Momentum builds for the Responsible Plan

It hasn’t been 24 hours since Darcy Burner and nine other Democratic challengers introduced their Responsible Plan for ending the war in Iraq, and we’re already seeing a surge of new challengers signing on. Blue Jersey reports both Dennis Shulman (NJ-05) and Tom Wyka (NJ-11) have endorsed the plan, while Darius Shahinfar (NY-21) announced his support in a post to The Albany Project. Closer to home, Larry Grant (ID-01) marks the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion by signing on to the plan, while Left in the West reports that Lt. Col. Jim Hunt (MT-At Large) is on board too.

Meanwhile, down in Washington’s Mexico, where Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick are in a battle for the Democratic nomination to face off against Republican incumbent Gordon Smith in Oregon’s US Senate race, the two candidates issued dueling endorsements just minutes apart.

Novick lauds the Responsible Plan and its creators:

“I am proud to throw my support behind this new effort to build a progressive consensus on ending the war in Iraq in a way that will help that nation rebuild, while reversing the damage the war has done here at home,” said Novick. “Many of the ideas contained in the plan are not new and, indeed, I and others have been advocating for them over the past months. But with this clear set of objectives, I believe that Darcy Burner, Major General Eaton and others are laying the foundation for a coalition that I believe can bring our troops home with honor.”

Meanwhile, Merkley stresses a point that holds as true in WA-08 and other districts as it does in the Oregon Senate race:

“I opposed this war publicly from the very beginning. It’s now long past time to bring our sons and daughters home, repay the debt we owe our veterans, and restore America’s standing in the world,” said House Speaker Jeff Merkley said. “Gordon Smith and the Bush Administration led us into this war and have never offered a plan to get us out. Smith has manipulated and confused the media and the public and done nothing to bring an end to this war.”

That’s a theme that Burner could easily push in her district where Dave Reichert talks about wanting to get out of Iraq, while voting 100% with President Bush on the war. In response to the Plan, Reichert aide Mike Shield even told the Seattle P-I, “I think both sides would agree we have the same plan: We want our troops home as soon as possible.” The difference is, Burner is actually doing something about it, her efforts made even all the more impressive by the fact that she’s not the one in Congress. And in talking to the Seattle Times, Shields sticks his foot yet further in the congressman’s mouth…

A spokesman for Reichert said the congressman believes military leaders on the ground — not candidates for political office — should make decisions about when and how to end the war.

Huh. Last time I checked, civilian control of the military was a cornerstone of our democracy, and a sacred principle that has guided our officer corps for better than two centuries. But, you know, if an independent military works so well in Pakistan, I suppose it would work here too.

So far, Republican efforts to refute or dismiss the plan have been rather feeble, but I sure hope they keep trying, for as long as Republicans keep championing the status quo, the more voters will start looking elsewhere for leadership. The GOP has long attempted to brand itself as strong on defense, but as Julie points out over on Red State Rebels, voters have already started to redefine the notion of national security: “It’s the Iraq recession economy, stupid.”

That in the end is one of the Responsible Plan’s greatest strengths. It does look to the generals on the ground to determine the logistics of the pull-out, but it doesn’t get bogged down in the logistics itself; the generals will receive instructions to initiate a withdrawal, and as they have done throughout our nation’s history, the generals will follow their orders to the best of their ability. Meanwhile, the Plan broadens the conversation to include the political, diplomatic and economic efforts absolutely necessary to achieve stability in the region, to repair the economic, political and constitutional damage done at home, and to prevent a policy fiasco like this from happening again in the future.

If Reichert and his fellow Republicans have better ideas on how to give the American people what they clearly want, I suggest they come up with their own plan, rather than dismissing this one out of hand. In the meanwhile, Democratic challengers, recognizing an opportunity to change the conversation on national security from the current narrow (and pointless) debate over the outcome of “the surge,” will continue to sign on to the Plan in droves.

UPDATE:
The Oregonian reports on the Merkley and Novick campaigns squabbling over who was first to sign on to the Responsible Plan, but the real money quote comes from the Smith campaign:

And as for the incumbent, Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.? “I went to the executive summary and thought Gordon Smith wrote it,” said the senator’s campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond.

If the immediate goal of the Plan is to change the conversation on national security, then they hit a home run in Oregon. Meanwhile, Merkley elaborates on his endorsement over on Huffington Post.

Comments

  1. 1

    pu spews:

    GOLDY 5 PEOPLE DOES NOT MAKE A WAVE.THIS PLAN IS A NON STARTER.LETS FACE IT THE PLANS A LOSER AND SO IS DARCY.

  2. 2

    Blue John spews:

    @1 So says a person who don’t understand the concept of upper and lower case letters.

  3. 3

    Right Stuff spews:

    This “plan” is barely worth the paper it is written on…

    The funny part is that this group of wannabees were trumped by Hillary, who sucked up all the media coverage with HER Iraq plan, unveiled at the same time…

    Which, by the way, looks nothing like the wannabee plan…

    All this posturing shows is that the Democrats are not only divided by race and gender, but with what to do about Iraq as well.

    (by the way, did Darcy give her cutting commentary on the fashion of the other Wannabees in the meeting?)

  4. 4

    ArtFart spews:

    The best sign that this plan has “legs” is that the wingfucks are making such a fuss about it. Otherwise they’d probably ignore it and let it fade away.

  5. 6

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    Again, Dave Reichert thanks Darcy for revealing what her idea of a “Plan” is…..a bunch of regurgitated mumbo-jumbo. Do you really see any inkling of benefit from “Darcy’s Musings”?
    Let’s see–
    Negotiate with terrorists.
    Ignore terrorists.
    Ignore countries who harbor & enable terrorists.

    Terrific.

  6. 7

    correctnotright spews:

    @5: No Piper, but it will bring “mission accomplished” back to reality.

    Ask Dave Reichert: If we actually listened to the military – would we have banned the entire Iraq

  7. 8

    correctnotright spews:

    oops – Banned the entire Iraqi army, had orders to only protect the oil and then fired all the generals that diagreed with Rumsfeld (that “brilliant” strategist) that more troop were needed?

    Did Reichert even hear what Petreus said about the surge? Have we made ANY politcal progress?
    Why is there STILL not electricity?
    Why is the commander in the Middle East resigning?
    How many Iraqis have simply fled the country?

  8. 9

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    This is brilliant. The Bush regime and their pal McCain think the 100 year war in Iraq is a plan. Let’s put it to the vote – last time I checked, 70% of Americans wanted us out of Iraq. Only the faaaaaaaaar right wing chickenhawks on this board will vote for the war, mostly because they don’t have to fight it.

    It’s a brilliant PR move on the Dem’s part and it will work.

  9. 10

    ArtFart spews:

    Ahhh….”mission accomplished”. So, what has been “accomplished”, anyway?

    Another five years of this and how much more will be “accomplished”?

    $200/barrel oil?
    $12.50/gallon gas?
    $7.50 for a head of lettuce?
    $27.95 for a pound of hamburger? (Special this week!)
    Another 4,000 American service men and women killed?
    Another 20,000 or 30,000 wounded, maybe 10,000 of those permanently disabled?
    An exchange rate of six or seven dollars to the Euro?
    Another quarter million or so Iraqis killed?
    The United States viewed not only as a laughingstock, but as a pariah rogue nation by the rest of the world.

    Boy, oh boy, I can hardly wait.

  10. 11

    Daddy Love spews:

    Oh, that Atrios (http://atrios.blogspot.com):

    …let’s remember the Republicans have chosen a deranged fossil who wants everyone to die in eternal war, doesn’t understand or care about the economy or healthcare, and can’t tell his pruny old ass from Iran or Al Qaeda. Oh, and who for utterly cynical political reasons cavorts with religious maniacs who hate gays and Catholics and are openly cheering for the end of the world.

  11. 12

    Daddy Love spews:

    6 Cnical

    Negotiate with terrorists.
    Ignore terrorists.
    Ignore countries who harbor & enable terrorists.

    Nope.
    1. Give Iraq back to the Iraqis. It’s their fucking home, not our toy.
    2. Engage the other nations in the region in keeping the peace for their own benefit.
    3. Cooperate and coordinate with other countries to identify and arrest, try, and imprison terrorists.

    You know, stuff that works.

    BTW, when you say “Ignore countries who harbor & enable terrorists.” you mean Pakistan, right? You know Pakistan, it’s the place in which McCain said we should not conduct surgical or covert ops strikes if we have actionable intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts.

  12. 13

    harry poon spews:

    These WingNutz™ create a tragic mess and when a plan is made to fix THEIR mess, they criticise the plan as shallow and unworkable.

    How would they know?

    All they can do is dig holes and critcise any plan for getting out of the hole.

  13. 15

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Hmm…bobbing for Nutz? No thanks!

    Off topic, Anthony Minghella and Arthur C. Clarke both died today. RIP.

  14. 16

    Daddy Love spews:

    With “100 years of war” as the only alternative that is on the table, Darcy’s plan starts to sound pretty damn intelligent.

  15. 17

    correctnotright spews:

    McCain: Makes the foreign policy blunder of the campaign:
    caught on tape saying that “Iran is training al qaeda and sending them into Iraq”.

    What a doomfus – Iran is shia and al qaeda hate the shia – they are sunni. He doesn’t even understand the war – how can he lead it?

    Is he off his meds? Where are all his great foreign policy advisors – oh yeah, Karl Rove must have made him say it.

    Nothing but pity for the poor hack job called McCain – with Leiberman by his side having to correct him….pathetic.

    Droning on about how the surge has worked so well….that we can’t take our troops out. What-A-TOOL

  16. 19

    Daddy Love spews:

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Democratic nominating process is over. Hillary kept the hopes of idiots and reporters alive with her “Let’s seat Florida and Michigan,” antics, but with Florida not re-voting and Michigan unlikely to, the legitimacy of this and its likelihood of ocurring are fading, and it becomes all the more clear that she cannot catch up to Barack Obama. Superdelegates, not being either idiots or reporters, are already shifting over the the big hoss.

    Even the reporters are beginning to catch on to Hillary’s non-inevitability, so how obvious does that mean it has become?

  17. 20

    correctnotright spews:

    @15: Goodbye to Arthur C. Clarke – it is only 2008 and there is no Space Odyssey today.

    Say goodbye to HAL for me – on second thought, tell HAL to open the damn pod bay door!

  18. 21

    correctnotright spews:

    Clinton has lost – especially after the speech today by Obama – that he wrote himself.

    I would like to see Bush write a speech of more than two words….

  19. 22

    Daddy Love spews:

    17 cnr

    Yeah, when you’re such an idiot on foreign policy that Joe Lieberman knows slightly more than you, isn’t it time to hang it up? Put down the venti latte and head home?

  20. 23

    ArtFart spews:

    Here’s an example of how far our ethos has collapsed:

    There’s a news story out about a cardiac blood-flow monitoring device with a software bug that’s nearly killed at least one surgical patient by unexpectedly heating the end of the catheter to 500 degrees and cooking his heart from the inside out.

    The manufacturer of this device knew of the problem for quite some time, corrected it in newly-shipped units but didn’t issue a recall or inform all of its customers of the hazard.

    I used to design medical electronics a couple of decades ago, and back then the idea of holding back such information about a life-critical product was totally inconceivable. Now it’s apparently a “corporate” decision to weigh the prospect of terrible harm against “marketing concerns”.

  21. 24

    spews:

    WADR

    I HOPE Darcy does not make the mistake of pushing this as a “plan,” Unless Reichert’s folks are brain dead it could cost her the election.

    The likely scenario is that Obama will be running vs McCain. Unlike Hillary, Obama has put forward a plan with real contingencies. Hillary (and Darcy) propose something that is so unrealistic that they open themselves to charges of panderism and worse.

    This is sad because the “plan” can be viewed as a legislative agenda to promote peace. In that way it is actually quite good and my understanding from her campaign is that this is the intent.

    What is the difference?

    Saying we MUST withdraw all troops asap (the Hilalry Pander position) is idiotic. What would you do if war breaks out between Iran and the Kurds?? What happens if some real bad guy takes power in the South an reinvigorates the claim on Kuwait? What if Syria annexed part of Iraq a la Lebanon?

    Saying that we MUST prepare legislation that can assist in a withdrawal is another matter all together. In this context the “plan” makes good comments about the need to top reform how the military are managed.

    If BHO is the candidate, then he will be running on a lot of the good things in thsi plan BUT the percipitous, unthinking withdrawal will NOT be part of his campaign. A stance like this would put her at odd with Obama and give Reichert maneuvering room.

    If HRC is the candidate, I suppose this is OK but then I also think that McCain will win and take Reichert with him.

  22. 25

    James spews:

    Another five years of this and how much more will be “accomplished”?

    $200/barrel oil?
    $12.50/gallon gas?
    $7.50 for a head of lettuce?
    $27.95 for a pound of hamburger? (Special this week!)
    ——————————

    Iraq may be at the root of many evils, but the developments above are not among them.

  23. 26

    Daddy Love spews:

    24 SJ

    A) McCain says 100 years in iraq. How hard is it to comeup with an altenative to that?

    B) Unless Reichert’s folks are brain dead it could cost her the election. Wow, not too scary, is it?

  24. 27

    Don Joe spews:

    A spokesman for Reichert said the congressman believes military leaders on the ground — not candidates for political office — should make decisions about when and how to end the war.

    Hm…

    There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. — Gen. David Petraeus.

    So, Rep. Reichert, when are you going to actually listen to what the military leaders on the ground have to say?

  25. 29

    Mark1 spews:

    Ditzy Darcy’s plan sure is gaining momentum! The drive-thru line at the Capitol Hill Jack in the Box was unbeleivable when I drove by. That number 9 without onions deal she thought up sure must be something!

  26. 30

    spews:

    Mark1,

    If there is anything that qualifies as burger-flippin’ ditzy it’s a wingnut hanging out on a liberal blog, taking silly-ass pot shots at someone a LOT smarter and more accomplished.

    Maybe therapy would work better for your self-loathing problem.

  27. 31

    ArtFart spews:

    25 I beg to differ. The expenditure of so much of the money our government didn’t have on such a fool’s errand has served as much to undermine our economy as the alteration of “rules of business” to allow bankers and financiers to become crooks, and the intemporate dilution of the currency and sale of our institutions in a last, desperate scramble to keep everything from falling apart.

    There was an effort made by the administration (a comparatively minor one, compared to trying to scare us all to death of Saddam’s “weapons” and “the terr’ists”) to make us believe that the cost of energy might be held in check by a stable and productive Iraqi petroleum industry once the smoke had cleared. That was right along with Rumsfeld’s preciction of “the children throwing flowers at our feet”.

  28. 32

    ArtFart spews:

    I fully expect someone to reply to what I wrote in (31) proclaiming that “The stock market soared today!! Everything’s gonna be fine!! Bush has saved us all! Make the pie higher!!!” or something like that.

    Of course, the price of stock went up…along with the price of everything else, in direct proportion to the printing of still more dollars nobody really wants.

  29. 33

    James spews:

    25 I beg to differ. The expenditure of so much of the money our government didn’t have on such a fool’s errand has served as much to undermine our economy as the alteration of “rules of business” to allow bankers and financiers to become crooks, and the intemporate dilution of the currency and sale of our institutions in a last, desperate scramble to keep everything from falling apart.
    ——————–

    This may be, but it has little to do with $110 oil and high gas costs, and I’m not aware of anyone who is making that connection. High energy costs can be attributed to the falling dollar, rising demand in China and India and elsewhere, oil trading, and geopolitical events. The falling dollar is a direct result of the Fed cuts, which have been largely influenced by the debacle in the housing and credit markets.

    Iraq is a drain to be sure. But it’s one of many critical issues we must address in order to get our fiscal house in order. Even without the war expense we are staring at major – and growing – deficits in the years ahead, and that’s not factoring in the comfort being provided by the social security surplus, which masks our actual deficits.

    And none of the candidates addresses these issues head on, for what that’s worth.

  30. 34

    Daddy Love spews:

    33 J

    has little to do with $110 oil and high gas costs, and I’m not aware of anyone who is making that connection.

    There are plenty of people making that connection, Jack, and you’ll find out when they vote Democratic in ’08.

  31. 35

    James spews:

    There are plenty of people making that connection, Jack, and you’ll find out when they vote Democratic in ‘08.

    ————————

    Let me be more specific – I’m aware of no oil analysts making that connection. If you can find that analysis I’d love to see it.

  32. 36

    Don Joe spews:

    High energy costs can be attributed to the falling dollar…

    And, to what might one attribute the falling dollar?

  33. 37

    Don Joe spews:

    You gotta love our resident trolls. First they claimed that Burner lacks appropriate experience, which was a bogus canard anyway, but what does Burner do? She goes out and does precisely what a representative is supposed to do: identifies a problem, gathers together people with expertise to devise a plan to solve the problem, and garners support for that plan amongst her colleagues.

    Now that she’s demonstrated that she has the skills, they then have to pooh pooh the result with even more half-assed bullshit, because, clearly, not one of them has the expertise required to demonstrate where this plan is flawed.

    Meanwhile, Reichert’s spokesperson’s pay lip service to the military leadership on the ground while Reichert fails to actually listen to what that military leadership has to say about the problem.

    If the folks who voted for Reichert two years ago aren’t kicking themselves now, they should be.

  34. 38

    James spews:

    And, to what might one attribute the falling dollar?

    ——————————-

    Far and away the debacle in the subprime and credit markets that is now gripping global markets. The Fed is attempting to contain this by cutting rates aggressively and and making borrowing by banks easier. That makes other currencies more attractive. Today’s 3/4 point clip was the most recent response. The rapid rise in oil over the last few months is directly linked to the fall in the dollar – oil’s denominated in dollars and like gold it’s been used as a hedge against inflation. For Americans this is a double whammy – energy costs are going up as our economy falters (Europeans are not experiencing the same rise in energy costs).

    The dramatic rise in oil is not an oil supply/demand issue.

  35. 39

    polio christ spews:

    Any white person that says that what Rev. Wright said is unfathomable is an idiot. It’s very fathomable.

    People who act as if they are non-plussed and incensed over it are full of shit — and wouldn’t have voted for him anyway.

    Tempest in a teapot.

    And don’t forget to get your children vaccinated.

  36. 40

    Mark1 spews:

    @30 Darryll,

    Still mad that you went out and bought those tampons the other day like a good boy eh?

  37. 41

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 38

    Far and away the debacle in the subprime and credit markets that is now gripping global markets.

    Well, there is a bit of a timing problem with that. Against the Euro, for example, the current decline in the dollar started back in January. Of 2006.

    But, to what do we ascribe the sub-prime lending crisis? (Hint: where the government spends money, and who benefits from specific tax cuts matters.)

  38. 42

    ArtFart spews:

    39 With the way things are going at present, it might be postulated that the Reverend Wright’s supplication to the Almighty is being answered.

  39. 43

    James spews:

    Well, there is a bit of a timing problem with that. Against the Euro, for example, the current decline in the dollar started back in January. Of 2006.

    But, to what do we ascribe the sub-prime lending crisis? (Hint: where the government spends money, and who benefits from specific tax cuts

    ———————–

    The dollar has been declining steadily against the euro since the beginning of 06, which is about when housing peaked. It in fact rose against the euro throughout all of 05. The subprime/credit mess is the result of a number of factors: the cheap money that was made available following the 2000 market crash and 9/11 (the housing bubble and immense leveraging taken on by the banks and investment funds – many of which are now under extraordinary pressure – resulted directly from this), poor regulatory oversight, a failed credit rating system, complex securities backed by worthless or next to worthless collateral, over leveraging.

    This has all been discussed in great detail elsewhere.

  40. 44

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 43

    The subprime/credit mess is the result of a number of factors

    You’re not looking deep enough. None of the factors you listed happened in a vacuum. There’s another factor that influenced all of the factors you cited.

    I even gave you a hint.

  41. 45

    CJS spews:

    The subprime/credit mess is the result of a number of factors

    You’re not looking deep enough. None of the factors you listed happened in a vacuum. There’s another factor that influenced all of the factors you cited.

    I even gave you a hint.

    ————

    DJ, yes, and they’re most welcome such as they are. But account deficits are only part of the story, especially recently.

  42. 46

    Don Joe spews:

    But account deficits are only part of the story, especially recently.

    Pardon me, but I think we need to progress down the Socratic path a tad further.

    What were the motivating factors affecting the behavior of each of the players in the factors that led to the current sub-prime/credit crisis? Why, for example, were investors putting money into derivatives based on sub-prime mortgages? What were their opportunity costs, and what drove those opportunity costs?

  43. 47

    SRJ spews:

    @27 Don Joe

    There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. — Gen. David Petraeus.

    So, Rep. Reichert, when are you going to actually listen to what the military leaders on the ground have to say?

    And in what way isn’t he listening to “military leaders on the ground”?

  44. 48

    Don Joe spews:

    And in what way isn’t he listening to “military leaders on the ground”?

    When the “military leaders on the ground” (phrase from Reichert’s spokesperson, not me) tell you that there is no military solution for the problem, don’t you think it’s time to start working on a political solution rather than making snide remarks when someone else works on one?

  45. 49

    SRJ spews:

    When the “military leaders on the ground” (phrase from Reichert’s spokesperson, not me) tell you that there is no military solution for the problem, don’t you think it’s time to start working on a political solution rather than making snide remarks when someone else works on one?

    But he’s deferring to Gen. Petraeus. Are you familiar with Petraeus’ complete thinking?

    And on this:

    Now that she’s demonstrated that she has the skills, they then have to pooh pooh the result with even more half-assed bullshit, because, clearly, not one of them has the expertise required to demonstrate where this plan is flawed.

    Are you saying this plan has been fully vetted and is flawless? (I’d be interested to hear Petraeus’ or Cordesman’s views, wouldn’t you?).

  46. 50

    Don Joe spews:

    Are you saying this plan has been fully vetted and is flawless?

    No. Why do you expect it to be?

    There are two points worth considering:

    1) Primarily, my point is about the skills required to participate in the legislative process. She’s demonstrated those skills in spades.

    2) The plan doesn’t have to be flawless. If that were the criteria for the validity of any plan, we’d be for ever stuck in the famous paralysis of analysis with respect to any plan. The question is whether or not there are any flaws significant enough to make the plan unworkable, and I expect people to point out those flaws before they drop the plan in the circular file. Please tell me you don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.

  47. 51

    SRJ spews:

    The question is whether or not there are any flaws significant enough to make the plan unworkable, and I expect people to point out those flaws before they drop the plan in the circular file.

    I see, so it could have some serious issues is what you’re saying. I have yet to hear any comment on it from the candidates (they all discussed Iraq at length yesterday) strangely, the media, or various analysts. So we’ll have to wait for that, eh?

    I imagine the question on a lot of people’s minds, at least the ones that think about these issues, is how to manage a withdrawal if chaos breaks out at some point along the way.

    The Iraq Study Group discussed this, of course, and Clinton and Obama have alluded to it, but I didn’t see much about this in the Responsible Plan.

    Maybe you did?

  48. 52

    Don Joe spews:

    I imagine the question on a lot of people’s minds, at least the ones that think about these issues, is how to manage a withdrawal if chaos breaks out at some point along the way.

    The Iraq Study Group discussed this, of course, and Clinton and Obama have alluded to it, but I didn’t see much about this in the Responsible Plan.

    Interesting that you should say that, because the entire section of the Responsible Plan entitled “Create the capacity for nation-building and the use of diplomatic power by both the United States and the international community” is an implementation of the Hamilton Commission’s recommendations for addressing that very issue.

  49. 53

    SRJ spews:

    Interesting that you should say that, because the entire section of the Responsible Plan entitled “Create the capacity for nation-building and the use of diplomatic power by both the United States and the international community” is an implementation of the Hamilton Commission’s recommendations for addressing that very issue.

    Oh, but these are simply goals and steps that are recommended. There’s no time condition placed on them and we aren’t told how they’re be coordinated with a troop withdrawal. Yet the notion of the withdrawal seems to be that it will take place in a clockwork fashion. And that takes us back to the basic question of how the plan will be adjusted if chaos breaks during the withdrawal (As we know from the current administration, plans and goals are easy to fashion, it’s making them work that’s the hard part.) The ISG discussed the high stakes of a precipitous withdrawal, but you find little discussion of what happens if plans don’t work out in terms of either time or events. Interestingly, one of our major newspapers discussed just this topic with regard to the candidates’ plans (Hint: it’s located on the east coast).

    Again, we’ll have to wait to see what the candidates and others have to say about the Responsible Plan in the days and weeks ahead, and hopefully, as you so thoughtfully noted, whatever flaws it contains will eventually be thoroughly discussed and vetted.

    Let’s stay tuned, eh?

  50. 54

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 53

    I’m beginning to wonder if you’ve read the plan. On the subject of troop withdrawals, Burner’s proposal, in general, follows Baker-Hamilton’s timeline, though it calls for that timeline to be updated in light of changes since Baker-Hamilton was written. As the report states:

    Moreover, the drawdown of troops must be coordinated with increased civil and economic assistance, and executed in such a way as to contain the threat of terrorism and prevent an abrupt destabilization of the region.

    Perhaps you were expecting Burner’s plan to have a more detailed timeline? Why? If it had a more detailed timeline, would you be complaining that it was micromanaging the withdrawal? For that matter, what does the word “precipitate” mean, and does it mean the same thing it did when Baker-Hamilton offered their report?

    Additionally, one of the problems with Baker-Hamilton is that the report fails to define “chaos” in a way that appreciably distinguishes what the commission had in mind from what’s actually been happening in Iraq. Exactly how has our continued military presence in Iraq kept the situation from descending into this chaos? Even the increase in troop levels of the “surge” wasn’t responsible for recent reductions in attacks on US troops. That was accomplished by paying insurgents more money that AQI had been paying them. That, too, is a strategy that’s going to last indefinitely.

    Lastly, while we can “wait and see,” as you suggest, there’s also the role that this plan plays in the WA-08 race. Burner has taken the initiative on this issue, and Reichert is left holding his dick. He can’t go out and come up with his own plan without looking like he’s simply being reactionary, so the only strategy he has left is to pooh-pooh the plan and hope that nobody notices how he has failed to actually do what representatives are supposed to do.

    Regardless of what one thinks of the details of the plan, it’s effect on the race isn’t going to be reassuring to Reichert fans.

  51. 55

    Don Joe spews:

    That, too, is a strategy that’s going to last indefinitely.

    Should read:

    That, too, is not a strategy that’s going to last indefinitely.