Richardson: Thoughts on Iraq, 9/11 and American Foreign Policy
by Ken Camp
Governor Bill Richardson kicked off the week on Saturday by laying out his thoughts in a Washington Post op-ed on why we should exit Iraq now and get all American troops out.
Our troops have done everything they were asked to do with courage and professionalism, but they cannot win someone else's civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay taking the necessary steps to end the violence. And it prevents us from using diplomacy to bring in other nations to help stabilize and rebuild the country.
The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda. It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq's oil and repressing Muslims. The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country. Our departure would also enable us to focus on defeating the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11, those headquartered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border -- not in Iraq.
Logistically, it would be possible to withdraw in six to eight months. We moved as many as 240,000 troops into and out of Iraq through Kuwait in as little as a three-month period during major troop rotations. After the Persian Gulf War, we redeployed nearly a half-million troops in a few months. We could redeploy even faster if we negotiated with the Turks to open a route out through Turkey.
Follow me over the fold for more on Governor Richardson's thoughts on Iraq, General Petraeus and 9/11.
As with the other Democratic candidates, Governor Richardson also issued a statement regarding yesterday's testimony by General David Petraeus.
The course General Petraeus has recommended we take-- more of the same-- is unacceptable, irresponsible, and dangerous.
"Numerous independent reports confirm the obvious: we are not making real progress in Iraq. Our troops are dying and stuck in the middle of a civil war. The Iraqis will not take the necessary steps toward political reconciliation until we make it clear that we are leaving their country for good. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has regrouped to its pre-9/11 strength. It is time we put the safety of our troops and the protection of our national interests before the legacy of Bush and Cheney.
"The only responsible option that remains is to get all of our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. Only when all of our troops are out can the hard work of diplomacy begin.
And today, Governor Richardson offered these words on the sixth anniversary of 9/11:
To honor the lives of those we lost, the leaders of this country must pledge to do everything in their power to prevent another attack on our homeland. National security cannot and should not be about partisan turf wars. Congress and the White House must move forward in a bipartisan effort to strengthen our nation's security, improve our intelligence capabilities, and promote a foreign policy that unites the world against the scourge of international terrorism.
Go here to read more on Governor Richardson's plan to end Bush's war in Iraq. For more on
American foreign policy under a President Bill Richardson, check out this article in the Harvard International Review.