Bill Richardson Ad With Bloggers On No Residual Forces

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 13:20

Last week, Siun of Fire Dog Lake, Matt and I teamed up with the Bill Richardson for President campaign to produce a television ad on residual forces in Iraq. Here is the ad:

Despite what other Democrats are telling you, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in particular, you cannot end the war and still have American troops in Iraq. That simply does not make any sense. The war started with the arrival of American troops in Iraq, and it will continue as long as American troops remain in Iraq. Now, 93% of Iraqi Sunnis and 50% of Iraqi Shias not only don't want American troops in Iraq, but they actually condone attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. How can the war ever end if we leave American troops in a country where the majority of the population condones attacks against our troops? It can't. How can the war ever end when American troops are still stationed in Iraq and conducting a litany of different military missions in the country, as both Clinton and Obama have clearly argued they should?  It can't. You can't say that you will end the war and then say what you will have American troops do in Iraq once the war is over while still hoping to make sense.

One of my greatest frustrations as a Democratic and progressive activist has been finding prominent Democrats who will take up popular progressive positions and messaging, and make the case for those positions nationwide. In 2002 and 2003, this frustration was centered around finding Democratic leaders who would speak out against the war before it began, even though a large percentage of America was yearning for someone to take up that mantle. Thus, Howard Dean emerged. In 2005, this frustration was centered around finding Democrats who would speak out in favor of withdrawal, even though a majority of the country favored withdrawal. Thus, Ned Lamont emerged. Now, for over five months, I have tried to push for a more prominent public debate on Democratic plans for residual forces in Iraq. This time, is has been Bill Richardson who has shown leadership on this issue. Not only has he repeatedly pledged to have no residual forces in Iraq, the largest focus of his campaign to date has been trying to force a public debate on residual forces in Iraq. He has deservedly risen in Iowa and New Hampshire polls as a result.

I am thrilled to be working with Bill Richardson on this issue. While this ad is not an official endorsement of Bill Richardson's candidacy, it is an endorsement of his no residual forces plan for Iraq. It is an endorsement of his leadership on the issue. It is an endorsement of the need for a public debate on how many troops Democrats plan to leave in Iraq, what those troops will do, and how long they will stay in Iraq. Every Democrat should be aware of all candidate plans for residual forces in Iraq before they decide who to support in the primaries. Just because a candidate says he or she will end American military involvement in the war in Iraq does not mean that he or she is actually proposing to end American military involvement in the war in Iraq.

The best estimates for Senator Clinton and Senator Obama's plans are at least 40,000 residual troops, and possibly more than 60,000. That is not an end to the war, and as such is unacceptable. They could argue that their plans would require fewer troops, but they refuse to do so, and the sound of that refusal is deafening. I will not endorse any candidate in the primaries who plans to leave a significant number of American troops in Iraq. I also do not particularly appreciate it when candidates try to blur these key differences on residual forces, which Senator Edwards has done in the past. This is an issue where we need leadership, not blurring and obfuscation.

A thirty-second version of this ad will appear in New Hampshire, starting tomorrow. I want to again thank Bill Richardson for continuing to show leadership on this issue, as he has consistently done in the past on foreign policy. From freeing American hostages, to brokering a cease fire in Darfur, to negotiating the return of weapons inspectors to North Korea, and now to engaging the debate on no residual forces, Bill Richardson is a leader on American foreign policy. Despite both media and campaign silence, we will continue to push this debate forward.

Chris Bowers :: Bill Richardson Ad With Bloggers On No Residual Forces

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I don't (2.67 / 6)
understand why you've made "no residual troops" the gold standard rather than no permanent bases, including the Embassy, which is massive and amounts to a continued occupation. Shouldn't progressives promote the end of the occupation as well the end of the war? Aren't the thousands of troops who would be stationed at the embassy "residual troops?"

That is bogus and you know it (4.00 / 1)
The embassy line is a bogus line that has been thrown around for months to try and obfuscate the difference here. We have embassies in every country, and in every country they have military contingents gaurding them. Further, embassies are considered American soil. to try and pull that line again is, at best, utterly bogus and, at worst, intentionally misleading.

Every candidate will have troops gaurding our embassy in Iraq, on American soil, and just like every other embassy in the world. The issue is how many troops they will leave in Iraq on top of that. And yes, that is a bigger difference than permanent bases, because you can't have permanent basis if there are no troops in those bases.

To spell this out as simply for you as a I can, residual forces supercedes permanent bases because you can't have permanent bases if you don't have any residual forces. However, you can hae residual forces without permanent bases. Thus, the residual forces issue goes beyond all others.

Clear enough? .

[ Parent ]
Yeesh (4.00 / 1)
Touched a nerve, did I? Not all embassies are the size of Vatican City, and we didn't just, you know, invade and occupy all coutries. How can antiwar progressives not oppose this?

The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power and water, and a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq's turbulent future...

The embassy complex - 21 buildings on 104 acres, according to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report - is taking shape on riverside parkland in the fortified "Green Zone," just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein's, and across the road from the building where the ex-dictator is now on trial..

The 5,500 Americans and Iraqis working at the embassy, almost half listed as security, are far more numerous than at any other U.S. mission worldwide. They rarely venture out into the "Red Zone," that is, violence-torn Iraq.

This huge American contingent at the center of power has drawn criticism.

"The presence of a massive U.S. embassy - by far the largest in the world - co-located in the Green Zone with the Iraqi government is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country," the International Crisis Group, a European-based research group, said in one of its periodic reports on Iraq...

"Embassy Baghdad" will dwarf new U.S. embassies elsewhere, projects that typically cover 10 acres. The embassy's 104 acres is six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York, and two-thirds the acreage of Washington's National Mall.


[ Parent ]
How can antiwar progressives not oppose this? (0.00 / 0)
What is your point? The embassy is still US soil, and thus not in Iraq.

To try and equivocate leaving  tens of thousands of troops in Iraq outside the embassy with having a large embassy that all Dems support is unbelievably intellectually dishonest. you are trying to blur a large embassy plus tens of thousands of troops with a large embassy. And that is just crap, right up there with your bullshit hit job on Stoller.

[ Parent ]
So what if it's not (0.00 / 1)
Iraqi soil--that indeed is the problem, that we're occupying a large chunk of real estate in the heart of the country and calling it American.

Look, as I said below, I think Richardson's position is better than that of Obama's and Clinton's and a little bit better than Edwards. And it's worse than those people who think the permanent base called the embassy should be torn down. It's pretty amusing that you've put yourself in the positon of defending the occuption of Iraq.

But I can see from you comment that this is really about Iraq, it's about old news. But since you brought it up: do you agree with Stoller? Do you think Edwards is racist?

[ Parent ]
Defending the occupation of Iraq? (0.00 / 0)
So now you have resorted to sliming me and intuiting my position?

By your logic, anyone who supports any Democratic candidate is in a position of defending the American occupation of Iraq. That is a funny statement coming from comeone who once wrote a diary saying "Hey Losers, Stop Bashing Hillary".

I am working as hard as I can to end the American occupation of Iraq. You seem mainly concerned with attacking and sliming anyone who stands in the way of your shilling for John Edwards. Truly gross.

We don't have a warning system here, like we did at MyDD. But consider yourself warned. Continue attacking front page posters will result in being banned.

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
By supporting a candidate you don't endorse all of his or her positions. I support Edwards but disagree with his refusal to oppose the contruction of the embassy.

On the other hand, yes, to support the construction of the embassy is to support a continued occupation.

Just telling it like it is, Chris, sorry if you feel attacked, though it's interesting that you continually bash me while whining about my pointing out the holes in your argument. You need thicker skin.

As for the Hillary diary, I guess you didn't read it: It was snark. I've taken a consistently progressive stand on issues and not once have I apologized for or denied or explained away Edwards's lapses or less-than-progressive positions.

[ Parent ]
Embassy (0.00 / 0)
And when did I say I supported building a giant embassy? That is just one of the cases where I see you as attacking me without basis. Find where I did, or retract that I did. Otherwise, you won't be around here anymore.

[ Parent ]
DO all Democrats support the massive embassy? (4.00 / 1)
The premise seems to be that this largest-of-its-kind-in-the-world embassy is supported by all Democrats, but I'm not sure that's a given. I believe some have spoken out against it already.

Certainly, if we had an embassy compound more consistent in size with those in other potentially hostile areas, we would need significantly lower numbers of troops to protect it.  The Marines protecting our embassies around the world do not normally need the amount of support systems that will be required in the new Baghdad embassy

Right now, the only reason for such a huge embassy might be that this will be the only one in the world where US personnel from the State Department and other US agencies will be required to live within the compound.

[ Parent ]
Gravel (0.00 / 0)
doesn't, and I don't think Kucinich does.

[ Parent ]
If we ever pulled troops out (0.00 / 0)
we would also be reducing our control over their government (since we wouldn't have the forces to enforce our will), so the size of the Embassy would shrink--or at least the number of Americans would shrink.  That's one problem with it--it is likely to become a white elephant if we do withdraw.  That makes this argument kind of shall we say less than consequential.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Disagree on "less than consequential" (0.00 / 0)
The size of this embassy is being used to justify significant numbers of troops remaining in Iraq.

It is becoming a chicken-or-the-egg kind of argument.

We have a HUGE embassy in Baghdad and therefore need large numbers of troops to protect it and all the people who will be required to live there.

All the people who will be required to live there will be targets because Iraqis will remain hostile as long as we have a large contingent of troops in Iraq.

All the people who will live in the embassy compound will need to do so because they are targets outside of the compound.

As long as we have so many people living in the compound, we will need significant numbers of troops to protect them.

and so on and so on and so on.....

The embassy will be a huge gaping sore that will perpetuate and enflame. It is not less than consequential - it is significantly important.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (0.00 / 0)
With no residual forces, there are no permanent bases, no claims on Iraqi oil, no attempt to control the Middle East. What's more, it means that U.S. troops get out of the way so that the U.N. and Muslim countries with more credibility in the region can step in as peace brokers.

When you go to Richardson's website (the one that appears on the ad), you can see Richardson has considered all this. It's the best plan.

Great ad.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't Mission supercede both? (0.00 / 0)
This is the "mission positions" of Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Richardson, as I understand it.

Richardson, Edwards, Obama and Clinton all support the mission of defending the (and yes, David, it is massive) embassy complex.

Edwards adds the mission of protecting Americans engaged in official reconstruction/humanitarian activity ... if we retain them in Iraq for such activity.

Obama and Clinton, AFAIU, both drop the contingency, and add US forces inside Iraq to fight forces identified as Al Qaeda.

Obama adds the mission of troop training if there is a central government that is not a partisan in sectarian conflict, which would seem to me to be equivalent to actually not having a troop training mission.

Clinton drops the contingency and simply includes the troop training mission.

[ Parent ]
I'm curious on how (0.00 / 0)
you address the concern of genocide among other things if we were to leave without any residual forces left behind.

Progressives have always been against genocide and it seems that no matter how Bush got us into this mess that we may have an obligation to the people in Iraq that had no part of creating this or the Iraqi insurgency. Not to mention the millions in exile in Syria, Jordon and other countries. Do you think we have an obligation in that area?

Also there is the question of a wider Sunni-Shiia proxy war taking place than is going on right now because of the vacuum created id we were to leave completely. Many worry that if such a event took place it would require us going back in facing a worse mess than there is now. How do you address that concern Chris? Do you think it makes sense to pull out completely with the very real concern that we may have to go back in again with an arguably worse situation?

I don't find the two very real scenarios above discussed at all in the left Blogosphere. What are your thoughts?

[ Parent ]
Why is nobody challenged on genocide for ... (0.00 / 0)
... supporting the current US policy of leaving forces in Iraq propping up the current untenable over-centralized government structure that helps fuel the sectarian conflict?

The US is not going to stay forever. Any plan on countering genocide that involves "stay forever" as a key component is just refusing to tackle the issue, while pretending to.

[ Parent ]
I didn't say Stay Forever (0.00 / 0)
I asked two serious questions. I was looking for a serious answer. I want out of Iraq as bad as you do but I do not want to have to go back in. You really didn't answer the questions.

[ Parent ]
I'm not Chris, but here's one progressive's answers (0.00 / 0)
it seems that no matter how Bush got us into this mess that we may have an obligation to the people in Iraq that had no part of creating this or the Iraqi insurgency. Not to mention the millions in exile in Syria, Jordon and other countries. Do you think we have an obligation in that area?

No, we don't have an obligation. What would that obligation be? To walk around with targets on our bodies so they shoot us? What else can we accomplish there?

Also there is the question of a wider Sunni-Shiia proxy war taking place than is going on right now because of the vacuum created id we were to leave completely. Many worry that if such a event took place it would require us going back in facing a worse mess than there is now. How do you address that concern Chris? Do you think it makes sense to pull out completely with the very real concern that we may have to go back in again with an arguably worse situation?

Do YOU think we may have to go back in to Iraq? Why in the world would we do that, regardless of the situation? What's the number, 80% of Iraqis don't want us in their country - something like that. There is NO scenario where we "may have to go back in again." If you really want to encourage random American involvement to stop genocide, how about tackling the existing problem in Darfur rather than construct a maybe in Iraq. How about we go back into Iraq WHEN WE'RE INVITED.

Karl in Drexel Hill, PA

[ Parent ]
It's too late (0.00 / 0)
By my count, the Iraqi genocide is around 4 years old. In general it has lacked 'newsworthy' episodes on the Srebrenica model, but dead bodies have been piling up at an all appalling rate for some time. The reason this hasn't been much noticed is that Baghdad is too dangerous for journalists. Baghdad has no mixed areas any longer - an area is either Sunni or Shia. Nothing seems to have done to mitigate this. Indeed the current policy, building 'peace walls', is an admission of failure, since the idea comes from Belfast that noted example of good intercommunal relations.

So yeah, we had a responsibility to prevent genocide. We failed. The horse has bolted (along with pretty much the entirety of the Iraqi professional classes) and all coalition forces are doing is acting as an additional target.

If the genocide becomes more open then there may be a case for intervention. But pretty much everybody is in favour of over-the-horizon forces, which could quite easily be used for precisely this purpose. Indeed, they'd probably be better at it. Small infantry detachments failed to stop Srebrenica, whereas the US airforce stopped the Kosovo genocide (to the extent that there was actually a Kosovo genocide).

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
Missions (4.00 / 2)
I actually think the missions are a better measure than troop levels.  But permanent bases are an important second measure.

[ Parent ]
Congrats on getting the consultation (0.00 / 0)
However, Bill's numbers in Iowa are not going up over this issue, even the diarist believes they are.  The numbers have improved because Richardson makes a good impression on Iowans when he is one-on-one with them.  He canvassed well at the Harkin Steak Fry, going amongst the attendees all over the place.  I'm not a follower of his, but I was delighted to see him again (as he had graced by my table at Yearly Kos), and he allowed me to take his picture.  He has a good sense of humor about himself.

Bill's biggest applause (from his first-ever under the time limit speech) drew from his comment that he would "ditch NCLB."  When he brought this up at the Steak Fry, it was met with a lukewarm response, but at least he put that idea out there.  I don't agree with it, but it is different.

Unfortunately, Bill was flat at the AARP forum in Davenport on Thursday night, so there are still undecided caucus goers in this race.  I stayed with Iowans who liked him, but after that debate, they wrote to say they were disappointed in Richardson, and were still undecided. 

Bill has not visited some of the smaller communities in South Iowa, albeit he says he will.

Disclosure: I am an Edwards supporter.

It is not a consultation (0.00 / 0)
This is not a consulting job. We were not paid, except for our travel to shoot the ad.

The idea that Richardson isn't rising because of this is really hard to believe. He has been harping on it every chance he gets. If he is rising in the polls, what other cause could there be besides what he has spent the most time talking about? NLCB? Please. He isn't at 12% in Iowa because of his education plan. That is like arguing that Edwards is at 24% in Iowa because of his cap and trade plan. you don't rise in the polls because you are saying the same thing everyone else is saying. You rise in polls relative to other candidates when you are doing something different.

But thanks for recommending Mizner's obviously bogus line on the embassy. 

[ Parent ]
A question, then (0.00 / 1)
So you don't believe that the massive, biggest-in-history embassy should be torn down and replaced with a normal-sized one?

For the record, I like Richardson's position the best on this (it's a tiny bit better than that of Edwards, who allows for humanitarian operations, the bastard)although to promote is as some kind of transcendant antiwar position is absurd.

[ Parent ]
Whatever (0.00 / 0)
Of course I think it should be smaller. But to pretend that you are doing anything except shilling for a candidate and that you don't care who you attack in the process is absurd.

There is a huge difference between residual forces inside and outside the embassy. There is a huge difference between trying to call attention to major difference in redeployment plans, and trying to obscure them.

If you really believed in in no residual forces, you wouldn't be trying to obscure differences between candidates on the subject. Instead, you would be arguing that no residual forces is an excellent idea, and pushing as many caniddates as possible to adopt that position. Unfortunately, you spend most of your time yelling at bloggers for not endorsing Edwards, and then doing whatever you can to supress differences on the issue of residual forces with an intellectually dishonest argument about embassies that are on American soil and supported by every candidate.

[ Parent ]
Your (0.00 / 1)
anger must be getting to you, cause you're smarter than you're sounding right now. I shill for no one. If I were shilling for Edwards, I wouldn't point out that Richardson's position is better. Let me I oppose JRE's positon. I want him to come out in opposition to the embassy, just asI want him to be better at opposing imperialism and militarism in a hundred other ways (Hey, this shilling is fun!) Opposition to the Embassy is not an eccentric position. In the antiwar circles with which I'm familiar, this is the conventional position, and believe it or not, I'm sincerely curious as to why you took a more moderate position.

It's obviously untrue that I spend a lot of time yelling at bloggers to endorse Edwards--2 of my 50 or so posts have been on this topic--although I confess, it's an issue that interests me. You're upset because I point out from time to time that you retracted your endorsement of Edwards without an explanation--a curious act from someone who calls on pols to be open. Then you said that if there were a move among the sphere to endorse a candidate you would probably "follow along"--a curious (and sadly ironic) statement from someone who calls on pols to lead.

And I don't attack people. I attack arguments. I find weaknesses of logic and coherence, just I found weakness in Stoller's claim that Edwards is racist, and weakness in your condoning (now immediately retracted) the occupation of Iraq.

[ Parent ]
Logic weaknesses (0.00 / 0)
weakness in your condoning (now immediately retracted) the occupation of Iraq.

When did I support it in the first place? At what point did I say it was great that the American embassy in Iraq is huge? Never. Yet you cliam I did, and I am now retracting it. That is exactly the sort of intellectual dishonesty I am getting at here.

And you are not shilling for Edwards? Then what is this?

My Case for John Edwards
John Edwards for President

And this is some really even-handed, logical arguments about Edwards:

John Edwards gave the speech of everyone's life the other day, a masterpiece of progressive populism.

Um, what's that? In fact, every single diary you have ever posted at Dailykos is either supportive of Edwards, negative on Clinton and Obama, or both. In fact, you hysterically have two consecutive diaries only seventeen days apart, one where you imply to endorse John Edwards for the first time, and then another where you say you have been supporting him for a year.

You have been writing pro-Edwards and anti-every else diaries over a year. Now you clain you are not shilling for him.

And for the record, I don't care what you think about me. I just care about what you write on my blog. when that become intentionally dishonest, and repeatedly smearing of all those who disagree with you, it becomes a big problem. You are repeatedly lying and attacking others. How many times have you claimed to know what I was thinking in this thread alone, thereby setting up strawmen of me? things like:

You're upset because I point out from time to time that you retracted your endorsement of Edwards without an explanation.

I am? I didn't even notice you were doing that until I looked at your diaries just now. But thanks for getting in my head. That's right up there with my endorsement of a huge embassy in Baghdad that never happened.

Goodbye mizner. I am too busy supporting the occupation of Iraq to deal with the likes of you anymore.

[ Parent ]
Oh, man (2.00 / 2)
Goodbye, all. I'll have to enjoy the Vilsak posts here at Openleft from afar.

Chris, you've got to potential but to truly shine you're gonna have to be a lot more secure.

A few things, though, before I go. I feel a little silly point this out, but uh, you can support a candidate before you make it official.

But yes, guilty as charged, I support Edwards and I'm proud to, I promote him honestly and vigorously because I believe he's the strongest progressive. And unlike you, Chris, I don't care if Peter Daou gives me a mean look at Yearly Kos.\

[ Parent ]
More non-attacks (0.00 / 0)
And unlike you, Chris, I don't care if Peter Daou gives me a mean look at Yearly Kos.

That was cute. Another great non-attack that shows a realy logical weakness in my argument. Really nice and fair, that.

[ Parent ]
you're better than this, David (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
power arrangement (0.00 / 0)
A natural reflection of the power arrangement. Chris has the power to ban him and David can't do anything to stop it. So he gave a silly insult.

I think we're all just a little confused by this whole Richardson thing. It's glaringly obvious that Richardson is not a progressive. On the Iraq pullout issue, I don't even think he has a progressive reason for it, just a diplomatic or political reason. He doesn't believe that wars are wrong, just that we're stuck in a bad one so we should cut our losses and get out. He also believes in a balanced budget, tax credits to pay for health care and a host of other non-progressive things.

I think Edwards's position is fine. He's not for making Iraq into the Korean border which is my main concern. I don't know think there's that much daylight between Richardson and Edwards on this. So why is it more important to just get troops out of Iraq? Why stop there? Why not Saudi Arabia? Why not South Korea? There's a whole host of places where American troops have no business being, and yet they have been there for years. Yes we need to get out of Iraq because  we are actively occupying a country in the midst of a civil war. But to say that Edwards's plan to remove all troops unless there is a humanitarian mission is somehow dramatically different from Richardson's, different enough to warrant cutting an ad for him and then forgetting all the other blatantly obvious problems with the man, is just really really puzzling.

It's also really sad you banned David. You know that most of his comments and posts are really high quality.

[ Parent ]
The difference between Edwards and Richardson ... (4.00 / 1)
... on residual forces seems too simple to me for anyone to be able to obscure.

If there are Americans engaged in official reconstruction activity, Edwards insists that they be protected by US forces, and Richardson insists that they should not be protected by US forces.

That's it.

They agree on no forces to fight Al Qeada in Mesopotamia, which is after all only in Iraq in order to fight Americans, and only retains footholds in Iraq because they are fighting Americans.

They agree on no "troop training" mission in Iraq. Anyone who has even a childhood memory of Vietnam ought to have picked up the significance of the chart displayed by Patreus of Iraq units being formed, in the field playing a supporting role to US units, in the field supported by US units, and independent ... "advisors" and "trainers" formed into units and either leading or supporting Iraqi units will be impossible to distinguish on the ground from "combat troops" engaged in combat.

[ Parent ]
I'm a bit older than the diarist (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps I'm using an old fashioned word, consulting, which conjures the likes of Deloitte or Accenture. Maybe the diarist would prefers the term, "advise".  Either way, consultant or advisor, will get paid for his/her time, and in this case, it was through reinbursement for the travel expenses. I am an advisor to a couple of organizations, in which my travel expenses are paid for.  And that is what I do sparingly, but they value my contributions, and as long they do not influence how I do my job, it is a good thing.  Diarist stated upfront this is not an endorsement of Richardson.

Diarist benefits from the experience and so does Bill Richardson.  Geez, cannot the diarist receive a complement?

So what if I give Mizner a mojo?  He is good at stating opinions that sometimes I agree with, sometimes not, and he's not one to give out mojos gladly either.  This is an "Open" communications blog, correct? 

I might add I think I've heard Bill say he would try to defend the embassy, as needed.  It cost $3B; think anyone would desert it otherwise?

I have more to say, but on a different topic.

[ Parent ]
Sorry diarist (0.00 / 1)
But I suggest talking to Mike Lux.  You have spent very little time in Iowa.  Your castle in Philly is where you operate.

[ Parent ]
Commneter (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps it is a difference in our age, but I consider referring to someone in a generic third-person title quite rude, especially when their actual name is in public for all to see.

This sort of labelling is further problematic in your dismissal that anyone who has not spent time in Iowa should be quiet about Iowa. Perhaps we should just keep to our own and only talk about those people with whom we live.

Besides, had you spent anytime in Philadelphia, you would know that living her provides us insight that you could never understand, including on topics like Iowa. No one from outside Philadelphia should ever criticize anyone from insider Philadelphia. You simply cannot understand.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for OL Acculturation (0.00 / 0)
I know when I use third person on Kos, I don't get hit with flames, and it works there as well as at the DU.  I'm trying to make this less inflammatory here, but since you prefer Chris, that I address you personally. Then I will.  Assuredly, I was being polite, and you are unaccustomed to it because NE'ners are used to ruff and rumble. 

Chris, you are right, I don't live in Philly. Only I have visited there once (but a great experience), and I'm aware from other bloggers along the way that you and Matt (along with Duncan) have made some inroads there and in NJ.  However, I lived in Boston for 8 years and those years were before Matt went to school at Harvard, so I understand NE'rs mores.  I have lived in Texas, and my very first congressional race in 1978 to vote on was GWB vs Kent Hance, the Dem candidate at the time.  Thank goodness the Dem candidate was better prepared and won.  Bush was terrible then, and even when I lived in TX again during the late 90's, I was against his ever being in public office.  Now I live in Illinois and have so for 6 years.  My spouse is a Midwesterner, one of the reasons I can speak with force on what Iowans may or may not think.  I am friends with many Midwesterners.

My point is that I've been to Iowa quite a few times in the last 3 years, and your colleague, Mike Lux lives there at present.  So to you, I'm not suggesting as you did that you should be quiet as much as I challenge your thinking or beliefs about Iowans and their thoughts because you have spent little or no time there, even by your own admission. Thus, I don't consider you the expert on what the polls reveal in Iowa.  And I'm being critically fair.

This is not an attack, but adding to the conversation.  Not to pander, but from real thought, I thought you were a good moderator of one of the panels at YK about the Progressive Blogsophere, and what it means to be more mainstream, as we are becoming.  My blog, Benny's World was featured on the McLauglin Group from the YK conference. Nonetheless, I challenge you (and Matt) to keep going beyond the corporate media box.

[ Parent ]
Mike Lux doesn't live in Iowa (0.00 / 0)
Mike, who I work for, lives in Silver Spring, MD, but your thinking that he lives in Iowa probably comes you liking his insightful analysis here about the state's politics. He doesn't, but doesn't that kind of run counter to your argument that you need to live somewhere to have an informed opinion about it?

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[ Parent ]
thanks, Adam (0.00 / 0)
Thought he was at the Harkin Steak Fry and originally from Iowa.

[ Parent ]
And I know you live in Philly (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Being from Philadelphia (0.00 / 0)
Also, the fact that you are from Philadelphia clearly gives you great, and otherwise unattainable knowledge of all candidates and issues whose constituency/locality is Philadelphia.  No one should ever question or disagree with Chris's opinions on all matters relating to Philadelphia specifically.

John McCain <3 lobbyists

[ Parent ]
Ads, Chris, Ads (4.00 / 5)
Richardson has spent 1.5 million in Iowa and is still in 4th.  That's not great.  Especially considering it's far more than any other Dem.

The difference between missions, as you correctly stated before is not that big.

Richardson: Embassy Protection
Edwards: Embassy Protection, Possible Humanitarian Aid Worker Protection
Obama: Embassy Protection, Possible Humanitarian "Separation" Protection, Counter-terrorism, Possible Iraqi Training
Clinton: Embassy Protection, Humanitarian (?), Counter-terrorism, Possible Iraqi Training

If you think that progressives are being moved in Iowa are being moved by that distinction, fine.  I don't buy it. 

[ Parent ]
Mr. Antiwar (0.00 / 0)
Richardson just gone one percent in the straw poll.

Weird that Iowans are picking us his antiwar cred but Kossach aren't.


[ Parent ]
Speaking only for myself (0.00 / 0)
I find this pretty significant.  I don't think there is any real difference between Edwards and Richardson on this issue, but the Obama press release that accompanied his speech last week was worrying (though I was relieved to see his subsequent comments on the subject)

We have to get out of Iraq.  And that means all the way out. 

I am truly undecided at this point.  These differences are significant to me, and may determine my vote.

How important is all of this? 

I can't find comparable numbers in Iowa, but in NH when asked who can deal with Iraq the best, Hillary wins with 33%, but Obama and Richardson tie at 10%, ahead of Biden at 8 and Edwards at 7.  To the extent that this ad raises doubts about Hillary and Iraq, while trying to establish Richardson as a leader on the issue, it is a homerun.


[ Parent ]
Ah, but (0.00 / 0)
Richardson also started much lower than the other three. According to, his trend is much more clearly, and sharply, upward.

Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards and Obama are also on the air in Iowa. I honestly don't know how much each of them have spent on paid media in Iowa, but I am sure it is significant in every case. That is why I don't really buy the ad thing: everyone is on air in Iowa, and they are not going up at nearly the same rate as Richardson. In many cases, candidates on the air in Iowa are actually losing support.

I am trying to isolate the variable here. It doesn't seem to be ads, and it doesn't seem to be policy positions on things like health care. It strikes me that one of the only clear differences that could possibly explain why Richardson is going up faster in the residual forces position. I don't have any polling to back this up, but it seems like the main variable. Granted, desmoinesdem points out from identifying local voters on the ground that it might actually be Richardson's resume, and that is certainly a possibility.  But I'm not sold on the ad idea, unless it can be shown that Richardson has signficantly outspent other candidates in the state. I don't think he has.

[ Parent ]
Before this becomes a flame war... (0.00 / 0)
and if people are going to 'defend' candidates, I'd rather hear how the other plans will work. Why does leaving residual forces make sense?

I understand when Bill Richardson says that it doesn't based on the arguements he's given on the fact that the Civil War has already started and that the presence of American troops are encouraging more people to join militias and/or Al Queda in Iraq. I understand his logic when he talks about how this is destablizing the region and embolding Iran.

I do not understand how leaving residual military forces will stop these things from happening. Or how that will make our troops safer? Especially if those forces are smaller than what is there today.

That seems like a discussion worth having.

Chris, I've identified a fair number (4.00 / 6)
of Richardson supporters and leaners by now. The majority of them are attracted by his resume, which they learned about through his tv ads. Very few have mentioned his "no residual forces" stand in saying why they support Richardson.

I am sure he has picked up some support because of this, but I think most of the 10 percent or so who back him already do so because of his resume

I see this ad as Richardson's attempt to truly break into the top tier in IA and NH. It's a good ad.

I am sorry to say that Richardson's economic policy proposals rule him out for me (his support for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, his stands on trade and taxes). Also, I lack confidence that he would appoint judges who would bring some balance back into our pro-corporate federal courts.

But on Iraq and on some environmental issues, Richardson is a great candidate.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

I like this (4.00 / 1)
I like it because this is what I like about Richardson - he is the only one of the lot who seems to know the US exists in a big world where its writ doesn't always hold sway.

Unfortunately, I don't like much else about Richardson, in particular his closeness to energy extraction interests and a strain of misogynist high-handedness.

Brave move for the bloggers involved as you'll take endless shit for this one.

Can it happen here?

Great ad (0.00 / 0)
Richardson's the only one saying no residual forces. The embassy is much less important than getting the troops out.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

I really like this ad! (0.00 / 0)
Bravo to you,  Matt, and Richardson for continuing to push the issue. I would like to see all our candidates adopt this position, and the only way that will happen is if we lean on them to do so. Frankly, I'm surprised at the negative reaction you're getting here in the comments.

And to Siun as well, of course. n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
It's the Best Plan and not just because of *no residual forces* (4.00 / 2)
Great job with this ad. You draw a clear distinction between the positions, and right now Richardson's is the best one.

It's the best plan not only because of he insists on leaving no residual forces, but also because it considers how to help stabilize Iraq once the troops leave.

Just as important as troop withdrawal are these 3 components:

National reconciliation. As we withdraw our forces, Iraqis will start to see us as brokers, rather than as occupiers. We should promote national reconciliation and compromise through a Dayton-style conference.

Regional cooperation. ...  We need to bring all Iraq's neighbors together, into regional security talks to assure non-interference and secure borders, and to establish a U.N.-sanctioned Muslim peace-keeping force.

International financial support for reconstruction. The U.S. should promote a donor's conference to tap wealthy countries, including Muslim countries, to help rebuild Iraq.

Obama's plan calls for a similar end game, but because of his reliance on residual U.S. troops, other nations would be more reluctant to cooperate. Richardson's plan gets the U.S. out of the way, and allows other nations with more credibility in that region to step in as peace brokers.

Nice work with this ad. Let's see if the other candidates get on board with this plan. It's clearly the best.

Great ad ---- (0.00 / 0)
Even though I'm an Edwards supporter at the moment, Richardson has caught my eye. Both at the Ykos convention and his bold stance on Iraq, he is in my top three.

Edwards has been strong on his firm stance toward dems in Congress on Iraq. No timeline. No funding. No excuses

Edwards / Richardson in 08 would be a dynamite ticket. I hope they stay friendly to each other so that this ticket could be a possibility.

Great ad ---- (0.00 / 0)
Even though I'm an Edwards supporter at the moment, Richardson has caught my eye. Both at the Ykos convention and his bold stance on Iraq, he is in my top three.

Edwards has been strong on his firm stance toward dems in Congress on Iraq. No timeline. No funding. No excuses

Edwards / Richardson in 08 would be a dynamite ticket. I hope they stay friendly to each other so that this ticket could be a possibility.

This isn't an endorsement? (0.00 / 0)
Sorry bout the double post. It's very tricky to make this ad and then say it doesn't amount to an endorsement. I just don't understand that position, and I don't think you can make it believable. Seems like an endorsement to me.

It's how a political party builds a platform (4.00 / 1)
You can endorse a policy, and if the popularity of that policy is strong enough, it wins a following. That following gets noticed by the other candidates, and if they're smart, they adopt it. It becomes part of an unofficial "party platform," just as "end the war" became an unofficial party platform after the Lamont campaign.

I'm undecided. But having seen this plan clearly spelled out, I am now leaning towards Bill Richardson.

[ Parent ]
Ok, I'll go along with influencing the others.... (0.00 / 0)
and I applaud Richardson (and Edwards) doing that. I'd like to see Edwards revise his Iraq position, but it isn't terribly different from Richardson's. As for a party platform, the platform in 08 will be completely up to the nominee. The party platform is a tool to elect a Democratic president. That's how it works. Don't waste your time.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that is pretty much it (4.00 / 1)
I am trying to force a real debate on the issue that means the most to me in the primary. Bill Richardson is the candidate that supports my position. So, I am interested in Bill Richardson rising in the polls as a result of that position. If he can do so enough, it should force other candidates to start moving toward that position themselves. We saw this happen, for example, with Democrats ratcheting up their criticism to the war in response to Dean's rise in 2003, or with Lieberman changing his rhetorical posture on the war after losing the primary.

I am trying to push an issue here, and Bill Richardson is the only major candidate pushing the same issue. I hope to force a broader public debate on residual forces, and that said debate will demonstrate enough support for no residual forces that other candidates will be forced to move toward that position. The ultimate goal is for the next president to support no residual forces, and this is a step in that direction.

[ Parent ]
Typo (0.00 / 0)
On the screen with Biden's plan, it says leave "20,0000" troops.

Otherwise, great ad. As a Richardson supporter, I couldn't agree more.

Where would the troops go? Kuwait and other countries in the region... (0.00 / 0)
I heard Richardson on MSNBC today talking about his residual troop plan. He did say that he wants to extricate American troops from Iraq ASAP, but he also said that he would leave troops in the region - in Kuwait and other countries. Chris and Matt, do you think leaving troops in the Gulf and in countries surrounding Iraq is a smart move?

Is the progressive position on Iraq to remove troops from Iraq and then transfer them to countries that surround the country?

nat guard home, others in region (0.00 / 0)
I can't answer for Chris and Matt, but I can say something about the plans I've seen. I believe it was the Center for American Progress that laid out specific details on redeployment strategy recommendations.

My recollection (admittedly fuzzy) is they would bring all of the National Guard back home. The rest of the soldiers would be redeployed "over the horizon" in the region. A significant number would head to nearby Afghanistan to shore up the forgotten war.

A missing variable left out of this discussion is the 100,000+ contractors currently in Iraq. Presumably a "no residual troops" strategy also removes the vast majority of contractors. The only contractors that should remain are those supporting NGOs and other humanitarian / reconstruction work.

I would like to see the next President dramatically reverse the trend of outsourcing military functions--I don't know where the Dem. candidates stand on that issue.

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue

[ Parent ]
Real Good (0.00 / 0)
Real good stuff. The two of you do very well on camera; kudos, and keep working on it. Get yourselves some cash and a video crew already. :)

Me | My Work | Future Majority

Men go to war for plunder, pillage and rape (0.00 / 0)
It's always been this way. The military is used for the purpose of extending and keeping economic empire, so we can plunder, pillage, and rape. In order to end this cycle we need to end economic empire.

That's why Richardson is not my guy.  He doesn't have a liberal vision of a world moving away from the failed economics of free trade.  He's a libertarian. He's an economic opportunist, as Ezra Klein calls him.  He has the best stated position on Iraq.  A bit better than Edwards.  But Edwards has the bigger and deeper vision.  That is, pulling away from empire and making our way back to democracy.

In 2003, William Saletan in Slate said that if we didn't nominate Edwards, we should "Steal his Message".
And Joel Rogers in The Nation said that "progressives should vote for John Edwards".  http://www.thenation...
Neither Saletan, Rogers, or I liked Edwards Iraq vote in 2002.  But a lot of us saw him as the real progressive in the bunch because of putting economics, labor and workers into the progressive pot. With economics in the equation, 
Richardson is no progressive.  He's a major centrist and will throw all his support to Hillary. 

Oh and another thing.  Richardson ran the convention in 2004.  I was a delegate. It was not friendly to the peace delegates, some of whom wore neck scarves.  Guys were running around telling people to take off their peace kerchiefs.  The night of Kerry's nomination had a very militaristic feel to it. It always comes down to this; the authoritarians versus the democrats or so said Thomas Jefferson. So be careful when examining a candidate.  He may be right on one aspect of one war.  But is he really a peace guy? 

Also Read David Potz on Richardson and why he was dumped from Al Gore's VP list for more perspective on his resume and his diplomacy:


Odd Choice (0.00 / 0)
Hmmm... let's see. Bill Richardson was unfriendly to peace delegates. John Edwards cosponsored the Iraq War resolution with Joe Lieberman, hyped a phony Iraqi nuclear threat, and argued for a pre-emptive strike on a country that never attacked us, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, casualties to thousands of Americans, and a new American imperialism in the Middle East?

And you're complaining that men go to war for plunder, pillage and rape? Edwards led us there, and it seems he plans to keep us there.

Hopefully, your guy Edwards will see the value of Richardson's position and change his.

[ Parent ]
I think you are confusing Edwards' (0.00 / 0)
position with Clinton and Obama's. Edwards would not leave any kind of fighting forces in Iraq for training of Iraqis or for counter insurgency measures.
Edwards has clearly stated that he was wrong in trusting George Bush in 2002.  He voted against the 87 B. to fund the war.  In his op-ed in 2005 he called for an immediate withdrawal of 40,000 troops.  He also addressed the contractors and Haliburton.  He has connected the plundering by war profiteers to Iraqis being out of work. He gets it.  He learns fast. I trust him to get back to talking our way out trouble. He's a great communicator. You don't trust him.  You trust Richardson. You think he's a better communicator. Probably won't change either of our minds.

I'm asking people to look at the whole of Richardson's record.  He blocked the passage of a peace plank in the Democratic platform for 2004.  That should be noted. 

[ Parent ]
Combat v Support troops (0.00 / 0)
Edwards withdraws "combat troops" from Iraq not all troops:

"Edwards believes we should completely withdraw all combat troops in Iraq within nine to ten months and prohibit permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq."

The distinction matters - and if Edwards means he'll withdraw *all* troops and not just "combat" troops, then he should answer the question.

That for me is the key and is why I participated in the ads with the Richardson team - our candidates owe us a clear statement of their plans for Iraq. Slogans of "end the war" that are not backed with an actual withdrawal of *all* troops are just another form of kabuki and we should call them on it.

[ Parent ]

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