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September 5, 2006
The Democrats Write A Letter

Yesterday, the Democrats released an open letter to George Bush demanding a change in policy for Iraq and the war on terror. The letter takes five paragraphs to get to the point, and even then doesn't do much more than present general goals rather than any clear changes to current policy:

Therefore, we urge you once again to consider changes to your Iraq policy. We propose a new direction, which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort. These proposals were outlined in our July 30th letter and are consistent with the "U.S. Policy in Iraq Act" you signed into law last year.

We also think there is one additional measure you can take immediately to demonstrate that you recognize the problems your policies have created in Iraq and elsewhere -consider changing the civilian leadership at the Defense Department. From the failure to deploy sufficient numbers of troops at the start of the war or to adequately equip them, to the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, to disbanding the Iraqi military, to the failure to plan for the post-war occupation, the Administration's mistakes have taken a toll on our troops and our security. It is unacceptable to dismiss the concerns of military personnel and their families when they are affected by the consequences of these failures, as the Secretary of Defense recently did in Alaska by suggesting that volunteers should not complain about having their deployments extended. While a change in your Iraq policy will best advance our chances for success, we do not believe the current civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is suited to implement and oversee such a change in policy.

They want Donald Rumsfeld's head on a pike outside the White House, but they can't even gin up the courage to use his name in their letter. They're not the only people calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, but their argument here is just plain silly. Rumsfeld can be blamed for some of the above, but making him personally responsible for the actions of a handful of soldiers in Abu Ghraib just reduces this to grandstanding. Rumsfeld didn't order people to mistreat Iraqi prisoners; the unit in Abu Ghraib had poor discipline, as their sexual relationships within the unit pretty clearly demonstrated. They're tugging at headlines, playing for the crowd, and making a great argument as to why their advice shouldn't be heeded.

Not that they really offer much advice in the letter anyway. They want to begin a "phased redeployment" by the end of the year -- and it's already September. That leaves a short time frame for this retreat to occur -- and note that the Democrats still can't bring themselves to use the right term. When one leaves the theater while engaged with an enemy, that is a retreat, not a phased redeployment. The Democrats want a retreat.

They also want the US to dictate changes in the Iraqi constitution, an odd demand from one democracy to another. Democrats demand a "fair sharing of power and resources", but the Iraqi elections did just that. The Iraqis wrote their constitution, and the Iraqis voted to implement it. The Iraqis, except for terrorists and insurgents, seem satisfied with its division of power and resources. If not, they have a National Assembly to correct any defects they find.

Why would Democrats insist that the US government interfere with such an arrangement?

Next they want an "international conference" -- to preserve Iraq's sovereignty! In other words, they want to convene an international commission to force Iraq to obey its dictates. What nations would have to attend this conference to satisfy Democratic demands? Well, it won't be Eritrea and Trinidad and Tobago. They will want Iraq's neighbors to sit in judgment of the work done by a freely elected Iraqi government, nations such as Iran and Syria. Just to clarify, these are the nations that support terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and Iran is currently the nation defying the United Nations on nuclear weapons.

That's who Democrats see as the keys to Iraqi sovereignty. Not the Iraqis, and not the United States. Iran and Syria.

This letter gives the perfect reason why Democrats can't be trusted with national security -- anyone's national security. They want the Middle East to dismember Iraq with our blessing instead of against our opposition. They want the peace of surrender ... or phased redeployment.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 5, 2006 5:43 AM

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