Bill Richardson

November 21, 2007

Richardson: leave no residual forces behind

Gov. Bill Richardson responds to questions on Iraq in the Nevada Democratic debate:

We shouldn't be talking about body counts. One American death is too much.

And what I am saying here is the surge is not working.

There is less -- right now, less possibility of a political solution. Three out of the 18 benchmarks of the General Accounting (sic) Office have been fulfilled. Even among Republican math, that is a failing grade.

What I'm saying also is that -- look at this statistic: 65 percent of the Iraqi people now say it's OK to shoot an American soldier. Our troops are dying -- over 3,800, two today, 60,000 wounded, casualties, mainly mental trauma.

Now, my position is that we get the troops out in a year, leave no residual forces behind -- unlike some of my colleagues here that want to leave some until 2013 -- but not just wave goodbye, because we have a responsibility.

And that is: one, to get a political compromise, a U.S.-led political compromise among the three groups that they share power -- the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds -- that they share oil revenues, that we have an all-Muslim, all-Arab peacekeeping force, with some European forces, headed by the U.N., a donor conference that involves other countries -- European Union, rich Arab states, contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq, where we have spent $500 billion in this war, when this money should be used in America, for health care, education, and for kids.

October 19, 2007

Gov. Bill in Boulder City - October 2

Albuquerque Journal Staff Writers John Fleck and Jeff Jones, in an article titled, “Gov. Bill vs. Candidate Bill Richardson,” exposed a letter sent to eight members of Congress in which Gov. Richardson
objected to:

a proposed 3.2 percent cut in the budget of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which funds work at Sandia and Los Alamos national labs in New Mexico. Together, the two nuclear weapons labs employ 22,000 people, most of them in New Mexico and the majority of them working on nuclear weapons programs. The threat to cut the labs' budget, would signify cuts to these most important national security resources.

On the same day Gov. Richardson appeared at an event in Boulder City, a perfect opportunity for him clarify the conflicting statements he had made denouncing the development of new nuclear programs.
So I asked him the following:

Gov. Richardson, I want to thank you for taking a consistently strong stand against the development of new nuclear weapons. However, I was disappointed to see your letter today’s Albuquerque Journal opposing cuts to nuclear weapons labs in to the Los Alamos lab, in NM, a facility that develops and produces nuclear weapons. Can you clarify your seemingly contradictory position on this issue?

To which he began by talking about the long history of Los Alamos and other labs in New Mexico. Then he went on to say how he's opposed to nuclear weapons development, how we should negotiate an end to nuclear non-proliferation and that there are 10,000 types of nukes around. Someone else in the audience followed by asking his position on nuclear waste storage. The Governor noted his long opposition to build a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Gov. Richardson also said that he opposes alternatives to Yucca Mountain, and the creation of regional storage sites, "because of the transportation issue." Instead, he said he would order national laboratories to research nuclear waste disposal. The Presidential hopeful concluded his discussion by saying that we should be the world’s conscious, not the world’s police.

Richardson’s campaign spokesperson Tom Reynolds, said that the Gov. "continues to be the hardest-working advocate for New Mexico and its residents. His record speaks for itself." Maybe a point of reference for the Governor would be to begin taking clearer position on what’s right for the nation’s foreign policy, and not only when it’s popular to do so in his state.



September 28, 2007

Richardson: Are They Kidding?!?!

Governor Bill Richardson is making it clear how he differs from the Democratic presidential frontrunners on the war in Iraq.  In an email to supporters on Thursday, Richardson outlined his opponents’ responses to bringing all troops home by 2013.

“Hillary Clinton said no. Barack Obama said no. And John Edwards said no. Then, all three refused to pledge to remove all of our troops and end the war.”

Richardson has been adamant that he will not leave any troops in Iraq and wants to avoid what he calls “another 5 years of American soldiers dying” if troops remain in Iraq through the next presidential term.

“I am the only major candidate in this race who is committed to getting every soldier out of Iraq STARTING IMMEDIATELY, and getting them all out safely and quickly within a year. No ifs, ands, or buts.”

Debate transcript available at The New York Times

September 13, 2007

Richardson: Obama's Plan "Does Not End War"

Issuing a rebuttal to Senator Obama's calls the end the Iraq war, Presidential hopeful Bill Richardson challenged Obama's plan as "inadequate"

"Senator Obama promised that he would lay out a different course in Iraq. I am disappointed that he has decided to offer more of the same."

Richardson also criticized Obama for side-stepping the issue of residual troops.

"He [Obama}] laid out a timetable for removing all of the combat troops from Iraq, but he did not tell us what he would do with the tens of thousands of non-combat troops who also are stuck in the middle of a civil war."

Reiterating his stance to bring all troops home, Richardson said:

"The American people know where I stand. There is only one responsible course of action left for us in this war. We need to get all of our troops out of Iraq with no residual forces left behind. We need to withdraw both the combat troops and the tens of thousands of other troops who are there. We need to do it now."

September 11, 2007

Richardson in Vegas

While we waited for Governor Richardson to arrive, a Democratic party representative illustrated the simplicity of participating in a caucus, or a maucus, by asking participants to decide what pizza toppings are their favorite. When Bill Richardson finally took the stage outside, over an hour later-in front of his new office, under the mid-day Las Vegas sun, he reiterated the importance of winning Nevada. I could immediately see the appeal of the charming and personable Governor of New Mexico and why so many members of the community were out to support him in the blistering heat.

The majority of his 5-10 minute speech was dominated by thanking all of his key supporters, contributors, volunteers and the young boy who brought him his water. When he did discuss issues, he spoke in general terms about several issues, including the importance of green energy and that he would like “to move away from depending on countries that are not our friends, to control our oil”.

I met one woman who is shopping democratic candidates who came through town, but I imagine that she and others were left wanting more from this candidate who takes such great positions on so many important issues.

As soon as he was done speaking and came down from the podium, I found it odd that no one approached him. So, I was the first to shake the hand of the personable Governor-and had a chance to ask him about the issues. He shook it firmly, listened intently and looked me right in the eye said he would support a nuclear free US and a withdrawal of all troops from Iraq-immediately. He later reiterated this when he saw me again by nodding his head. Unfortunately, the rest of the potential supporters were not aware of this-as he failed to mention this in his short stop in Vegas today.

August 30, 2007

Richardson: Leave No Troops Behind

In an August 30th, 2007 email to supporters, Bill Richardson continues his pledge to leave no residual force in Iraq.

"There's no confusion or ambiguity or waffling in my position: just bring ALL of the troops home. No excuses. No delays. No troops left behind"

Additionally, Richardson also questioned his perceived silence of his Democratic contenders on the issue, urging for the topic be included in the upcoming Democratic debate.

"Let's get the question of residual troops on the table at the Democratic candidates' debate next Sunday, September 9th at the University of Miami. Let's get the answers the voters and the public deserve"

But although Richardson argues that opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been silent on the issue, as reported on this blog, both have expressed the need for residual forces. 

See Article on Residual Forces

June 28, 2007

Bill Richardson On Iran

I am convinced that a concerted diplomatic effort, backed up by tough sanctions, undertaken with our international partners and grounded in bipartisan cooperation at home, stands an excellent chance of persuading Iran to forego nuclear weapons and to adopt more responsible policies.

I also believe that we must talk to the Iranians with no preconditions. For too long, the Bush administration lectured the Iranian leadership on what it had to do before we would talk directly with them. This policy was counterproductive, and I am pleased that Secretary Rice is now starting to break this ice. Refusing to engage Iran diplomatically prevented us from making headway on issues vital to our national security, including not only nuclear weapons, but also Iraq, energy security, and Middle East peace.

Let me be clear: talking without preconditions does not mean backing off one inch over fundamental objectives, such as insuring that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.

But preventing Iran from going nuclear will require strong diplomacy backed up credible power and clarity of purpose. It also will take realism: we must remember that no nation has ever been forced to renounce nukes -- but many have been persuaded to do so with a combination of carrots and sticks.

We need to approach Iran with both fierce determination and with open eyes. The key is to make them see that they will be better off and more secure without nukes than with them. If we unite the world behind the right carrots and sticks, and provide the Iranians with face-saving ways to step back from the nuclear brink, we will prevail.

- from a speech at the Center for National Policy, June 27, 2007

Read the full text of Sen. Richardson's Speech here. (MS Word 56k)

June 13, 2007

Bill Richardson On Iran

“Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war - a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.

A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.”

“Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran,” Washington Post, February 24, 2007

June 12, 2007

Bill Richardson On New Nuclear Weapons

"We need a new global non-proliferation agreement which prevents states from developing nuclear fuel-enrichment capabilities, and then abandoning the NPT (non-proliferation treaty).  We also need to negotiate a tough universal verification system that gives international inspectors immediate and unfettered access to all sites, worldwide…We should reaffirm our commitment to the long-term goal of global nuclear disarmament, and we should invite the Russians to join us in a moratorium on all new nuclear weapons…And we should negotiate further staged reductions in our arsenals, beyond what has already been agreed, over the next decade."

3/07, from "Gov. Says U.S. Must Address Nuclear Threat" Albuquerque Journal 29 March 07

Bill Richardson On New Nuclear Weapons

"Most urgently, we need to lock down all of the world's fissionable material quickly before terrorists get their hands on a nuclear bomb. And to accomplish this, we should increase funds and commitment to the Nunn-Lugar program to secure former Soviet nuclear weapons, and we must work aggressively with our Pakistani allies to make sure that no matter what happens in the future, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal cannot fall into the hands of jihadists…we want other countries to take the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty seriously. If we're going to do that, we need to start taking it seriously ourselves. This means leading a global effort – a new global effort to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, including our own. And we need to upgrade and tighten the NPT, modernize it to prevent states from legally developing their nuclear capabilities, and then opting out of the treaty as they rush to build bombs."

2/07, from a speech on foreign policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Click here for the full text of the speech.

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