Monday, February 20, 2006

Democrat’s New Plan for Iraqi Withdrawal: Practical or Politics?

In an effort to band the party together behind one platform for Iraq, the Democratic Party is beginning to unite over the “strategic deployment” plan issued by Lawrence J. Korb, Assistant Defense Secretary in the Reagan administration. The plan looks to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007.

The plan indicates that all reservists and National Guard members would return home this year. Remaining troops would gradually be redeployed to Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Kuwait, where they would be formed into quick-strike groups to address a variety of threats around the various regions. Many Republicans, as well as some Democrats, indicate the nearly two-year timetable is unrealistic, and timetables should only be set by the military.

The Democratic Party has been marked by dissention over the war in Iraq. Many Democrats voted for the war initially, but have since changed their mind, and determined that we don’t belong in the war at this time. These democrats have wound up the victims of the Republican Sound Machine, the result being that many individual politicians have been unwilling to speak out against the war.

For example, Democratic Rep. John Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of troops in November, calling for all troops to be out of Iraq within six months. Murtha is a Vietnam Vet, and generally hawkish, and it’s unusual for him to push back against US engagement in any war. But the Republican Sound Machine crucified Murtha for his statements

Representative Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio, delivered a blistering speech on the House floor aimed at Murtha, who spent 37 years in the Marine Corps: ''Cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said, in remarks she later withdrew from the Congressional Record. The attacks on Murtha demonstrated the political peril that could face Democrats who offer plans involving troop withdrawals.

With the mid-term elections approaching rapidly, the Democratic Party is trying to refute the claim that Dems, in general, want to cut and run from Iraq, and that they have no plan for maintaining the peace after withdrawal. The plan is supposed to refute that, and in my eyes looks like a better long-term plan than anything put forth from the Bush camp. Unfortunately, I question whether anyone has any desire to implement this plan.

The plan appears more geared towards solving the democratic image issue than the war in Iraq issue. By bending over backwards to make the plan significantly watered down to encompass the wide range of democratic opinions on Iraq and not incur the wrath of the Republicans. What they really need is to be focused on a plan for withdrawal from Iraq that makes the most sense, and coalescing bi-partisan support for the plan. There is sufficient support on both sides of the aisle for such a plan, but none is proposed.

20 days ago, Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a T-shirt saying 2,242 Americans dead in Iraq. Today, 20 days later, the number has increased by 35, as 2,276 Americans are dead, with 2,479 coalition deaths in all. And this has actually been a light couple weeks of fighting in the region. But if this rate stayed the same, by the end of 2007, when the Democratic plan has us pulled out by, another 408 American lives will have been lost. 408!

And the plan is now being watered down even further, to set no specific deadline for the withdrawal of troops. I look at this proposal, and it looks intelligent to me, though it needs to be flushed out. But as the Democratic Party bends over backwards to protect their image, they appear to have lost the essence of the plan, and the positive goals that could be attained from it. We all know the Republican Spin Machine can be scary, but the Democrats need to grow a backbone and fight for the correct plan.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:36 PM / | |