Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Troops in Iraq

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about education on their "issues" pages of their campaign web sites. These are just excerpts but I have provided the links if you want to read all of what they say. I assume that these issue statements were carefully decided upon and carefully crafted to appeal and communicate to a national audience (as opposed to a speech directed to a particular special interest audience). I have added some comments in red.

As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration.

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. 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. [Seems naïve to give specific numbers of troops with a specific time frame. Hillary's approach of directing the military to make a plan seems more realistic.]

A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces 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. [As unpopular as the war is, and given seemingly widespread agreement that going into Iraq was a mistake, does McCain have a point here? Given the current situation, regardless of whether or not we should be in this situation in the first place, is he right? Do we let opposition to the war hold us back from being totally committed and thereby drag the war on further?]



Kris J said...

What is often left out of this debate is what the Iraqis themselves want. We know very little about what it's like to live in Iraq under occupation by a foreign military, yet we assume that if we pull out, things will only get worse. If the US government is serious about "promoting democracy" shouldn't we be listening to what Iraqis want? According to a Washington Post article from Dec. 19, 2007, "The Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of 'occupying forces' as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month." According to a poll conducted for the BBC and ABC News in 2007, 78% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

why would people want to fight about things when some people in our army dont even care. some kids that went over to fight wont even get to graduate, or start a family, or even see their families again because they've been killed some kids wont even beable to prasue a career in sports because they have lost a leg or an arm i dont know why we are fighting over this i mean we got who we wanted so why doesnt it just stop i want obamas idea to go through the board because families worrie every night wondering if thier son daughter or husbend is ok and the war needs to end