Tuesday :: Apr 4, 2006
Kerry Offers A Democratic Ultimatum On Iraq
Kerry sticks his neck out on Iraq tonight:
So far, Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines — a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, and a deadline to hold three elections.
Now we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet.
Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.
If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end. Doing so will empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain.This, coupled with Murtha’s redeployment proposal and Condi’s assurance today that there will not be permanent bases in Iraq beyond their ability to sustain their own security needs can be the basis for the Democrats’ policy on Iraq. Both Murtha and Kerry are approaching Iraq with an eye towards not repeating our Vietnam mistakes again. Setting a time-limited commitment reflects the views of more and more Americans, while telling the Iraqis that they have to demonstrate a commitment to self-governance quickly, which is exactly the message Rice gave to the Iraqis herself this weekend. The only difference is that the Bush Administration doesn't have the guts to publicly say what the consequences would be if the Iraqis keep stringing us along. At least Kerry says the obvious.