Lieberman Seems To Think It's All Rummy's Fault
Joe Lieberman gave his Iraq speech today to the VFW. The first purpose behind this speech was to bash Ned Lamont for allegedly wanting to withdraw from Iraq and turn the country over to terrorists. And if that sounds a little too much like something Karl Rove would say, well . . .
The second reason for the speech was for Lieberman to offer his own plan for Iraq. From the advance copy that was making its way around, here are some snippets of the major points:
Today I want offer some specific ideas for doing that. Most people understand that there are no easy answers. But I believe that if we take these steps, we can help Iraq stand on its own faster and begin a drawdown of our troops sooner.
First, as I said three years ago, I believe Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced as Secretary of Defense. We need new leadership in this war. It would reinvigorate our military, from the halls of the Pentagon to the streets of Baghdad. It would give us a chance to begin a new dialogue with our allies around the world.
That’s right, Joe thinks the problem is with Rummy, and not with Rummy’s bosses.
Second, together with the British, we should convene an international crisis conference on Iraq, involving the Europeans and other Arab countries -- especially those who have much to lose if Iraq were to collapse into outright civil war and become a safe haven for terrorists.
I totally agree and have been calling for this for months. But why haven't you been pounding the table yourself Joe on this?
Third, we must get tougher with the Iraqi political leadership, because they must do a better job of cracking down on the militias, beefing up reconstruction efforts and building a genuine, well-functioning unity government.
How do you plan to convince al-Maliki to crack down on the militias that are his source of strength Joe?
Fourth, the Iraqis must be pushed to achieve a National Compact that guarantees shared power and resources among Shia, Sunni and Kurds. The Iraqi constitution must be revisited and changed as necessary. The factions must agree on changes that makes the political structure of Iraq clear, ensures that the political, social, and religious rights of all are protected by law, and that all will share equally in the basic resources of Iraq, especially Iraqi oil.
Gee Joe, are you saying the constitution needs to be changed again, after the Administration said it was fine? So I guess you support a move towards federalism?
Fifth, we should put our best American commanders in the field in Iraq and keep them there. Rotation of our military leadership works against sustained progress. Some of our generals who have made the most progress there were rotated out. General Dave Petreaus who made such remarkable progress in Mosul and who created the plan to build an Iraqi Army was rotated out of Iraq. General Chiarelli, who commanded a division with such distinction, was rotated out.
OK, I’m sure the morale of the senior staff will be sky-high after this.
Sixth, to adapt to the new challenges of this new kind of war, we must increase by two or three times the number of U.S. soldiers embedded in Iraqi units, including special forces personnel who can be involved in both training of Iraqis as well as civil affairs missions, and increase the compensation and career rewards for those who take on this critical role. As former Marine infantry officer Seth Moulton recently said, "fielding more adviser teams will eventually allow more Americans to come home," in part because embedded troops need less outside support. This should be done by redeploying existing troops, not adding new troops to the region.
Lieberman is not calling for more troops to be added, but simply to redeploy troops into the Iraqi units, which would of course mean a troop reduction from the American units.
Seventh, we should put a priority on building logistics capabilities in Iraqi units, and increasing the strength of the Iraqi security forces. Although the Iraqi security forces have been established, and good progress has been made in getting them to the point that they have now taken over responsibility for security in parts of Iraq, more must be done, and it must be done more quickly. Our action to build the support system to ensure they are supplied with the essentials to sustain the fight must be accelerated, and the weapons and equipment they need but do not now have, such as armored vehicles and helicopters, must be provided to them as soon as possible.
This is already General Casey’s Phase Three, which we are told is well underway.
Eighth, we must focus more resources on the creation of jobs and the provision of basic services in the greater Baghdad area. Success in Iraq can best be built from the center out. Once we prevail in Baghdad, the task of making progress throughout the country will be much more achievable.
Focusing on Baghdad requires security there first, Senator, and the militias control the whole town outside of the Green Zone. What specfically are you offering the militias to come into the government and turn away from violence?
Ninth, we must begin now to increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and to make sure we are building the numbers and types of units we need to fight and win the kinds of conflicts that we are likely to be confronted with during this century. While this will not fix the shortages we have now, nor reduce the strain on our over stretched ground forces, it will begin to give us the greater capabilities we will need and send a signal to our troops that we understand what they are going through and that we are going to do something now about having reinforcements for them.
Except that Rummy is rejecting the Army’s call for more troops and funds now, apparently with White House support. And by the way, aren't you calling for a larger army to support a failing foreign policy, rather than fixing the foreign policy itself?
Tenth, to overcome our divisions here at home and build consensus around a new approach for progress in Iraq, we should form a bipartisan Iraq working group early in the next session of Congress. This group would include the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate security committees - Armed Services, Intelligence, Homeland Security, Foreign Relations, and Appropriations - and meet regularly with the President and his team. To give this working group official standing and real clout, I plan on introducing a resolution authorizing its creation in January.
Senator, what evidence have you seen that a bipartisan group of Senators dictating a new approach to Bush and Cheney will ever lead to a change in course?
This in essence is the major flaw in Lieberman’s Iraq thinking. To Joe, the problem can’t be with Bush, Cheney, and the policy itself but rather with Rummy in how he carried it out.
He’s auditioning for Rummy’s job.