Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Comparing the Candidates Part 2: Iraq

Following is part 2 in a continuing series comparing the presidential candidates and where they stand on the issues. (part 1 link)

While all three candidates are pretty clear on their overall view of Iraq, they each have subtleties in their positions which are not as well known (all quotes are from the candidates' websites linked to their names below):

Hillary's position is clear: Get the troops out of Iraq. However, her position relies on a diplomatic initiative which will require the support of the U.N. and cooperation from "key allies, other global powers, and all of the states bordering Iraq."

Obama's position is similar to Hillary's, with one key exception:
He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

Based on that loophole, Obama could conceivably keep troops in Iraq for the entirety of his presidency.

Everyone knows about McCain's "100 years" comment about Iraq. His position supports that view, as he plans to INCREASE the number of troops we have in Iraq:
More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country.

If Iraq is your primary issue going into the election, the choices are pretty clear. McCain wants to fix Iraq, Clinton wants us out of Iraq, while Obama wants us out but is willing to consider staying there if circumstances require it.


Rodak said...

This is the place for Bill to jump in and (correctly) charge the do-nothing congress with shirking its responsibilities with regard to the war.

EdMcGon said...

God knows I'm the last person to defend the Congress on their handling of Iraq (or any other matter), but they are in a Catch-22when it comes to Iraq.

If Congress forces their hand and makes Bush bring the troops home, any consequences (such as the Middle East turning into a huge war between the Saudis and Iranians, or Al Qaeda setting up their operations in Iraq) would then fall squarely on the Democratic Party's shoulders.

To paraphrase the old saying, it is better to do nothing and be thought a fool, then to do something and remove all doubt. ;)

William R. Barker said...

Actually, Rob, I'm only posting to reiterate what I've already pointed out over at RT, namely, that HRC "solidified" her position on Iraq during last night's debate.

She came right out and promised that she'd withdraw the troops no matter what.


P.S. - Thanks for the thought, though, bud; I know it was well meant and sincere. You're frustrated; I'm frustrated.

P.P.S. - On partisan jab I will take... if I were in charge of running the McCain/RNC National campaign I'd start touting the message/question: "Are you better off since the Democrats took over Congress?"

As you know, Rob, I spend as much - perhaps more - time bashing RINO's (Bush, McCain, et al) as I do bashing Democrats, but that aside, at least on the surface, economically speaking, things have gone from bad to worse since the Dems won Congress. On the other hand, on Iraq, McCain and even Bush can make the case they were right on the "Surge" and Hillary and the Dems were wrong. (*SHRUG*)

William R. Barker said...

re: Ed 4/17/2008 9:54 AM

That's very political of you, Ed. Screw what's right or wrong, worry instead not for the national interest, but for your own personal and Party "good."

Great. That's the kind of thinking that's put us in this mess.

Here... let me do some "paraphrasing":

It's better to do the right thing because it's the right thing than to NOT do the right thing because you personally benefit by shirking your duty.

How's that, Ed?

Rodak said...

They're all full of shit and lies. The war will go on, in one form or another, indefinitely.

EdMcGon said...

My comment was directed more at Rodak, with his viewpoint (i.e. opposition to our presence in Iraq) in mind.

Personally, I approve of our presence in Iraq, and am more than delighted to see the Congress do nothing.

As for the ethical aspect of Congress, Rodak's comment was right on the money: "They're all full of shit and lies." ;)