If you, like me, think that someone who co-sponsored the Iraq War Resolution has no business positioning himself as the antiwar candidate, see what Barack Obama’s up to now. This is the complete text of an email that the junior senator from Illinois just sent me:
Today, we sadly find ourselves at the very point in Iraq I feared most when I opposed giving the President the open-ended authority to wage this war in 2002 – an occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences in the midst of a country torn by civil war.
We have waited and we have been patient. We have given chance after chance for a resolution that has not come, and, more importantly, watched with horror and grief the tragic loss of thousands of brave young Americans.
The time for waiting in Iraq is over. The days of our open-ended commitment must come to a close. And the need to bring this war to an end is here.
That is why today, I’m introducing the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007. This plan would not only place a cap on the number of troops in Iraq and stop the escalation, it would begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces with the goal of removing of all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by March 31st, 2008 – consistent with the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that the President ignored.
The redeployment of troops to the United States , Afghanistan , and elsewhere in the region would begin no later than May 1st of this year, toward the end of the timeframe I first proposed in a speech more than two months ago. In a civil war where no military solution exists, this redeployment remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability.
The U.S. military has performed valiantly and brilliantly in Iraq . Our troops have done all we have asked them to do and more. But no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war, nor settle the grievances in the hearts of the combatants.
When it comes to the war in Iraq, the time for promises and assurances, for waiting and patience, is over. Too many lives have been lost and too many billions have been spent for us to trust the President on another tried and failed policy opposed by generals and experts, Democrats and Republicans, Americans and even the Iraqis themselves.
It is time to change our policy.
It is time to give Iraqis their country back.
And it is time to refocus America ’s efforts on the challenges we face at home and the wider struggle against terror yet to be won.
U.S. Senator Barack Obama
Read that again. Every single troop home 14 months from now. That’s ballsy. And that’s why I love this guy. He got this issue right in October 2002 and he’s getting it right now.
On a related subject, John Edwards will be speaking at Dartmouth tomorrow at 2:45, and I will be present. And I plan to ask him this question:
Senator Edwards, you have based your campaign on an appeal to end poverty. The vast majority of economists believe that the most effective means of reducing world poverty is expanded international trade. Why then did you consistently oppose any and all free trade agreements during your time in the Senate?
I will be very interested to hear his response.