Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leslie Byrne Takes The Pledge - She Supports the Responsible Plan

Leslie Byrne is one of the signers endorsing the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. Other signers include Darcy Burner, candidate for the U.S. House, Washington State; Donna Edwards, candidate for the U.S. House, Maryland; Tom Periello, candidate for the U.S. House, Virginia; Jeff Merkley, candidate for the U.S. Senate, Oregon. There are a bunch of other progressive candidates who have signed up as well as several top ranking former military officers. Whose name is missing? Well, go to the list of endorsees and tell me who else you find from Virginia other than Leslie and Tom?

Oh, nobody.

You might say, missing in action is every other Democratic candidate running in the 11th CD. In fairness, Doug Denneny has stated that he is opposed to the war in Iraq. However, he hasn’t quite gotten around to signing up with the plan. Nor has Gerry Connolly or Lori Alexander, the two other candidates running.

The truth is Leslie was one of the earliest opponents of the invasion of Iraq. Here is a statement from her blog:
In January 2003, I signed a letter with 75 other former members of Congress asking President Bush not to take a foolhardy course in invading Iraq. Our letter asked the President to allow time for the UN inspectors to do their jobs, and to strengthen our economic and diplomatic efforts. Instead, he chose to continue down the path of invasion, which resulted in a destabilized Iraq, a population pushed into civil war, and the creation of an incubator for terrorism.

At the time I signed that letter, Americans faced the loud and insistent drumbeat of war: “The smoking gun turning into a mushroom cloud;” “yellowcake uranium;” ” aluminum tubes;” and “weapons of mass destruction;” were being were held out as reasons to go to war. The first stages of “shock and awe” and “Mission Accomplished” were held out like junk food to a hungry media and they ate it up.

There were not many of us at the time who were willing to be called unpatriotic, ill-informed, or even a traitor giving aid to the likes of Bin Laden by staking our reputations on publicly announcing our opposition to this foreign policy debacle (my good friend, Sen. Jim Webb being another notable exception). Five years later it is not enough to say, “we were right and you were wrong”.
Byrne was also one of the earliest supporters of Jim Webb, who also opposed the invasion and the occupation of Iraq.


Isophorone said...

So where was Leslie Byrne when BILL CLINTON signed the "Iraq Liberation Act" of 1998? FOr that matter, where were you?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Hopefully, Leslie supported it. It was a good bill, which had as its aim the removal of Hussein from power by Iraqi groups.

I never said or implied that Saddam Hussein was a good guy with whom we could make an alliance.

The Iraq Liberation Act, however, does not appear to mandate that we personally invade Iraq or occupy it.

That bill's purpose was to support Iraqi groups - and only those specifically dedicated to a democratic grovernment - to seek the overthrow of Hussein.

It also pledges financial aid and support for an Iraqi overthrow of Hussein, humanitarian aid to Iraq in the aftermath such an overthrow of Hussein, and the establishment of a war crimes court.

All that, also, was before 9/11, when it became apparent that al Qaeda and the Taliban were bigger threats to our security than Saddam Hussein was.

We needed to invade Afghanistan, which under the control of the Taliban, gave shelter to our enemies, Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization, al Qaeda. But once we undertook that invasion, we didn't seem committed to follow through to eliminate the Taliban or al Qaeda. We let Iraq, which was less of a threat - though by no means an ideal nation - distract us from the more important task.

Unfortunately, by taking our eye off that main goal, bin Laden and most of the top command of al Qaeda slipped away to the wild tribal lands on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of whom are now at risk of becoming failed states.

Isophorone said...

We have certainly followed through with Afghanistan, though it is clear that a bigger offensive against the Taliban is still needed. A lot of that problem has to do with the delicacy of staging cross-border raids into Pakistan.

Your statement that bin Laden and the Taliban slipped into wild tribal lands on the Afghan-Pakistani border because we were also focusing on Iraq is a myth. I believe that these guys had their safe havens all ready even before they planned the 9/11 attacks. We liberated Iraq in 2003, well after bin Laden and his cronies managed to disappear. Given all that, we have killed and/or captured quite a number of high level Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists. Unfortunately, the major media don't give that news a lot of play.

As far as Iraq being less of a threat, I would argue otherwise. The Act noted that the Saddam regime tried to stage the assassination of a former U.S. President. It was clear that Saddam was also harboring terrorists who had attacked the U.S, its citizens, and its allies (like the planners of the 1993 WTC bombing). Just the kind of "sheltering" that you feel is the act of war committed by the Taliban.

Now that Iraq has been liberated, we have found papers left by Saddam that showed his clear intent to restart and/or expand his chemical weapons program. He was also in communication with various al-Qaeda subsidiary groups.

You seem to think that other terror sponsor nations would just stand still while we took care of Afghanistan and/or the Taliban. Unfortunately, that view is wrong. We have had to be active on political, diplomatic, and yes, military fronts to combat terror sponsoring regimes. Bush had it right in his "Axis of Evil" speech about these regimes.

The fact is that a President Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will not only withdraw from Iraq (depending on which policy advisor of theirs you believe), but will also walk away from Afghanistan. Somehow I think you will not be complaining about that.

And by the way, if supporting democratic opposition for regime change against a despotic regime is so laudible, tell me what you were thinking back in the mid-1980s about Reagan's plans to aid the freedom fighters who wanted to bring democrat change to Nicaragua.