Wednesday, February 14, 2007

John Edwards Writes to Me!

Yes, it's true. Alas, though, he's not writing to praise my sparkling wit in making fun of Health MarketsTM. No, it's just the old bulk mailing thing for me. It's much like the sort of thing that I used to get from John Kerry, only now with added charisma.

To tell you the truth, though, the message is actually sort of exciting. It seems that Edwards has decided to abandon the I'm-running-for-Vice-President nice guy act of 2004. He's decided to take off the gloves, get bold, and make some actual honest-to-god policy proposals. It's hard to say if, politically, that's a good thing or a bad thing. At the very least, it sets him apart from the other two members of the Big Three contenders.

But it's not horse-racing that makes the e-mail interesting. It's the actual content. It seems that Edwards has decided that it's time to move beyond empty rhetoric about the war in Iraq and move into the realm of Doing-Something-About-It. Or doing as much about it as one can without holding an elective office. I'll let him speak for himself here:
So today, I announced a comprehensive proposal to enact my plan to end the war and I'd like to share the key points with you. I believe Congress must:
  • Stop the escalation and force an immediate withdrawal by using funding caps to restrict the total number of troops in Iraq to 100,000, which would require an immediate drawdown of 40,000-50,000 combat troops without stranding or underfunding a single soldier still in Iraq. Any troops beyond the 100,000 level should be redeployed immediately.
  • Block the deployment of troops that do not meet readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped. American Tax dollars must be used to prepare and supply our troops, not escalate the war. It is simply wrong to send our troops into harm's way without all the training and equipment they need.
  • Make it clear that President Bush is conducting this war without authorization. The 2002 authorization did not give Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. President Bush exceeded his authority long ago. He 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.
  • Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq within the next 12-18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.
I don't have all that much to say about the substance of the proposal, at least not at this point. To be honest with you, I don't think that I know enough about the strategic situation in Iraq to know whether leaving within the next 12-18 months would be a good thing or a bad thing. I have a feeling that it would mean a serious humanitarian crisis in Iraq starting in, oh, about 12-18 months. Or rather, it would mean a seriouser humanitarian crisis in Iraq. OTOH, I suspect that said crisis will occur whenever American troops leave. If the options really are
  • A: Low-level civil war for 12-18 months followed by bloody civil war.
  • B: Low-level civil war for more than 18 months followed by bloody civil war.
Then I'd say that (A) is better.

My biggest worry is the whole cap funding thing. Not because I think it's a bad idea in and of itself. But rather because I worry about whether it will work. What happens, after all, if Congress cuts funding but the President refuses to redeploy any troops? Would Congress blink? I suspect that they probably would. Not that I'd ever suspect that our President might sacrifice the lives of American soldiers simply to score a few political points. There. Is. Absolutely. No. Way.


Blogger Matt said...

I think you make an all-too-common error in discussing the Iraqi withdrawl. I'm just going to respond in full on my blog so I can link things. This is like primitive trackback you know (I included a link to your post, as well.)


10:43 PM  

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