First, let us cut through the propaganda, lies, disinformation, media misrepresentations and political cowardice that may well be leading Democrats, John Warner Republicans and so-called moderates to another shameless surrender to George W. Bush that will extend the catastrophe and tragedy of the Iraq war.
Here is a short list of those who believe that President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus are dead flat wrong in their obsession to continue the long-term escalation of the Iraq war:
1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff.
2. Admiral Fallon, head of Central Command, Gen. Petraeus’s boss.
3. Former NATO Supreme Commander and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones and the members of the commission he leads, who argue that American troop strength in Iraq should be reduced, that American forces should be redeployed, that the American footprint of being an occupation force in Iraq should be ended, and that the current escalation in fact will discourage, not advance, the political solution the “surge” was intended to bring about, but obviously has not.
4. Most and possibly all of the global command structure of the United States Army, which has been decimated by the Iraq war and the long-term escalation, and the United States Marine Corps.
5. The weight of opinion throughout the American intelligence community, which, despite political pressure, threats of retribution and political editing of intelligence reports, has produced one national intelligence estimate after another that have directly contradicted the views of the president and vice president.
The truth is, on the matter of reversing the escalation of the Iraq war, reducing American troop strength in Iraq significantly in the coming months, ending what has been one of the most corrupt and ill-considered occupations in world history, ending torture and closing Guantanamo, the views of the leadership of the U.S. military and the majority of the strongest critics of the Iraq war policy are indeed very much in line.
It is Petraeus, Bush, Cheney and their allies in the Congress who most substantially differ from all of the above.
My view of the matter, rejected by Democratic leaders and Republican leaders alike, from the beginning of this war until today, is that when we send our troops to war, we should never allow partisan or political considerations to be put above the lives of our troops and the honor and security of our nation.
History will judge harshly the current president and Congress, who from Sept. 11, 2001 until Sept. 11, 2007 have shared for their own reasons complicity in one of the greatest disasters in American military history, and have shared for their own reasons complicity in the international and domestic crimes of torture that violate cardinal rules of Americanism and international law that have been commonly accepted from the days of George Washington until the origin and execution of the Iraq war.
On one issue after another — there is no need to fully recapitulate them all here — things have been done in the name of God, country and the American troops that have in truth been opposed by a strong majority of American military leaders, and are so far out of the traditions of American values and American history that they have never, not once, been pursued by any American president or so submissively accepted by any American Congress on such a morally and militarily grotesque scale.
For Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the current crisis offers a golden moment for her to act as a true commander in chief would act, to lead as a great president would lead, and to make her voice and her actions those of the true leader of the Loyal Opposition and — this is the central point — the authentic voice of the majority of American military leaders, American troops in combat, American military families and American veterans.
She should speak loudly, forcefully, and clearly the central truth of the debate, which is this: The overwhelming majority of American military leaders favor dramatic changes in the current Iraq policy and they, not Gen. Petraeus, are the true voice for what is best for our security, our country and our troops.
She should offer a comprehensive policy for a new strategy in Iraq that would follow the advice of the majority of American generals, and advocate the proposal of Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) for troop reductions of approximately 5,000 before Christmas 2007, and additional troop reductions to leave 120,000 American troops in Iraq by April 2008, at which time the president and Congress would confer before a new congressional vote to determine the feasibility of further American withdrawals at that time.
Under this plan, Sen. Clinton would offer an amendment that would zero out all new money from Guantanamo effective June 1, 2008, and would require either in the defense bill, or as condition for confirmation of a new attorney general an independent investigation of the Abu Ghraib crimes and any potential cover-up of those crimes.