Friday, February 1, 2008

Candidates' war talk speaks for itself

Each of us has an issue that is key to selecting who gets our vote for President. Whether it's the economy, immigration, education, or American Idol, there's something at the top of your list. The tough part is finding out exactly how each of the candidates feels about that issue without any media spin.

For veterans and many local military families, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are often the top issue. So, rather than weave through the soundbites, I navigated to the websites of the top four -- Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Romney -- to see what limb each is climbing out on in regards to what our troops and their families can expect from the next Commander-in-Chief.

According to Obama's website: "Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda."

According to Clinton's website: "The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. She would also direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to prepare a comprehensive plan to provide the highest quality health care and benefits to every service member -- including every member of the National Guard and Reserves -- and their families."

According to McCain's website: "A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq. More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country."

According to Romney's website: ""I think many of us still fail to comprehend the extent of the threat posed by radical Islam, by Jihad. Understandably, we focus on Afghanistan and Iraq. Our men and women are dying there.We think in terms of countries, because we faced countries in last century's conflicts. But the Jihad is much broader than any one nation or nations. Jihad encompasses far more than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For radical Islam, there is an over-arching conflict and goal - replacing all modern Islamic states with a caliphate, destroying America, and conquering the world."

So .. to summarize:
The two Dems are pitching that they will each end the war by drawing down the troops while pledging to do so in a matter that keeps all-out war from happening again.
Meanwhile the two GOP candidates are convinced that the region is too unstable with too much at stake to even think of drawing down right now. McCain openly suggests increasing our troops on the ground while Romney stays away from the definitive issue, choosing instead to focus on the world-wide fear of a Jihad.


Anonymous said...


That plan of Obama's sounds a lot like the plan YOU presented a short time back. You don't suppose he's been dropping in to the blog?

Eric Mansfield said...

Thanks ... I think my "10K plan" still has a lot of value ... and allows for a safe withdrawal and turn over to the Iraqis ... not sure that Obama will give me credit, but thanks for the kind note ..


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the synopsis, Eric. It helped me in preparing to make my decision.