Democrats running for President discuss their plans for Iraq after the troops leave

07/05/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Today 2 members of a Washington DC based think tank argued that if the surge in Iraq proves ultimately not to be working, that there should be a ‘soft partitioning’ of Iraq.

Michael O’Hanlon and Edward Joseph are with the centrist oriented Brooking Institute.
In a new paper released called “The Case for Soft Partioning In Iraq”, the 2 argue that the only hope for a more stable Iraq is by dividing the country up into 3 different parts, between the 3 main factions of Shia’s , Sunni’s and Kurds.

It’s not the most original idea. Such a plan has been endorsed by some other foreign policy advisors, such as former Ambassador Peter Galbreath, and the former Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb.

It’s also been advocated by Delaware U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Biden discussed his plan last Saturday in Orlando (roll tape#1 o.q.”said they would do it”) As Biden said, he is the only candidate running for President who endorses such an idea.

Former Wisconsin Governor and GOP candidate Tommy Thompson has supported the idea of having the Iraqi people vote in a referendum on whether they want U.S. troops in their country. . But most other Democrats who were in Orlando last Saturday are pushing for a withdrawal within the next year.Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd wants to bring the troops home within the next year, even though he acknowledge that could make things worse for the Iraqi people in the short term (roll tape#2 o.q.”resolve your differences”)

As has been well documented, New York Senator Hillary Clinton has steadily shifted towards a more anti-war stance regarding Iraq within the past 6 months. Unlike John Edwards and others who have since repudiated their vote on authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq, Clinton has infamously refused to do so. But as she competes for primary votes, she has slowly but surely changed her rhetoric. (roll tape#3 o.q.”regional diplomacy”)

John Edwards says if he were president today, the first thing he would do is draw 40 to 50,000 troops out of the North and South of Iraq, engage the Sunni and Shia leadership, and get Iran and Syria involved. But he also said last Saturday that he is willing to contemplate the worst case scenario of what might happen in Iraq after a significant amount of US Troops withdraw (roll tape#4 o.q.”have created in Iraq”).

Barack Obama told the audience of Latino Elected officials in Orlando last Saturday what he has said at all of the Democratic debates and forums – that although he wasn’t in the U.S. Senate in 2002, he was in the Illinois State Senate, and loudly spoke out against the going to war in Iraq. (roll tape#4 o.q.”veto proof majority”)

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s attitude about what to do with Iraq has also gone through a metamorphosis. (roll tape#6o.q.”building of Iraq”)

One of the most anti-war members of Congress, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich is again running for President. (roll tape#7 o.q.”war going indefinitely”)

The authors of the report did say while speaking today that they did NOT think they’re idea of a soft partition of Iraq probably will not happen.

To see the Brookings Institute White Paper, go to brook.edu

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