John Edwards: Time to Start Troop Withdrawal is Now

Update: John Edwards will be live-blogging at his campaign blog at noon ET.

Former Senator and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards is running for President. We all knew that yesterday, but today he made the official announcment in New Orleans.

In addition to his campaign against poverty, he's blasting the war in Iraq, particularly John McCain's plan to increase troops in Iraq.

Edwards says we can bring 40,000 troops home now.

From the setting to the words, Edwards is using the day to signal that he intends to run a grassroots, insurgent campaign with an anti-Washington flair. He directly criticized Arizona Sen. John McCain, seen as a leading candidate for the Republican nomination, for recommending that more troops be sent to Iraq to help quell the violence there.

"We need to reject this McCain doctrine of surging troops and escalating the war in Iraq," he said in his campaign video, recorded on Wednesday. "We need to make clear we're going to leave and we need to start leaving Iraq."

Today, Edwards said he thought as many as 40,000 U.S. troops should be quickly withdrawn from Iraq, with the United States pressing Iraq's fragile government to do more to quell violence and launching a broad international effort to secure a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing conflict.

Can Edwards beat Hillary or Obama?

Despite the celebrity appeal of Clinton and Obama, Edwards begins the campaign well-positioned to compete for the nomination. He tops public opinion polls of Democrats in Iowa, which will hold the first caucuses of 2008; retains a base in South Carolina, whose primary he won in 2004; and has built good relationships with organized labor in Nevada, which is scheduled to hold the second caucus next year.

....Perhaps most significantly, he recanted his original support for the war in Iraq, writing an op-ed column in The Washington Post in which he said of his vote for the 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to go to war: "I was wrong." His new position gives him the opportunity to appeal to the party's anti-war activists, many of whom remain wary of Clinton because of her long support for the war.

As for his position on issues:

The issues include restoring the nation's moral leadership around the globe, beginning in Iraq with a drawdown of troops; strengthening the middle class and "ending the shame of poverty"; guaranteeing health care for every American; fighting global warming; and ending what he called America's addiction to oil.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Addiction? (1.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jarober on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 11:00:30 AM EST
    Stating that you are going to "end" our addiction to oil is easy - actually having a technology path that gets there, not so much.  Ethanol is not ananswer - we don't have enough land available to plant that much (insert your favorite source plant here).  For those of you who think Brazil did with Sugar Cane, you might take note of the oil platforms they installed offshore - those had a heck fo a lot more to do with their break from foreign oil.  The ethanol they create was PR, and not much more.

    So let's take that into account with your desire to pullout of Iraq.  Say we just drop and go.  There's going to be a power vacuum, into which both the Saudis (Sunni) and the Iranians (Shia) will jump into.  That could quite easily escalate into a regional war that impacts both oil prices and shipment of oil through the region.  If you get your wish, the price of oil will rise a lot, and the "benefit" will be massively higher prices for everything.  Not to mention a regional war that takes out oil facilities throughout the middle east.

    Whether you, Edwards, or anyone else likes it, this is not a simple matter anymore.  We don't have the situation we had in 2001, and we can't call a do-over, either.  We have the situation we have now.  If you think it can't get worse if we leave, you simply lack imagination and analytical skills.

    you simply lack imagination (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 11:05:03 AM EST
    If the best you can offer boils down to "we have to stay there and keep breaking it because we went in there and broke it in the first place".

    Your "analytical skills" leave something to be desired too...


    Americans waste hand over fist (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Dadler on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 11:21:44 AM EST
    The entire basis of our economy is use as much as you can as wastefully as you can.  Consume, Consume, Consume.  When the twin towers fell and all our fellow citizens died, what did President Bush tell us to do?  Shop.  The stupidity is mind-boggling.  As if that's what the country just couldn't live without, shopping.  It takes a staggering lack of insight into your own national habits not to realize that what we need and what we use are two wildly out of whack things.  I live in a city where the sun shines all friggin' year, and there is NO push to make the whole city solar.  There is no logic in our efforts, none.  We use and abuse and consume and waste and think it can go on forever.  Delusional comes to mind.

    We have all the ability in the world to get off petroleum and live perfectly fine lives, we simply lack the will, lack the ability to accept our own destructive habits as just that.  But instead we see destruction and waste as invaluable.  That's a sickness.  Truth is, we can do anything we want with alternative energy, if we're all prepared to actually SACRIFICE for it.

    But we're not about sacrifice, not even after 9/11.  We were told to keep wasting.

    And most of us do.  


    Thoughtful chin-stroking (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by scarshapedstar on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 03:31:11 PM EST
    With all the talk about the need for serious-an'-frank discussions, I think it's high time we had a Wise Old Man roundtable about the wisdom of having our foreign policy run by people who openly believe that the end of civilization, precipitated by a cataclysmic war, is not only close at hand and attainable through our destabilizing actions but a good thing.

    You have to be kidding (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by soccerdad on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 11:36:28 AM EST
    This lame old nugget, meanwhile Bush and his buddies in israel are doing everything they can to make everything worse: Lets see: Destroy lebanon, hang Saddam, kill one of Sadr's men, arrest Iranian diplomats, build new illegal settlements. Just a bunch of raving lunatics running to every fire with more cans of gas praying for the final Armegedon.

    US troops will not be coming home in fact there will be a major escalation in the ME within 6 mos. BTW Pakistan has already chosen sides and it aint with us.


    John Edwards Announces Presidential Bid (none / 0) (#1)
    by proudleftists on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 10:43:07 AM EST
    It will be extremely difficult for Mr. Edwards to overcome both Hillary and Barack and when Al Gore jumps in it will be nearly impossible. I wish that Mr. Edwards had opposed the war, in Iraq, from the beginning.Hillary's pro - war position ( now anti ? ) will, I believe, be something that she won't be able to overcome.