As the civil war rages on in Iraq, Congress and the Executive Branch seem unable to come to a consensus on the issue. The President has threatened to veto the recent supplemental spending bill, initiating a near stalemate in Washington. Meanwhile the ’08 presidential hopefuls are attempting to mold their own viable strategy for ending the conflict. Unfortunately, their rhetoric does not seem likely the shed any new light on this dire situation.
Last week MoveOn.org hosted a Virtual Town Hall to address this topic. The event was supposed to offer a sobering assessment of the current policy; initiate a conversation that has been missing from our public debate for way too long. Instead, for the most part, we were fed the same empty promises about “bringing the troops home” while no real solutions were offered concerning the endless sectarian violence which will continue after they are gone.
Of the seven candidates who participated, Delaware Senator Joe Biden was the only one to offer anything close to a workable solution. Biden has offered a political plan which attempts to address the unrest which will inevitably arise when our troops withdraw from the country. Biden wants to create a limited central government with regional control given to the Shiite, Sunnis and Kurds. Oil revenues would be divided between the separate regions, so that the Sunnis would get a proportional share. Also, he wants to engage neighbors and world community to help with reconstruction and security.
The rest of the candidates offered some repetitive mantras about withdrawal dates and engaging Iraq’s neighbors; but not a single one addressed how to quell the sectarian violence and attempt to bring the country together. The irony is that Biden’s candidacy has pretty much been written off ever since its infancy. (He spent the first day of his campaign defending a verbal faux pas about Barack Obama.) It is unfortunate that we are not paying more attention to the Senator from Delaware. His foreign policy experience and straight talk on Iraq is sorely needed is this heavily partisan debate.