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Edwards First Major Candidate Calling for All Troops Out, Breaks with Establishment Consensus on Iraq

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One day before the Iowa caucuses, John Edwards has become the first major presidential candidate to favor withdrawing all American troops, including advisers, from Iraq, doing so in response to queries from a leading military correspondent, the New York Times’ Michael Gordon.

The positions taken by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, while favoring de-escalation, would leave tens of thousands of American advisers, special forces and substantial back-up troops in Iraq for five years, at least until 2013. The mainstream media also has promoted the view that there is “no way out” of Iraq, according to a comprehensive survey by Peter Hart in Extra! [Nov.-Dec. 2007]. If these views prevail, the US government will be funding, arming, training and defending a repressive sectarian state in Baghdad for years. Already, for example, there are over 50,000 Iraqi prisoners held in detention by the US and Baghdad authorities, the vast majority of them on no charges. Evidence of torture and ethnic cleansing by the Baghdad regime has been accumulated in numerous official reports as well.

In the front-page Times’ interview, the traditionally-hawkish Gordon questioned Edwards’ whether his proposal would “pull the rug out” from the Iraqi security forces, and pointed out several times that Edwards’ position is at odds with “senior American military commanders.” However, Gordon failed to note that one such military leader, Gen. James Jones, while supporting more training of the Iraqi security forces, has reported that those forces are sectarian and dysfunctional and even called for “scrapping” the national police force now conducting counterinsurgency under Gen. Davis Petraeus’ command.

Edwards’ thinking seems to flow from his populist orientation: “I honestly believe this in my soul, we are propping up their bad behavior”, he told Gordon, “I mean really, how many American lives and how much American taxpayer money are we going to continue to expend waiting for these [Iraqi] political leaders to do something?”

The political impact of Edwards’ statement is unpredictable. It may sway some Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich voters to caucus instead for Edwards Thursday night. It may cause a few defections from Clinton or Obama. It may play out in New Hampshire and later primaries, if Edwards is deemed “viable” by the media after Iowa. And to the extent that Edwards’ campaign continues to be a force in the national election, his Iraq position could become a rallying point in the Democratic platform debate.

 

http://www.tomhayden.com

After fifty years of activism, politics and writing, Tom Hayden still is a leading voice for ending the war in Iraq, erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through greater citizen participation.

Currently he is writing and advocating for US exiting Afghanistan. (more...)
 

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....and just like a bunch ... by Cap'n Stubbs on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 1:43:46 AM
Is every damn article an opportunity to demonstrat... by ardee D. on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 1:19:20 PM
....about bashing THE anti war candidate by his in... by Crazy John on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 4:57:55 PM
go away... by Steven Leser on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 5:07:42 PM
/..........trying to get votes by saying anything ... by Crazy John on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 5:01:20 PM
...the part about him breaking with the Establisme... by reasonableperson on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 1:47:43 AM
Behind Lieberman. Maybe if Gore had selected Edwar... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 10:27:21 AM
...and if so, there might have been some minor dif... by reasonableperson on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 2:36:47 PM
... with a few noteable exceptions, I'm not in... by Steven Leser on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 5:06:44 PM
First, I tend to agree with you in general about d... by reasonableperson on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 6:54:06 PM
"...and if so, there might have been some min... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 6:38:51 PM
... it is amazing how one can wrap their entire be... by Steven Leser on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 6:43:31 PM
I assume you are referring to Estulin, and if you ... by reasonableperson on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 7:18:14 PM
OK, it's always unsafe to try to say what &quo... by reasonableperson on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 8:19:25 PM
 Thanks for pointing out what is a majors fla... by RLAnchors on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 7:13:37 AM
He has done this how many times since the Democrat... by Kevin Gosztola on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 8:46:32 AM
Ron Paul has been advocating extraction of US troo... by Mark Bennett on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 11:19:09 AM
One Vietnam in a life time is enough. No matter wh... by Michael Morris on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 11:31:51 AM
ANY  EX USDED CAR SALESMEN WILL ALL WAYS TELL... by RICHARD SHADE on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 12:22:12 PM
possible unfair generalization about people of you... by Steven Leser on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 6:28:21 PM
 THAT'S OK,( I ) GOT IT MIXED UP,  E... by RICHARD SHADE on Sunday, Jan 6, 2008 at 1:44:11 AM
He's been advocating a complete pull out for a... by Dan Lawton on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 12:25:56 PM
Know this: it doesn't matter who you support o... by Mr M on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 2:45:29 PM
  I find it amusing that there is so much pas... by richard on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 7:57:27 PM
Read The Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin, world... by ronheri on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 10:16:17 PM
Where does all those millions and millions of doll... by ronheri on Thursday, Jan 3, 2008 at 10:36:42 PM
RONHERITHANK YOU FOR CLEARING UP WHAT IS NEEDED TO... by RICHARD SHADE on Sunday, Jan 6, 2008 at 2:02:19 AM
Dennis Kucinich is a major candidate and voted aga... by Ty on Monday, Jan 7, 2008 at 2:56:28 PM