My Position on Iraq
By Governor Bill Richardson
I believe that we need to withdraw all of our troops within six months. That's all of our troops. Other than the customary Marine contingent at the embassy, I would not leave anyone behind. And if the embassy isn't safe, they're coming home too.
No airbases. No troops in the Green Zone. No embedded soldiers training Iraqi forces, because we know what that means. It means our troops would still be out on patrol - with targets on their backs.
A regional crisis is worthy of military intervention. A true threat to our country's security is worthy of war. But a struggle between a country's warring factions, where both sides hate the United States, is not worthy of one more lost American life.
With all due respect to my Democratic colleagues, Senators Clinton, Obama, Dodd, and Biden have all voted for timeline legislation that had deliberate loopholes. Those loopholes allow this president, or any president, to leave an undetermined number of troops in Iraq indefinitely for the purposes of training Iraqi security forces and providing force protection. Troops protecting troops training troops? We've heard this before - it sounds a lot like Iraq today.
For those who believe that we should leave behind a residual force, one question must be answered: how long does that force need to be in place before we can leave? One year? Two years? Ten?
There is not a single sign that Iraq is improving. To the contrary, every indication is that it's getting worse, and a smaller force will do nothing to change that.
How many more Americans must die before we leave an Iraq that will be no better off than it is today? And in a war where American troops are the number one target, who are the poor souls being left behind?
Congress should use its authority under Article One of the Constitution to de-authorize the war and require the president to withdraw ALL troops - and the President cannot veto that. If they don't do it, I'll issue the order on January 20th, 2009.
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