that Edwards clarifies that "out of Iraq" doesn't mean "all the way back to the US":

"End the War: Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq in 12 to 18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq Withdraw Combat Troops within about a Year Edwards believes we should completely withdraw all combat troops in Iraq within about a year and prohibit permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. After withdrawal, we should retain sufficient forces in the region to contain the conflict and ensure that instability in Iraq does not spill over into other countries, creating a regional war, a terrorist haven, or a genocide."

The first part rewords what you emphasized. To me, the 2d part says there could be a bunch of soldiers in Kuwait or Qatar or someplace like that thereafter. While that's not great, it's still not a residual force in Iraq, so it's OK with me compared to the status quo or the Clinton or Obama plans as I understand them.

It also doesn't appear inconsistent with what you described.

At 4:05 PM, September 07, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

Thanks very much for checking into that, Thomas. I agree with your assessment.

Now Edwards needs to pump up the volume on the differences between his position and the two front-runners, and put some public heat on Congress, particularly Reid and the Senate leadership.

He gave a big address today on his national security/anti-terrorism policy, I learned by email alert. Haven't had time to check around to see if that sank like a stone or is getting any coverage...

At 4:53 PM, September 07, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

Matthew Yglesias points to Edwards' recent barrage of statements. I like the slogan he directs at Congress, which should be reinforced with every call, email and fax we make to our "representatives": "No timeline, no funding; no excuses."

And Chris Bowers reveals how deluded Dem voters in general are about what the presidential candidates' positions are on Iraq. About three quarters of them think Obama's and Clinton's positions are much more in the nature of quick-withdrawal than they in fact are. Only 10-15% accurately characterize them.

Very bad news for Edwards unless the media help him clarify how much worse Clinton's and Obama's proposals are.

At 4:56 PM, September 07, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

Which is a result I'm not holding my breath waiting for.

And the anti-terrorism speech: yerg. "Edwards Echoes Obama on Pakistan Attack"

That's double poison: war bluster plus me-too-ism.

At 10:48 AM, September 08, 2007, Blogger 5th Estate said...


Off topic--you busted me on calling Goldsmith a neo-con in my recent Instahoglets roundup. You were right to do so. I left a response there.

At 5:49 PM, September 08, 2007, Blogger Nell said...

Thanks, 5th! I've made the Newshoggers a daily stop for news I'd likely not see anywhere else.


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