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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jim Webb on Real National Security, Part 2

Here is a summary of Jim Webb's speech from yesterday on National Security. Some highlights:
"National security policy under the Bush-Cheney Administration is in total disarray. There is no end in sight to the conflict in Iraq, the Middle East is out of control, Al Qaeda is stronger today than 5 years ago, and homeland security is being neglected. These difficulties have come about, in large part, because those who are leading us lack the kind of strategic vision that has served our country so well in past eras. George Allen, by blindly following the Bush administration and neglecting his constitutional duty as a Senator, bears great amount of responsibility for the state of American foreign policy."

"Issues in the Middle East are closely connected to matters across the globe to which we need strategic solutions. For instance, China has been developing closer ties with the exact Middle Eastern countries that pose challenges to the US. This is a dangerous and neglected alliance that we need to address."

"First and foremost is Iraq...America needs – and deserves – a real debate: about all these issues, and about our strategy in Iraq itself."

"For more than two years, Jim Webb has been proposing a formula that might lead to the end of our occupation of Iraq. The first step would be for this Administration to say unequivocally that our country has no desire to occupy Iraq in the long term. It has not done so...We should not build permanent bases in Iraq. If we’re leaving, we don’t need them, and it sends the wrong message. In the short term, we could move our troops out of the country but within the region – strong possibilities could be Jordan and Kuwait. This would give us the ability to contain the terrorist threat within Iraq without continuing our occupation. From there, we could then bring them home when we’re sure the withdrawal is working."

"The second step would be for us to begin immediate discussions with those countries that are culturally and historically invested in Iraq, and arguably aligned with us, to become overtly involved in a diplomatic solution, taking responsibility at some level for future stability among Iraq’s competing factions. This is do-able...As you might recall, during the first days of that action, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Bahrain all condemned Hezbollah, as did the Beirut government, for inciting the Israeli attacks. By not taking advantage of those gestures, we lost a great opportunity to bring some long-term stability in both situations. But, we should continue to pursue these sorts of solutions, just as we should work to break Syria apart from its unnatural alliance with Iran through direct discussions – something this Administration, with the strong support of George Allen, as refused to do."

"Senator Allen has made it clear that, no matter how things are going, he will not question, let alone review and re-examine, the policies of the Bush Administration. Jim Webb, in contrast, has the experience – both on the battlefield and off – as well as the willingness and, most importantly, a strategic vision for doing so."

"We must forego the slash and burn political tactics that have marked the last six years, and reach for a true solution to the war in Iraq and the chaos in the Middle East."

To contribute to Jim Webb for Senate, go here.

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