Monday, August 21, 2006

Corker's Incompetence On Iraq Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again

Last week I called on Bob Corker to tell the voters of Tennessee where he stands on Iraq. And, well, he sorta did in the Chattanooga Times Free Press Sunday.

Asked what should happen now in Iraq, Corker replied "those decisions should be left up to the administration."

Oh yeah, that is a great idea Bob! Lets let the incompetent people who got us into this mess in the first place, just keep staying the course. That is a brilliant idea! NOT!

Seriously, that may be the stupidest answer I have ever heard from a candidate on Iraq. Does Bob actually think the course that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld have in place now is working? Apparently so, he thinks they should be the ones making all the decisions about Iraq. That speaks to Corker's incompetence.

However, we should not surprised, as Status Quo Bob has made some ridiculous statements regarding Iraq in the past, such as the one below:

"You really don't hear so much about the war in Iraq — it's actually surprising," said Corker. "You all (in the media) are asking about that issue. It's just not an issue that comes up a great deal on the campaign trail."

Can you say out of touch?

Harold Ford Jr. on the other hand, actually has a plan for the situation in Iraq.

According to the CTFP, "Rep. Ford said new strategies are needed in Iraq. He said he favors a "three-state strategy" in Iraq that would divide Sunni, Shiite and Kurd groups into autonomous regions, and he cites Bosnia as a model.

"It’s going to take them some time, and we just have to give them the tools to build one country," he said of the Iraqis. "What we’re doing now is not working, and the American people deserve more than this awfully stale course."

Ford is no Johnny Come Latley on offering a plan for Iraq either. Below are proposals he sent to the President in November of last year, that he believes can help us achieve success in Iraq:

First, follow the model of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan and take responsibility for your Administration getting some of this wrong. The American people respect honesty and humility. Moreover, honesty is strength. This effort will help win broader international support for our efforts to build democracies across the Middle East.

Second, rekindle our confidence in your Administration by bringing on some new national security team members. The current team has lost its credibility with the country and the Congress on Iraq. In addition, Mr. Libby's indictment for allegedly lying to a grand jury about the revealing of a CIA operative's identity because her husband offered conflicting evidence about Iraq's threat to the United States doesn't inspire confidence either.

Third, start an international fund to build schools and hospitals across the Middle East and Africa. Our long-term effort to win the hearts and minds of Arabs must involve building institutions designed to enrich the lives of Arabs and demonstrate a real partnership between western nations and the Arab world to make America and the world more secure. An educated, hopeful and healthy population of Arabs and Africans will be less inclined to do harm to themselves and us. America, working in concert with European and Asian nations, should jumpstart the effort financially and ensure that the fund is transparent and adheres to the strictest governance and accounting rules.

Fourth, renounce permanent military bases in Iraq. While countering the insurgency in Iraq may require our assistance for the foreseeable future, we should not maintain a permanent military presence there. Instead, we should hold true to your commitment to stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer. To do otherwise would be a disservice to Iraqis who are working to build a nation of their own and a broken promise to our troops who are giving them the tools to do so.

Fifth, embrace the movement in Congress led by Senator McCain banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees by all United States government agencies. The United States has long stood as a champion of human rights and a supporter of the principles embodied by the Geneva Convention. Yet when the abuses at Abu Ghraib came to light last year, Americans and foreigners alike were justifiably outraged. Allowing our armed forces or the Central Intelligence Agency to adopt conduct state-sponsored torture would further stoke this outrage. More importantly, as Senator McCain has eloquently noted, it would undermine our greatness as a nation. I urge you to do the right thing, Mr. President, and reaffirm our integrity and our decency by signing the prohibition against torture into law.

Finally, and perhaps most important to achieving democracy in the Middle East, we need to reduce our reliance on Middle East oil by more than 75% over the next ten years. The energy bill Congress passed is already obsolete in that it does more to prolong our dependence on current sources than it does to make us independent. A new bill, with incentives to develop hybrids, extract clean coal and energy from soybeans and other agricultural products and extend tax breaks to develop wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy, is needed from you no later than January 15, 2006. Congress should make it the first order of business for the second session of this Congress. Energy independence will accelerate democratic reforms in the Middle East, unleash a new era of U.S. economic and job growth and pave a new path of environmental responsibility for the world to follow. We owe this to the more than 2,000 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq and the tens of thousands of seriously wounded Americans who fought in Iraq -- not to mention the tens of thousands of brave Iraqi women and children who have lost their lives in this war.

People are tired of their leaders giving George W. Bush a blank check when it comes to Iraq. Stay the course is no longer a viable option. It is time for new ideas and strategies.

Harold Ford Jr. understands that. Bob Corker is still clueless.

It is time for a new generation of leadership.