Later today, I will deliver a major speech on the war in Iraq.
It asks a hard and essential question: how do we bring our troops
home within a reasonable and responsible timeframe, while achieving what needs
to be achieved in Iraq?
One thing is certain. It isn’t by continuing to pursue the Bush
administration’s “stay for as long as it takes” rhetoric.
Blair: Pretentious blowhard. If “achieving what needs to be achieved in Iraq” is key, how does one avoid the requirement to “stay for as long as it takes”?
Indeed. And his speech? (excerpts here) Well, he likes to talk about asking the hard questions, but never seems to get around to the hard questions. When he finally drones his way to the "plan" portion of his argument - he provides absolutely nothing useful. He thinks there should be a political solution between the Sunnis and Shia - yet, he refuses to acknowlege that that's what all the constitution business is about. He thinks we need to build up Iraqi security, but refuses to acknowlege that that's what the U.S. has been doing. In short, any good ideas that he has are already in motion. And the meat of his plan? for Bush to provide a ....plan:
"The Administration must immediately give Congress and the American people a
detailed plan for the transfer of military and police responsibilities on a
sector by sector basis to Iraqis so the majority of our combat forces can be
withdrawn. No more shell games, no more false reports of progress, but specific
and measurable goals."
Not only is that not a plan, but it's just a bad idea. Bush's timelines are right on - transfer authority here, elect a temporary government here, develop a constitution here, etc. Those timelines are good to make known. They keep the wheel turning. That's the plan that Kerry is too blind to see. His timelines are geared towards withdrawal. Personally, I'd like to see no mention of pulling troops out - even when it is happening. If we cut our troop levels in half, best not to even acknowlege that we did it until years later. Hold those cards close to the vest. As Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down - that's as specific as you should get.