The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exit Strategy

Over at Open Left, Bowers has put up a helpful breakdown of where each candidate stands  on exiting Iraq.

http://openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId =1169

He writes:

"No residual forces outside of embassy protection: Richardson, Kucinich. This would require 5,000 to 10,000 troops, though possibly less, depending on the size of the embassy each would decide to maintain in Iraq.

Residual forces for embassy and personnel protection: Edwards. This would require between 5,000 and 10,000 troops for the embassy, and probably a similar number outside of the embassy. So, 10,000 to 20,000 seems likely.

Residual forces for counter-terrorism, Iraqi troop training, personnel protection and embassy protection: Clinton, Dodd and Obama, plus Biden conditionally. This will require roughly 40,000 troops, plus the number of advisors for the Iraqi military, plus an indeterminate amount of mercenaries private contractors. The Biden plan might require as few as 20,000, depending on the circumstances."

I haven't seen quite so succint a breakdown, and, I hope that it's okay that I include his breakdown here.

I will be honest. I don't know which strategy is best. I am posting this here to start a discussion rather than tell you what I think. I tend to agree with the most agressive strategy for living as possible. It's on that level that the Obama/Clinton approach bothers me, but I can be convinced if someone can explain the rationale in a way that will suggest a better outcome for both the U.S. and Iraq.

Can anyone add their thoughts?

Tags: Iraq, Presidential Race (all tags)

Comments

38 Comments

Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

>> I will be honest. I don't know which strategy is best.

I just want to applaud you for this statement which is all too infrequent at myDD.  The complexity of the problem in terms of US military logistics, mitigating further violence in Iraq and avoiding wider regional conflicts makes this a tough call and it is time to be honest about that.  

Thanks.

by Satya 2007-09-05 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

That was part of my point for writing the post. I can see the issues on both sides although I favor a more aggressive withdrawal schedule. I was just trying to figure out whether there are other ideas out there.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

I agree with Clinton/obama/Biden/dodd on this one . There is no way I'll cast my vote for Edwards/Richardson because it is a pander to the left or else they have no idea what tthe hell they are talking about . When Biden confronted Richardson in the debate , he looked stumped and hopeless.

Frankly if I was a lawmaker I'll give Gen Peatreaus more time to handle the counter insurgency . I think some dems are going too far out there without thinking of the consequences of their actions . Its easy to say remove all troops okay how do you deal with the consequences after that.

by lori 2007-09-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

Yours is the type of comment that I find completely useless. I was looking for a substantive exchange about the policies, not the candidates.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

Yeah , you are better off having a discussion with yourself.

You seem to be the only one that understands what you want.

by lori 2007-09-05 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

No I am better off with peo who aren't bullshit artists masquerading as anything but that. If you are unclear what makes you a bullshit artist- its comments like 'far left' etc. I am not here to get you labels. I am asking people which policies they think are best, and WHY. Saying far left isn't a why. Hence below with DoIT whom I often disagree with - I took a different tactic because he actually provided reasoning.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

if you think labeling disagreement as the 'far left' is having a conversation with anyone then you are confused as to what conversations are meant to achieve.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

Maybe you should look at my comments again and please point out where i used the quote " Far Left " , but hey its bruh , hysteria is not that unexpected from you.

You are a funny being.

by lori 2007-09-05 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

what was this in reference to "pander to the left." presumptively you are on the left even if slightly so or else why are you in the Democratic party? and more importantly what does the statement pandering mean and how is relevant to the question of the policies. If you wanted to make a comment it was absolutely not necessary for you to use it as an opportunity to swipe at the candidates. you could have simply stated your position, as i asked, about which policies you thought was better and why. i asked this to avoid these kinds of beside-the-point exchanges wherein you us the discussion over policy as an excuse to attack those with whom you disagree. the fact you are passive aggressive about it doesn't mean i missed what you did.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

It means exactly what it is , some of us consider ourselves more to the center and are still members of the democratic party , some are independents leaning towards the democratic party .

Yes I believe what Richardson is doing is election year pandering to get votes , it is a way to distinguish himself and is no way a coherent policy position , I do not see how moderates/Independents/or people at the center will buy into any politician saying remove all troops and no residual troops in 6 months starting now , it does not make any sense and I know a pander to the left when I see one , it is pretty irresponsible for someone who wants to be President to adopt that as a policy position , I think he is the only one I have seen advocating that position. He knows better because He was a moderate governor and very pragmatic as well , and for soemone who has that kind of foreign policy experience to suggest that shows it is a pander.

I bet you if he gets into office he won't do that .

By the way I am not going to subject myself to what you think the contours of my comments should be . It is a free country and if you want to control the extent of the discussion , you might as well have a communication with yourself.

You are a little too paranoid for me , until you become a little more rational , I'll suggest you stop posting diaries.

But hey thats just my suggestion and you are better off not trying to put words in other peoples mouth and stick to what I wrote , left not " Far left " . Get it.

Whatever paranoia you have floating around in your mind , you can go and deal with it at your own choosing , but do not put words in my mouth.

I never said " Far Left " , I said " Left " , next time read properly before you comment.

by lori 2007-09-05 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

lori- please spin another diary. i am interested in teh issues, not your spin of your initial response. reasonable peo can differ on these issues, and some of us can not even be sure what we think teh answer is. anyway, good luck, i won't be talking to your further in this diary unless you can keep on teh substance of my question rather than use it as an oppotunity to spin your candidtae's position. for record, although i support edwards i am not entirely sure i agree with his position here. i cant  imagine you ever saying something  like that.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

Once again you are wrong , I have said Hillary Clinton's vote on Iraq was wrong and her vote against the supplemental was wrong.

Its not that difficult for me to criticize Hillary Clinton on anything I disagree with her on . I said her ad put up in New Hampshire today wasn't memorable and I have said the Norman Hsu case was one in which she should have returned the contributions and I'm glad she did. I have said She shouldn't have said what She said on the terror issue even if she might be right on the merits.

And on the iraq issue , I am not in line with what most Dems particularly on the left , notice I did not say " Far left " because I am more to the center , I would like us to salvage the best possible outcome we can from Iraq and I don't see that happening with Richardson's call of removing every single troop , it doesn't make any sense to me.

I am one that has been really interested in having a substantive discussion about Iraq but if you are saying that we can only have that discussion without criticizing candidates position , even when your diary is about their positions is not a debate I am willing to have with you.

I am not entirely satisfied with Clintons approach as well , I do not think She should have voted against that bill , if I was in the senate I would not have and I will give Peatreus some more time probably into next year about September and start a gradual withdrawal , especially now that there is some signs it is helping to dampen the violence in some areas granted this might not be a long term trend, why not try and use this little momentum to try and pressure the iraqi's to make the political compromise  , but I just don't know how responsible it is to just yank all the troops out in one swoop without thinking of the repurcussions , thats pandering for votes during a campaign.    
 

by lori 2007-09-05 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

I might agree with your statement about giving Patraeus more time IF there was also a very significant draw down going on simultaneously. But also I don't know that killing more insurgents is going to change a single thing in the long run. Honestly I have reached the tipping point where I don't want another day of this ill conceived poorly executed terrorist creating war. I prefer a total withdrawal. Bring in the UN and let's get the hell out.

by DoIT 2007-09-05 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

But why would the UN get involved in this? That's the part that I don't see happening. This isn't  like the former Yugoslavia, etc. Where it was stabilized when we left.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

"Bring in the UN and let's get the hell out."

Do you have any thoughts about which countries will volunteer troops under UN authority in order to allow the country that invaded Iraq to leave in a total withdrawal?

by Satya 2007-09-05 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

I think that a landslide majority of countries in the UN would be pleased to see a United States withdrawal from Iraq. I suspect there would be a huge sigh of relief were we to approach the United Nations and propose that we leave with it's help.

by DoIT 2007-09-05 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

The difficulty is what is that help going to be?  UN agencies will not set up in Iraq without adequate security.  And I don't foresee enough countries wanting to contribute troops to UN security forces.

Where are the UN troops going to come from?

by Satya 2007-09-06 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

The UN, who was vilified by the US in regards to Iraq, who had personnel discredited because they didnt agree with the US policy?

The UN wont bail us out on this one, if they would, i would favor a complete pull out.

But what would the UN do, probably put about 40k troops in to do the things in the Biden/Obama/Clinton side of the argument: Iraqi troop training, personnel protection and embassy protection.

Counter Insurgency will add a few more.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-09-05 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

But why would they do that? Asked this above, but it needs repeating. Its essentially asking them to come into a civil war, so why? what incentives would convince them given their home country perceptions?

by bruh21 2007-09-05 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

they wont - I dont think the UN will go in at all, but if they DO go in, thats basically what their role would be, I think.

Not so much because they dont care about what happens to Iraq, but because its a big dick contest on the security council.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-09-05 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

I pressed post without finishing.

I dont think a complete pull out without any assurances to the Iraqi Government that we wont let them collapse is a good Idea.

I think protection of personnel is very important. They are afraid for their lives now thats with the US currently protecting them, if the US pulls out completely, the government will collapse.

There are also things that need to be protected.  I think Iraq has to use their resources wisely, and distribute the oil wealth evenly.  Can anyone count how many times their oil lines have been blown up?  That is Iraq's sole source of survival, i think that has to be protected as well.

Embassy protection makes complete sense for me as well.

Training of Iraqi military/police forces is also needed in my opinion.

Protecting the oil fields, government personnel prtoection, protecting the embassy, and training of Iraqis are all needed for a moderately stable Iraq.

I think Richardson's idea is pandering, especially when he says he'll have it done in a month. Thats absolutely ridiculous and i'd say impossible.  Theres just too much equipment.

I wouldnt say Kucinich is pandering though.  He's anti-war, always has been, always will be. But i think there is a difference in redeploying out of Iraq with these conditions, and staying the course. The latter is continuing the war, whereas the former is refocusing the mission out of war mode and into humanitarian restructuring.  I dont think Biden/Obama/Clinton want to keep the war going, but they have a very clear idea, that is sensible, of what the role of the military in Iraq should be after Bush.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-09-05 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

My issue which the longer time tables are that they sound nice as to reasoning until you realize history. Nixon said he would leave Vietnam,a nd the how long did it take? It still was a mess anyway. That's the point. That to be commmitted to a more agressive time scale in order to make it as soon as possible versus trying to be 'reasonable' which given US history and apathy can turn from 2011 to 2015 and onwards.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

 I still think Richardson is pandering on the issue.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-09-05 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exi

possibly, but then I see all of their plans as a step off point for debate amongst bloggers about the issue rather than simply as a way to view the candidates alone.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 02:44PM | 0 recs
Bowers has an interesting post but

still missed part of the picture. Edwards has been a lot more vocal about what he would do and what he supports than either Obama or Clinton have been - by a longshot. And much more precise in what he is saying and his framing of the issue.

Obama and Clinton tend to only talk about their plans in broad terms and leave out things they don't want to focus on - like troop numbers. And they've been very hard to pin down on what Congress should do regarding funding - the hole in both of their plans.

Edwards, whether you agree with him or not, has been much bolder on ending the war and much more articulate in laying out the Congress's role in ending it.

Take the upcoming funding, the $147 + $50 billion - Clinton and Obama are in silence on the most important issue facing the Congress - once again.

by okamichan13 2007-09-05 01:18PM | 0 recs
Edwards does...

have a nice round number on immediate troop withdrawals (50,000), but very little detail on exactly what troops he's talking about...and where they'd come from.  It's a good talking point, but not much on real policy.

Your point on Edwards jawboneing Congress on the upcoming supplemental is a reasonable argument.  I think there were good reasons for Obama to play things close to the vest in May...it wasn't clear at all how Clinton might vote.  Now it's pretty obvious she'll vote however Obama does, so he doesn't have that excuse anymore.

by rashomon 2007-09-05 01:34PM | 0 recs
Actually he has been pretty clear

on where they would come from when asked. The 40-50,000 would come the north and south to begin with.

But getting too specific on exactly where and how many each month would be a bit irresponsible I think. Thats where the military leadership comes in to create the dirty details of a withdrawal plan with a specific timetables within the constraints of what the president would want.

by okamichan13 2007-09-05 01:39PM | 0 recs
Most of these plans...

leave out some really important details.  Like, is Edwards or Richardson really going to abandon military support for the Kurds in Northern Iraq and leave them to the wolves?  Regardless of the consequences (likely invasion from Turkey)?

If we're just going to stage troops in Kuwait, how exactly is that radically different than staging them in bases in Iraq?  Are the missions really any different?

What is the acceptable US role in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others?  Should we be involved militarily in any Peacekeeping force to help enforce a soft partition?

by rashomon 2007-09-05 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Most of these plans...

I really find it hard to believe that Turkey will be invading anyone, since it would be pretty fatal to their bid to join the EU, among other things.  They have every incentive to be a good global citizen.

I'm baffled that you don't see any difference between keeping our troops in Iraq and redeploying them to Kuwait.  The idea is to have them available for major operations, if necessary, but otherwise to put the Iraqis in charge of handling day-to-day issues.

Your last paragraph kind of has too many hypotheticals for me to attempt a legitimate answer.

by Steve M 2007-09-05 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Most of these plans...

I think Turkey will be held in Check from using military force, i wouldnt say they wont try to exert influence though

by sepulvedaj3 2007-09-05 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Most of these plans...

This is exactly why I am uncertain what the best plan is . We are guessing what others will do but without having any clear idea, whoever takes over is just talking at this point. there's no way to be certain how other actors right now - given our damaged relationships- will react.

by bruh21 2007-09-05 02:41PM | 0 recs
Well..

perhaps "invasion" is too strong, but without US military help, there's nothing to stop cross-border incursions from Turkey going after Kurdish "separatists".  I would bet that every Dem candidate would leave troops in Kurdish areas...regardless of the rhetoric today.  That's why I think it's mostly BS.

The "redeployment" to Kuwait is basically just moving troops to large bases...and then having lots of incursions back into Iraq as needed.  That doesn't seem hugely different than having huge bases in Iraq...and leaving the day-to-day stuff to Iraqis.  If you said "we're moving to Kuwait and we're NOT going back to Iraq", that's different.  But that's not what's being said.

by rashomon 2007-09-05 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Well..

But huge bases in Iraq would represent a continuing occupation and would be the source of ongoing anti-U.S. resentment among Iraqis.  Bases in Kuwait, not so much.

by Steve M 2007-09-05 03:16PM | 0 recs
Even if...

we're still going into Iraq, killing Iraqis, etc.?

by rashomon 2007-09-05 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Even if...

I think you're imagining something completely different from what's envisioned with the redeployment agenda.

by Steve M 2007-09-05 06:32PM | 0 recs
Iraq Exit Strategy

Those numbers do not come from the campaigns. Thus, everything presented is pure speculation.

The whole thing is an exercise in meaningless punditry. The only two candidates even remotely in a position to discuss actual military planning are Biden and Clinton. They can't discuss much of what they know because they know it from classified briefings.

It's as silly as comparing "detailed" health care plans when, we all know, that any health care plan will have to emerge from the Congressional meat grinder.

by hwc 2007-09-05 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq Exit Strategy

I don't think Clinton has received any sort of classified briefing on withdrawal scenarios, or she wouldn't have to write the Pentagon and ask if they're working on any withdrawal plans.

But your larger point is correct; everyone who says we ought to have 20,000 or 40,000 or however many troops is just picking a number out of a hat.  Some people think Richardson is pandering by pushing for no residual forces; I tend to think the residual-force types are the ones playing politics by trying to come off like sensible compromisers.

You sure wish there was a way we could make sensible decisions about the lives of our kids without everything being dictated by pure politics.

by Steve M 2007-09-05 11:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq Exit Strategy

sadly hwc is pure politics. he sees everything in only those terms.

by bruh21 2007-09-06 06:43AM | 0 recs

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