Edwards will step up Iraq troop withdrawal


From the New York Times:

John Edwards says that if elected president he would withdraw the American troops who are training the Iraqi army and police as part of a broader plan to remove virtually all American forces within 10 months…Mr. Edwards’s plan calls for immediately withdrawing 40,000 to 50,000 troops. Nearly all of the remaining American troops would be removed within 9 or 10 months. The only force that would remain would be a 3,500-to-5,000-strong contingent that would protect the American Embassy and possibly humanitarian workers.

This is quite an evolution from Edwards’ previously more militant stance on keeping troops in Iraq, and his overall liberal hawk foreign policy stances. His bad call on authorizing force for Iraq and calls for aggression against Iran were the chief things preventing me from wholeheartedly endorsing him. Indeed, the odd juxtaposition of his fighting populist/progressive domestic policies and his weird “warlike” foreign policy stance creates a big disconnect that could turn off smart, educated voters.

I’m glad to see he’s getting his mind (more or less) right on the issue. Is this a crass political appeal to the base on the eve of the Iowa primary? Most likely, but at least that means he’s listening to the base, which is a victory in and of itself. America wants our troops to come home and end this ridiculous, insane, ludicrous war that has already cost us so much, and Edwards is not only the only leading Democratic candidate, but the only leading overall candidate to do so. Like I said before, it shouldn’t be Ron Paul’s sole province to tell the country that our occupation of Iraq needs to end.

Edwards is gaining on both Obama and Clinton in polls for the Iowa caucus, and every time he gets media coverage, his fundraising jumps. When it comes to articulating America’s rage at the destruction of our way of life and the gutting of the middle and working classes to serve corporate masters, Edwards has the power of truth on his side. Now he’s finally getting the message on the global policy front.

If you want a better look at why Edwards isn’t just my guy, but right for the country, I also recommend reading the endorsements from The Agonist’s Ian Welsh and Sean-Paul Kelley.

6 replies »

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  2. These things are subject to change, but for the moment Edwards is my guy, too. Two reasons. First, as has been noted here before, he’s the only candidate willing to talk seriously about our exploding class problem in the US, and when all is said and done that may be one of our two or three biggest long-term issues. Second, I think we all get that people make mistakes, but JE is the only candidate willing to admit his fuck-ups. He was wrong on Iraq, he’s said so, and he’s now committing to setting that mistake aright.

  3. John Edwards is my guy. For all the reasons Sam mentions and a couple of more – he worked his way up the system (as both Sam and I did) – he actually believes the stuff coming out of his mouth – and that passes the crap detector test for me. Whether he can do all of it is irrelevant – the fact that he’s willing to address the very issues that the typical citizen is concerned about without clearing his POV with the corporate masters is good enough for me – for now, at least….

  4. When I read ringing endorsements by learned people such as Ian Welsh, Sean-Paul Kelly and David Mizner, I tend to grind my teeth in frustration. Now, these platitudes happen to be for Sen. John Edwards.

    Mr. Mizner writes:

    John Edwards is basing his campaign on a two-part truth: Big Business has too much power, and it won’t give it away without a fight.

    Well, of course. But rarely do the rhetorical flourishes of endorsers address how Sen. Edwards (and the rest of the candidates) is so financially reliant on those very business and corporate interests whose influence he detests.

    Sen. Edwards’ top contributors include, for example, Stearns, Weaver, et al.; Lerach, Coughlin, et al.; Goldman Sachs; Fortress Investment Group; and ActBlue. The sectors raising the most money for him include securities and investment, retired people, real estate, lawyers/law firms and Democratic/liberal groups.

    This isn’t meant as a criticism of Sen. Edwards. Rather, it is an amplification of “the power of truth.” I may well end up supporting him, but I won’t do so blindly.

    If his endorsers seek to promote him, fine — just tell the whole story, please.

  5. Denny,

    You do realize that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc. gave to most of the candidates in that bubble, do you not? Singling out Edwards for the lash seems a bit over-the-top. Of course the guy is going to be feted by law firms–he was a practicing lawyer, as were both the other leading Dem candidates and several of the Republican candidates. That’s like saying you shouldn’t be supported by other journalists for an endeavor of your own.

    I’m not defending Edwards for his reliance on corporate funds, but there are two key differences between his donors and most of the others on that chart. One is the amount of money he receives through the ActBlue Dem/progressive online fundraising machine, and the other is that group that you, yourself, cite: “Democratic/liberal groups.” None of the other Dem candidates can claim such, except maybe Kucinich.

    That tells me that the money is coming from more than just the usual suspects in this particular case. So, indeed, let’s tell the whole story. 😉