Sunday, August 21


Russ Feingold on Democrats who oppose setting a timeline for our exit from Iraq: They've been intimidated by the administration from opposing this war that many of us knew was a mistake from the beginning. He pointed out that one of the reasons he opposed the war was the fact that of the 45 countries on the State Department's list of nations where Al Qaeda was operating, Iraq wasn't one of them. He quoted Porter Goss, Bush's own CIA director, back in February:

The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss said in his first public testimony since taking over the CIA. Goss said Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who has joined al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion, "hopes to establish a safe haven in Iraq" from which he could operate against Western nations and moderate Muslim governments."
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said. "They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries."

That is, of course, exactly what has happened.

The argument that setting a timeline would encourage the insurgents to escalate the fighting, wait us out, and then take over the country? Feingold says it's bogus, that if that argument was true, why wouldn't the insurgents just stop fighting now and wait for us to leave and THEN take over? He said that he asked one of the top U.S. generals in Iraq about that and the general said, "Nothing would take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents more than to set a timeline for our exit." Feingold reminded David Gregory, sitting in for Tim Russert, that every time we HAVE set a target date for key Iraqi benchmarks such as transfer of sovereignty and open elections, it has given the Iraqis "ownership" of the process and been a success. He contends that a target date for our exit would be no different and would, in fact, diminish the insurgents' recruiting platform. Once out of Iraq, we could turn our resources to fighting the real war on terror globally.


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