Biden: ‘We’re Stuck Where We Were Before The Surge’
Welcome to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fewer crazies on this one, though — sigh — that makes it the blander panel. I’ve just opened my Red Bull. Let’s listen in, shall we?
Joe Biden, chairman of the committee, says we have to make “hard choices based on finite resources.” No fair! Biden looks like he’s enjoying himself. Violence is down because: the surge, sure, but also the Sunni Awakening; the Sadr cease-fire “which, to state the obvious, could be ending right now”; and “sectarian cleansing” in Baghdad. Biden is the only one to acknowledge that the Sons of Iraq program could blow up in our faces.
“The strategic purpose of the surge, in my view, has not been realized,” Biden continued. You guessed it — reconciliation. Sponsoring a 91,000-strong mostly-Sunni militia could “undermine reconciliation, rather than advance it.” It seems to Biden “that we’re stuck where we were before the surge: with 140,000 troops in Iraq with no end in sight. That is unacceptable.” Someone’s drunk his coffee. Would leaving Iraq “eliminate Al Qaeda’s indigenous support in Iraq?” Would leaving Iraq “embolden” Al Qaeda in Pakistan “or would it deprive them of… a propaganda tool?” He’s raising his voice now. Very passionate. Would leaving Iraq lead to chaos, “or would it cause Iraqi leaders to finally act responsibly?”
Biden continued, “The risks of leaving Iraq are debatable. The costs of staying in Iraq, though” are obvious, “and they get steeper, and steeper, and steeper.”