Obama goes all in with plan to get troops out
Barack Obama will propose legislation which calls for troop withdrawals from Iraq by March.
While this is a sane and sensible plan, it still represents a huge political gamble on his part, and stakes him as the candiate with the most agressive stance on getting out of Iraq short of Kuchinich. Others, such as Biden have laid out their own plans, but none have introduced it as legislation.
The bill also reasserts congress's rightful role in providing a check on the executive branch.
In that respect, he's the polar opposite of John McCain, who's been saddled with his support of escalation.
Here's a post on Obama's bold strategy and the press release.
Key Elements of Obama Plan
* Stops the Escalation: Caps the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at the number in Iraq on January 10, 2007. This does not affect the funding for our troops in Iraq. This cap has the force of law and could not be lifted without explicit Congressional authorization.
* De-escalates the War with Phased Redeployment: Commences a phased redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq not later than May 1, 2007, with the goal that all combat brigades redeploy from Iraq by March 31, 2008, a date consistent with the expectation of the Iraq Study Group. This redeployment will be both substantial and gradual, and will be planned and implemented by military commanders. Makes clear that Congress believes troops should be redeployed to the United States; to Afghanistan; and to other points in the region. A residual U.S. presence may remain in Iraq for force protection, training of Iraqi security forces, and pursuit of international terrorists.
* Enforces Tough Benchmarks for Progress: These 13 benchmarks are based on President Bush’s own statements and Administration documents and include:
o Security: Significant progress toward fulfilling security commitments, including eliminating restrictions on U.S. forces, reducing sectarian violence, reducing the size and influence of the militias, and strengthening the Iraqi Army and Police.
o Political Accommodation: Significant progress toward reaching a political solution, including equitable sharing of oil revenues, revision of de-Baathification, provincial elections, even-handed provision of government services, and a fair process for a constitutional amendment to achieve national reconciliation.
o Economic Progress: Requires Iraq to fulfill its commitment to spend not less than $10 billion for reconstruction, job creation, and economic development without regard for the ethnic or sectarian make-up of Iraqi regions.
Should these benchmarks be met, the plan allows for the temporary suspension of this redeployment, subject to the agreement of Congress.
* Congressional oversight: Requires the President to submit reports to Congress every 90 days describing and assessing the Iraqi government's progress in meeting benchmarks and the redeployment goals.
* Intensified Training: Intensifies training of Iraqi security forces to enable the country to take over security responsibility of the country.
* Conditions on Economic Assistance: Conditions future economic assistance to the Government of Iraq on significant progress toward achievement of benchmarks. Allows exceptions for humanitarian, security, and job-creation assistance.
* Regional Diplomacy: Launches a comprehensive regional and international diplomatic initiative – that includes key nations in the region – to help achieve a political settlement among the Iraqi people, end the civil war in Iraq, and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and regional conflict. Recommends the President should appoint a Special Envoy for Iraq to carry out this diplomacy within 60 days. Mandates that the President submit a plan to prevent the war in Iraq from becoming a wider regional conflict.
Beyond Obama, is a draw down, "re-deployment", retreat, withdrawal, or whatever you wish to label it the only rational alternative at this point?
And beyond that, should Dems and others actually move to cut funding for Bush's escalation if it comes to that?