Edwards' Mistake On The Iraq Supplemental

In a diary at daily kos, John Edwards repeats his bad advice on the Iraq Supplemental:

If Bush vetoes the funding for our troops, Congress must send the same bill back to the president -- and they should do this again and again--as many times as it takes for Bush to understand that the American people are right and the war must be brought to an end. In the next few days, the will of Congress will be severely tested. Bush will be doing everything in his considerable power to convince the nation that Congress is responsible for his reckless decision not to fund the troops. Plenty of people in Washington will say the political risks are just too great and Democrats in Congress should just back down.

What made this bill remotely acceptable was that it would be vetoed by Bush. Mr. Edwards seems to believe this bill ends the Debacle. It simply does not. The March 31, 2008 date is advisory, not mandatory. I repeat, it does not end the Debacle.

The goals of Reid-Feingold, announcing a date certain for not funding the Debacle, is the way to end the war. Edwards does not mention Reid-Feingold in his statement. I must say that what this appears to be is a political play from Edwards to put his rivals on the spot. It may be smart Presidential politics but I find it wrong. I think less of Edwards today.

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    I think the differences are purely contextual (none / 0) (#1)
    by LabDancer on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 10:24:52 AM EST
    I think your point fails to appreciate the difference in perspective between what Edwards was articulating and what Reid-Feingold addresses.

    I've admired Feingold for a number of years and my appreciation for Reid has been greatly increased by his new stature as Majority Leader facing a criminal executive branch providing him a platform to display his uncommon courage and high level of incorruptability.

    But Reid [by his position] and Feingold [by his character and intellect] lead what is at best a bare majority for the Dems in the Senate. If they have serious hopes of moving a bill it must not just reflect on their high principles and deep senses of responsibility, but to that practical political fact, which, for a host of factors, all comes down to their realist appreciation that they cannnot overcome a veto by the Pretzel*

    [* Bush forfeited his entitlement to be called  "President" by committing perjury in January 2004 in his second term oath to uphold the Constitution, when all along he fully intended to subvert it, as shown both in his signing statements to Congressional bills and in his conduct in such things as politicization of every government agency - the recent focus on the DoJ being more representative than we would like to admit. In the world of criminal law someone who is nominally on the side of the prosecution but in fact is determined to abuse that position for personal gain or to advance a hidden agenda is referred to as "bent". A crooked cop is bent. Bush is beyond bent; he's twisted.]

    Edwards though no longer works within the restrictions of the Senate, and I believe his position reflects both that and, given his track record, a good deal of thinking on the problem.

    I don't know what all has gone into Edwards' thinking, but I see the problem being that the US occupation of Iraq simply retards the ability of Iraqis to work this out for themselves.

    At it happens I am also a fan of the Sane Saudi, Prince Turki al-Faisel, who has said in effect that the US entered Iraq uninvited but cannot leave uninvited. Prince Turki is both Arab and Sunni.

    In my view what's behind his position is concern for the fate of the Arab Sunni minority given several generations of resentment among the Arab Shi'ia majority and the liklihood of that majority turning to Persian Shi'ia-dominated Iran to sponsor its goal of dominating Iraq politically and redressing all the crimes committed against Arab Shi'ia in Iraq by Saddam Hussein and his Ba-athist thugs.

    That is, I believe Turki is more concerned that Iraq will end up part of a larger Persian sphere of influence than he is with advancing the interests of Sunnis over Shi'ites. And being rational and having spent some time in Washington and touring the US, he sees the rational side of the US coming to appreciate that its interests are best served by the same goals. I agree with him.

    Where I diverge with him is that I do not see how the continued occupation of Iraq by the US can possibly serve to advance those interests, and worse, I see it as instead serving to identify the US with consolidating the power of Shi'ites over Sunnis - and at the same time making the US appear feckless and irrational. Leaving aside the question of the difference in contexts in which they work, I see the essential difference between Reid-Feingold and Edwards on this issue the same way.

    There are lots of alternatives available to advance US interests in the Middle East to continuing to occupy Iraq. Decider Pretzel has proven beyond any doubt that he does not have the intellectual flexibility, the patience, the ego, the equanimity, the respect for others, and the incorruptibility, to entertain any of them - and of course, since he's already "decided" he just won't.

    I don't suggest that Reid and Feingold fail to realize this whereas Edwards does. I see that only Edwards is in a position to articulate that the decision should be made now, rather than draw it out and face it later.

    And we will face it.

    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 10:44:48 AM EST
    So you are saying this is Edwards' play at defunding, counting on Bush's continual vetoes?

    I don't buy that at all.

    Yesterday he praised this legisaltion as "ending the war."

    I think you are stacking your views on Edwards; actions.

    Again, I don't buy it at all.


    I think Bush will veto this bill (4.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:01:34 AM EST
    because it slams him hard on being able to misuse troops and he's running low, and nobody is going to tell him when he has to start redeploying.  It is open ended though and I agree with you that it ends nothing.  There are a million ways to extend the war starting with us being attacked as we leave and someone ramping things up to fight that and the whole thing starts all over again.

    I hope he does (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:19:34 AM EST
    In his remarks today from some military base in (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 04:34:29 PM EST
    the U.S., the President sd. the bill directed Generals in how to run the war.  A new meme, no?

    Shadowy politics (none / 0) (#5)
    by fairleft on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:23:31 AM EST
    Bush and the Thuglicans very loudly in the MSM contend the advisory date into an absolute 'get out' date. That's "why" he's vetoing the bill.

    This makes the correct strategy difficult to figure out, but I have no problem at all sending exactly the same bill back to Bush if I know he will keep vetoing it! And I think we more or less know that now.

    I'm optimistic about the Repub reaction when they see exactly the same bill on the President's desk after he vetoes it once. Of course if the bill is even a little different in wording, providing Bush cover for not vetoing the second bill, that would change everything, but that's what Edwards is against.

    Will he? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 11:27:47 AM EST
    I think not. But more importantly, the Congress wil not send him back the same bill.

    That's why your anger at Edwards is misplaced (none / 0) (#7)
    by fairleft on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 01:49:23 PM EST
    He said "exactly the same bill," which would be, if the Dems followed it, good anti-occupation advice. I'm glad he's putting some pressure in the exactly the right direction.

    I agree the Dems won't follow the "exactly" part and Bush will perhaps (if progressive Dems go along) get his fully funded quagmire again.


    gift horse (none / 0) (#8)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 04:27:51 PM EST
    It may be frustrating when many people donâ€<sup>TM</sup>t immediately come 100% to oneâ€<sup>TM</sup>s own thinking, but this is why there is the saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Without people like Edwards coming to the views that they now express, Reid-Feingold wouldnâ€<sup>TM</sup>t even exist. Yet this lowers your opinion of Edwards, because the Edwards-praised bill designed to make Bush veto it is a politically softened compromise from what would be the best bill designed to make Bush veto it. Despite my own support for the Reid-Feingold approach, I say stop looking gift horses in the mouth.

    It's a posturing straddle. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Geekesque on Fri Apr 27, 2007 at 04:49:24 PM EST
    He favors the bill to provide funding, but he also favors an approach that would result in a cut-off of funding.

    Being out of office has benefits and drawbacks in this kind of race.  One of the benefits is the ability to finesse this kind of position without any accountability.

    Edwards ranks just above Gravel in my personal preferences, but this really doesn't strike me as something that does any great harm.