White House And Biden On Pulling Out

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in The War On Terrorism, War

Is it “cut and run” when both sides of the aisle are planning for it?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House for the first time has claimed possession of an Iraq withdrawal plan, arguing that a troop pullout blueprint unveiled this past week by a Democratic senator was “remarkably similar” to its own.

It also signaled its acceptance of a recent US Senate amendment designed to pave the way for a phased US military withdrawal from the violence-torn country.

The statement late Saturday by White House spokesman Scott McClellan came in response to a commentary published in The Washington Post by Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he said US forces will begin leaving Iraq next year “in large numbers.”

According to Biden, the United States will move about 50,000 servicemen out of the country by the end of 2006, and “a significant number” of the remaining 100,000 the year after.

The blueprint also calls for leaving only an unspecified “small force” either in Iraq or across the border to strike at concentrations of insurgents, if necessary.

In the White House statement, which was released under the headline “Senator Biden Adopts Key Portions Of Administration’s Plan For Victory In Iraq,” McClellan said the administration of President George W. Bush welcomed Biden’s voice in the debate.

Again, I hope we’re doing the right thing. The reprecussions are too great to be wrong here.


This entry was posted on Monday, November 28th, 2005 and is filed under The War On Terrorism, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

14 Responses to “White House And Biden On Pulling Out”

  1. Socks Clinton Says:

    The White House now wants a major troop reduction by the end of 2006? Wow, just in time for the Congressional elections. I think that Seymour Hersh called this on the Daily Show a few months ago.

    The Bush administration started up the Iraq war machine in time for the 2002 Congressional elections. Then in 2004, Bush accused Kerry of playing politics anytime he accused the war, while Bush was saying that things were going great. Then we found out that Bush was just waiting until after the election to stage another major raid on Fallujah. Talk about playing politics with the war!

    I know that the troop withdrawal issue has support on both sides, but Bush’s timing is once against extremely suspect. Who trusts this guy to do what’s right and not play politics?

  2. Bob Says:

    Please don’t put gray type on a gray background. It is almost impossible to read if you have any sort of visual impairment.

  3. probligo Says:

    “Again, I hope we’re doing the right thing. The reprecussions are too great to be wrong here”

    What? What repercussions?

    The ICJ is not recognised by the US. Remember? GWB’s very first act after his first inauguration was to repudiate Clinton’s commitment. The chances of him appearing on war crime charges are zip.

    There is no power on this earth that will want to tackle the US militarily, economically, or in any other conceivable manner simply because the ramifications and consequences would be too great.

    Think on this -

    Why was so much of the rest of the world at least tacitly unwilling to join Bush’s invasion of Iraq? Simply because it was the only means left to them of making the point that the US has no counterweight, has no peer that can counter the threat the US is to the rest of us. The US is not a threat? Who knows who might be the next target? Or for what reason? NZ for signing a free trade agreement with China? Cuba in retaliation for Bay of Pigs? Venezuela for the oil? Iraq 2 was not exactly rational, now was it?

    Why were so many of the weak and timid prepared to sign their names to the invasion of Iraq? For the same reason as the playground bully has a “gang” of followers to back his authority.

    Oh, you mean that the US electorate might find out how they have been suckered like no others in the history of the world? Hmm. You could be right there…

  4. probligo Says:

    Sorry, ICC not ICJ. Wrong mnemonic.

    Interntional Criminal Court.

  5. DosPeros Says:

    As Debsay would say, Probligo (you wine-drenched old hedonist), the last three paragraphs of that post is sure asshattery. Yes, like something one would write if they in fact had an ass on their head.

    Dropping #1:
    “Why was so much of the rest of the world at least tacitly unwilling to join Bush’s invasion of Iraq? Simply because it was the only means left to them of making the point that the US has no counterweight, has no peer that can counter the threat the US is to the rest of us.”

    If this is true — the rest of the world is severely stupid. Is the rest of the world not able to weigh the lesser of two evils? The United States or a manical mass-murdering demagod dictator. Or is the world so bitter and hateful to chose obstense over cooperation to make a petty point about onesideness? Ironically, the rest of the world’s “tacit unwillingness” will turn into palpable amnesia when they need American military power to ward off the next threat to their countries.

    And if in fact, the U.S. was a threat to New Zealand (which by the way, I’m now actively campaigning that we invade and take over NZ — it is beautiful country with lots of natural resources) wouldn’t it be smart to keep us occupied in a country like Iraq. What does the rest of the world have against the U.S. taking out mass-murdering dictators just for sport? Despite its brain-numbing, ineffectual and corrupt paralysis EVEN the U.N. had Saddam begged as at least a mass-murdering global nuisance.

    Dropping #2
    “Why were so many of the weak and timid prepared to sign their names to the invasion of Iraq? For the same reason as the playground bully has a “gangâ€Â? of followers to back his authority.”

    This is so sweet, Probligo — it’s good that you can talk about these things. Next time, Joe America beams you in the head playing dodge ball and Frankie Britian and Sammy Australia start laughing at you for crying, you go get Pisshead France and Fartbreath Germany and make a stand in the playground. Honesty, Tony Blaire’s life would have been much simpler domestically if he had not backed the U.S. invasion. It is easy to dislike the United States — envy is a vice afflicting cultures and governments, as much as, individuals.

    No one got fooled with Dubya. That whole line of thinking disappeared with 9/11 — you can’t be fooled by reactions to monumental one time events. We got a fairly obtuse and inarticulate Texan fratboy for a president — I knew it when I voted for him. He was better than the Librobot and Ketchup Lady.

    Prob – I hope that the ass on your head has been removed. And I enjoyed your blog.

  6. probligo Says:

    DosPeros, we could argue my asshattery or yours back and forth all day and night without resolution or any hope of agreement.

    Why should the world be concerned (fear might be a bit strong) about any nation that has unchecked dominant power ? For simply the reason that as long as that situation exists, so does the threat of the misuse of that power.

    For as long as the Cold War continued, that balance continued. Neither the US and its allies nor the Soviet bloc could act unilaterally – as evidenced by the Cuban missile crisis, Suez and many other examples.

    On your second piece of Mobius logic, I will remind you of events 25 years back (plus a month ot two) when NZ experienced its first terrorism attack. Now, it might not be a big deal to you given 9/11 and all, but to have agents of a foreign government bomb and sink a privately owned vessel in Auckland Harbour with the (fortunately only) loss of one life did have an impact. At that time NZ had a defence treaty with Australia and the US, and it was shown at that time just what it was worth. We caught two of the bastards, they were tried and found guilty. What was the response from the US? Absolute total silence. Why? Because the two were undercover agents (secret service) of the French government. France at that time was a pretty good buddy of the US, and came way before the lil ol NZ in terms of importance. Mitterand was sweating that one so bad he even tried to shift the blame to the Brit’s MI6.

    And, that is one reason why two years later this country was not sorry to see the demise of ANZUS. We had already found what our friends thought of us and the value of their word.

    Given that experience, and the colour of recent history, you are surprised that ” a fairly obtuse and inarticulate Texan fratboy ” and the marks he leaves on history are of little consequence to the rest of the world? Wrong. What matters even more is the threat of those who pull his strings.

    Oh, and the Aus papers should make interesting reading this morning. One of their top defence think tanks (if not THE top) has suggested that Australia look to the NZ model for the future development of its defence forces. Interesting idea, what?

    ps Glad you like the Probligo blog. Keep dropping by. It’s nice to know that at least one person reads it…

  7. debsay Says:

    “Why should the world be concerned (fear might be a bit strong) about any nation that has unchecked dominant power ? For simply the reason that as long as that situation exists, so does the threat of the misuse of that power.”

    Yeah, I can sure see your point, especially since we have invaded invaded so many countries in our history….

    “On your second piece of Mobius logic, I will remind you of events 25 years back (plus a month ot two) when NZ experienced its first terrorism attack. Now, it might not be a big deal to you given 9/11 and all, but to have agents of a foreign government bomb and sink a privately owned vessel in Auckland Harbour with the (fortunately only) loss of one life did have an impact. At that time NZ had a defence treaty with Australia and the US, and it was shown at that time just what it was worth. We caught two of the bastards, they were tried and found guilty. What was the response from the US? Absolute total silence. Why? Because the two were undercover agents (secret service) of the French government. France at that time was a pretty good buddy of the US, and came way before the lil ol NZ in terms of importance. Mitterand was sweating that one so bad he even tried to shift the blame to the Brit’s MI6.”

    Is this in reference to the Greenpeace boat that was trying to interfere with France’s nuke sub? I can’t remember all of the details, is this the incident that you are talking about?

  8. probligo Says:

    Rainbow Warrior was heading for Tahiti, Mururoa in particular, to protest the French atmospheric nuclear tests.

    The French found that extremely embarrassing for some reason. After all the tests were so safe that they shifted them from North Africa to Tahiti. Perhaps it was that the adverse publicity was starting to impact upon Mitterand’s electoral popularity?

    But does any of that make any difference to the facts that the act was one of terrorism and an aggressive attack against NZ? Does any of Greenpeace’s actions detract from the fact that NZ was attacked, its territory invaded by hostile agents, the very circumstances that multilateral peace agreements such as ANZUS are supposed to cover?

    You might like to reflect upon the fact that, in every international conflict involving the USofA and US forces (with the sole exception of Iraq2) there has been NZ forces fighting alongside of yours. You might like to reflect upon the fact that in at least the two greatest of those conflicts NZ was in there from day 1 to day last, whereas the US had to be dragged in kicking and screaming in WW1 by the sinking of the Lusitania and in WW2 by Pearl Harbour.

    “Yeah, I can sure see your point, especially since we have invaded invaded so many countries in our history…. “

    Would you like a list? I like to start with Chile, Grenada and Cuba. Not overt or military invasion in every case, but certainly the CIA has a lot to answer for… Was Pinochet a “good leader”? Was Allende “a threat to US security”? But that is history.

    The question is as always “Where next?”

  9. Callimachus Says:

    Pinochet wasn’t our man. The Nixon Administration had been trying to undermine Pinochet via the CIA, but they were looking to another general as the military leader. That plot fizzled, and Pinochet acted on Sept. 11, 1973, without American backing. See more here:

    http://www.tni.org/pin-watch/watch26.htm

    Of course, that won’t stop you from saying America “invaded” Chile.

    Pray tell, which would you have preferred in Iraq? A CIA-sponsored coup against Saddam? OR an invasion? Or everything the way it was in 2002?

    What’s the connection between Chile 1973, Vietnam 1954, and the Rainbow Warrior scuttling? Both reflect the bad choices offered in the Cold War. The U.S. needed a strong France in Europe. It needed no more Castros in Latin America. It made what it thought were the best choice among bad options. We got our hands dirty, no doubt. Some of us think it was an unpleasant aspect of winning that war. Some of you think the whole thing was unnecessary, and to live under Soviet hegemony or American hegemony makes no difference.

  10. probligo Says:

    “Pray tell, which would you have preferred in Iraq? A CIA-sponsored coup against Saddam? OR an invasion? Or everything the way it was in 2002?”

    In an ideal world, which this is not, my preference would have been to follow the lead that Jack Straw tried to give Tony Blair. Out of all those involved in the decision making, he alone (IMHO) showed true honesty and statesmanship.

    The principle – to allow the UNSC to determine by full enquiry the best of the truth that it could and then to consider a formal resolution of authority for the invasion of Iraq.

    That might not have had the effect of revealing the half-truths behind the unilateral justifications used by the US administration.

    It could have brought the “senior Arab nations” and particularly Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States on board.

    It would certainly have prevented the current schism between the US and Europe.

    It would almost certainly have brought the support of many other nations, including NZ, had the evidence clearly shown and supported the objectives and rationale for the invasion.

    Why did Bush not follow that path?

    Primarily (again IMHO) because having too many other nations on board would have severely weakened the secondary objectives he had in mind. I don’t know for sure but the current “writing of history” seems to indicate that there were significant, unrevealed, reasons for the US to retain complete control over the action and the aftermath.

    Pray tell, does that answer your question?

  11. Callimachus Says:

    The principle – to allow the UNSC to determine by full enquiry the best of the truth that it could and then to consider a formal resolution of authority for the invasion of Iraq.

    Though it may have seemed reasonable to some at the time, and I think it was a possible position to uphold honestly, the revelations of the oil-for-food scandal put some members of that same UNSC much deeper in the pockets of Saddam than I realized in 2003. I think it pretty much queers the Straw idea (accepting your statement that it was his policy) as the most honest approach.

    As for bringing Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, etc. into the mix, I am sure that would have made for some nice grip-and-grin PR photos for U.N. yearbook. But as a practical military and diplomatic matter, it would have been of little advantage, and it only would have confirmed to the “Arab Street” that the Americans always prefer to deal with the corrupt and repressive regimes — Osama’s gripe.

    Certainly in terms of this one outcome — working with real political parties in an Arab country and pissing off the Saudi royal family — I wouldn’t trade the current situation for the one you propose as better.

    With Saddam, the only way to be 100 percent sure that hs is not hiding WMDs is to be 100 percent sure that he is not ruling Iraq. What would be the best-case scenario of a U.N. frisking of Saddam-ruled Iraq, as you propose? 80 percent certainty? 85 percent? Nothing personal, but perhaps it’s easier to sit in New Zealand to say, “if there’s a 15 percent chance Saddam has a nuke up his sleeve, I can live with that” than it is to feel so at ease with those odds downwind of New York City.

    Really, even if it had been possible to pursue what you suggest without the inevitable taint of corruption, it probably would have amounted to Gulf War I all over again — a partial fight, a partial victory, Saddam still in power, the Iraqis still dying under embargo, and the dictator free to begin another round of cheat-and-retreat until he got the weapons he sought. But you can only see so far down the path you didn’t take.

  12. probligo Says:

    So, as I said at the very beginning, impasse.

    The final outcome, as is the case with Chile, will come in 25 years or so, as the relevant pieces of paper are released by the various departments of State.

    The pity is that neither thee nor I will ever see who was in fact right.

    Closure -

    Saddam did not have effective WMD.
    Saddam had no means of delivery of any WMD.
    The nuclear development programme was a myth.

    All of that was said by Hans Blix prior to his dismissal as “totally ineffectual” by GWB. Subsequent events have proven Blix right, with the possible exception of one dirty tin can and three old artillery shells and a few pieces of a Scud missile scattered through Europe.

    Was it the oil? Case open.

    Was Iraq2 about democracy, human rights abuses and crimes against humanity? Good call, but if this was the real reason why not make the case, follow the process… That was never done. It could have become another Rwanda, especially with Annan in charge of the UN. Imagine the kudos though if GWB had successfully negotiated the UN and UNSC to a position of having to deal with people like Saddam, and Mugabe, and the Burma administration, and Liberia, and Dafur, instead of pleading “internal matters” and standing back.

    I am no believer in the universe of “what ifs”.

    I do believe though that the US will be dining at the table of consequences that is Iraq for very many years yet.

  13. Callimachus Says:

    I said at the start it will be 20 years before we know if this was a good idea.

    If Blix said (and I don’t have time to dig up the verbatim) Iraq “did not have” X, Y, and Z, he was speaking whereof he did not know. He had to guess what Saddam had, the same as the rest of us. Turns out his guess was closer to what was discovered. I’m glad he was right, though it’s a bit galling to have been wrong. But I’m even more glad that we know for sure, and it’s not a matter of choosing whether to believe Blix or Bush.

    Blix, too, knew Saddam was a master of “cat and mouse” games.

    There’s never a “real reason” for any war, any more than there’s a real reason for a revolution. It’s always a matrix point of reasons and agendas.

    Courts are meaningless without police to enforce the laws. Your UNSC is going to enforce its humanitarian agendas with what military power? The Bangladeshis? You guys have a couple of spiffy frigates down there, no knocks against your Navy — er, “Defence Force.” But it’s not going to be much use in Darfur. I think we know who would get the call.

  14. probligo Says:

    Callimachus, you give another interesting example of culture colouring thought.

    You want an example of how peacekeeping really works? Read the history of East Timor, from the time that the UN took the problem on, and don’t omit the US’s refusal to take part as “immaterial”.

    Or read up on the police actions by NZ and Australian police in Guadalcanal.

    And before you get your nose stuffed up your nethers too far about NZ’s defence capabilities, read your own DoD analysis of the NZSAS in Afghanistan.

    You do not need a very big gun to solve problems – there are other ways…

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