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No timetables

Retired generals Zinni, Baptiste, never mind the still active Abizaid, are against setting a timetable to get out of Iraq. What is the Democratic position on timetables, by the way, I don’t remember. Note that Dem Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants Congress to cut off funds. Now it’s starting to smell like Vietnam! In the meantime, Bush is reported to be thinking of increasing the number of troops by 20,000 for one big push.

Discussions - 9 Comments

If the Democratic leadership in Congress is wise [sic], they will by their presence remind the president that the country is impatient for success in Iraq; they will offer suggestions and opportunities for debate (the premise, such as it is, of a timetable is that it will induce change for the better from the Iraqis); but they will not position themselves as though they want the president, and therefore policy, to fail.

I do not expect from Democrats a consistent stance along this line, and I voted for DeWine in Ohio (despite his vote on the military commission bill).

The Democrats have made Iraq smell like Viet Nam since the election. It is a sad, sick smell, and if it all goes like that, they, especially Dennis Kucinich, will blame Bush for the smelly debacle. Such things are never their fault.

Steve Thomas, maybe you are right, and they are wise and I am blinded by partisan feeling. Maybe that is silly in these gloriously bipartisan times.

I said "if" and I was referring to the leadership - i.e., with too little information so far, I choose to be an optimist, hoping that they won’t mistake the mood of the center; that they will keep the country’s interests foremost, to their own possible advantage in 2008; if nothing else, that they remember 1972 and 1980. None of this implies that there is not much to criticize about this administration’s policy in Iraq.

I leave Kucinich and some others aside as beyond hope. They are blinded by their dislike of the president, and stuck at the decision to go after Iraq in the first place.

Thoughtful [sic] Democratic critics of the president’s "course" have not explained very well their own ideas: for example, "time-table" and "redeployment." So far, it has been child’s play for the administration to discredit them as being "cut and run" by other names. Once again, this suggests that we indeed have only one foreign policy at a time, and it is inevitably the president’s.

Bipartisan times? That was last Wednesday.

P.S. The "Guardian" piece that Peter posted is, in my opinion, a must-read, even though he forgot to put the mug logo next to the link.

We need to find out what the American people actually want. If they want a pull-out, let’s do that. The only way spoiled-brat Americans will ever learn is if we allow the world to repay their short-sightedness. In my opinion, the faster way back into the good graces of the electoral is to allow the Democrats to handle our national security for a few years.

To the optimist, So much for bipartisanship.

Is it anywhere clear what the American people want in terms of Iraq? If the election is taken as THE indicator, then we are in terrible trouble. IF the election was about Republican corruption and/or incompetence, or was just the normal shift in this type of election, or whatever - I see no consensus on it - then Kucinich & Co., will over-reach themselves and that is all to the good. But that leaves the question of what to do in Iraq very much in the air. If not through elections, then how do we, in America, discern what is "the will of the people"? Polling? How do we trust that? It seems such an imperfect gauge.

The newest bit of info for me in that article was this: we would talk with Syria and it would be helpful. Well.

I am puzzled about the idea that we could set up a new "strong-man" in Iraq. Who is there left who would be seen as "strong" enough to hold faction together? If that has NOT been evident in the election process, which I know it has not, who will counter corruption, improve local government and curtail the power of religious courts. Maybe in Iraq, it is evident that there is such a person?

Kate - I’m not sure I understand. Are you being sarcastic?

Why do you insist that Kucinich is the typical Democrat? I’m more worried about Levin’s ambiguities.

My premise about the election vis a vis Iraq is that we ought to assume that the main message is, succeed in whatever way is best for America, and this president has not persuaded us he knows how to do that. Polling won’t help in defining that objective any further. That’s why we have a president, and Democrats will make a mistake if they seem to stand for undermining him contrary to the country’s interest in succeeding in Iraq. The Guardian piece argues that if the president wants to be daring one more time in Iraq, well then, let’s see.

I always supported the Iraq war, but this grand experiment was always premised on one thing: Iraqi partnership. I just don’t see it. The Arabs seem really good at 1) blowing people up, and 2) blaming it on Jews and Crusaders, but they apparently have little aptitude for shouldering their responsibilities and taking their destinies into their own hands.

I think Bush should be bold by cutting a deal with the Kurds and telling the Sunni/Shia mudfest to duke it out. One proviso, however...he needs to make it REAL hot for Iran. If those people have any hope of a decent government, we need to minimize Iranian influence. What’s going on in Iraq is a multi-party proxy war. When will the Iraqis refuse this role of sacrificial puppets?

Steve Thomas, I am sorry to be so late re-finding this thread. I do not think I was being sarcastic, but I did find it amusing that you described yourself as optimistic and then had your own sarcastic remark on bipartisanship. It made me laugh.

Actually, I do not think Kucinich is a typical Democrat, but I think he is typical of a type of Democrat and that type gets sympathy in the media more than they deserve. I hiope NOT to see them prevail, politically, on this or any other issue, and I hope they try because I think the sooner they fall, the better I’ll like it. Maybe that would encourage Carl Levin to good sense.

I thought the Guardian piece was even encouraging to the idea of a new push in Iraq. However, dain’s proxy idea seems increasingly true - and our military must see it that way as they keep talking about having the war over there as opposed to elsewhere, i.e., here - so no wonder the average Iraqi on the street is a ambiguous about our presence. I keep wondering: if Al Qaeda, or other jihadists, keep escaping across borders, or are being harbored, elsewhere, how long could we keep from extending the battle over the borders, though I suppose that would be one reason to avoid pushing, as pushing, chasing the fleeing enemy would cause all kinds of problems in the region.

Isn’t the problem with siding with the Kurds that it would cause problems with Turkey, as don’t they have a Kurdish population problem, too. I have read that to have an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would imply to Kurds in Turkey and Iran that they might join such a nation, destabilizing that whole area. So, in that, we would offend Iran, although, it would be the least of our worries there. But, am I wrong?

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