Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dems & Iraq

Last week, Bill Richardson kicked off the conversation on Iraq -- a topic Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama were then avoiding. Later in the week, Edwards would remember the illegal war. But Richardson came out hitting strong.

In full, from his website, this December 19th post, "Iraq: The Real Cost of War Can't Be Ignored:"

At each stop I make in this campaign, there are a lot of issues that I can talk about. Right now, too many Americans are worried about keeping their jobs, keeping their homes, and making sure their kids have quality education and quality health care.
But there is one issue that I believe is the linchpin to everything we want to do in a post-Bush world:
Ending the war in Iraq.
Some of my fellow candidates have decided to stop talking about Iraq. I'm not sure if they think the surge is working, or just that their polls tell them it is simpler and safer to follow the media's lead and just forget our brave troops and what this war is costing us.
Well, I believe that "easy" isn't necessarily right, so even if I'm the only person speaking the truth on this issue, I'm not going to stop.
I'm going to keep talking about ending this war and getting all of our troops out every chance I get.
The fact is, we cannot move forward on any of the issues that matter until we extract ourselves from this black hole that is robbing us of precious lives, money and time.
And we simply can't wait until
2013 to get this done.
Some of my fellow Democrats are willing to leave troops in Iraq for 5 years or longer -- the Republicans are talking decades -- yet still think we can make the dramatic changes here at home we need. But spending $10 billion a month on a war and working towards universal health care, building a new energy economy, and ending our dependence on foreign oil is an equation that doesn't add up.
It doesn't add up financially.
It doesn't add up morally.
It doesn't add up for America.
A few weeks ago, my campaign launched a very strong website which details the core problem I have with the Iraq plans of Senator Edwards, Clinton and Obama -- they won't even commit to getting all of our troops out of Iraq by 2013 -- almost five years from now.
And today, I'm proud that we've released another
TV ad to bring attention back to this issue.
I'm going to do everything I can to make sure we don't forget this war, and forget what we need to do to end it.
Ending the war means getting all the troops out -- there is no room for rhetorical hair-splitting. We're either in or we're out. Now, or the war continues.
We hadn't planned on this, but I'm glad today is the day this ad is coming out -- because just yesterday Congress lost another chance to end this war, choosing instead to once again give Bush what he needs to draw out this tragedy even longer.
Where is the leadership? Just this week, with the fight over telecom immunity, we saw what can happen when a single Senator shows up and stands up for what's right, and yet, yesterday four senators in this race who say they oppose the war -- Senators Obama, Clinton, Dodd and Biden -- were all away while the president got what is essentially another blank check.
This Congress was elected to end this war and they have once again failed to stand up to President Bush. Yesterday, they didn't even show up ready to fight. With a long history of repelling occupying forces, the people of the Middle East are very sensitive to foreign occupation. So long as U.S. troops occupy those lands, millions of Iraqis and those in surrounding nations will see American troops as jihadist propaganda portrays us -- as occupiers there to repress them and plunder their oil. If we want them to believe we won't occupy Iraq indefinitely, then we need to act like we won't -- and get our troops out.
In addition, our presence in Iraq perpetuates Iraq's political stalemate and undermines political reconciliation. As long as U.S. troops are there, the Iraqi factions have every incentive to jockey for power, rather than to reconcile and compromise.
As president, I will get all of our troops out, and I will get them out my first year in office.
A slow redeployment over many years would only prolong the suffering of Iraqis, and delay the process of reconciliation and reconstruction. The longer we take to redeploy, the longer our troops are in harm's way. While redeployment must be done carefully, as determined by our military leaders, to maximize political impact and minimize harm, we can't afford to drag it out over many years.
2013 is over five years from now. If we still have troops in Iraq in 2013, the Iraqis sure won't think the war is over. And neither will the American people.
I have profound differences with my opponents.
Senator Edwards says he will remove combat troops, but not necessarily non-combat troops, and not necessarily by 2013. This contradicts military doctrine that states non-combat troops must be withdrawn first with combat troops providing protection. Leaving non-combat troops behind will either turn them into combat troops or leave them as targets without any support.
Senators Obama and Clinton talk about ending the war, but when given the chance to commit to withdrawing troops by 2013, they both declined. They both say they will end the war, but I also remember hearing that when we elected a Democratic majority to Congress in 2006.
If we have a Democratic President willing to keep us in this war for five more years, what chance do we have of restoring our place in the world? Of creating real peace in the Middle East? Of having the diplomatic strength to broker peace in Darfur or Pakistan or North Korea?
If we have a Democratic President who is willing to keep us in this war for five more years, what hope do we have of funding full care for all of our veterans who have been injured and need our help? What hope do we have of giving health insurance to children? Of paying teachers a living wage? Of dealing with global warming?
I think the answer speaks for itself.
I won't stop talking about Iraq, because you can't talk about solving any problem we face without talking about Iraq. We can't forget that.

TV ad? For those who are unable to utilize the audio (either due to their computers or due to hearing issues), an announcer asks, "Is there a difference between the Democrats on Iraq? There's a big difference. Bill Richardson's the only major candidate with a plan, endorsed by military and diplomatic leaders, to remove all of our troops. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama have repeatedly said they'll leave thousands of troops in Iraq indefinitely, even beyond 2013."

Meanwhile John Edwards saw two strong supporters on the campaign trail. Unlike the diva of trash TV (now with an 'inspirational' touch), Oprah Winfrey, neither Bonnie Raitt or Jackson Browne appeared on TV being chummy with Judith Miller in the leadup to the illegal war. That would be Hoprah who, when questioned by a member of the audience LIED and said she wasn't attempting to tell anyone what to think, she was just providing information. If you'll note that broadcast, there was no information provided from any voices against the illegal war. Hoprah was selling the illegal war before it started. Which makes her a perfect match-up for Barack Obama. Poor little Hoprah, thinking she could be a War Hawk and her dizzy cult would forget and no one else would ever know. Good thing Bill Moyers Journal included her in "Buying the War."

Meanwhile Barack Obama Jnr., who plays damsel in distress so well, cried "foul" yet again and posed as the virgin candidate. Maria La Ganga and Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times sketch out the story better than most (PO'LIceandTICOh appears to doubt the existence of 527s by the use of "so-called" preceding 527):

The Democratic presidential race heated up Saturday, with Barack Obama charging that rival John Edwards committed campaign hypocrisy by deriding political organizations called 527s at the same time he allegedly will benefit from their spending.

Wah-wah cried Little Junior, all the way home.

What is the 527 (Alliance for a New America) airing? Shots of Baby Barack in his "youthful" (translation, adult) days snorting coke while campaigning for Bob Dole? No. It appears it's nothing more than an ad dealing with medical care. But Bambi's up in arms. He's whining, he's crying, he's demonstrating that, if America's foolish enough, they can replace Bully Boy with Baby Boy.

Bambi, who can't fight his own battles even with Sammy Bring Me the Axe Power purring in his ear and David Axelrod giving him some serious attention, whined that John Edwards must stop the ads. STOP 'EM! Axelrod worked the phones like a time-share master. But is Bambi's eternal victim act getting a little damn old?

This was the week when a bit of truth about the Junior Squirt from Illinois began to surface. His record of voting "present" (as oppose to yea or nay) surfaced in The New York Times while
Howard Kurtz (Washington Post) reminded readers:

There was also a lack of media pickup when The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that an Obama Aide had sat down next to him and 'wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton's post-presidential sex life'."

If a comment were made about Bambi's sex life, he'd be crying on TV and screaming, "UNFAIR!" But he thinks of nothing of his staff trashing not only a rival's sex life but her husband's, Bill Clinton, the last elected president (Democrat or otherwise).

Edwards, if he wants the nomination, is going to have to fight for it and that means standing up to Obama. He was all over the map regarding the ads. The correct response was: "527s end only when Congress passes legislation to outlaw them." He could have added, "Obama might introduce such a bill . . . if he could ever show up to serve the six-year term the people of Illinois voted him into."

One thing he got right and didn't seem to waiver on was declaring, "I'm proud of the fact that, unlike Senator Obama, I have never taken any money from a Washington lobbyist or PAC. From my perspective that is not an academic or philosophical question. This is about who has the toughness and fight to take on corporate greed and win. And I have been doing it my entire life. And what we have is an epic fight in front of us to stop this corporate greed and to protect the middle class and jobs in this country. And that's a fight I'm ready for."

Let's see Bambi's friend is under indictment, his South Carolina event not only put homophobes onstage but allowed the expression of homophobia and he was against the illegal war before he was for it in a John Kerry reverse. See, he called it "dumb" before it began and he moved away from that (weak) position quickly. Long before the 2004 election, he was stating that troops couldn't be pulled because 'they were already there.' And of course, just ahead of the 2004 DNC Convention, he told The New York Times that he wasn't sure how he would have voted on the resolution if he'd been in the Senate in 2002.

With the likes of Katrina vanden Heuvel lapping at his political crotch, he's gotten non-stop tongue baths. What will happen if voters grasp in time that Bambi's nothing but an empty suit -- from the tall boys section of the store?

Edwards also noted, "Senator Obama's attacks seem to increase as momentum for our campaign grows. The truth is I am the only candidate in this race who has never taken a dime of PAC or Washington lobbyist money -- ever. And, it's why I support public financing of federal elections. As for outside groups, unfortunately, you can't control them, but let me make it clear -- I think money has corrupted our politics and these groups should not be a part of the political process. Of course, if Senator Obama is serious about real change, I hope he and Senator Clinton will finally end their silence and join with me in calling on the Democratic Party to end the influence of Washington lobbyists by once and for all rejecting their money."

[Illustration by Betty's oldest son.]
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