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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Amy on Iraq

Eric Black of the Star Tribune did an amazing interview with all three candidates for US Senator a couple of weeks ago, with follow-up questions and answers this week. (Hat tip KvM) AAA focused on a couple of specific Iraq war related questions and on Mr. Black's well conducted interview (he did not let an unanswered question go unchallenged) but I want to dig a little deeper into the exchange (emphasis added).

" Black: Okay. On your website, you say that we need a clear plan to bring our troops home safely. “We need to change course.” That 2006 should be the year that the Iraqi government decreases its dependency on the United States.
As far as I can tell, the administration agrees with that, and Rep. Kennedy agrees with that as a goal.
But given the circumstances in Iraq, how do you ensure that the Iraqis decrease their dependency?
Klobuchar: There is a clear difference between me and Congressman Kennedy on this. He is saying stay the course. I am saying change the course."

OK - I must interrupt here.....All 3 say that we need to bring a majority of our troops home, but Amy says that there is a "clear difference" between her and Congressman Kennedy?

"Klobuchar: I do believe that we should listen to the commanders on the ground. However a policy decision has to be made to start bringing home some of our troops, working with them, having them tell the Congress and tell the president what’s the most responsible way to do that. But the policy decision has to be made from above. And I believe it should be made to start bringing home a significant number of our troops.
Black: So, to clarify the differences between you and let’s say the Bush position, other than saying that you favor change and they favor staying the course. They say that they expect there to be withdrawals this year, they favor it. And that it should be based on the recommendations of the commanders in the field. Is there some portion of that that you disagree with?
Klobuchar: If you look at the president’s recommendations yesterday, [the reference is to Bush’s March 13 Iraq speech] he did not say that we would bring home a significant number of troops this year. So that is a clear difference. He did not say that. He said that he thought we should begin to do that. That we should listen to the troops. I’m saying that we must begin bringing home a significant number of troops. He talked about territory.
Black: Rep. Kennedy has said in one of his MPR interviews that his understanding from his last visit over there, from talking to the military leadership, is that there is a plan that will drawdown tens of thousands of troops this year, but that the enactment of that plan should depend on the continuing recommendations of the commanders in the field. Do you disagree with any of that.
Klobuchar: I believe that the president should set the course that we should bring home a significant number of troops this year. And ask the commanders on the ground for a plan to do that.
But the difference is that we must bring home a significant number of troops this year because I believe that that is the only way that we’re going to get the message to the rest of the world that we’re serious about this, we’re bringing our troops home, and that the government of Iraq must take responsibility for their own country.
Black: Any notion of what constitutes a significant number?
Klobuchar: We need that plan. What I’ve said is that if the president isn’t going to tell us that, then we need to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, obviously they can’t demand that they come up with a plan, but that they should ask them to present a plan of how we bring home a significant number of troops and what that is.
Black: So the difference I think I’m noticing is this. They’re saying we think the situation will improve that will enable us to bring home a significant number of troops and you’re saying we should announce that we’re bringing home a certain number of troops and we’ll do it whatever the situation is, but you believe that it will spur the situation to improve?"

B-I-N-G-O!!!!! Amy has no plan other than to say that we need a plan to announce that we have a plan to bring an unplanned number of troops home from Iraq by the end of the year, regardless of what the commanders in country say. I think that about sums it up. But the most telling thing (for me) were the sheer number of questions like this:

"Black:What can you tell us about the realistic time-frame and the specific milestones and benchmarks?
Klobuchar: Again, the president hasn’t given us those. I called for that since April, for the president to give us that clear plan. He hasn’t done it. At this point we need to start bringing our troops home. Obviously benchmarks would be their police being trained, their military being trained. We basically went in there and destroyed their army and destroyed their police force. Getting a better trained army would be a piece of it.
But again, I believe that we need to start bringing our troops home to encourage them to start doing that."

Amy - let me translate for you hon. Mr. Black wants to know what YOU WOULD would you handle this if you could make all the decisions. Or as the guys at KvM ask "What Would Amy Do?" It is fine to say what the guy you are running against is doing wrong, but if you are going to say (ad nauseum) that there are big differences between you and your opponent, you had best have an answer when someone asks you "what would you do differently?" The voters (and Mr. Black's readers) can see right through your no-answer answers! Contrast her answers with Ford Bell's. When asked if we should set a "time-table" for withdrawal, Mr. Ford answered with an unequivical "YES". No tap dancing, no side-stepping, no equivicating - just a straight up answer. He also (when asked) laid out

If you are a Minnesota voter or are interested in the Minnesota Senatorial race at all, you really should take the time to read all 3 candidates positions on the issues.


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