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July 2007

July 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton on Iraq Withdrawal

Rather than offer to brief the congressional oversight committees on this critical issue, Under Secretary Edelman – writing on your behalf – instead claims that congressional oversight emboldens our enemies. Under Secretary Edelman has his priorities backward. Open and honest debate and congressional oversight strengthens our nation and supports our military.

His suggestion to the contrary is outrageous and dangerous. Indeed, you acknowledged the importance of Congress in our Iraq policy at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee in March, when you stated, “I believe that the debate here on the Hill and the issues that have been raised have been helpful in bringing pressure to bear on the Maliki government and on the Iraqis in knowing that there is a very real limit to American patience in this entire enterprise.”

Read More at the NY Times

July 11, 2007

John Edwards On Iraq (Video)

John Edwards addresses the California Democratic Convention in San Diego, Calif. on April 29, 2007

We need to be leaving Iraq. And we ought to start today...

Hillary Clinton, Full 2002 Speech on S.J. Res. 45, Authorizing the Use of US Forces Against Iraq

October 10, 2002
As Delivered

Today we are asked whether to give the President of the United States authority to use force in Iraq should diplomatic efforts fail to dismantle Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons and his nuclear program.

I am honored to represent nearly 19 million New Yorkers, a thoughtful democracy of voices and opinions who make themselves heard on the great issues of our day especially this one. Many have contacted my office about this resolution, both in support of and in opposition to it, and I am grateful to all who have expressed an opinion.

I also greatly respect the differing opinions within this body. The debate they engender will aid our search for a wise, effective policy. Therefore, on no account should dissent be discouraged or disparaged. It is central to our freedom and to our progress, for on more than one occasion, history has proven our great dissenters to be right.

Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power. He used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians, killing over 20 thousand people. Unfortunately, during the 1980's, while he engaged in such horrific activity, he enjoyed the support of the American government, because he had oil and was seen as a counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait, losing the support of the United States. The first President Bush assembled a global coalition, including many Arab states, and threw Saddam out after forty-three days of bombing and a hundred hours of ground operations. The U.S.-led coalition then withdrew, leaving the Kurds and the Shiites, who had risen against Saddam Hussein at our urging, to Saddam's revenge.

As a condition for ending the conflict, the United Nations imposed a number of requirements on Iraq, among them disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, stocks used to make such weapons, and laboratories necessary to do the work. Saddam Hussein agreed, and an inspection system was set up to ensure compliance. And though he repeatedly lied, delayed, and obstructed the inspections work, the inspectors found and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction capability than were destroyed in the Gulf War, including thousands of chemical weapons, large volumes of chemical and biological stocks, a number of missiles and warheads, a major lab equipped to produce anthrax and other bio-weapons, as well as substantial nuclear facilities.

In 1998, Saddam Hussein pressured the United Nations to lift the sanctions by threatening to stop all cooperation with the inspectors. In an attempt to resolve the situation, the UN, unwisely in my view, agreed to put limits on inspections of designated "sovereign sites" including the so-called presidential palaces, which in reality were huge compounds well suited to hold weapons labs, stocks, and records which Saddam Hussein was required by UN resolution to turn over. When Saddam blocked the inspection process, the inspectors left. As a result, President Clinton, with the British and others, ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets...

Continue reading "Hillary Clinton, Full 2002 Speech on S.J. Res. 45, Authorizing the Use of US Forces Against Iraq" »

July 06, 2007

"A Plan to Hold Iraq Together" by Joseph Biden

No number of troops can solve this problem. The only way to hold Iraq together and create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully and to forge a sustainable political settlement. Unfortunately, this administration does not have a coherent plan or any discernible strategy for success in Iraq. Its strategy is to prevent defeat and hand the problem off when it leaves office.

Meanwhile, more and more Americans, understandably frustrated, support an immediate withdrawal, even at the risk of trading a dictator for chaos and a civil war that could become a regional war.

Both are bad alternatives. The five-point plan Les Gelb and I laid out offers a better way.

Read the full text of Senator Biden's plan at the Washington Post

Joseph Biden On Iraq

Q: I have read the paper that you wrote with [former president of the Council on Foreign Relations] Leslie Gelb advocating a tripartite federal system for Iraq that divides the country among the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds. But given the rate at which things are deteriorating in Iraq, is there a point at which it becomes impossible for this plan to be implemented when a new president takes office on Jan. 20, 2009?

What I have been straightforward about saying all along is that I believe what I have recommended would, if implemented now, work. But I have also said that I may be left on Jan. 20, 2009, with no option but to withdraw and contain. To literally have inherited a fractured country. Not just a divided country, but a fractured country where there is no way to put Humpty-Dumpty back together.

For me, the first step here for a political solution to have a chance of working is to disengage from this civil war, limit the mission and provide circumstances where the political option, led by the international community, is there.

When Les [Gelb] and I laid out that plan [in May 2006], had President Bush accepted that plan, he could have implemented that plan as a made-in-America idea. Today, we have so little credibility in the world and the region that you have to have the international community as the one putting its stamp on this.

That's an example of how we have limited our ability to affect outcomes, having lost our credibility so profoundly that you have to have the permanent five [members of the United Nations Security Council] being the catalyst for this political solution. And who knows what happens in 20 months.

- from They Don't Own the Democratic Party, interview with Walter Shapiro at Salon.com

July 04, 2007

Ron Paul on Iraq

Those in Congress who have heard the cry of the electorate to end the war refuse to do so out of fear the demagogues will challenge their patriotism and support of the troops, so nothing happens except more of the same. The result is continued stalemate with the current policy and the daily sacrifice of American lives.

This wait-and-see attitude in Washington, and the promised reassessment of events in Iraq later on, strongly motivates the insurgents to accelerate the killing of Americans in order to influence the decision coming in three months. In contrast, a clear decision to leave would prompt a wait and see attitude in Iraq, a de facto cease fire, in anticipation of our leaving, the perfect time for the Iraqi factions to hold their fire on each other and on our troops and just possibly begin talking with each other.

Most Americans do not anticipate a military victory in Iraq, yet the Washington politicians remain frozen in their unwillingness to change our policy there, fearful of the dire predictions that conditions can only get worse when we leave. They refuse to admit that the condition of foreign occupation is the key ingredient that unleashed the civil war now raging in Iraq and serves as a recruitment device for Al Qaida.

It’s time for a change in our foreign policy.

Read the full article, The Price of Delaying the Inevitable in Iraq on LewRockwell.com

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