Tuesday, July 31, 2007

McNerney: I'm willing to consider more war

USA Today:
"As long as we start at a certain date I'd be willing to be a little more flexible in terms of when it might end," McNerney said.

Stockton Record:
He said his conversations convinced him that, at least in Ramadi, the U.S. military was indeed making progress. But McNerney said he was well aware Ramadi was not representative of the rest of the country.

“I really don’t have an opinion on the rest of Iraq,” he said in a conference call from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany this morning. “I’m sure (the military) cherry-picked the best place for us.”

Still, McNerney said he will be more likely to listen to those who want more time in Iraq.

“If anything, I’m more willing to participate in a give-and-take with that viewpoint than I was before,” he said.
Mercury News:
"I was impressed with Petraeus' confidence," McNerney said. "... But he's aware of the pressure in Congress that we need to end this thing. He had a lot of data to show the progress. He's concerned about being given enough time to finish the job but he's aware that we need to come to a resolution."
I have some questions for McNerney:

1. What was it specifically about your trip that led you to believe "a give and take on more time" might be needed? Did Iraqi progress on benchmarks influence you? Was it the success in Ramadi (which by your own admission is not at all indicative of the situation in Iraq)?

2. Does your willingness to consider more time indicate you do not stand firm in your support of HR2956 which requires a "limited Armed Forces presence" by April 2008?

3. Gen. Petraus will undoubtedly issue a report in September saying he needs "more time". Is your willingness to consider more time another way of endorsing the Petraus report, the contents of which are largely known/predictable?

4. Do you believe the "surge" is working? If no, does your willingness to consider more time naturally open the door to consider more troops - a "surge" on top of the "surge"? What effects would "more time" and "more troops" have on our military which is already stretched to the breaking point?

5. Do you think your willingness to consider more time prior to an agreement on a redeployment start date increases pressure on the President, Petraus, or the Iraqis themselves to make progress?

6. Do you think your willingness to consider more time will influence your GOP House colleagues who refuse to agree to any timetable whatsoever?

7. Does your willingness to consider more time indicate some confidence in the Bush administration to use the additional time effectively? What is it specifically about the Bush Iraq strategy leads you to believe more time will result in either a more secure or stable Iraq and a reduction in loss of life/injury for US forces?

8. Your willingness to consider more time could indicate you disagree with Senate Majority Leader Reid who said" "Iraq is lost". Do you feel "Iraq is not lost"?

9. More time, undoubtedly, will result in additional U.S. casualties/injuries. You've indicated a concern about properly funding the current Iraq Veterans healthcare. How do you plan for the incremental veteran healthcare funding as a consequence of "more time"?

10. A 2006 NIE reported our occupation of Iraq is the "cause celebre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S.. Do you see any risks in your willingness to consider more time in terms of worsening this effect?

11. We spend about 12 Billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan. A willingness to consider more time might result in extra costs to keep the war going. How would you plan to fund the extra costs?

12. Do you think your willingness to consider more time hamstrings and dilutes the Democrats' efforts to redeploy responsibly and as soon as possible from Iraq?


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the issue of leaving Iraq always boiled down to if you want out, you must want out now and bring home all of the troops tomorrow? That simply seems a naive and simplistic approach to a very complex problem. You seem like a intelligent person, but your tone doesn't actually want to recognize that there might possibly be progress with the war, nor do you seem to want to believe that an actual visit, (I hate to assume, but I bet I'm right on this next point) one that you have not made to Iraq, could open your eyes to other possibilities. What's the point of visiting any new country if you are unwilling to remain open about other ways of conducting your life?

Have faith in your vote for electing Congressman McNerney, just because he's not your, or anyone else's, lapdog, doesn't mean he's not doing the best for CD-11 and the rest of the country.

I think you have valid questions that should be answered, and will through the order of things be answered. Unfortunately, your tone of disbelief and lack of faith is not conducive to helping stop the problem.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger brian said...

Thanks for your comment. You make some excellent points and I wish more people would take the time to discuss this issue.

McNerney voted for a bill requiring a limited US force in Iraq by April '08. McNerney wants a dramatic change in strategy and so do I. The small problem is that this bill has no chance to become law unless enough people demand Congress make it so. To achieve this, McNerney and others need to go out and actively convince folks it's the right thing to do.

When McNerney visits Iraq and then makes comments about a "willingness to consider more time" he creates 2 things:

1. he gives reasonable persons doubt about whether we should change strategy.
2. he gives safe harbor for those who will resist any strategy change.

Those two things work against McNerneys own position (and mine) in a big way and I wanted to express my opinion.

On your point about McNerney voting his conscience and being no one's lapdog - I agree 100%. I don't expect him to be a lapdog. Our district spent the last 14 years being represented by one. I just expect him to be accountable and open about his decisions. After all, he works for me (and you!).


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