Edwards Gives Up Completely On Iraq
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (NYT) — John Edwards says that if elected president he would withdraw the American troops who are training the Iraqi army and police as part of a broader plan to remove virtually all American forces within 10 months.Wife Elizabeth tried to salvage this disaster by saying the candidate didn't really mean he'd stop all training -- he'd just make sure the training happened outside Iraq.
Mr. Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who is waging a populist campaign for the Democratic nomination, said that extending the American training effort in Iraq into the next presidency would require the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to provide logistical support and protect the advisers.
“To me, that is a continuation of the occupation of Iraq,” he said in a 40-minute interview on Sunday aboard his campaign bus as it rumbled through western Iowa.
In one of his most detailed discussions to date about how he would handle Iraq as president, Mr. Edwards staked out a position that would lead to a more rapid and complete troop withdrawal than his principal rivals, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have indicated they are open to keeping American trainers and counterterrorism units in Iraq.
Uh-huh; thereby increasing the cost of training, limiting its effectiveness, and ensuring that al -Qaeda will still have the US in the region as a cause d'etre.
In November 2005, when Edwards reversed his earlier position on the war, he called for more and better training of Iraqi troops as part of “a gradual process.” What has happened since then to change his mind to this more extreme position, which would basically leave the nascent Iraqi democracy to die, condemning the Iraqi people to years of devastating violence?
Certainly, many more American soldiers have died in the ensuing 14 months, but not for no reason. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is much less capable of carrying out attacks and the militia have have quieted considerably, resulting in much more calm in the nation. Despite the drone of a car bomb a day, the violence and death toll had dropped considerably, and refugees are returning.
The government, while still falling short of ambitious milestones set for it by the US, which is asking more of Baghdad than colonists asked of Philadelphia, is still in business and still moving forward.
Infrastructure improvements continue, with schools open, power exceeding pre-war levels, and construction projects facing fewer terrorist attacks, so therefore progressing more quickly.
And finally, with the apparent success of the surge, American support for the war is increasing again.
Against this backdrop of success, Edwards has seen fit to be Kucinich-like in his position on the war, abandoning all our troops have fought and died for, all the Iraqi nation has accomplished since the fall of Saddam, and pulling off a Vietnam-like exit. I can see the helicopters on the embassy roof now.
Can Edwards see what will follow? The killing fields? The crackpot despots? The diminishment of freedom and human dignity? The step-up his action will give a faltering Islamist movement?
Apparently not. John, spend less time looking in the mirror and more time looking at reality.
hat-tip: Real Clear Politics