January 31, 2007

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?


At 1/31/2007 8:01 AM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Sounds like an interesting plan and one that could work. But I'm confused.

Obama calls for redeployment and sets benchmarks. He then states that if the benchmarks are met, the plan allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment.

If I read this correctly, and plans are being met, why would the redeployment need to be suspended?

At 2/01/2007 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any plan can work - short-term. We announce that we are going to pull troops, the terrorists pull back (thus allowing those proposing the troop reductions to pound their chests and state that they were right all along).

We pull out - and then all hell breaks loose in Iraq (do we remember 3,000,000 Vietnamese being slaughtered after our pull out?).

The war is a mess because, like with Vietnam, we are not prepared to win. We are not willing to pay the cost. Based on this, a pull out is the right move - but PLEASE do not think that there will not be long-term consequences both in Iraq and here in the US.

It's like the knuckleheads in the 30-tears ago wearing the t-shirts, "I survived the IH strike" - yes you did, only to be a long-term loser after the fact.

At 2/01/2007 10:03 AM, Blogger Milton said...

Jim Webb is far closer to being President than Barack Obama. I supported Barack in the IL Senate Primary BTW. Today Barack’s living taste is higher than Blair Halls ever was. Maybe not with the ladies catagory yet. I am waiting to see Senator Obama on that show with Robin Leach. I did years ago see Mitt Romney's dad. I knew the Romney from someone they were related to in the QC. I love that show "Champaign Wishes and Caviar Dreams!"

Senator Biden, at least, has long been out in front, with both his criticism of the Bush Administration policies, and his own proposed solution to the Iraqi conflict.

Dr. Goldblatt is most impressed with the realistic Biden, Hagel, Levin Senate Resolution criticizing the Bush plan for a U.S. military troop surge in Iraq.

Bidens plan would call on the U.S. military to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2007, with a residual force to keep Iraqis and their neighbors honest. It would increase economic aid but tie it to the protection of minority rights and the creation of a jobs program and seek funding from the oil-rich Gulf Arab states. The new, central reality in Iraq is deep and growing sectarian violence between the Shiites and Sunnis.

I will be gone for a while. Must have a brain aneurysm removed.

--- Prof. Leland Milton Goldblatt

At 2/01/2007 11:47 AM, Blogger UMRBlog said...


All in is right! He has pushed his whole stash into the middle. I see reverse triangulation in this. The liberals will pull back because there is no denial of funds proposed. The partially returned dixiecrats and the union guys will be unhappy because they won't enjoy losing another war. This call might not look so good in the rear view mirror but your call that it is "all in" will.

TY for another thoughtful take.

At 2/01/2007 11:48 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Good luck with that Professor.

And I think one of the more interesting facets of Biden's plan is that it calls for splitting up Iraq into three sections, Kurd, Sunni, and Shiite. Though it sounds drastic at first glance, and would no doubt be near impossible to hammer out, it's logic is very attractive. (other than the fact that everyone will want the oil rich patches of territory)

And to Anon 8:21, your observations are no doubt true, but they serve to underscore just why Bush is a criminally bad leader.

Like Webb stated in his response to the SOTU speech,

"On the political issues -- those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death -- we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it."

Clearly, Bush thought controlling oil was worth sacrificing the lives of thousands and still wants to sacrifice more just so he can think he "won" his little war.

The threat posed by Iraq was NEVER worth a fraction of the sacrifice this country has made, and for nothing.

It's only pealed off the scab of sectarian struggle and conflict and poised the entire region on the brink of all out war.

But sadly, even though things will inevitably get worse in Iraq before they get better, and the fact that the U.S. will ultimately lose all those things it thought it would gain, namely huge military bases in Iraq and access to all that oil, the fact remains that the situation is unwinnable and that the prudent course is to cut losses and try to extricate the military from the country with a minimum of carnage and chaos, thought it will be inevitable.

The U.S. (Bush and Co.) have thoroughly screwed up and gotten us into a horrible quagmire with no good way out.

Thank you George W. Bush and those who voted for him, especially a second time.

We'll always be grateful for your lemming like willingness to let phoney fear cloud your judgement.

At 2/01/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

UMR, your points are likely true, but I feel this might end up being a net winner for Obama.

I think people of nearly all political stripes are looking for a guy who puts his cards on the table.

This "bold" style is what attracted otherwise decent people to Bush, I believe. They were so starved for leadership that they went with a guy who was clearly a moron simply because they longed for simplistic, black and white answers to complex questions and they wanted a guy who would act like he knew what he was doing and do it.

Of course, when you want to abdicate your power to a leader, it should probably be someone who isn't an arrogant, incurious, shallow frat brat who's failed at everything he touched, never went outside the country except on benders in Mexico, and who has delusions of grandure coupled with no understanding of history or world geopolitics at all, but that's another story.

But I think this move might serve to impress people with his having he courage of his convictions, something notably lacking from prior Dem candidates who did nothing but run scared from the supposedly far right electorate and let the right jerk them around like scared little puppets, until they were obviously nothing but mealy mouthed phoneys trying to be all things for all people, scared to death of being called a liberal or to disagree with conservative ideas.

Obama's move also effectively calls the Republican's bluff with their goofy refrain that the Dems have no plan, and their trying to box Dems into a corner by condemning them for opposing the "war" and then daring them to cut off funding, suggesting that if they don't, they're weak phonys.

Well, Obama isn't that at least.

Of course cutting funding for additional troops wouldn't take a dime away from the troops already in the field, (money is already appropriated for that, and Bush has access to billions in other funding he could switch to Iraq) but the right will try to hammer that lie endlessly.

Unfortunately, Bush has trumped them on this by already sending additional forces, making it hard to cut funding for additional troops when they're already in the field.

In short, I hope this is a winner for Obama, and I hope it helps generate further momentum towards getting troops out of the useless meatgrinder.

We shall see.

At 2/01/2007 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


'Controlling Oil' - are you so seriously deranged that you buy into that analysis?

Other than a cute (but silly) sound-bite, how on earth does the Iraq situation allow the US to 'control oil'?

Prices go up while we are in Iraq. Price have gone down while in Iraq - same as before - and the same as after we are gone.

There are a lot of rational issues for debate, but one sounds like a conspiracy theorist to the extreme with this muddled thought.

At 2/01/2007 9:33 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Suggesting that oil is not a factor in why Bush and his oil industry filled administration invaded Iraq is delusional. Period.

If you think oil has nothing to do with it, you're truly and seriously ignorant of both history and reality.

Oh no, Cheney and Bush had NO interest in some of the biggest oil reserves on earth. Not at all.

How gullible and willingly ignorant can you possibly get?

If Bush was caught on tape buggering a young boy, you'd somehow find a way to say it never happened.

Snap out of it.

Even military leaders know this is about oil. Even freaking BUSH has acknowledged as much when he tried to cite high oil prices as a reason we need to continue the fruitless war.

To suggest gaining control over Iraq's oil is a myth is ... well, laughable.

At 2/04/2007 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Dope, this is even beneath you - you throw out this silly thought because you heard it on TV?

If your thought (and it hardly deserves to be called a thought) has any merit - please explain the rational?

They started a war - to make money? (they are not invested in the oil industry, cannot be by law). And if you think that either the President or VP needs to start a war for money you are really foolish.

They started the war to provide the US unlimited supply and lower prices to fuel the economy? Well, I guess that this did not happen.

So, it is a great theory, other than you have given ABSOLUTELY NO rational reason for it - heck, you have only stated the foolish concept and provided NO thought as to why...


At 2/06/2007 2:25 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, Bush and Cheney and the rest of top officials in his administration which came directly from the oil industry didn't stampede us into Iraq, a country with nothing whatsoever to do with 9-11, because of their interest in securing the vast oil supply under Iraqi soil. Why, it's crazy talk to even suggest it, right?

By the way, you must be looking forward to the Easter Bunny's arrival soon.

There's no need to provide an explaination of the patently obvious, sorry.

The fact that after the initial invasion the only ministry in the country which was assigned massive military protection was the oil ministry should tell you something. Especially in light of the fact that the priceless treasures of antiquity were left to looters for months and the entire country left to colapse into chaos.

There were also plans which existed before the invasion which detailed how oil corporations might divide the spoils.

And of course, Cheney basically thumbed his nose at his own government when it requested even basic knowledge of who attended his "Energy Policy" meetings before the invasion. Gee. Wonder why they'd go to any lengths to keep that secret?

Your naivite and willingness to deny reality for your party is a bit creepy. Obviously there will never be any direct payment from an oil concern straight to Bush or Cheney's bank accounts, though there certainly have been to their campaigns and any other place they wanted money to appear, and with Cheney's massive oil stocks, etc. waiting in the wings, to imagine there will be no profit is just goofy.

Was it just coincidence that Cheney's former company, an oil field equipment supplier, was given nearly carte blanche no-bid, cost-plus contracts for everything top to bottom in Iraq? Including most duties which the military traditionally took care of?

Could it have been to get them established in country for the time when the oil could be gotten to safely?

And the fact that "it hasn't worked" is not proof that they weren't or aren't interested in the oil, only proof that.... it didn't work.

So instead the oil companies took world record unprecidented profits, higher than any company at any time in the history of the world. And raised gas prices higher than ever as well.

Bush and Cheney don't have to directly profit from the oil companies, as their regime and global oil corporations and interests will, and there will be, and has been, plenty of benefit to them from that.

And if it wasn't oil, as you so shockingly suggest, then what WAS the reason? All the phoney rationales have long since been proven to be just that... utterly phoney. So what WAS the reason if not oil?

To "free" the Iraqi's that Bush cares so deeply about?

To bring "democracy" to the mid-east?

Get serious.

Your faith in the integrity and honesty of the Bush administration is truly touching, almost childlike.

If you truly believe that oil had nothing to do with invading a soverign country who posed no threat to the U.S., then you simply haven't paid attention.

Sorry you're so sadly deluded.

If you want to endlessly argue such issues, go back to your own blog and argue with yourself.


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