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.
Now, read this:
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.
Does he not know the training is already well underway and the logistical support and protection are already there? No further deployment necessary (he really has no idea what's going on there, does he?). In fact, what they're in the middle of doing now is standing up the Iraqi logistics piece so the ISF can be self-sustaining.
And, of course, for the most part "listening to the generals" has received nothing but lip-service from Democrats, so this comes as no real surprise:
Mr. Edwards’s plan, like that of many of his Democratic opponents, is at odds with the strategy developed by American military commanders, who have said the situation is still too fragile to set a timetable for such extensive troop withdrawals and a curtailment of the training effort in Iraq.
Naturally, Edwards wouldn't apologize for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with his ill-advised withdrawal proposal should he become president - instead, it would be "Bush's fault".
Apparently, while blithely ignoring the progress in Iraq, policy prescriptions have now boiled down to an internal competition between the three Democratic presidential wannabees as to who can throw Iraq to the wolves the fastest, and it seems Edwards wants to win that race rather badly:
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.
This man would be an absolute foreign policy disaster as president (not that his two rivals would be that much better). Even as a husband/wife tag team, they come of as less than impressive when pressed on the impact of the Edwards proposal:
Elizabeth Edwards, his wife and political partner, who listened in on the interview from a seat across the aisle, intervened at the end of the session to underscore that Mr. Edwards did not intend to stop all training and was prepared to train Iraqi forces outside of the country. Mr. Edwards continued the theme while acknowledging that the benefits of such training would be limited.
Meanwhile, the Edwards campaign bus broke down on the trail. I can only hope that's a metaphor for his entire campaign, given this bit of policy tripe.
If a political consultant said, "Hey, John, if you go out there and say that the moon is made of green cheese and it’s Bush’s fault, then you’d be guaranteed to win the presidency", we’d immediately begin hearing about green cheese and Bush from Edwards. He has less substance than any other major candidate, of either party.
He just wants to be president. He doesn’t know why or what he would actually do. He just really, really wants it. And he would say anything to get it.
Of course, Hillary has an even stronger burning desire to be president, and she knows exactly why - she wants to order the rest of the world around and make us all dance to her tune. She’s hungry for power. I think Edwards is just hungry for status.
Obama’s main advantage to me is that his obsession with becoming president doesn’t seem as strong as Hillary and Edwards.
Soooo, is your complaint that Edwards is incorrect when he says that if you propose a continued "training" role for US troops in Iraq, you also have to have a whole logistic structure to protect and provide for the trainers, with more forces and more bases than "a few trainers"? Seems fairly straightforward. That is a continued American troop presence that Hillary wants and he doesn’t, one she likes to obscure by saying that she for withdrawal.
Or is your hysteria about the merits of more training? Because we’ve been training these guys for years now. We’re starting postgraduate studies with these guys. Some of them must have doctorates in light infantry training by now. The Iraqi army’s problems, and even more so the police, are motivation and loyalty. More American training isn’t going to solve them. At some point were going to stop training them, why not fall of ’09?
He has less substance than any other major candidate, of either party.
What do you mean by substance, and in what way does Edwards have less of it?
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.
Retief - English is fun language with many parts, for example tenses to describe a time reference. Three of the time tenses we have in our language are the present, past and future tenses, frequently used to describe actions to be taken in a selected period of time.
See, the words used above - would require deployment - those are future tense. They imply things that would have to be done, rather than things that are being done, or things that have already been done.
If you need any more assistance in understanding the meanings of some phrases just pop by and we’ll be happy to help.
As a lawyer one would think Edwards, too, understands what words mean when he uses them.
looker heal thyself. A tour in Iraq is a deployment. Every time we switch units in Iraq the new units are deployed there. Currently we have about 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq. If, after Edwards is elected, the US were to keep trainers in Iraq, that would require deployment of troops beyond those advisers. Interestingly that is neither past present or future. Go figure out what else it might be.
I stand corrected - he didn’t actually say that, it was a reporter’s paraphrase synopsis of the discussion.
It’s interesting to read what he did say though, in total.
My synopsis - After 9 or 10 months, ready or not Iraq, the combat troops come out and if there’s bad sh!t afterwards, well, America fullfilled their moral obligations by giving them that extra 9 or 10 months (maybe even 11 if the field commanders requested it...). He’d rely on the usual cast of John Kerry Euro’s to help fix it all up and make it better and if the international community won’t help out, well, it’s just too hypothetical to talk about.
Full transcript is on the NY Time site, but of course you have to have a membership to read it....