May 7, 2007

Richardson: Strength Through Surrender

Bill Richardson made his appearance on BlogTalkRadio's Heading Left show this afternoon, and he spoke about his position on the Iraq war. Not surprisingly, he favors a complete deauthorization of the war, along the lines proposed by Hillary Clinton and Robert Byrd. However, Richardson would go even farther than most Democrats. He would pull American troops out of Baghdad, but also from Anbar and Diyala, where they face al-Qaeda terrorists and where we have made a lot of progress in engaging the local tribes.

Here's Richardson on his vision for Iraq:

What I would do is call for a deauthorization on the war, on the basis of the authorization is now, I believe invalid, because there were no weapons of mass destruction, as that language indicated, in the initial war authorization. So I would deauthorize the war, I would set a timetable of all troops out by the end of the year. And here is where I'm different from other candidates -- I would have no residual forces. No American troops, except for an embassy detail [in Baghdad] of Marines, which is traditional in our diplomatic representation ...

Richardson, who served in Congress for years before working in the Clinton administration, believes that a deauthorization bill does not require a Presidential signature, and is therefore immune to a veto:

I believe that deauthorization, on the basis of Article I of the Constitution, also would have a Congressional reaffirmation of its power to declare war, which it has, but which it has not exercised. The President can't veto this. The issue probably would go to the courts.... But it's decisive, it's strong, it's direct, it's specific, it's easy to understand by the public, and that's the course I believe it should take.

There's so much to criticize that I'm not sure where to begin. Let's start with the Constitutional issue of a deauthorization bill not requiring a Presidential signature and therefore not subject to a veto. The Constitution does not allow Congress to pass anything into law without executive branch oversight. That's especially significant where the command of the military is concerned. It would probably go to the Supreme Court, which would promptly laugh its collective rear off at a Congress that thinks it can make itself Commander in Chief by diktat.

Also, I'm particularly amused at Richardson's description of a complete withdrawal as "decisive", and especially as "strong". Does he really think that al-Qaeda and the host of radical Islamist terrorist groups will consider America strong because it retreated from the fight in Anbar and Diyala, let alone Baghdad? If so, and if his fellow Democrats agree with him, then he has made the best possible argument for putting a Republican in the White House in 2008 -- and in control of Congress.

"Strength through surrender" will hardly make a compelling campaign slogan except for the Orwellians at International ANSWER and MoveOn. I thought Richardson was smarter than this.


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Comments (23)

Posted by The Mechanical Eye [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 1:44 PM

"Strength through surrender" will hardly make a compelling campaign slogan except for the Orwellians at International ANSWER and MoveOn.

I think it is decisive to realize you've gone too far and to make a tactical retreat in response. It's not "strong" to talk about victory when it is unreachable with the number of forces you have.

It is positively Orwellian to conflate Baathists with Al-Qeada, or Sunni extremists with Iranian-backed thugs. It's Orwellian to use words like "victory" as loosely as we do, to keep moving our goals from democracy to Iraq to mere stability, from WMDs to Arab democracy.

Or have we lost the ability to see and speak clearly in favor of rank partisanship about Defeatocrats and Appeasement?


Posted by Maccabean [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 1:45 PM

The dems are playing political limbo: how left can you go...

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 1:56 PM

The Richardson mindset is in fact the largest problem facing the US right now. Here's a person who wholeheartedly believes that pulling all our troops out of the region will:

-- Decrease violence in the region,
-- Serve America's national security, economic, and political interests,
-- Prevent additional terror attacks on US interests,
-- Improve America's image abroad.

Not just precipitous withdrawal, but precipitous COMPLETE withdrawal. The Richardson plan would in fact lead to 100% certainty of additional terrorist attacks around the world, a massive regional war that would involve Israel's full military capability, an oil shock that would crush the world economy and countless millions dead.

The result would be the western world, and even Russia and China, having to either field a massive coalition army to regain the world's oil, or the much simpler option of strategic nuclear war.

I cannot for a moment believe Richardson is taking this position out of ignorance of the consequences. He is willing to risk a nuclear world war in order to gain political traction with the moonbat base, and he is doing so knowingly.

When I say the "loyal opposition" is a threat to America from within, this is what I mean. The '08 elections will be the most important this country has ever seen, and it must be used to send the Democrats into the abyss of history permanently before they send America into it.

Posted by Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 3:22 PM

Well, someone had to move far enough left to compete with Hagel. It's gonna get crowded over there real soon. The farther left the Dhimm pack moves the clearer the choice becomes. Will Joe and Sally Sixpack catch on before it's too late? I'm beginning to hope again. 

I added and excerpt and link to my 2007.05.06 Decision '08 // Dem Stupidity Roundup

Posted by Neo [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 3:38 PM

It amazed me that Bill Richardson seems to act just like my cat .. just when you think he is acting really inteligent, he runs off after a butterfly.

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 4:13 PM

My mouth fell open as I read this. I too thought Richardson was smarter than this.

If the consequences weren't so dire, I'd almost like to see a Dem win in '08. As they say in AA or Alanon, or whatever, you have to hit bottom before you get help.

To steal a line from my favorite columnists, Mark Steyn, about the French election - (just substitute Democrat voter for French, and he nails 'em):

"To the outside observer, the French give the impression they can live with the stench of death as long as the government benefits (and American Idols, my wording) keep coming..."

Steyn article:

As an aside, Cap'n, is George Bush no longer the President? Seems I have to answer who the current Pres. is before posting. Not recognizing George Bush.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 4:19 PM

Why did he add the bit about keeping an embassy in Baghdad I wonder. Mabye to reinforce the idea that all would be well after the withdrawal. If I was part of that embassy detail after U.S. forces had been removed from Iraq I guess I'd be a tad upset with Richardson and his pals as the homicidal nutjobs yanked me out of the compound chanting 'death to america'!

Pretty stupid and irresponsible of him.

At least we'll have another dramatic photo of an embassy evacuation to match the one from Saigon. And years from now ol Governor Richardson can point to his 8x10 glossy of a blackhawk helicopter lifting off the roof of our Baghdad embassy, smoke trails from the rocket-propelled grenades flying in from all over every which way ... smile at his grandkids and say "Yep, grandpa Bill made that happen." How proud they'll be.

Posted by Gbear [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 4:28 PM

Well, he isnt.

Posted by PersonFromPorlock [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 4:39 PM

The power to declare war, which is solely Congress's, necessarily involves a complementary power not to declare it. Whether this amounts to a power to 'undeclare' a declared war without presidential approval I don't know; but until the Supreme Court has ruled on it, Richardson's point about not needing a presidential signature is not nonsensical.

Posted by chsw [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 5:23 PM

It sounds like Richardson wants to be VP, not POTUS. Serious candidates cannot have policy positions which are not well thought out. However, a VP candidate can be used as a pit bull.

Gov. Richardson, your performance and your position has cost you some respect.


Posted by JayReding [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 5:43 PM

On the point of whether Congress can "undeclare" war -- they almost certainly cannot. The Congressional ability to "declare" war most likely means that it would be a recognition by Congress that a conflict had grown to the point where things like diplomatic recognition, trade, and treaties were no longer applicable -- which would impact Congress' enumerated powers. That's why Congress has the power to "declare war" despite the fact that the President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

Now, if the power to declare war recognizes an impact on international relations, that implies that the correct way to end a war is by signing a peace treaty. The President is given the power under the Constitution to negotiate treaties (with the approval of the Senate). The Congress could not unilaterally create a peace treaty, it has to come from the Executive.

Nothing in the Constitution suggests that Congress can "undeclare" war short of cutting off the funding for the war. They have the power of the purse, not the power to be Commander in Chief.

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 6:38 PM

I, too, thought perhaps Richardson would offer up something of more substance on the Iraq War situation and this caught me a bit by surprise. But on closer inspection, I think Richardson falls into that group of Dems/Leftists that believe deep down that talks and negotiations and compromise are the solutions to all of the world's problems.

He's one of those who views himself as a "communicator" - a simple two week summit with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia and a compromise for Iraq will be accomplished. IMHO, the most evil thing to come out of this Iraq War has been the MSM's "marketing" of the supposed civil war. There is no doubt in my mind that whole concept, the civil war between sects in Iraq, was engineered by the Leftist of Left Dems and favors were called in to get the MSM to market it.

My question to Richardson and the gang of negotiators is simple. How do you expect Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia to assist in a resolution of Iraq when they have their own hands full in their own countries fighting the spread of Al Qaeda and dissidence?

Someday, perhaps long down the road, the sick and twisted "Civil War Media Strategy" will surface and there will be some fingerprints on that plan that will bring down the Democrat party

Posted by Del Dolemonte [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 8:05 PM

The Mechanical Eye said:

"It is positively Orwellian to conflate Baathists with Al-Qeada"

Well, just call Bill Clinton George Orwell, then. His Justice Department linked al Qaeda to Iraq when they indicted bin Laden 3 years before you were born (that would be 1998, and we all know that you and the rest of recorded history only began in January of 2001).

One of the things that the flawed 9/11 Commission did get right was that the fact that we didn't prevent the attacks was due to a "lack of imagination" on our part. Such a lack of imagination could include-gee, there's an idea-Saddam and al-Qaeda working together. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I would submit that your professors have polluted your brain with faulty "logic". You should ask them why it was OK for Clinton to claim Iraq had WMDs and was tied to al Qaeda, but not OK for another President to make the same claims. You'll be greeted by awkward silence, no doubt. And probably automatically lose a letter grade for challenging "the truth". Sounds positively Biblical to me...or Nazi-esque!.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 8:40 PM

Hey, lets just stay in Iraq forever! We can make it our 51st state. The oil will pay for everything, were loved overthere, you know we liberated them. Hey by the way ask the governor of Kansas how she likes having 50% of her states National Guards heavy equipment over in Iraq. Guess she doesn't need it to clean up that F5 tornado. Guess that doesn't make it on CE's important stories. But what a second-tier Democratic presidential candidate says about Iraq does. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Quit trying to hide all the bad gop news (and theres tons of it) The gop is in free fall and putting the blinders on won't make it go away. Step up to the plate goopers, take it like a man. The war in Iraq is lost. Unless you got 500,000 troops to deploy.

Posted by Neo [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 10:14 PM

Richardson brings on some real bipatisanship.

Posted by Dan [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 12:08 AM

To define "strength" in terms of what al Qaida wants or doesn't want is rather unneccesarily limiting for purposes of choosing actions which take into account U.S. interests, wouldn't you say? If the alternative to Richardson is a cut-off-my-nose-to-spite-my-face strategy, Richardson is looking pretty darn smart by comparison.

If a massive regional war in the mideast is going to come to pass, it will, whether or not the U.S. maintains a military presence in Iraq. This possibility is what was bargained for in the decision to overthrow Saddam. Actions have consequences.

Posted by Nick [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 12:18 AM

Hmm it seems that support for the war is dropping even here at ChickenHawk Central Command.

Anybody check out the 28% approval ratings?

Just a reminder that any troops here at the CHC who want to risk something other than keyboard finger fatigue for their personal values can do so at

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 3:31 AM

Richardson used to be a foreign policy hawk. He made the political calculation, after watching Hillary lambasted from the left, that there was no room on the right of her for success in Democratic primaries. His choice, as he perceived it (probably correctly), was to move to her left or become the Lieberman of 2008 and go home with his honor intact.

His honor was always suspect, anyway. As UN Ambassador, he granted a personal interview to a low-level applicant at the behest of the White House. Gal named Lewinsky. Not to mention the wholesale leakage of technology which began on his watch as Energy Secretary . . .

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 4:45 AM

So the cowards start chanting again...

Only military experienced people have a say in when to use the military

Since Congress must declare war...and the President is the CinC...guess that means only ex-miliary people can run for National office? Or should we force everyone to "serve" the state by spending time on active duty...which is it?

Proof that some cowards are more pathetic than others.

Posted by Oldcrow [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 6:14 AM

"What I would do is call for a deauthorization on the war, on the basis of the authorization is now, I believe invalid, because there were no weapons of mass destruction, as that language indicated, in the initial war authorization."

Uh HUH and I suppose the other twenty five paragraphs of other reasons for going to war in the AUMF don't count right? Amazing do these people even read the stuff they vote on? Oh thats right as we now know the answer is NO! Idiots!

Posted by Oldcrow [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 6:20 AM

Posted by: Nick at May 8, 2007 12:18 AM

Uh Yeah, Try again asshat ask the Captain what my IP is, on my second tour in country right now. It is called projection my friend you are a coward so you assume all others are as well.

Posted by Lehosh [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 8:31 AM

I've always thought the "If you aren't in the military, you have no say in war" argument was hilarious. It's 90% used by anti-war leftist, and it is obvious that they don't know what they're saying.

You mean that only the military should have an opinion on the military? Do you really want an American military class that is only answerable to itself? You mean you really think input on war should be the sole perview of people who make war?

I doubt it. This argument is little more than a baroque way of telling war supporters, "shut up."

Posted by Nikolay [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 6:49 PM

Well, speaking about "strength", here's a quote for you from Saint Ronald:
"2nd meeting with the Gen. Sec. [Gorbachev] Touched on other subjects—congratulated him for his courage in leaving Afghanistan."
Of course, it's a totally different story, but the fact is -- Saint Ronald thought that withdrawing could mean courage.