Sunday, January 21, 2007

Where they stand on Iraq

The Des Moines Register

January 21, 2007

Here are brief synopses of the latest actions and statements by 2008 presidential prospects on the U.S. military in Iraq, and on President Bush's tactics.


Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware

Is co-sponsor of a Senate resolution objecting to Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq by roughly 21,500, calling the president's strategy "not in the national interest."

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York

Wants to cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at this month's level, require Bush to seek authorization from Congress for further deployments and set conditions for continued funding of Iraqi security forces. "We need to change course."

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut

Has introduced a bill that would prohibit the number of U.S. combat forces being increased beyond current levels without congressional approval. "The time for blank checks is over."

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina

Has called for immediate withdrawal of 40,000 U.S. troops and has accused Congress of failing to act more swiftly to stop the Bush plan. "You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war."

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts

Supported a short-term increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq in 2004, but now says conditions have deteriorated. Now supports a Senate resolution condemning the Bush plan. "The lesson is simply that we need to change course rapidly."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio

Supports cutting off funding for the U.S. military in Iraq altogether to force an immediate withdrawal of troops.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois

Supports capping troop numbers at current levels but does not support cutting funding for troops in the field. "Congress has to respond as a coequal branch of government trying to constrain the president's approach and modify it."

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico

Says U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq this year, and opposes the proposal by Bush for a short-term troop surge to secure Baghdad and other areas. "It will only add to the sectarian violence."

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa

Asks Congress to prevent Bush from sending extra troops by refusing to authorize funding for it. Has also called on Congress for stricter oversight of reconstruction. "Are they just going to blindly approve another $100 million?"


Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas

Opposes Bush's plan to send 21,500 extra troops to help secure Baghdad and quell sectarian violence. "The United States should not increase its involvement until Sunnis and Shia are more willing to cooperate with each other instead of shooting at each other."

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City

Supports Bush's troop increase, but less than he supports the Bush plan's political and economic aspects. Advocates a more rigorous system of measuring results from the Iraqi government and setting a stepped-up time frame for achieving those results.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas

Characterizes Bush's plan as "gutsy," although he declines to say whether he favors the extra troop deployment. Instead, he praises the aspect that emphasizes getting neighboring Middle Eastern countries to push for peace. "That's something I think that's been missing a long time."

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia

Has been highly critical of Bush's handling of the war but gives measured support to a plan to increase the number of troops. Says the number of troops is less important than the speed and force they use. "It's about the relentlessness of being able to support our military. And we don't have it today."

Sen. John McCain of Arizona

Has been critical of Bush administration's handling of the war and three years ago called for increasing troop levels beyond what Bush has proposed. "It's going to be difficult and it's going to be hard, and I'm not positive - I can't guarantee it will succeed."

Former Gov. George Pataki of New York

Has not stated a clear position on whether he supports Bush's plan but says that a best-case scenario will include troops beginning to come home in about a year.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts

Agrees generally that more troops are required to restore peace to the population centers of Iraq before a political settlement can be reached by warring Shiite and Sunni factions. "It is impossible to defeat the insurgency without first providing security for the Iraqi people."

Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado

Is skeptical that a troop increase will lead to victory in the U.S. war against worldwide terrorists. "Whether an increased American military presence in Iraq will aid us in winning the global war against radical Islam ... I am not convinced that it will."

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin

Calls Bush's plan "bold" but doubts that the troop increase will lead to a U.S. military victory in Iraq. "I don't think that sending in 21,500 more troops will resolve the conflict on its own."

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