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McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important'

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The republicans have no plans to ever leave Iraq. Look at the latest and greatest agreement that they are trying to get through.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-secret-plan-to-keep-iraq-under-us-control-840512.html

Another example of the republicans and their ambitions to stay in Iraq foreve. < :-)

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McCain's comments are idiotic on at lest two counts. According to Jonathan Chait of The New Republic:

(1.) McCain's goal of turning Iraq into a place where American soldiers can stay peacefully, like West Germany or South Korea, is wildly unrealistic. I won't say it's impossible, because anything is possible. But the history of the Middle East suggests that Iraqis are never going to accept a long-term American military presence. Indeed, even if you thought Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators, which was optimistic but not totally crazy, it would take a whole different level of delusional optimism to think that they'd also welcome scores of permanent U.S. bases in the country. So these comments are a window into McCain's rosy scenario that ought to be challenged.

(2.) McCain will never say how long he's willing to fight on in order to get to this casualty-free scenario he envisions. Yes, he wants the Iraq occupation to become like the West German occupation, but right now it's not, and McCain won't concede there's any limit to how long the status quo is acceptable to him. He repeatedly turns questions about how long the current war can go on into postulates about a hypothetical future peaceful occupation. It's not the same thing as saying he's willing to keep taking casualties for 100 years, but it is the answer he gives to that question, and as such it's highly suggestive.

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With every word that comes out of this mad man's mouth, he digs himself a deeper grave in his presidential ambitions.

Obama 08

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I would think that the Iraqis would think it is kind of important, but who cares what they think. Not McCain, that's for sure.

I don't think McCain is a terrible person, but he clearly has zero patience with the notion that the American President must be the world's leading statesman as well as commander in chief of its most powerful military and domestic chief executive. That is just what he is whether you like him or not, and we simply cannot have another President like that after eight years of Dubya.

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McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important'

There's no way that comment could be misinterpreted.

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McCain is right on. Setting a withdrawal date would be tatamount to setting a surrender date. U.S. troops will leave Iraq when the job is done and the Iraqis can handle security on their own.

I see that Afghan President Karzai has just said that foreign troops will be needed there for another 10 years. I imagine Iraq might need that long.

"Obama 08"

Good grief! I certainly hope not!

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Sushi - Never give up! Never surrender!

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Sarge - "I see that Afghan President Karzai has just said that foreign troops will be needed there for another 10 years. I imagine Iraq might need that long."

Sarge, where the money and resources going to come from to do that?

Sarge - "Setting a withdrawal date would be tatamount to setting a surrender date."

Music to a terrorist's ears! Even more time to kill Americans.

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"McCain wants to sustain tax cuts pushed through by Bush, while Obama is hoping to shift the burden more onto the shoulders of big business and the wealthy."

John McBush is really losing it.

America is already bankrupt and borrowing billions off foreigners as it is.

John McBush now wants to maintain the Bush tax cuts he previusly opposed and bury America even further into debt.

Wanting to keep taxes low in the middle of a war is just economic stupidity, underlines how little McBush knows about economics and highlights the threat he is is ordinary Americans.

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Sarge - "Sushi - Never give up! Never surrender!"

You really don't want the best for your country, that much is clear.

You seem to want a war without end and have simply no idea about where funding will continue to come from, what the strategy is to win, or when winning is likely to happen (if ever).

With Republican war supporters, it's all just empty slogans, continuing failure and no workable strategy.

No wonder the terrorists love people like you! :-)

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Who cares where the money and resourses come from.

"More tax cuts and more war."

That's the republican platform!! < :-)

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"where ( is ) the money and resources going to come from"

( sigh ) U.S. taxpayers, who else? Don't worry about it, Sushi, you don't pay U.S. taxes.

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Sarge - "( sigh ) U.S. taxpayers, who else?"

Wrong.

You really don't have a clue about the all important economics of this, do you?

Or that the was is a big factor in your tanking economy.

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This seems almost identical to the Dems' Vietnam... we are not there yet, but are slowly moving on it though.

But, there really is a Catch-22 folks. What if any candidate came out and said we are out of there by XXXX and it then can't happen? Play the blame game?

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Excellent point Skip. It is kind of setting yourself up for failure. Besides which, of course something you have no intention of doing would be low on the old priority list.

lieberman said it was apparent that McCain was “answering a question about what his estimate is based on the success of the surge.”

If Alta Vista adds "McCain to English" to their babel fish translation program, joe lieberman will be out of a job. ;-)

Taka

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of course something you have no intention of doing would be low on the old priority list." ?????

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The US wont be out of Iraq anytime soon, thats for sure.. give it 10 years at least.

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yabits quoting Chait:

But the history of the Middle East suggests that Iraqis are never going to accept a long-term American military presence.

If they can't, then they won't, regarless of who's president. Were the democratically-elected government of Iraq to request that the U.S. leave, the American president would find it politically untenable to stay - whatever his preference. If the recent trend of improving security in Iraq can be sustained there is every reason to think that Iraq's government will ask for the US to begin scaling back its operations sooner rather than later. Iraqis are already bearing the brunt of the security load in terms of ground fighting and policing but the Iraqi government will likely continue to need and want various kinds of support for some time.

So these comments are a window into McCain's rosy scenario that ought to be challenged.

Sure challenge McCain - but challenge Obama, too. Would Obama really jeopardize the hard-won recent gains with a precipitous withdrawl over the objections of the Iraqi government and risk genocide and a wider conflagration just to meet an arbitrary timetable?

McCain backed Gen. Petreus's plan at a time when it looked liked political suicide to do so because most of the trends in Iraq were bad. That now appears to have been good judgement. McCain was also an early and vocal critic of Rumsfeld's prosecution of the war.

Yes, he wants the Iraq occupation to become like the West German occupation, but right now it's not, and McCain won't concede there's any limit to how long the status quo is acceptable to him.

At the end of WWII, were a US presidential candidate to have predicted that the US presence in (West) Germany would end by a date certain in the near or intermediate future, s/he would today look foolish. Both Obama and McCain would be wise not to tie their hands today because the situation may look quite different come inauguration day.

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Bring our troops home from Germany, Korea, Japan and Iraq. < :-)

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Now watch as Americans vote him in anyway

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How stupid. With the UN mandate running out and Malikis Shiite government demanding that the US troops operate under Malikis command (in effect becoming a second Mahdi armee, this time with an airforce), this would be a perfect chance to declare victory and get out there. The US should restrict itself to what it legally can do then, i.e. leaving a contingent to protect is monstrous white elephant in Bagdad, the oversized and understaffed embassy. That should be work enough.

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And dubya didnt care where UBL was so whats new. Sorry but whats this war about. The story has changed so many times Im not even interested.

Sarge you live in Japan do you pay US tax. Is any of this coming out of your pocket? Or is it as long as it doesn't affect me I'm all for it.

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nah, there's typo in there, it's a minimum of a 1,000 years. yep, that's a millenium plus more. enjoy the fun, it's time to rock, and roll!

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I am willing to bet a lot amount of cash that should any politician or candidate come up with a time line to pull troops out, he is setting himself up for political suicide. Who really knows. Maybe McCain will pull them out the next day. He must sell to his base first and foremost then screw them later, like after he gets in/if gets in.

"Bring our troops home from Germany, Korea, Japan and Iraq." Come on adaydream, I want to get have a bar in each of those places. Why do you want to always prevent me from making a buck. I am barely scraping by as it is.!!

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McCain - like Bush - lacks a clear strategy.

Even Bush/war supporters cannot answer the following:

1/ How long will the U.S. remain in Iraq?

2/ What will 'victory' look like?

3/ When will we know when Iraqi forces have 'stood up'?

4/ Where is funding for this war going to come from?

5/ Will "winning" the Iraq war come at the expense of sinking the U.S. economy?

Answers please.

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Preferably before pebbles turn into might boulders covered with moss.

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Answers to Sushi's Qs:

As long as it takes.

Iraqis will handle their own security and Jay Leno will still be able to say stuff like "Today is "D-Day," or, as President Bush would say, "Report card Day" without fear of arrest. ( Jay - Har! )

A lot of them are now. Or are you completely unaware of the many operations against extremists that have been carried out by Iraqis?

I already told you the answer to that.

No.
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Nessie - Might boulders?

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McCain - like Bush - lacks a clear strategy. Well, there were a lot of Dems that were supportive of this war in the beginning. At least be bi!

Even Bush/war supporters cannot answer the following:

1/ How long will the U.S. remain in Iraq?" I don't know. Do you? Did Hillary? Does anyone in the government? 2/ What will 'victory' look like? I don't know. Do you? Did Hillary? Does anyone in the government? 3/ When will we know when Iraqi forces have 'stood up'? I don't know. Do you? Did Hillary? Does anyone in the government?

4/ Where is funding for this war going to come from? I don't know. Do you? Did Hillary? Does anyone in the government? 5/ Will "winning" the Iraq war come at the expense of sinking the U.S. economy? Do you really believe that one? You are not in the finance sector, are you?

Answers please. Answers please x 2

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Earlier in the campaign McCain said he would be comfortable keeping U.S. forces in Iraq for 100 years

McCain is not concerned with the welfare of the troops; he is a U.S. Senator now and is no longer in touch with the U.S. military. This became more than obvious when he decided not to support the bill to increase the G.I. bill provisions. The bill increased the higher education benefits. The benefits were expressly targeted toward troops currently serving in Iraq, putting their lives on the line. What a pal he is to the troops.

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shimajiro writes:

If they can't, then they won't, regarless of who's president. Were the democratically-elected government of Iraq to request that the U.S. leave, the American president would find it politically untenable to stay - whatever his preference. If the recent trend of improving security in Iraq can be sustained there is every reason to think that Iraq's government will ask for the US to begin scaling back its operations sooner rather than later.

The Iraqi parliament is already in favor of setting a definite date for a US pullout. The news regarding the ongoing security treaty that Bush is trying to force on the Iraqi leadership to sign by the end of July is well known in Iraq and the region, but not so prominent in the US press. (Bush is also trying to prevent the US Congress from having a voice on the treaty, even though the US constitution specifically gives Congress the authority to ratify treaties.)

From the Associated Press of June 4, in an article titled: Iraqi Lawmakers Wary of US Security Agreement:

Iraqi lawmakers told Congress on Wednesday that they have serious misgivings about a long-term security agreement being negotiated this year with President Bush, putting themselves squarely in line with Democrats who say hashing out a deal before Bush leaves office is bad timing.

Opposition in the U.S. and Iraqi legislative bodies underscores the political hurdles facing Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as they try to settle the terms under which U.S. troops can continue operating in Iraq after a United Nations authorization expires at the end of the year.

The deal, which both sides hope to finish by midsummer, would establish a security relationship between Iraq and the United States and provide a legal basis for the U.S. troop presence.

"The Iraqi government right now still does not have full rein of its sovereignty because of the thousands of foreign troops now on its land," Nadim al-Jaberi, an Iraqi Shiite lawmaker, told a House panel on Wednesday.

"And perhaps the Iraqi government does not have yet sufficient tools to run its own internal affairs. Therefore I ask the American government not to embarrass the Iraqi government (by) putting it in a difficult situation with this agreement," he said.

Also testifying was Khalaf al-Ilyan, a Sunni Arab minister, who said the countries should wait until the next U.S. administration takes over next year.

Al-Jaberi and al-Ilyan said they thought violence in their country would subside after U.S. troops leave, and they embraced the idea of setting a timetable for the troops' departure.

In a letter to Congress last week, some 31 Iraqi lawmakers - representing parties that constitute a majority in parliament - said they will insist on ratifying the agreement as is required by their country's constitution. They also pledged to reject any agreement that "is not linked to clear mechanisms" obligating U.S. troops to leave "with a declared timetable and without leaving behind any military bases, soldiers or hired fighters."

So what McCain is arrogantly saying is that what is critically important to the Iraqi legislators and the Iraqi people is just "not that important" to him.

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Skip, looks like you and Sarge don't have a clue about when or how this war will end, which just underlines what a disaster it has become.

Skip - "McCain - like Bush - lacks a clear strategy. Well, there were a lot of Dems that were supportive of this war in the beginning."

That's a very, very weak argument considering where that intel came from.

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Sarge - so you're keen for your countrymen to continue dying for nothing and your economy to continue rupturing money for "as long as it takes"?

Heh, OBL must be your No. 1 fan! You're helping him to accomplish his mission, not yours. :-)

And while you're making smart comments about Jay Leno, Americans are dying in Iraq thanks to the wrong-headed support of America haters like you.

Enough said, really.

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SushiSake3:

You are right in saying that the Iraq war has been a disaster. One whose economic consequences have yet to be anywhere near fully realized. The inflation which started taking off in the early 1970s -- prompting Nixon to futilely enact wage and price controls, and Jerry Ford to whip out WIN buttons -- is coming back, and coming back with a vengeance.

The earlier bout of inflation was due mainly to LBJ's Vietnam War and domestic spending policies -- which Bush has matched to a Tee.

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Afghan President Karzai has just said that foreign troops will be needed there for another 10 years.

...or until he gets a US passport and flight out, whichever comes first.

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There's another hidden factor here too - there's going to be a lot more U.S. and Iraqis die with all the DU America ha pumped into Iraq.

Not much talk about that yet but DU has already been killing Gulf War 1 U.S. vets for years.

Sarge and the other war supporters probably don't care about this either - just as long as the war takes "as long as it takes!"

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That's a very, very weak argument considering where that intel came from." Yeah, and a lot of that intel came from 1. people who were already working for the CIA before GWB came in and 2. a lot of that info came from other countries' intel sources - including the Brits.

I have never claimed I have the straight up on Iraq. Not once. But you with your waving support for Dems is just as ridiculous as unwavering support for the Repubs. You have accomplished nothing in your arguments.

If Obama gets in and brings the troops back, then what? Do you know what is going to happen? I don't. Please let us in on what you know.

I do not mean to be offensive, but your trust in politicians is very scary. I firmly believe there were a lot of dems who tried to leverage this war call for their benefit as well as Repubs.

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Pulling US troops out of Iraq isn't going to make the war go away. We have a responsibility to be there until security is better and Iraqis can handle things more on their own. Iraq has shown a lot of progress over the past 6-12 months. Let' see what more can be done and how we can make gains permanent, then we can talk about a US withdrawal.

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Let' see what more can be done and how we can make gains permanent, then we can talk about a US withdrawal.

Wrong. It is Bush that is trying to get an agreement in place to keep US forces there essentially permanently. The Iraqi parliament does not want such an agreement, but rather wants to set a timetable NOW. What you are talking about is simply not for the US to decide unilaterally.

The underlying attitude of arrogance is why US policies are so rightfully disparaged around the world today.

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Sarge-- Sorry, "mighty boulders," the kind in Japan's table-thumping national anthem.

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yabits,

The Iraqi parliament is already in favor of setting a definite date for a US pullout.

That has yet to be established by vote. It's one thing to favor a withdral in the abstract, it's quite another to vote to demand a withdrawl by a certain date.

The facts that the US government is engaged in negotiations with the Iraqi government about the conditions under which US forces will stay and how long they will stay and that Iraqi legislators are posturing and deliberating and ultimately will vote on the matter proves my point. The US is currently operating under a UN mandate which may or may not be renewed. If it should not be renewed and the Iraqi government were to vote for US forces to leave then, I am quite confident, that the US president would be compelled to leave, whatever his preference. Alternately, were the Iraqi government to insist upon conditions for staying on that the US side feels are unacceptable then, again, the US would depart of it's own volition.

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Skip - "That's a very, very weak argument considering where that intel came from." Yeah, and a lot of that intel came from 1. people who were already working for the CIA before GWB came in and 2. a lot of that info came from other countries' intel sources - including the Brits."

Where have you been living, mate? The intel was twisted and massaged so that the U.S. public would only hear what they needed to know and nothing more.

And hearing the government say "we got it wrong" is a pretty pathetic excuse when there was a coordinated campaign to twist the truth going on.

"If Obama gets in and brings the troops back, then what? Do you know what is going to happen? I don't. Please let us in on what you know."

Getting out is way better than staying in, in my book, for a number of reasons, some of which I have detailed below.

Why? Iraq is a tiny country in the ME. Many countries there have been at each other's throats for centuries. Invading for unjust reasons and then staying there and building a permanent embassy and firebases is not going to make things better, no matter what the shameless losers shriek about 'toppling a dictator and his winsome sons," etc.

The price of oil is on a knife edge now. If the neocons order an attack on Iran - because the U.S. is still in Iraq - your family back home are suddenly going to start wondering why the heck they are paying $5-6-7-8 dollars a gallon and why the price of pretty much everything has gone through the roof, and why there are suddenly a lot more home foreclosures, drastic job cuts, business investment downturns and rapidly rising numbers of homeless and jobless, violence and crime.

Sarge and Superlib and co. will probably be wondering too, but it won't be any surprise to the rest of us.

There's 2 reasons.

Another reason - of course - is the criminal waste of resources.

We've got a dying planet on our hands, and yet all that some people (I'm not saying you) are capable of focusing on is a few tinpot bad guys in Iraq, which just so happens to be where the vast majoity of chickenhawks like Sarge and Superlib, etc. who support this war are too scared to go and do their bit.

My question here is simply: why is the U.S. pouring $12-15 billion a month into Iraq when schools edcation, healthcare, socal security, etc. are going to pot back home?

Do I really care about Americans who don't see this? Honestly, not really - they are going to pay handsomely for their stupidity and ignorance, but what I am concerned about is the global knock-on effect of the collective stupidity of a certain bunch of ignorant Americans.

Sure, there are a heck of a lot of smart, patriotic, perceptive Americans out there including Taka13 and yourself (presuming you are fully American which I somehow don't think you are; sorry if I have mistaken your nationality) - but it's the igorant ones we have to worry about - the ones who continue to mindlessly buy the Bush line, support the war and support the terrorists by default.

When President Obama brings the troops back - your country can cut down the spending and hopefully start focusing on better prioities instead of having the dead horse of Iraq tied around its neck.

It will also be needling and kicking up and in one less place.

"I do not mean to be offensive, but your trust in politicians is very scary."

I generally don't trust politicians as far as I could toss them. However, I do trust some more than others, as I am sure you do too.

Sorry if I have offended you in any way in this post - that was not my intention at all.

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Superlib - "Pulling US troops out of Iraq isn't going to make the war go away. We have a responsibility to be there until security is better and Iraqis can handle things more on their own. Iraq has shown a lot of progress over the past 6-12 months. Let' see what more can be done and how we can make gains permanent, then we can talk about a US withdrawal."

How many years has your president been saying pretty much exactly the same words?

Since 2003, if I ma not mistaken.

Also, I can't help but notice that you, Sarge super delegate, etc. are not actually supporting the troops or the war in any way...

LOTS of tough talk though (which all sounds mighty impressive when you're as far away from the fighting as you all are.)

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yabits - "The underlying attitude of arrogance is why US policies are so rightfully disparaged around the world today."

Very true. I called out Superlib on the arrogance issue twice last week and he's still at it. You'd think some people would learn, but not our dear friend Superlib :-)

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It would be suicide for the Iraqi government to sign off on a US troop withdraw, they are incapable of maintaining security themselves (and know it). Survival comes first here.

Once again, the surge was intended to provide "breathing space" for them to get their act together. That didn't happen. The drop in violence which accompanied the surge reflects tactical improvement. Instead it is being touted as strategic success by the GWB administration and those who favor remaining in Iraq (including John McCain).

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We're damned if we do leave, and damned if we don't. I'd rather be damned for leaving and saving the lives of our troops.

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Betzee, so what do you see is the alternative besides more U.S. troops getting killed?

I honestly think one of the reasons Iraqi forces haven't stepped up to the plate s bcause U.S. forces are there, effectively baby-sitting them.

It looks like a chicken or the egg scenario for all intents and purposes, which tend never to stop, not unlike the arguments for maintaining a U.S. presence in that country.

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Once again, the surge was intended to provide "breathing space" for them to get their act together. That didn't happen. The drop in violence which accompanied the surge reflects tactical improvement. Instead it is being touted as strategic success by the GWB administration and those who favor remaining in Iraq (including John McCain).

Nancy Pelosi doesn't agree with you Betzee anymore and she's been there first hand. Direct from A.P

Pelosi, a top Democratic critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, expressed confidence that expected provincial elections will promote national reconciliation.

She welcomed Iraq's progress in passing a budget as well as oil legislation, and a bill paving the way for the provincial elections in the fall that are expected to more equitably redistribute power among local officials.

"We're assured the elections will happen here, they will be transparent, they will be inclusive and they will take Iraq closer to the reconciliation we all want it to have," said Pelosi. She also met with Iraq's parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq.

Pelosi, who also traveled to Iraq in January 2007 shortly after the Democrats assumed congressional control, has been a sharp critic of the Bush administration's conduct of the war and has pressed for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country this year.

She also has called for the Iraqi government to contribute more money to the reconstruction of the country.

http://hotair.cachefly.net/images/2008-05/Iraq-pelosi.htm

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McCain told NBC violence had fallen in Iraq after the introduction of 30,000 additional U.S. troops early last year, most of which have since been withdrawn. Given that, he was asked if he had a better estimate for when American forces could leave the country. “No, but that’s not too important,” McCain said. “What’s important is casualties in Iraq.

I think John McCain appreciates its American casualties that the American public is concerned about. Those have dropped dramatically after getting the Sunnis on Uncle Sam's payroll. Essentially, we pay them not to plant IED devices.

Whether the American public is interested in underwriting an indefinite presence to get the Iraqi government up and running is another matter, particularly if it involves a tax increase since Iraqi oil is not going to pay for it.

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When General Patreaus says "the gains are fragile and reversible" he's referring, in part, to the fact if we left tomorrow and quit paying the Sunnis they might very well take up arms, with which we provided them, against the Shi'ite government, that has dragged its feet about integrating them into the national army.

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"what do you see is the alternative besides more U.S. troops getting killed?"

Lessee... the wacko extremists could get with the program and stop fghting us and the elected Iraqi government and start helping to buld a new Iraq... some other nation(s) could step up and relieve us...

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Sarge, both aren't going to happen.

What's your next plan?

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A withdrawl ala Vietnam is going to make us even less safe. I am against the war and have been since the beginning but America running away with its tail between its legs only strengthens our enemies. We need an exit strategy and frankly what Obama is pushing is not a strategy simply a dishonorable exit plan.

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The pull out date means nothing to McCain. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but he's 71 years old. He'll be long...long dead by the time that the troops come out of Iraq, given his plan. His plan is to stay forever. < :-)

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Sushi I have to say it all sounds good but its not going to happen. If Obama is elected I bet his withdrawl takes two terms because if he did it as rapidly as he promises there would be chaos. The thing you are missing is that everything any candidate puts forward is just words and mean nothing. I personally find Obama to be an empty promise that can't be fulfilled. When you promise everything to everyone you end up breaking promises when you take office. I for one do not trust him and would rather have McCain who though I may not agree with on everything at least has a record to judge.

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But usaexpat, the empty promises that Obama has made are closer to the promises I want to hear. That I want the next president to attempt.

The promises that I hear from McCain are nothing that I ever want.

So when I start looking for a presidential candidate, I'll look for the one who makes promises that I want to hear. Sure he has to contend with the Congress also, but I'd rather hear that he's going to try to get us out of Iraq, then not caring if they stay 100 years. < :-)

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How many years has your president been saying pretty much exactly the same words? Since 2003, if I ma not mistaken. Also, I can't help but notice that you, Sarge super delegate, etc. are not actually supporting the troops or the war in any way... LOTS of tough talk though (which all sounds mighty impressive when you're as far away from the fighting as you all are.)

Sushi, I said that the US has a responsibility to stay until Iraq is more stable. I don't think that's an unreasonable statement. I said that Iraq has showed progress over the last 6-12 months. I don't think that's an unreasonable statement, either. Finally, I said that the US needs to make the gains more permanent before talking about leaving Iraq. Again, I don't think that's an unreasonable statement.

If you disagree with me then so be it. Reasonable people can disagree. But I'm not really interested in getting into the "armchair generals" and "I know what's best for the troops" debates with you. I'm sorry if that makes you angry and I fully expect a hostile response from you...but that's not really my problem.

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shimajiro writes:

That has yet to be established by vote. It's one thing to favor a withdral in the abstract, it's quite another to vote to demand a withdrawl by a certain date. The facts that the US government is engaged in negotiations with the Iraqi government about the conditions under which US forces will stay and how long they will stay and that Iraqi legislators are posturing and deliberating and ultimately will vote on the matter proves my point.

It will only prove your point IF the Iraqi parliament is actually allowed to vote on the security agreement. On the US side, Bush is trying to bend the rules to bypass Congress on this issue. (Congress will almost certainly defeat a "permanent bases" relationship.) Bush is also putting pressure on Maliki to do the same in Iraq.

If you'll do some research on this topic, you'll find that Bush is holding up many billions of Iraqi oil funds (under Saddam-era restrictions) as a carrot to get Maliki to play along.

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Sushi, I said that the US has a responsibility to stay until Iraq is more stable. I don't think that's an unreasonable statement.

It's an unreasonable statement if you read the terms of the security arrangement that Bush has tried to foist on the Iraqis -- and wants Maliki to sign by the end of July.

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I don't understand why there hasn't been much public debate or discussion at all about this proposed agreement. There have been side issues, Al-Maliki visiting Iran, george bush's twilight tour; but nothing about the agreement.

Makes me kinda suspisious (sp) about the free media and what they report. I can understand why the candidates haven't touched it yet, but why haven't we been informed through the media that george bush was attempting to keep permanent bases in Iraq. < :-)

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It's an unreasonable statement if you read the terms of the security arrangement that Bush has tried to foist on the Iraqis -- and wants Maliki to sign by the end of July.

My comment was about the stability of Iraq on the street level and having the Iraqis in a position to take that over entirely. Bases or no bases I think the US has a responsibility to reach that minimum level of stability before a withdrawal can be made.

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McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important' This is the main reason why McCain will never be our Commander-in-Chief. With this one statement, he inarguably proves his apathy towards the US military and each one of us who serves in it.

Obama's plan is to redirect the troops to Afghanistan, where we can finally defeat the leaders of the insurgent bastards. McCain's plan is to simply maintain the status quo, meaning more dead comrades of mine. When Barack Obama is inaugurated President of the United States in January, 2009, the US will finally begin winning this war, on such a level that leftists will be unable to call us "defeated" and neo-cons will be unable to defend Bush's failed policies any longer. Now THAT'S what we call hope and change (for the good).

McCain couldn't care less about us troops. That's why he's going to lose the election.

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The other thing is that McCain seems to view the cost of maintaining the occupation, now running USD 3 billion a week, as apparent chump change if the withdrawal date is "not important."

The sputtering economy, in which the deficit plays a role, sends a different message, however. The general public may now finally be confronted with the need to make sacrifices....

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Bases or no bases I think the US has a responsibility to reach that minimum level of stability before a withdrawal can be made.

The Catch-22 here is the extent that the US occupation is a contributing factor to the instability.

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USAFdude - "McCain couldn't care less about us troops"

If you really are a member of the U.S. Air Force, you are probably the only member of your unit who would say that. He might lose the election to the messiah, but he certainly cares about our troops.

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but [McCain] certainly cares about our troops.

Not really. How many times has he voted against increased funding for veterans' medical care?

The following passages give some indication of McCain's record of voting against veterans' interests:

Thirty-five years after McCain's return to the United States, the Veterans Health Administration has undergone a sea change. Once a national embarrassment, it is now among the highest-functioning public bureaucracies. In fact, it's the best health system, public or private, in the country. (Military hospitals are a different story altogether, managed not by the Veterans Administration but by the armed services. To many, the words "military hospital" evoke images of the Soviet-style decay uncovered by journalists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.)

Times have changed since McCain needed veterans services so urgently. And for many of those thirty-five years, McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the candidate who talks the best talk on veterans issues, has demonstrated a tendency to work against veterans' interests, voting time after time against funding and in favor of privatizing services--in other words, of rolling back the VA's improvements by supporting some of the same policies that wrecked Walter Reed.

During a March 2005 Senate budget debate, McCain voted to kill an amendment that would have "increase[d] veterans medical care by $2.8 billion in 2006." That amendment lacked an assured funding stream, but lest one mistake this incident for a maverick's stance against budget-busting, there's more. Just a year later McCain voted against an amendment that would have "increase[d] Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes." Two days after it failed, he voted to kill "an assured stream of funding for veterans' health care that [would] take into account the annual changes in the veterans' population and inflation to be paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy." That amendment died quietly, forty-six to fifty-four.

In September 2006 McCain voted to table an amendment to a Defense appropriations bill that would have prevented the department from contracting out support services at Walter Reed. The amendment was indeed tabled--by a vote of fifty to forty-eight, the sort of margin a true veterans' senator might have been able to flip if he really cared about veterans' healthcare.

"John McCain voted against veterans in 2004, '05, '06 and '07," says Jeffrey David Cox, who spent twenty-two years as a VA nurse before moving to the American Federation of Government Employees, where he serves as secretary-treasurer (AFGE represents employees of several federal agencies, including the VA). Cox is right. Under Bush, McCain has voted for measures that target so-called Priority-7 and Priority-8 veterans (those whose injuries are not service-related and whose incomes are above a low minimum threshold) for annual fees, higher co-pays and even suspended enrollment. Priority-7 veterans without dependents earn more than $24,644 annually. Priority-8 veterans without dependents earn an annual minimum of $27,790.

As they say, "money talks and BS walks." And McCain is a BS artist.

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I think it's pretty silly to say that McCain "doesn't care about troops" or "thinks $3 billion a week is chump change." I'm sure he does care about the troops. And I'm sure he thinks $3 billion is a lot of money. The decisions that people like him have to make include a variety of different factors, including sacrifices and/or the reality of limited resources. The opinions above exclusively attribute his motivation as hatred or stupidity, an accusation that would seem to be more appropriate for the accusers.

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The Catch-22 here is the extent that the US occupation is a contributing factor to the instability.

I think you're overstating the difficulty brought by US troops being there and understating the difficulty that would most likely occur if the US were to leave today.

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I think you're overstating the difficulty brought by US troops being there...

The Iraqis themselves are saying this.

Al-Jaberi and al-Ilyan said they thought violence in their country would subside after U.S. troops leave, and they embraced the idea of setting a timetable for the troops' departure. In a letter to Congress last week, some 31 Iraqi lawmakers - representing parties that constitute a majority in parliament - said they will insist on ratifying the agreement as is required by their country's constitution. They also pledged to reject any agreement that "is not linked to clear mechanisms" obligating U.S. troops to leave "with a declared timetable and without leaving behind any military bases, soldiers or hired fighters."

They want a chance to vote to ratify the heretofore closed agreement between Bush and al-Maliki, as the Iraq constitution specifies. Bush's agreement does not have a declared timetable, which a the parties representing the majority of Iraq's parliament wants.

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And I'm sure he thinks $3 billion is a lot of money. The decisions that people like him have to make include a variety of different factors, including sacrifices and/or the reality of limited resources.

Really? It's this sort of bland assumption that explains why Uncle Sam has a USD 9 trillion national debt. When GWB came into office it stood at 5.7 trilion. It's expected to hit the ten mark when he departs next year.

.

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I don't think McCain's statements were that out of line if you really think about it. They reflect what goes on in Washington. After dropping 3 tril. US dollars no-one walks away (has ever or will ever) and focuses on some other topical issue, say bail-outs by the Fed. This [the US in Iraq] is a non-issue, and if he made a faux pas it was not that the US is there to stay - this is an inescapable fact for several reasons - his point was that, if people must die, he wants those folks not to be American.

Read: We will stay in Iraq in an advisory capacity while we train Iraqi forces to defend their country against our mutual enemies i.e. radical Islam.

Guess who is dying and buying US tech, and guess who is staying.

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Sarge -

If you really are a member of the U.S. Air Force, you are probably the only member of your unit who would say that.

Yet again, you're utterly wrong. I have yet to speak to a member of my unit (which is sizable) who doesn't share my views on McCain vs. Obama. Deal with it, Sarge; we want a Democrat CinC.

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we want a Democrat CinC

Our son is an E6 in the Navy, and he tell us there's a lot more support for the Democrats than in prior election years.

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SuperLib-

I think it's pretty silly to say that McCain "doesn't care about troops" or "thinks $3 billion a week is chump change." We don't. Just look at this article.

The decisions that people like him have to make Just like the decisions people like Obama have to make.

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A few days ago John McCain told an interviewer he could not predict when the troops in Iraq could come home.

"That's not important," he said.

"What's important is the casualties in Iraq."

He pointed out that U.S. troops have remained in Korea, Japan, and Germany long after conflicts there have ended.

Makes perfect sense to me as a guy who served in Germany for over three years in the U.S. Army.

It's also important to note that U.S. and Iraqi casualties are way down, and al Qaida in Iraq is on the run.

However, Barack Obama's campaign staff, in their infinite wisdom, said McCain's remarks show he is confused and lacks an understanding of the situation.

That's really interesting.

Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama has traveled to Iraq just once - in January 2006, more than a year before General David Petraeus took command and the surge began.

John McCain has been to Iraq eight times since 2003.

Barack Obama says such trips are not important and are staged-managed.

I suppose that's why fellow Democratic Senators Joe Biden and Jack Reed have made eight and ten trips to Iraq respectively.

Another Obama inconsistency is his tying the war in Iraq to high oil prices, something which like his one trip to Iraq the mainstream media has failed to call him on.

Iraqi oil production is now either at pre-war levels or even above.

Also it's very doubtful the U.S. military presence in Iraq has affected global supply and demand.

So what's the war got to do with the high price of gas Senator Obama?

Finally, I have a prediction for whatever it's worth. If McCain wins in November, and I predicted he would back in mid-2007, investors will be so relieved that global stock markets will soar and oil prices will stablize and later decline.

Sincerely,

James La-Giglia Hong Kong

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prague writes:

He pointed out that U.S. troops have remained in Korea, Japan, and Germany long after conflicts there have ended. Makes perfect sense to me as a guy who served in Germany for over three years in the U.S. Army.

Really? This makes "perfect sense?"

Well, to a guy who served in Japan for several years, tell me something: In the years following the fall of the war-governments of the Japanese and Germans, how many Americans were killed by local insurgents? How much did those occupations cost, relative to our occupation of Iraq?

Iraqi oil production is now either at pre-war levels or even above.

This is a very silly form of disinformation. Iraq's "pre-war" production was severely limited by UN mandate. Prior to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, Iraq normally produced over 3 mbd. Current production is nowhere near that.

So what's the war got to do with the high price of gas Senator Obama?

The high levels of spending on the war, among other things, has led to a drastic decline in value of the US dollar.

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Hi Vabits:

I still do not believe that you are disproving my arguments.

First you are right and Condoleezza Rice was wrong. You cannot compare the insurgency in Iraq with insurgencies in Japan, Germany, and Korea after wars there. In Japan and Korea, I think they were basically non-existent. Germany had a relatively low level insurgency waged by some hardcore Nazis called the "Werewolves" or something, but it was nothing like the scale of Iraq or Vietnam.

But again the point is still there is nothing wrong with keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for decades, if both Baghdad and Washington agree on the necessity and if Iraq is eventually as peaceful as Germany, South Korea, and Japan are today. Casualties and violence in Iraq are much lower than a year ago. Progress is being made. No matter what your opinion about whether the war was right or wrong to start. Now is not the time to throw in the towel and had the country over to al Qaida.

On your second point about Iraqi oil production today compared with before the war, don't take it up with me. Take it up with Iraq's oil minister. That person stated a few days ago that oil production is now at pre-war levels. And during the 1990s when oil was selling for 10 dollars a barrel as opposed to 136 now, Iraq's production was severely limited by a U.N. mandate as you write.

On your third point, a low dollar can increase the price of oil. You are right. Oil is denominated in dollars so when the dollar is declining, speculators frequently invest in oil, if the price is perceived to be rising, to protect their wealth. But I think what's brought down the dollar mostly are low interest rates and a weak U.S. economy. I do not think the high levels of spending on the war have caused low interst rates and a weak economy. But maybe some economists would disagree, given that that money could have been spent on infrastructure.

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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Jimmy in Hong Kong,

When there's a war (actually an invasion), the price of things goes up. This has happened since the beginning of time.

McCain has been to Iraq 9 times. So what? The US army folks I know are as keen to go to to Iraq as few times as possible and I can assure that having him there is more of an inconvenience to the troops there who trying to do their job than taking care of some geezer.

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besides ... after the precedent of GW on some ship in Top Gear kit declaring the end to the "war" several years ago now, what forward-looking politician would want to follow the same precedent. Except John McCain that is.

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