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The Democrats’ Iraq Plank

Just leaked: a draft, current as of today, of the Democratic Party platform’s Iraq plank, which is called "Ending The War In Iraq." Here it is.

To renew American leadership in the world, we must first bring the Iraq war to a responsible end. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have performed admirably while sacrificing immeasurably. Our civilian leaders have failed them. Iraq was a diversion from the fight against the terrorists who struck us on 9-11, and incompetent prosecution of the war by civilian leaders compounded the strategic blunder of choosing to wage it in the first place.

Sorry to interject, but whoa! Looks like something straight out of Heads In The Sand by Matthew Yglesias. Okay, back to the plank.

We will re-center American foreign policy by responsibly redeploying our combat forces from Iraq and refocusing them on urgent missions. We will give our military a new mission: ending this war and giving Iraq back to its people. We will be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely remove our combat brigades at the pace of one to two per month and expect to complete redeployment within 16 months. After this redeployment, we will keep a residual force in Iraq to perform specific missions: targeting terrorists; protecting our embassy and civil personnel; and advising and supporting Iraq’s Security Forces, provided the Iraqis make political progress.

So no full withdrawal. Note as well that this doesn’t say anything about getting the contractors out, either. But for better or for worse, this has been Barack Obama’s position since 2007, so it shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise, either.

At the same time, we will provide generous assistance to Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. We will launch a comprehensive regional and international diplomatic surge to help broker a lasting political settlement in Iraq, which is the only path to a sustainable peace. We will make clear that we seek no permanent bases in Iraq. This is the future the American people want. This is the future that Iraqis want. This is what our common interests demand.

That bit is as important as it is frequently overlooked. Withdrawal without a diplomatic and regional strategy really is irresponsible. But that’s not actually what we’re talking about: instead of a full-on bug-out, there’s going to be arduous negotiation over modalities and reconciliation and all that sexy stuff. From occupier to peacemaker, in other words. (If the plan works, that is.)

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