Re: Reyes calls for more troops in Iraq
- 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.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
> `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, Reyesa Vietnam War veteran who partially
> lost his hearing in that conflicteven 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 30,000for 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
> rivalsRep. Jane Harman of California and Rep. Alcee
> Hastingsto 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 Housewhich 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
> 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 longmaybe 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."