User:RobLa/Iraq Evacuation Plan

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This is a scratchpad for a diary that I plan to post. Feel free to edit. I will give credit to co-authors, but since I plan to post this under my name, I'll be exercising a heavier hand in reverting changes I don't like.

Iraq: Tell it like it is: evacuation, not a "handover"

Tags: Iraq, withdrawal, George W. Bush, Howard Dean, framing

We need our leadership to tell it like it is. Don't get me wrong: Howard Dean did a great job on Hardball. However, he danced around one issue without really saying it. We need to prepare for the fact that our exit from Iraq may be an evacuation rather than a handover. This administration continues under the delusion that there will come an identifiable point at which the Iraqi government is "ready". How many more of our troops and Iraqi civilians need to die waiting for the administration to learn that that won't happen?

Democrats can't be all doom and gloom, though. Both for the sake of the decent people in Iraq who are caught in the crossfire, and our own electoral prospects, we have to allow the new government to succeed if its possible to do so. The answer is to plan for success, but prepare for the worst. We need to give success a shot.

Here's a possible strategy:

  1. Engage in a massive diplomatic blitz, trying to build a genuine coalition instead of the anemic version we have now, humbly issuing as many mea culpas as possible, while at the same time trying to convince the world that while we made the mess, it's in everybody's best interest that this ends well anyway. Note: an essential part of a credible "mea culpa" is holding the current leaders accountable (definitely by '08, but a good impeachment + conviction would carry even more water)
  2. Publish a deadline for withdrawal, along with a plan for leaving that doesn't depend on the Iraqi government being ready to take over. Make a tentative commitment of a much smaller troop level (no greater than, say, 25,000), contingent upon a significant international force being in place
  3. Continue on a massive diplomatic blitz, along with a candid assessment of the Iraqi government's chances of success, left to their own. Now that everyone realizes that we're getting out one way or another, we might start getting substantive support from countries that are scared of the outcome (e.g. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt)
  4. Pull out, as we promised to our troops. This may be a transition to a U.N. or a NATO force, or it may be an orderly evacuation. Regardless, it involves the vast majority of our troops leaving Iraq sooner rather than later.
Notice this plan involves not just the Iraqis stepping up, but gives the opportunity for the rest of the world to step up. As noted in the first step: the rest of the world won't step up while this administration is in power. They don't want to reward Bush with a political success, becuase they don't want to be like Blair, and enable the Bush administration's policies. This works to our electoral advantage; we can point out that we need the rest of the world, but the rest of the world doesn't want anything to do with us while that insane cowboy wannabe is occupying the White House (just like the U.S. doesn't want anything to do with Cuba while Castro is alive).

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