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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Democrat "Ideas" for Iraq are Mostly the Bush Plan

You know the complaint by now: Democrats haven't any good ideas to win the war in Iraq. Well, actually they do have some ideas, just not alternatives. Mostly they spout the Bush policy in Iraq as if it was their idea.

Perhaps the best illustration of this is the September 4th letter to President Bush from Senate MINORITY Leader Harry Reid:

Reid Letter to President Bush:

...We propose a new direction, which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort.

On behalf of President Bush, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten responded.

Josh Bolten response:

...Your letter recites four elements of a proposed “new direction” in Iraq. Three of those elements reflect well-established Administration policy; the fourth is dangerously misguided. First, you propose "transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection." That is what we are now doing, and have been doing for several years.
...
Second, your letter proposes "working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources." You are once again urging that the Bush Administration adopt an approach that has not only been embraced, but is now being executed.
...
Third, your letter calls for "convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort."...This effort is well under way, it has momentum, and I urge you to support it.

Three of the key proposals found in your letter, then, are already reflected in current U.S. and Iraqi policy in the region.

On the fourth element of your proposed “new direction,” however, we do disagree strongly. Our strategy calls for redeploying troops from Iraq as conditions on the ground allow, when the Iraqi Security Forces are capable of defending their nation, and when our military commanders believe the time is right. Your proposal is driven by none of these factors; instead, it would have U.S. forces begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of the year, without regard to the conditions on the ground. Because your letter lacks specifics, it is difficult to determine exactly what is contemplated by the “phased redeployment” you propose. (One such proposal, advanced by Representative Murtha, a signatory to your letter, suggested that U.S. forces should be redeployed as a “quick reaction force” to Okinawa, which is nearly 5,000 miles from Baghdad).

Regardless of the specifics you envision by “phased redeployment,” any premature withdrawal of U.S forces would have disastrous consequences for America’s security. Such a policy would embolden our terrorist enemies; betray the hopes of the Iraqi people; lead to a terrorist state in control of huge oil reserves; shatter the confidence our regional allies have in America; undermine the spread of democracy in the Middle East; and mean the sacrifices of American troops would have been in vain. This “new direction” would lead to a crippling defeat for America and a staggering victory for Islamic extremists. That is not a direction this President will follow. The President is being guided by a commitment to victory -- and that plan, in turn, is being driven by the counsel and recommendations of our military commanders in the region.

Finally, your letter calls for replacing Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. We strongly disagree.

Secretary Rumsfeld is an honorable and able public servant. Under his leadership, the United States Armed Forces and our allies have overthrown two brutal tyrannies and liberated more than 50 million people. Al Qaeda has suffered tremendous blows. Secretary Rumsfeld has pursued vigorously the President’s vision for a transformed U.S. military. And he has played a lead role in forging and implementing many of the policies you now recommend in Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld retains the full confidence of the President.

SMACK!

I'd like to add a postcript to Bolton's response: "Senator Reid, it's hard to imagine anyone being a bigger jackass than your predecessor Tom Daschole. But you certainly seem to have eclipsed even his standard for cowardice and stupidity.

Again, Dem's have no practical, effective alternative!

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