Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tom Carper Speaks out on Iraq

Tom Carper is one of the most middle of the road Democrats in the U.S. Senate. He's more comfortable working out political compromises involving policy minutiae than he is laying out big ideological differences between the parties. Which is why his criticism yesterday of Bush's foreign policy is so striking. The News Journal reports that Tom Carper spoke of Bush's foreign policy failures in unusually blunt terms:
"The truth is, the president's policies haven't worked and they've not made us safer," said Carper, noting that 14 Delaware soldiers have been killed in Iraq since 2003. At the same time, he said, the number of insurgents in Iraq has risen from an estimated 5,000 in 2003 to 20,000 today.
Carper appeared with Senate majority leader Harry Reid and retired general Wes Clark to announce the release of a report from the centrist Third Way think tank designed to measure the effectiveness of Bush's foreign policy.
The report, titled The Neo Con: The Bush Defense Record by the Numbers offers specifics on how our national security has been eroded over the last five years. It's good wonky stuff, short on rhetoric and long on damning statistics:
Estimated number of al-Qaeda members worldwide in 2001: 20,000
Estimated number of al-Qaeda members worldwide in 2006: 50,000
The context of these unusually pointed comments from Tom Carper is worth noting. The report doesn't offer much in the way of grand policy promouncements. Instead, it uses dry statistics to make the point that Bush's policies aren't working.
For those who haven't heard much from Carper in the foreign policy sphere, it was comforting to see him standing with Wes Clark, who spoke with his customary clarity:
In plain language, invading Iraq was a mistake, a strategic blunder, a step -- a major step in the wrong direction for winning the War on Terror. It's time for America to face the facts. Invading Iraq was an unnecessary war. It distracted us from what we were trying to accomplish in Afghanistan, and it's been counterproductive in winning the War on Terror. Today, as a result of failed administration American policies, we've lost over 2600 soldiers and marines in Iraq. We've spent over 300 billion dollars with maybe a trillion or more on the line. We've seriously damaged our Armed Forces.
The report is a good example of how it isn't necessary to move from right to left on the political spectrum to point out that Bush has failed to make us safer. (Certainly, it would be hard to paint General Clark as a wacky leftie.) Even so, I expect to continue to hear Republicans slam Bush's critics as dangerously radical "Defeatocrats," ignoring the fact that 60 percent of voters now think Iraq was a mistake.


Blogger jason said...

5 years late, but I'll take it.

7:58 PM, September 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the ice just melted a bit as concerns my view of Carper. Wes Clark makes for good company.

7:36 PM, September 07, 2006  

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