"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Debate 101...Guest Post...Round 4

Iowan Sandy says:

Round 4: Lessons of Iraq, Troops in Afghanistan, and Dealing with Iran

I’m going to preface this section with my personal reaction to the exchange between the candidates.

It was:
Full of soundbites, tidbits of information and accusatory tactics
Like a couple of roosters self-righteously strutting around with their red, white and blue plumage, picking at each other
Frustrating that time was spent harping on how we ended up in Iraq and who should be blamed for that decision

With those type of dramatics the debate could have been a Lifetime movie of the week or yet another pointless talk show where hosts and guests squabble endlessly. Either way I was tempted to change the channel.

But, in a nutshell, we learned that McCain believes that defeat in Iraq will lead to Iran becoming more influential, increase violence in the area and cause a wider war. He also believes that we are winning in Iraq. He disagrees with Obama’s withdrawal plan.

Obama claims that we have not used military force responsibly in Iraq. He believes that Al Queda is stronger now. He recommends a reduction of troops in Iraq within 16 months and to bolster troops in Afghanistan.

This led directly to a discussion of whether we should send more troops to Afghanistan. Obama was very clear in saying “yes,” we should send more troops. He stated the following:
Groups from Afghanistan are attacking troops in Iraq
He would send 2-3 additional brigades to Afghanistan
Al Queda is in Afghanistan and Pakistan
He wants to press the Afghan government to work for the people
We need to deal with the poppy trade
We must deal with Pakistan, they are “in the way” of us getting to Al Queda

REALLY? Are you sure you don’t want to phone a friend and revise that answer?

McCain stated that we do not want a repeat in Iraq of how we handled the Afghan/Russia conflict where we simply washed our hands of the situation after the fighting stopped. And he offered the following:
He does not agree with simply increasing troops in Afghanistan; like in Iraq we need to gain the cooperation of the Afgan people to effectively deal with the threats there
He is not prepared to cut off trade or strike Pakistan, we need to work with the government

Although McCain’s comments didn’t address all aspects of dealing with Afghanistan, there was an indication that he would implement a more refined approach than Obama.

The discussion then turned to issues with Iran.

McCain indicated there is a clear threat from Iran and danger in their acquisition of nuclear weapons. He stated that the Republican Guard is a terrorist group. He strongly believes that there is a need to establish preconditions for before we agree to sit down and talk with Ahmadinejad. If we don’t, we will lend credence and legitimacy to the behavior of a man who desires the extermination of Israel.

Obama agrees that the Republican Guard is a terrorist group. He believes that Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful person in Iran and that no preconditions are needed. He also stated that cutting off talks is not a successful approach and isolation of countries accelerates proliferation of nukes. He believes that direct tough diplomacy and tough sanctions are the way to resolve the problems.

This was the most alarming information I heard all evening. My belief is that Ahmadinejad is not a reasonable man. We must utilize a disciplined approach and proceed from a position of power with such a leader. Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile, blow up Israel, and embolden world-wide terrorism. That’s not the future I’m hoping for.


Aleta said...

"He believes that Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful person in Iran and that no preconditions are needed."

The first mistake you can make is to underestimate the opponent.

Makes you wonder where we are heading to..

Da Old Man said...

Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful man in the country? Who is? The guy selling vegetables in the market?
Oy vey.

Chat Blanc said...

Sandy here!

@aleta & DOM--I found that statement unnerving. sure, there are still ayatollahs but Ahmadinejad is undoubtedly THE man, and one radical, outspoken, scary-ass dude.