It's Time For Some Answers
In an e-mail to supporters today, Governor Richardson called out his fellow Democratic candidates on how many troops they'd leave behind in Iraq and for how long.
All the major Democratic candidates say they are eager to end this war, and they all say they don’t believe there is a military solution in Iraq. Why, then, do they maintain that we must leave an indefinite number of troops behind for an indeterminate amount of time to work hopelessly towards a military solution everyone says doesn’t exist?
It is time to get a straight answer from all the other candidates: how many troops would you leave behind? For how long?
Bill Richardson's position has been clear and strong: No troops left behind. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Not one residual troop left in Iraq.
"How many troops will you leave behind in Iraq."
Anything above the security detail for the US embassy in Baghdad (all U.S. embassies in the world have Marine guards) is one troop too many. You want advisors to train Iraqi troops, you want a strike force to hit terrorist camps and whatnot, stick them over the horizon in Kuwait.
But if nothing else, can we please just get a clear answer to that damn question?
Over at Open Left, Chris Bowers shows his disdain for candidates who dodge this serious question.
I applaud Richardson's efforts on this front, just as I applauded MSNBC when they attempted to get straight answers from candidates on how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq if they become President. However, if my experience on this front is any indication, even if this question is asked at the Univision debate, in all likelihood no one except Richardson and Biden will answer the question (Kucinich and Gravel might, since it is hard to predict what they do). The question will be labeled hypothetical, and the response will be that they will listen to the commanders on the ground. And then, the debate will move on to the next question.
The more I think about this dodge from Clinton, Obama, and Edwards on how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq, the angrier I become. Why is an inquiry into how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq a hypothetical question not worthy of an answer, but inquiries into how much their health care plans will reduce the cost of insurance premiums a hypoethical question worthy of prominently displaying an answer to on your website?
I think Richardson, more and more, is showing the strongest voice on getting out of Iraq, and unlike Clinton or Edwards, Obama is not going to be able to shut down Richardson's move to his left, based on the 2002 vote.
So sign the petition and demand that the other Democratic candidates stand up and unequivocally state their position on how many troops they'll leave in Iraq and for how long.
We've always known where Bill Richardson stands. Where do the others stand?