Darcy Burner does peace movement “a great service”

Mother Jones on “The Peace Movement and Darcy Burner.”

In all, five anti-war leaders spoke during the Take Back America panel discussion and not one of them devoted more than a half-sentence to the surge, which any reality-based observer would admit seriously complicates the anti-war movement’s efforts to generate popular opposition to the war. And none made any mention of how America ought to withdraw.

But then Darcy Burner spoke.

A former Microsoft middle manager who is taking her second run at Congress in Washington State, Burner said that she was fed up with telling voters she wanted to end the war, only to be stymied by the question of how she planned to do so. So she met with Paul Eaton, the retired army general responsible for training the Iraqi military between 2003 and 2004, and developed a comprehensive withdrawal plan.

On the key issue of removing troops, Burner’s 30-page plan, dubbed “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq,” glosses over the details. It notes that “troop draw-downs should begin immediately and continue until no more troops remain in Iraq,” but the timeframe for the withdrawal and the path(s) out of the country aren’t described. Eventually, they will be “based on planning provided by our military leadership.”

But the plan is comprehensive in every other respect. Using a combination of Iraq Study Group recommendations and legislation already before Congress, the plan provides for refugee assistance and a diplomatic surge that would bring together regional leaders and aims to initiate political reconciliation within the country. It would create non-military Provincial Reconstruction Teams that would “strengthen the capacity of towns and villages to resist the insurgency” and would reach the “entirety of the Iraqi population.” It calls for the departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, Justice, and the Treasury to work with international groups to rebuild the country. In short, it de-militarizes the occupation.

The plan also aims to restore habeas corpus to detainees, make extraordinary rendition illegal, and phase out the use of private military contractors. (It can be read in full here.)

It is far from a perfect plan, and it would likely get seriously reworked if it were introduced in Congress, no matter how large the Democratic majority. But it recognizes the anti-war movement’s need to add depth to its rhetoric. For that, Darcy Burner has done folks like Cagan, Chaudhury, and Swan a great service.

At last count, 29 Democratic challengers have already signed on to the Responsible Plan, with more to follow shortly. I’ll post a complete update tomorrow.


  1. 1

    GBS spews:

    One of the key elements of this Darcy’s plan is a “Diplomatic surge.”

    That was supposed to be the 2nd part of Bush’s “surge.” The problem is, Bush never implemented it. No war ends cleanly without a sound diplomatic solution. Korea for example.

    As Lt. General Sanchez, who commanded all forces in Iraq starting in June of 2003, said Bush’s surge plan was an attempt for him to “stave off defeat.” Just long enough at least until he leaves office.

    The military has performed it’s job flawlessly, but at the deaths of many a fine patriot.

    Bush has spent more time trying to protect corporations from litigation for violating our privacy rights, than working on the diplomatic surge for Iraq.

    The violence has dropped in Baghdad. This, according to Bush last year, a lull in violence to “acceptable levels” would be necessary to implement a diplomatic solution.

    There is NO diplomatic solution. Bush has sacraficed American lives to protect his legacy.

    And conservatives say Liberals don’t support the troops??

    If by “support” you mean throwing men and women into the proverbial meat grinder along with 100’s of billions of dollars, no we don’t support Republican polices that have a proven track record of failure.

  2. 3

    Daddy Love spews:

    Goddam Bush administration. There are so many Republicans and their contracting buddies siphoning off public funds into their own pockets what we can’t even pay off the Sunnis to stop fighting so that we can pretend “the surge is working:”

    Leading members of the 80,000-strong Sahwa, or awakening, councils have said they will stop fighting unless payment of their $10 a day (£5) wage is resumed. The fighters are accusing the US military of using them to clear al-Qaida militants from dangerous areas and then abandoning them.

    A telephone survey by GuardianFilms for Channel 4 News reveals that out of 49 Sahwa councils four with more than 1,400 men have already quit, 38 are threatening to go on strike and two already have.


    We tried to get the government to hire them as police so we could stop paying them, but the government is Shi’ite and wouldn’t hire an armed Sunni for any reason, so we just stopped paying them. Yeah, I’m sure that won’t have any consequences.

    This is why we have to get out. There is no winning here. Every move we make will be wrong. Plus it’s their fucking country, not ours.

  3. 4

    Colonel Scanlon 'Poof' Machinacione spews:

    As a former military man and a current Ravenwood military contractor, I just wonder if you selfish war protestors have thought about the fact that if this war ends, I and all the other contract ‘meatgrinders’ will be out of a job!

  4. 7

    Ed Weston spews:

    Col, we’ll get you a job caring for pistachio trees under a solar energy farm. If you still need that combat feeling, you can take on the pests hand to paw,tooth, claw, beak, or antenna.

  5. 8


    Diplomacy IS the key element in resolving Iraq and it is THE undiscussed issue of this campaign. BTW if I am wrong on this, I would welcome recommendations as to reading.

    The Darcy Plan says vague things about Diplomacy and all three surviving candidates have avoided the issue .. giving it lip service at best.

    Sadly, the intellectual media .. from the Council on Foreign Relations to Human Events, are also quiet on these issues., Are they afraid to comment during a political season? …

    Why is this issue so little discussed?

    Because a diplomatic solution, which MUST occur, is going to require decisions that probably can not be debated in public without the media turning the debate into yet another circus of recriminations.

    For whatever it is worth, here is my analysis as an amateur:


    Sadly even the most minimal. most obvious decisions will be controversial. For example, Kurdish policy. We do not have one. Turkey, Russia, Kurdestan, and Iran all do … they would wipe out the Kurds as an independent people. The situation, moreover, i8s a lot like the situation in Israel … “morals” are trumped by oil and the control of oil.

    The relationship to Israel i9s never discussed by the media but the Kurds are allied with Israel for obvious reasons.

    So, if by diplomacy we decide to let .. say .. Turkey have it s way, President Next will take a huge moral blame.

    I assume that McCain, Hillary, and Obama all have thought a lot about this simple issue but there is no way they could discuss it without losing votes.

    There are many other similar, “minimal decisions.” Another example may be the fate of Kuwait. Ironically Sadam’s claim to this toy kingdom does have some merit and strategically could make sense if it resulted in a more stable economy for the Iraqi Sunnis. Imagine, however, hullabaloo if any candidate suggested such a “minor thing.”

    While I am at it, a VERY minor issue, unless you are Jewish, is that US sponsored constitution is expressly antisemitic, disowning Iraqi Jews (who have been there for about 2500 years) of their property.

    and these are the MINOR issues!


    The most important of these is the recognition that solving bush’s mess will have long time consequences that could, if mishandled, lead anywhere including WWIII.

    The most obvious issue here is the future of Israel. That is a real issue because our defense of the Jewish state distorts all other security parameters in the area. Natural allies of the US .. Syria, Iran, and Egypt can not be our close allies until that issue is solved.

    BUT Israel in not the largest issue.

    The key to this is understanding the Indian Ocean. Control of the Indian Ocean is critical to the flow of oil and therefore to the status of ALL the world powers. China has as much of a stake in the Indian Ocean as we do.

    Right now the Indian Ocean Ia an American lake. Achieving the kind of support Darcy’s plan talks about will require long term commitments to the future of that Lake. As one small example, recently Pakistan has allowed China to establish a naval base on the Indian Ocean! Iran and India are both in the early stages of an arms war to create fleets that could challenge the US there as well.

    The reasons for these nationalistic efforts are obvious as is the lack of US policy. To get the help of major players, like China, India or Iran, we will need publicly or quietly to concede some level of control of this critical waterway.

    Moreover, control of this lake is not independent of what happens on its borders. Peace in the Indian ocean can be challenged by surrogate wars in Somalia or Sri Lanka. So far those wars have been minor annoyances but what happens if, say, Iran, decides to support the Tamils in Sri Lanka or the Chinese support one or the other side in Somalia?

    Most serious of all is the fate of Saudi Arabia. Every economist I have read says that SA will fall in the not far off future. That is fine by me, but what will replace it? An even more strict Wahhabi regime (Taliban), a Chinese friendly corporate regime, or ???? From the POV of China, some sort of corporate state would be easiest to do business with. That might be OK for us too, although there is the little matter of democracy. OTOH, Iran may not want a corporate state because it, Iran, is committed a model of Islamic democracy. Decisions as to control of the Indian Ocean may well determine the future of Saudi Arabia.


    Some will say that we need a simple policy .. US should act like a minor power and get out of everyone else’s affairs. Well, imagine what would happen in Hillary proposed sharing the Indian Ocean with China?

  6. 9

    I-Burn spews:

    Why does “Vietnamization” come to mind??? Hope it works out better this time, anyway…

  7. 11

    Colonel Scanlon 'Poof' Machinacione spews:

    re 9: Bush assured us that there are no similarities between Vietnam and Iraq. So, where could you possibly get such an idea?

  8. 12

    Mark The Redneck-Patriot spews:

    Didn’t you fucking idiots learn anything in the 1980s? Reagan showed how wars are won.

    Peace comes from destroying your enemy’s ability to make war. It does not come from attempting to pacify them, placate them, negotiate with them, or surrendering to them.

    You were wrong then, and you are wrong now.

    Now go write in italics for a while…

  9. 13

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 6

    You invoke Ravenwood, but don’t understand the meaning of “nuts” in that context? That’s sad.

  10. 17

    Don Joe spews:

     DL, you do realize that you’re trying to use logic in response to truthiness, don’t you?

  11. 18

    Hannah spews:

    I am getting sick of reading this plan when our own presidential candidates can’t give us ANY idea as to what their plans are to end this war!

  12. 19

    Don Joe spews:

    Hi. I’m Mark the Redneck’s clue phone. He can’t answer your calls right now, because he’s an idiot.

  13. 20


    Hannah @18 – Ask them to endorse this plan then.

    SeattleJew @8 – The plan has to necessarily be vague on the diplomatic front. Diplomacy is a process of give and take. You cannot lay down absolutes.

    However you mustn’t dismiss that any diplomatic effort would entail economic and humanitarian aspects of which the plan does address.

  14. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    If Darcy laid out wonderful, detailed plans as to how withdrawal was to be carried out, the trolls and GOP would attack her as trying to put herself above the “experts” in the field, and of “not listening to the commanders on the ground” (you know, those guys Bush replaces when they disagree with his latest idiocy). So she defers in this plan, wisely, but then she’s attacked for not offering specifics. I think we know what’s going on: it’s just “attack whatever Darcy says.”

    I get that. But listen up, wingynutties. We’re getting out, we’re leaving Iraq to the Iraqis, and instead we will focus our suddenly not financially hemorrhaging nation on counter-terrorism (and counter-proliferation), and we’ll actually do something to reduce the threats facing our country, instead of increasing them as Bush does.

    And you’ll hate every minute of it. I’m OK with that.

  15. 22

    Colonel Scanlon 'Poof' Machinacione spews:

    re 21: If we are going to leave Iraq and let their oil wealth benefit the people of Iraq, logically, shouldn’t we do the same in the U.S.?

    I abhor the liberal attempt to communize Iraqi oil wealth and I will fight to the death (for $300,000 a year)to save the Iraqi people from that sort of socialistic excess.

  16. 25

    GBS spews:

    @ 24:

    You mean after the single worse day for the US Marines in terms of dead??

    Yeah, that emboldened the terrorists didn’t it?