Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Biden Blasts Bush on Iraq

The Washington Post has a story on Joe Biden's sharp criticism of Bush's Iraq debacle yesterday in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations:
Biden, who is perhaps the Democratic Party's most visible spokesman on foreign policy matters, said that President Bush "has to abandon his grandiose goals" for transforming Iraq and the Middle East and define a more realistic mission.
Rather than attempting to transform Iraq into a "model democracy," Biden suggested that Bush spend the next six months accomplishing three goals: creating a "political settlement" that draws support from the rival Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who make up Iraq; bolstering the ability of the Iraqi government to "deliver basic services"; and accelerating the training of Iraqi troops in order to facilitate a handover of full military authority to them.
This is in line with Biden's previous speeches on Iraq, which could be boiled down to two words: "Get real." Biden disagreed with Representative John Murtha, who has called for a complete withdrawal from Iraq:
Biden also said, however, that he expected 50,000 troops to be redeployed from Iraq by the end of 2006 with the remaining 100,000 out of the country by January 2007. A force of 20,000 to 40,000 would remain in the country to continue to train Iraqi forces and "prevent jihadists from establishing a permanent base in Iraq."
While applauding the growing calls for withdrawal, we should acknowledge that critics of Bush's Iraq misadventure can disagree on how to extract ourselves from this mess, or as Biden put it, "we can start climbing out of the hole he [Bush] has dug with most of our interest intact."
Our Vice President may not brook dissent, as Dana Milbank drily observes:

Vice President Cheney protested yesterday that he had been misunderstood when he said last week that critics of the White House over Iraq were "dishonest and reprehensible.
"What he meant to say, he explained to his former colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute, was that those who question the White House's use of prewar intelligence were not only "dishonest and reprehensible" but also "corrupt and shameless."

It was about as close as the vice president gets to a retraction.
It seems to me that those of us who are critical of the administration should be more tolerant of differing opinions on how to make the best of a bad situation.


Blogger jason said...


If Biden "who is perhaps the Democratic Party's most visible spokesman on foreign policy matters", spoke up when it counted we would not be in this mess and he would be the odds on favorite for the White House right now.

I have nothing but contempt for the guy.

3:55 PM, November 22, 2005  

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