Tonight at 9 pm, John Edwards will be Larry King's guest tonight and will discuss his plan for drawing down troops in Iraq. One of the things I like about Edwards is that he not only has a vision for where the country needs to go, he has concrete plans to get us there. That appeals to me. If you agree that it is time for a genuine exit strategy, then Sen. Edwards suggests that you call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and say so.
Here are the four planks of his plan to get us out of Iraq:
1. Stop the escalation and force an immediate withdrawal by using funding caps to restrict the total number of troops in Iraq to 100,000, which would require an immediate draw-down of 40,000-50,000 combat troops without stranding or underfunding a single soldier still in Iraq. Any troops beyond the 100,000 level should be redeployed immediately.
2. Block the deployment of troops that do not meet readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped. American Tax dollars must be used to prepare and supply our troops, not escalate the war. It is simply wrong to send our troops into harm's way without all the training and equipment they need.
3. Make it clear that President Bush is conducting this war without authorization. The 2002 authorization did not give Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. President Bush exceeded his authority long ago. He now needs to end the war and ask Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence and to help Iraq achieve stability.
4. Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq within the next 12-18 months without leaving behind any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.