Both Clinton and Obama have bought into the dangerous idea that the U.S. must maintain forces in Iraq to protect U.S. bases -- yes, they're actually saying that we need to leave soldiers to guard the bases that the U.S. built to house the troops occupying Iraq -- to fight "al Qaeda in Iraq," and to help train Iraqi forces...Well, sorry, Joshua, but that is still not a complete pullout, is it? You ridicule Obama and Clinton for leaving troops to protect the bases, but it's OK for Edwards to leave troops to protect the so-called "Embassy" (actually a monolothic stronghold of power)?
Only two candidates have proposed a complete pullout of U.S. troops: Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. But John Edwards has come very close to their position, saying that he'd only train Iraqi troops outside of Iraq and leave no troops to "guard U.S. bases." And, while he'd keep a rapid-response force in the region, it too would remain outside the country's borders. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he's put a hard number on what he thinks is necessary to keep in-country -- only a single "brigade of 3,500 to 5,000 troops to protect the embassy and possibly a few hundred troops to guard humanitarian workers." He'd pull the rest out within ten months.
The only "positive" (if you can call it that) in Edwards' plan is that it is totally unworkable: such a small US presence would certainly come under very heavy fire (from the Mehdi Army if nobody else) and the troops would have to withdraw quickly or be annihilated. The precious multi-million-dollar "Embassy" would either be destroyed or become the stronghold of a new authoritarian government.
I doubt the Joint Chiefs of Staff would even sign off on such a plan. Would YOU want to be one of the grunts left guarding Saddam's former palace in such circumstances?
To me (an Australian observer) this coming 2008 US election is already lost because so-called US "progressives" really haven't done enough in the past 8 years to deliver a viable alternative to the standard two-party military-industrial agenda. Ron Paul is a moonbat who will never become GOP candidate, let alone Prez, and Dennis K. remains unelectable because he has not had enough support (the UFO talk didn't help either, but that's Dennis for you). Of course Nancy Pelosi must bear a lot of the blame for failing to fulfill the hopes and dreams of so many hard-working progressives, the people who delivered both House and Senate.
So the eternal dilemma with US politics remains - do you try to change the Dems from within, or give up on the whole corrupt system? Either way, it's already too late for real change in 2008. A pity.