John Kerry’s Plan to Bring the Troops Home
John Kerry says the “Plan is to bring troops home” in his USA Today op-ed by that title. It’s an interesting start, but I have a few questions for him.
I know what our troops go through when they carry an M-16 in a dangerous place and can’t tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they are out on patrol at night and don’t know what’s coming around the next bend. I know what it is like to write letters home telling your family that everything’s all right when you’re not sure that’s true.
Good start. Remind us that you were in Vietnam. A lot of people don’t know that.
As president, I will never send troops into battle without the right equipment or a plan to win the peace.
Actually, you voted for this war (before you voted against funding it). What equipment didn’t they have that you would have procured? The newest flak jackets and armored Humvees that weren’t in the inventory? How would you have gotten them faster? And didn’t you vote against the money to buy that stuff time and again?
I will bring back our nation’s time-honored tradition: The United States never goes to war because we want to. We only go to war because we have to.
Who wants to go to war? President Bush? The 296 House members and 77 Senators (including you and your running mate) that voted for it? Why did you support war in Bosnia and Kosovo, where there was not even the hint of danger to U.S. national security, if you oppose optional wars?
I will meet our sacred commitment to our brave troops in Iraq Ã¢€” to end their mission successfully and bring them home as soon as possible. At stake is whether Iraq will complete its march to democracy or degenerate into the next proving ground for terrorists.
But, if we don’t “have to” be there, why wouldn’t you bring them home immediately?
My plan is to:
Ã¢€¢ Lead NATO to make the security of Iraq one of its global missions and to deploy a significant portion of the force needed to secure and win the peace there. NATO participation will open the door to greater international involvement from non-NATO countries.
Is this the NATO with France and Germany in it, or a different one? What would you do to make this happen, given that it hasn’t so far? Do you honestly expect us to believe that two major nation states are opposing the war effort solely because they don’t like President Bush but would go against the overwhelming popular sentiment in their countries, sending troops to die in Iraq, simply because you come to office and they like you?
Ã¢€¢ Internationalize the reconstruction efforts in Iraq to end the continuing perception of a U.S. occupation and help coordinate the rebuilding.
It’s a little late for that, since we’ve already turned things over to the Iraqis months ago. Aside from that, what are you going to do differently to make this happen? President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have been grovelling to the U.N. for nearly two years with nothing to show for it.
Ã¢€¢ Launch a massive and accelerated training effort to build Iraqi security forces that can provide real security for the Iraqi people, including a major role for NATO. This is not a task for America alone; we must join as a partner with other nations.
The first part of this is well underway under the able leadership of General Petraeus. NATO has already promised token support but, at the risk of repeating myself, what is it that you’re going to do to get France and Germany to play a more significant role?
Ã¢€¢ Plan for Iraq’s future by working with our allies to forgive Iraq’s multibillion-dollar debt and involve our allies in the development of a new Iraqi constitution and the political arrangements needed to protect minority rights. At the same time, we should convene a regional conference with Iraq’s neighbors to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq’s borders and non-interference in Iraq’s national affairs.
The Bush Administration has been working this one for two years. Your plan differs how?
This is not an instant solution. There isn’t one. But it’s a realistic plan to share the burden and secure the peace and bring our troops home.
With all due respect, Senator, it isn’t a plan. It’s a series of platitudes basically saying nothing more than “We’re going to do exactly what the Bush Administration has been doing but it’s going to somehow work when we do it.”
Update (1003): McQ agrees with my assessment and documents substantial progress on several of these points that has already taken place.