I was lucky to have been invited to and attended a "townhall" meeting today with our Democratic candidate for senator, Jim Pederson, and his guest, former presidential candidate Wesley Clark. I'm an admirer of them both. Jim Pederson is the former party chair of the Arizona Democratic party and I have spoken to him in the past. And I voted for Wesley Clark in the 2004 Arizona Democratic Presidential primary. There were both articulate, passionate and made strong cases for a change in leadership in Washington.
This meeting was specifically on the war in Iraq. Pederson and Clark both spoke as did an Iraqi war veteran and they fielded questions afterwards. Quite the opposite of the "cut-and-run" image that the Rove minions try to cast Democrats as, they were honest about the mistakes that have been made and what needed to be done. I won't get into the finer points but suffice to say that they favored a tact that took into account Iraq's neighbors, the different factions within Iraq, and the infrastructure needs of the country itself. Due to the incompetence of our current leaders, troops in Iraq are playing policemen in a civil war. This was not their original mission and it is not task which they are ideally suited for.
One of the main points that they brought up and the one that I am going to mention here is that a main reason our mission in Iraq has failed is that we failed to consider adequately those questions that the Powell Doctrine asked:
Is a vital national security interest threatened?
Do we have a clear attainable objective?
Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
Is the action supported by the American people?
Do we have genuine broad international support?
Here's my take on how we addressed those concerns:
-- Was our national security threatened by Iraq? -- NO. Iraq had no means of directly attacking the U.S.
-- Did we have a clear objective? -- NO. Neo-cons would say that it was part of a bigger objective of establishing democracy in the Middle East. But it was not the reason offered during the run up to the war.
-- Did we honestly address the risks and costs? -- NO. Morons like Wolfowitz and Perle said the war would pay for itself. $300 billion (and counting) later .... Not to mention 2600+ American lives.
-- Did we exhaust all diplomatic means first? -- NO. We lied to ourselves and the U.N. and disregarded any international advice.
-- Exit strategy? -- Exit strategy? ... we don't need no stinkin' exit strategy. Cheney and Rumsfeld said it would take 6 days. Why these men are still in any kind of power baffles me.
-- Consequences -- We are breeding more terrorists. Our government even admits this: Report offered by Bush shows terrorism threat evolving and growing
-- Support of the American people -- At least 60% of the American people are against this war.
-- Broad international support? -- Ha-ha. Do you mean the coalition of the willing? The coalition of the economically threatened you must have meant. Moldava and Estonia ... oooohhhh. I'm really impressed.