Wyden Opposes Keeping Troops Until 2009

From Cave Junction News:

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today introduced a resolution to express the sense of the Senate that "the President's March 21, 2006 stated intention that 'future Presidents' will determine whether there are American troops in Iraq undermines the preparedness of the United States military to respond to other crises and should not be supported." In March 2006, President Bush gave a press conference and discussed Iraq. The following exchange took place between a reporter and the President:

Question: "Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when, not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?"

Answer: "That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Wyden's resolution is being offered as a stand-alone piece of legislation as Congress is debating the ongoing war in Iraq.

Read more here.

  • jeffk (unverified)

    If Dubya were to resign, be impeached (like we could be so lucky), or otherwise no longer occupy the oval office, we'd get a new president (hopefully not Cheney) who could then bring the troops home (alive and unmaimed, in contrast to the way many of them are coming home now) before 2009.

    Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath. Once again, I'm PROUD to have Ron Wyden as my senator.

  • (Show?)

    OK, I am offering this up (and perhaps myself by default) for purposes of discussion. I am frankly of mixed thinking upon this issue, which may be damning to some, but here is a good forum to listen to impassioned and well-reasoned arguements on both sides of progressives:

    There are progressives who believe troops should be pulled out immediately, that - to be polite - think this current situation is criminal at best and morally reprehensible.

    There are other progressives who believe that setting immediate dates as being a bad move and problematic for conducting reasonable foreign policy and military action. They tend to want to set a much further date than RIGHT NOW or at least give some strongly worded guidance on when troop pull out should begin.

    As a progressive I wonder about the morality, if not the foreign policy implications and our nation's relative power, of pulling out at all, if, and I believe this to be true, that means that sectarian violence would engulf the country and remove all hopes of recovery in my lifetime?

    As a father of a young child I could imagine that despite all of the terrible things that are happening to everybody in that country, including our own Oregon soliders, it is better than having us 'fully' there for whatever time it takes (and whatever cost) to ensure that other young Iraqi families have a chance to grow and prosper. What is our progressive calculus of life?

    When does the past (i.e. the misguided/corrupt reasons for the war) end and the present begin when facing the questions of life and death? Is it moral to pull out of the war now because of a past transgression?

    I invite indignation, bile and hellfire to this post, but please don't make it personal. I am actually trying to figure this one out in a way that makes sense to both my sense of morality and community.

  • (Show?)


    I think your syllogism is true: IF pulling out means an increase in sectarian violence, then it's morally reprehensible to pull out.

    That's why I'd say any thinking/discussion/argument on the subject should include thorough consideration of the "if."

    Things I like to keep in mind: 80% of the Iraqi people want us out; Sunni leaders want us out; John Murtha and a number of high-ranking generals don't see enough value for us to stay there; and my dad, who is generally very measured about such things, told me there was a very convincing breakdown in the NY Times magazine of the consequences of our presence.

    There is one thing that really bothers me: I doubt that leaders that could so thoroughly botch the execution of this mission would be capable of pulling off a graceful exit. Even if it's possible to improve the situation over there by bringing our troops home, this administration may not be capable of pulling it off.

    Then again, the damage of staying - especially with the proliferation of Guantanamos, Abu Ghraibs, and Hidithas - may be greater.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)


    I don't question the sincerity of your comments, but the same points are raised by those looking for a new excuse to prolong an illegal, immoral, and deadly occupation. Similar arguments were made about Vietnam. Of course, the right time to consider such quandaries was before invasion, overthrow of the Baathist regime, destruction of infrastructure, and death for possibly more than one hundred thousand Iraqis. The Shrubbery did not consider the negative possibilities because they didn't care, and they still don't care, and they will never care. If the invasion of Iraq was motivated by imperialism and political opportunism, and I believe it was, it is highly unlikely that the purpose of the occupation will become protecting the Iraqi people from sectarian violence.

    The Kurd, Shiite, Sunni tensions in Iraq are not going to go away. Saddam used state brutality to maintain order. We are using occupation brutality, but we are failing where Sadaam succeeded. At the same time, our presence motivates anti-occupation violence, which, from our viewpoint, blends with the sectarian violence.

    Of course, the US is responsible for destabilizing Iraq. There is little to suggest, however, that our continued occupation is or will make the situation better. A civil war may be inevitable. How many decades of brutalizing occupation shall we impose on the Iraqis before they go through the further hell of that war? Perhaps, in our absence, the international community can broker a resolution. Maybe Iraq will be partitioned. Maybe not.

    There is much uncertainty about this, but I would not let that uncertainty become an opportunity for the criminals, who used unjustified preemptive war to occupy Iraq, to perpetuate that occupation on false humanitarian grounds.

    It's clear that the Iraqi people want us gone. If that is so they can better fight each other, well, it is their country. If that is because they realize we are the greatest danger in their lives, should we not respect that perception? Your moral quandary is hypothetically sound, but it simply is not justified by the facts of the situation.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you both for your comments. Tom, I agree that often times a seemingly balanced 'moral' arguement can hide a reason for not doing something that is hard, but necessary. I do believe that we need to act, decisively, smartly and with careful planning...all of which have never been in much evidence by our current administration.

    I believe that reasonable people can state that they are not capable of pulling out of Iraq with some grace, but Tom points out that he does not believe they simply just don't care. I agree on that point as well. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the them are much more interested in the grand sweep of history and the world power politics that this perspective engenders as the justification for action. They care very little for the specifics of the effects of their actions on a community, a family and even a nation if it does not suit their end. Or at least they quickly justify the obvious pain and destruction they have caused with the end results of the maintaining our preeminence in the world.

    Stepping back into some more remote, disconnected from reality, space we could discuss whether this is the way we want to run our foreign and military policy...

    However, one question that both Pete and Tom's comments brought up for me: Again, what is a progressive's moral calculus for war? What from Iraq and Afghanistan have we learned that would guide a future intervention? How much is too much?

  • Rachel Ozretich (unverified)

    We are getting caught in "either/or" thinking. There are other alternatives, one of which is to work like hell to get a neutral international force involved. Unfortunately, with the likes of John Bolton as our UN Ambassador, and Bush's clear disrespect for the UN, our administration doesn't have a lot of pull there. But if the current Iraq government, together with our leaders and those of other countries, who would like to see the U.S. out of Iraq, made strong efforts to bring together a neutral multi-national peace-keeping force, with a strong, perhaps dominant Muslim component, the U.S. might be able to exit without a major bloodbath - and Iraq would have a much better chance of acheiving stability than if we stay, or exit without such a transitional peacekeeping force.

    A common knee-jerk reaction to this idea is to say the UN doesn't want any part of this. I don't think that perception is accurate, and even if it is accurate, an effort made by a handful of powerful nations could make a big difference. We don't exist in this world by ourselves. The possibilities for true international action aren't typically considered in the U.S., but that must change if we are to achieve relative peace and security in this rapidly shrinking world. It would help a lot if Hollywood would get on board a little in this area and make more films like "The Interpreter" that help us gain more of a multinational solutions perspective.

    I recommend the UN Dispatch and the New World Blogger for getting a more international perspective.

  • Rachel Ozretich (unverified)

    In my comment above, I forgot one other important website, the Citizens for Global Solutions. It is very active in lobbying Congress and increasing public awareness about international solutions to international problems, including global warming, bird flu, energy security, genocide, etc.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Robert Bole wrote:

    However, one question that both Pete and Tom's comments brought up for me: Again, what is a progressive's moral calculus for war? What from Iraq and Afghanistan have we learned that would guide a future intervention? How much is too much?

    I think Howard Zinn has a sane and humanitarian attitude toward war. He beleves it is almost never justified and almost always a losing proposition for all those involved. Of course, declaring national pacifism would be problematic in a violent world. It is reasonable to maintain a defense force, while working for peace through international cooperation.

    The Shrubberry's use of the military is so very far from this approach. Not since the axis of WWII has preemptive war been part of the policy of a leading nation. Not since before than has the US so alienated the world community.

    <h2>Of course, the US has seldom been shy to use military force, especially in the western hemisphere, which we have claimed as our domain since the early years of the republic. Though we were taught in K-12 that the US has always been the good guy, an honest reading of history suggests otherwise. So, a good start toward a moral policy on war would be to stop invading other countries to benefit wealthy investors! This would eliminate 90% of military action by my rough estimate, not a bad beginning. Then we can debate the finer points of the morality of war.</h2>
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