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Reyes calls for more troops in Iraq

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16062351/site/newsweek/ ‘We Can’t Afford to Leave’ As the debate over Iraq intensifies, leading Democrat Silvestre Reyes is
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 5, 2006
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16062351/site/newsweek/

      ‘We Can’t Afford to Leave’
      As the debate over Iraq intensifies, leading Democrat
      Silvestre Reyes is calling for the deployment of more
      U.S. troops.

      Dec. 5. 2006 - In a surprise twist in the debate over
      Iraq, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of
      the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see
      an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of
      a stepped up effort to “dismantle the militias.”

      The soft-spoken Texas Democrat was an early opponent
      of the Iraq war and voted against the October 2002
      resolution authorizing President Bush to invade that
      country. That dovish record got prominently cited last
      week when Speaker designate Nancy Pelosi chose Reyes
      as the new head of the intelligence panel.

      But in an interview with NEWSWEEK on Tuesday, Reyes
      pointedly distanced himself from many of his
      Democratic colleagues who have called for fixed
      timetables for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Coming
      on the eve of tomorrow’s recommendations from the
      bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission, Reyes’s comments
      were immediately cited by some Iraq war analysts as
      fresh evidence that the intense debate over U.S.
      policy may be more fluid than many have expected.

      “We’re not going to have stability in Iraq until we
      eliminate those militias, those private armies,” Reyes
      said. “We have to consider the need for additional
      troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and
      stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run
      the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan” was
      before the 2001 invasion by the United States.

      Reyes also stressed that there needed to be greater
      “political accountability” demanded of the Iraqi
      government. But on the core issue of the U.S.
      commitment, Reyes—a Vietnam War veteran who partially
      lost his hearing in that conflict—even compared his
      position to that of another Vietnam vet, Sen. John
      McCain, a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. Like
      Reyes, McCain also has called for an increase in U.S.
      troop strength. When asked how many additional troops
      he envisioned sending to Iraq, Reyes replied: “I would
      say 20,000 to 30,000—for the specific purpose of
      making sure those militias are dismantled, working in
      concert with the Iraqi military.”

      When a reporter suggested that was not a position that
      was likely to be popular with many House Democrats,
      Reyes replied: “Well again, I differ in that I don’t
      want Iraq to become the next Afghanistan. We could not
      allow Iraq to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda, for
      Hamas, for Hizbullah, or anybody else. We cannot allow
      Iran or Syria to have a free hand in there to further
      destabilize the Middle East.”

      Reyes added that he was “very clear” about his
      position to Pelosi when she chose him over two
      rivals—Rep. Jane Harman of California and Rep. Alcee
      Hastings—to head the critical intelligence post. One
      widely cited reason that Harman, a moderate Democrat
      who supported the war, didn’t get the nod from Pelosi
      is that the Speaker-designate wanted somebody who
      would be more aggressive in standing up to the Bush
      White House—which Reyes promises to be on other issues
      like domestic wiretapping and CIA secret prisons.

      But when asked what he told Pelosi about his thinking
      on Iraq, Reyes replied: “What I said was, we can’t
      afford to leave there. And anybody who says, we are
      going pull out our troops immediately, is being
      dishonest … We’re all interested in getting out of
      Iraq. That’s a common goal. How we do it, I think, is
      the tough part. There are those that say, they don’t
      care what Iraq looks like once we leave there. Let’s
      just leave there. And I argue against that. I don’t
      think that’s responsible. And I think it plays right
      into the hands of Syria and Iran.”

      Reyes also said he is eager to see the recommendations
      Wednesday from the bipartisan panel headed by former
      secretary of State Jim Baker and former Democratic
      chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Lee
      Hamilton. By some accounts, the panel is set to
      recommend an adjustment of course that will include
      the beginning of troop withdrawals pegged to progress
      on the ground along with other political and
      diplomatic initiatives. But Reyes said such ideas are
      not likely to substantially change his own views on
      the subject. “I’m very interested in reading what
      their recommendations are. But this is my position.”

      Reyes’s comments were immediately blasted by one Iraq
      war critic who expressed concerns that they would give
      new respectability to an idea that has lost
      considerable support in official Washington as the
      violence in Iraq has escalated. “I think he [Reyes]
      needs a course in Insurgency 101,” said Ray McGovern,
      a former CIA analyst who has been active in an
      anti-war group called the Steering Group for Veteran
      Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. “Have they
      learned nothing from Vietnam? If he pushes this and
      gets some support for it, and with McCain in the
      Senate, it could become more respectable … I think
      Reyes has got a lot to learn.”

      Yet one prominent Iraq war supporter, Cliff May, the
      president of the Foundation for the Defense of
      Democracy who served on an advisory panel that worked
      with the Baker-Hamilton group, said he was stunned and
      pleasantly surprised by Reyes’s views. “Wow, that’s
      remarkable,” May replied when NEWSWEEK told him of
      Reyes’s comments. “Whenever anybody like myself
      suggests that we need more troops, we get told that
      it’s not politically feasible. But if you have a
      leading Democrat saying it, that strikes me as very
      significant …. I think it’s dawning on a lot of people
      that the price of a U.S. defeat would be dire.”

      One source familiar with aspects of the Baker-Hamilton
      panel’s deliberations said that the idea of an
      increase of U.S. troop strength of 20,000 to 30,000
      had been pushed by some U.S. military commanders for
      some time. However, Democratic members of the
      commission were unwilling to go along with any
      proposal that would indicate an expansion of the U.S.
      mission in that country, according to the source, who
      asked not to be identified talking about sensitive
      matters.

      Yet another member of the Baker-Hamilton advisory
      panel praised Reyes for proposing the idea of
      increasing troops, saying it showed that he “doesn’t
      just fall back on political reflex.” But, added Larry
      Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who
      formerly served as a U.S. political advisor in Iraq,
      Reyes’s ideas were unlikely to bear fruit unless
      accompanied with a far more extensive strategy that
      included a “political and diplomatic” initiative to
      reorder and rebuild support for the Iraqi government.
      “You can’t sustain an increase of 20,000 to 30,000
      troops for very long—maybe four to six months,”
      Diamond said. “Can you really secure progress on the
      ground in terms of knocking out death squads and
      militia activity in four to six months? It won’t make
      sense unless it’s combined with very intensive
      political and constitutional activity. Otherwise
      putting in more troops is like putting more fingers in
      the dyke … I don’t think there is any magic bullet.”
    • Ram Lau
      I m for a draft, but there s only one truly brave statesman Charlie Rangel who would even just bring that option up. I believe in equal opportunities for the
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 6, 2006
        I'm for a draft, but there's only one truly brave statesman Charlie
        Rangel who would even just bring that option up. I believe in equal
        opportunities for the rich and privileged.

        Ram


        --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16062351/site/newsweek/
        >
        > `We Can't Afford to Leave'
        > As the debate over Iraq intensifies, leading Democrat
        > Silvestre Reyes is calling for the deployment of more
        > U.S. troops.
        >
        > Dec. 5. 2006 - In a surprise twist in the debate over
        > Iraq, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of
        > the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see
        > an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of
        > a stepped up effort to "dismantle the militias."
        >
        > The soft-spoken Texas Democrat was an early opponent
        > of the Iraq war and voted against the October 2002
        > resolution authorizing President Bush to invade that
        > country. That dovish record got prominently cited last
        > week when Speaker designate Nancy Pelosi chose Reyes
        > as the new head of the intelligence panel.
        >
        > But in an interview with NEWSWEEK on Tuesday, Reyes
        > pointedly distanced himself from many of his
        > Democratic colleagues who have called for fixed
        > timetables for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Coming
        > on the eve of tomorrow's recommendations from the
        > bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission, Reyes's comments
        > were immediately cited by some Iraq war analysts as
        > fresh evidence that the intense debate over U.S.
        > policy may be more fluid than many have expected.
        >
        > "We're not going to have stability in Iraq until we
        > eliminate those militias, those private armies," Reyes
        > said. "We have to consider the need for additional
        > troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and
        > stabilize Iraq … We certainly can't leave Iraq and run
        > the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan" was
        > before the 2001 invasion by the United States.
        >
        > Reyes also stressed that there needed to be greater
        > "political accountability" demanded of the Iraqi
        > government. But on the core issue of the U.S.
        > commitment, Reyes—a Vietnam War veteran who partially
        > lost his hearing in that conflict—even compared his
        > position to that of another Vietnam vet, Sen. John
        > McCain, a staunch supporter of the Iraq war. Like
        > Reyes, McCain also has called for an increase in U.S.
        > troop strength. When asked how many additional troops
        > he envisioned sending to Iraq, Reyes replied: "I would
        > say 20,000 to 30,000—for the specific purpose of
        > making sure those militias are dismantled, working in
        > concert with the Iraqi military."
        >
        > When a reporter suggested that was not a position that
        > was likely to be popular with many House Democrats,
        > Reyes replied: "Well again, I differ in that I don't
        > want Iraq to become the next Afghanistan. We could not
        > allow Iraq to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda, for
        > Hamas, for Hizbullah, or anybody else. We cannot allow
        > Iran or Syria to have a free hand in there to further
        > destabilize the Middle East."
        >
        > Reyes added that he was "very clear" about his
        > position to Pelosi when she chose him over two
        > rivals—Rep. Jane Harman of California and Rep. Alcee
        > Hastings—to head the critical intelligence post. One
        > widely cited reason that Harman, a moderate Democrat
        > who supported the war, didn't get the nod from Pelosi
        > is that the Speaker-designate wanted somebody who
        > would be more aggressive in standing up to the Bush
        > White House—which Reyes promises to be on other issues
        > like domestic wiretapping and CIA secret prisons.
        >
        > But when asked what he told Pelosi about his thinking
        > on Iraq, Reyes replied: "What I said was, we can't
        > afford to leave there. And anybody who says, we are
        > going pull out our troops immediately, is being
        > dishonest … We're all interested in getting out of
        > Iraq. That's a common goal. How we do it, I think, is
        > the tough part. There are those that say, they don't
        > care what Iraq looks like once we leave there. Let's
        > just leave there. And I argue against that. I don't
        > think that's responsible. And I think it plays right
        > into the hands of Syria and Iran."
        >
        > Reyes also said he is eager to see the recommendations
        > Wednesday from the bipartisan panel headed by former
        > secretary of State Jim Baker and former Democratic
        > chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Lee
        > Hamilton. By some accounts, the panel is set to
        > recommend an adjustment of course that will include
        > the beginning of troop withdrawals pegged to progress
        > on the ground along with other political and
        > diplomatic initiatives. But Reyes said such ideas are
        > not likely to substantially change his own views on
        > the subject. "I'm very interested in reading what
        > their recommendations are. But this is my position."
        >
        > Reyes's comments were immediately blasted by one Iraq
        > war critic who expressed concerns that they would give
        > new respectability to an idea that has lost
        > considerable support in official Washington as the
        > violence in Iraq has escalated. "I think he [Reyes]
        > needs a course in Insurgency 101," said Ray McGovern,
        > a former CIA analyst who has been active in an
        > anti-war group called the Steering Group for Veteran
        > Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. "Have they
        > learned nothing from Vietnam? If he pushes this and
        > gets some support for it, and with McCain in the
        > Senate, it could become more respectable … I think
        > Reyes has got a lot to learn."
        >
        > Yet one prominent Iraq war supporter, Cliff May, the
        > president of the Foundation for the Defense of
        > Democracy who served on an advisory panel that worked
        > with the Baker-Hamilton group, said he was stunned and
        > pleasantly surprised by Reyes's views. "Wow, that's
        > remarkable," May replied when NEWSWEEK told him of
        > Reyes's comments. "Whenever anybody like myself
        > suggests that we need more troops, we get told that
        > it's not politically feasible. But if you have a
        > leading Democrat saying it, that strikes me as very
        > significant …. I think it's dawning on a lot of people
        > that the price of a U.S. defeat would be dire."
        >
        > One source familiar with aspects of the Baker-Hamilton
        > panel's deliberations said that the idea of an
        > increase of U.S. troop strength of 20,000 to 30,000
        > had been pushed by some U.S. military commanders for
        > some time. However, Democratic members of the
        > commission were unwilling to go along with any
        > proposal that would indicate an expansion of the U.S.
        > mission in that country, according to the source, who
        > asked not to be identified talking about sensitive
        > matters.
        >
        > Yet another member of the Baker-Hamilton advisory
        > panel praised Reyes for proposing the idea of
        > increasing troops, saying it showed that he "doesn't
        > just fall back on political reflex." But, added Larry
        > Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who
        > formerly served as a U.S. political advisor in Iraq,
        > Reyes's ideas were unlikely to bear fruit unless
        > accompanied with a far more extensive strategy that
        > included a "political and diplomatic" initiative to
        > reorder and rebuild support for the Iraqi government.
        > "You can't sustain an increase of 20,000 to 30,000
        > troops for very long—maybe four to six months,"
        > Diamond said. "Can you really secure progress on the
        > ground in terms of knocking out death squads and
        > militia activity in four to six months? It won't make
        > sense unless it's combined with very intensive
        > political and constitutional activity. Otherwise
        > putting in more troops is like putting more fingers in
        > the dyke … I don't think there is any magic bullet."
        >
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