Wednesday, January 2, 2008

John Edwards Big Gamble

In an interview on Sunday, John Edwards dropped a bombshell and took an enormous gamble. My first thought was why would he make such statements on the eve of the Iowa caucuses? My second thought was to consider the viability of his proposal. I wondered if this was some last second ploy to pander to the anti-war voters in Iowa based on some last-minute polling data. The thing about the Edwards campaign is that he has never shied away from providing details to accompany his policy statements and Sunday appears to be no different. While others have continued to throw out generalities and vague statements concerning Iraq and ending our involvement, Mr. Edwards has taken the bold step of actually outlining steps he would take to do so.

“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.[1]

According to the interview Mr. Edwards would call for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 US troops, followed by the withdrawal of the remaining troops within 9 or 10 months. Mr. Edwards’ plan would leave a force of 4,000 to 5,000 troops for embassy duty and protection of aid workers. This plan of course is the most accelerated withdrawal of any of the other major candidates; it also flies in the face of the military, the State Department, and conventional wisdom. There are many who predict a complete collapse in Iraq if we withdraw.

While many will view this as a desperate effort to garner last minute votes in Iowa, I see it as a long-term strategic move to tap into the larger anti-war vote in America. In the last mid-term Congressional elections the voters of America elected the Democrats to end the war. In what has been the best example of spinelessness in the history of our country, they have failed to do so. In fact they have provided Mr. Bush with every piece of legislation and funding he has sent to them. Despite the “surge” is working rhetoric and the “good news” from Iraq, there is still a large number of voters, especially Democratic voters who are very disappointed with the efforts of the current Congress and their jellyfish imitation.

The anti-war movement in this country has been minimized and under-reported from the beginning by the MSM. Make no mistake about it, just as Mr. Edwards has declared war on the corporate elite and their disproportionate share of wealth in this country, part of his wide-ranging agenda is to also end the occupation of Iraq. Mr. Edwards recognizes that part of the historically high profits being made is a direct result of our involvement in Iraq. There is the war-profiteers being supplied at taxpayer expense, there is the high cost of gas being fueled by the instability in Iraq, and there is the corruption of Iraqi politicians that continue to allow them to drag their feet on reconciliation. We must begin to show some resolve not just against the terrorist, but also against those who are stealing us blind under the guise of terrorism. We need to think about all the costs we have paid since 9/11, I would venture that the cost of each one of those 2,900 plus lives has been to the tune of over 2 billion dollars each. Think about that for a moment. If we were to include all costs associated with homeland security, the two wars, and the war profiteering and corruption since 9/11, what has it been for each life lost.

I believe that what Mr. Edwards is saying is we must begin to put this all in perspective and the way to do this is by dialing down our involvement in Iraq and allowing the Iraqis and the rest of the world to take a part in this reconstruction. Since 9/11, we have not had a national conversation about what sensible and responsible responses we should be pursuing. We all just jumped on the Neo-con bandwagon and went off half-cocked around the world to extract our revenge. We must move away from the temple of 9/11 where too many have been worshipping and begin to look realistically at the world and our place in it.

“That is a very important question for the president of the United States because it is very much a judgment call,” Mr. Edwards said. “Do I believe that we have had a moral responsibility? I do. The question is, How long does that moral responsibility continue and at what juncture is it the right decision to end what we have been doing and shift that responsibility to them?”

“Let’s assume for a minute that come January 2009 we still have a significant troop presence in Iraq, which I think is likely,” Mr. Edwards added. “If that is the case, then I think another 9 to 10 months of American troop involvement and expenditure of taxpayer money with an intense effort to resolve the political conflict and intense diplomacy, then at that point America has done what it can do.”[2]

The time has come to end the crusade. We must begin to refocus on America and all that ails us. Many will say that this is the beginning of isolationism, they would be wrong. What it is, is the beginning of cleaning up our own house before we begin to clean up the world. We have a major struggle before us here at home, the struggle of corporatism and wealth strangulation from the top. The war on terror has been a distraction and it has allowed us to watch the biggest disparity of wealth accumulation in our nation’s history. It is time we focused on this struggle or it won’t matter what happens in Iraq or anywhere else in the world.


No comments:

HTML stat tracker