Biden's Iraq plan sweeps Senate: The Swamp
 
The Swamp
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Posted September 26, 2007 3:18 PM
The Swamp

by James Oliphant

Joe Biden has been betting it all on Iraq for some time now and today his horse came in. A Biden-sponsored amendment to a defense bill that calls for a significant policy change in Iraq passed the Senate today with a wide margin.

The amendment requires the United States to work to support the division of Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions, each governed locally by its dominant ethnic and religious factions, the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. The regions would have dominion over police protection, jobs, utilities and other municipal functions, supported by a weaker federal government in Baghdad. All three regions would share in the country’s oil revenues.

Biden (D-Del.) made a signature speech in support of the amendment last week on the Senate floor, but his proposal has been gaining bi-partisan steam since last year. Today it passed by a 75-23 margin, with Republicans such as John Warner (Va.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.), and Sam Brownback (Kan.) signing on. Biden’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Christopher Dodd (Conn.) also supported the measure. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Republican John McCain (Ariz.) didn’t vote.

The amendment has more value as a policy goal than a practical move. It doesn’t carry the force of law and isn’t binding on the Iraqi government in any way. But it does represent a different vision for the future of the country than the current one offered by the Bush administration.

Biden’s challenge now is to translate his success on the Senate floor to gains in the polls in Iowa and elsewhere. He’ll be returning to the campaign trail soon.

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Comments

So what's the point?

Not binding. Nor should it be at this late date. This was a good goal five years ago, but how do you chop up Iraq now?


Wonder how Bruce, John D, and Paulo will spin this one? Or Ms. Perino for that matter. Joe Biden, the liberal Dem wind bag, a real Loony Lefty some might say, has the bi-partisan ear of the Senate on the future of Bush's glorious war. Incredible.


The imperial arrogance demonstrated here is almost unbelievable.

First, you invade a country against which you have no legitimate grievances.

Second, you end up tipping this once-advanced society into utter chaos.

Third, you make no serious effort to help. People in Iraq still, after all these years, don't have clean water and dependable electricity.

And then, fourth, you decide to divide it up, as though it were yours to do so.

Biden has always been a smiling idiot with no ethics, so there is little surprise at his idiotic proposal.


A "plan" is binding. This Biden non-plan is NON-binding. So why should anyone care?

And will somebody explain how 98 senators voted, but Mr. "new politics" Obama decided once again to avoid voting?


When will the Democrats, ANY Democrat offer a plan? All they offer is hatred of George W. Bush and want America to lose


We need to do something different even if it means moving our troops back to bases around Iraq and then "gradually" leaving.
The Iraqi's are going to fight no matter what, they've been fighting with each other for over 1500 years about who succeeded Mohammed and they are going to fight each other even if we stay there another 100 years before.

It would have been nice if the NeoCons had done some homework on this BEFORE they decided to invade.


Anonymous is correct

This was the right thing to do 4 years ago, but now?

Weren't we so proud that the Iraqis voted and formed a Democracy? What right do we have to go in and shuffle things up?

Biden's plan is a good one, it is just a little late.


When will the Democrats, ANY Democrat offer a plan?All they offer is hatred of George W. Bush and want America to lose

Posted by: Typical Republican | September 26, 2007 4:07 PM

Typical Republicans apparently aren't very good at reading or comprehension.
Biden suggested a plan. Its now up to the the House and Mr. President to act on it.


Oh, I'm sorry. I weighed in on Biden's plan in an earlier thread, thinking that he actually planned to do something. Only now do I hear that his plan "doesn’t carry the force of law and isn’t binding on the Iraqi government in any way."

This is a "plan" only if you think like the characters in the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian." It is all talk and no chance of success. I thought it would involve, at least, asking the Iraqi government to do something (although that wasn't likely to work because of the overwhelming Shiite majority). So, now what? We're not even going to ask?

I hope we plan for ourselves better than this.


If your a typical republican than nothing short of what Bush wants thinks sees and feels is good enough for you.


Typical Republican,

The answer can be found on a leftist institute or think tank website. No ones stopping you from reaching out if the answers aren't there. They've got their address listed, and plenty of leftist foreign relations experts can sit down with you on the subject. But why would a typical republican go anywhere or near anyone or near anything that happens to support or make contributions to the DNC. Stop pulling the left leg. Your right one is the one asleep.


Biden does it again. This non-binding resolution will go right into the Congressional Record along with the
resolution commending the Girl Scouts on their cookie sales. As Dan Rather would say (if he could): "Courage!"


We are certainly headed toward a three state solution. The people are running to safe areas and we have a de-facto separation already. By arming the Sunni, we have almost guaranteed they will not ever be ruled by the Shia. Three separate regions with autonomy are inevitable


Real Republican, Untypical by Today's Standards John W ,


I agree with you. I'm not a Republican, but such a plan, great in theory, holds little water if applied to Iraq, sucks in practice. Unless, ofcourse one of the aims of the plan is to make that region more hostile than before after we have to yet again reconquer the comfy Shiite population supporting the comfy Shiite aligned leaders with some ties to Iran.


When will the Democrats, ANY Democrat offer a plan? All they offer is hatred of George W. Bush and want America to lose

Posted by: Typical Republican | September 26, 2007 4:07 PM

LOL. What are you a moron? Your comment is in an article regarding Joe Biden's plan on Iraq. You do know Biden is a Democratic Senator?


I think they should pass a binding resolution that they have no more waste of time non-binding resolution votes. Do some REAL work for a change!


I think we should invade Canada and give Quebec all the beer revenues.


The Biden plan isn't much good. The significance is that the Senate did vote for an Iraq measure that calls for other than the Bush "business-as-usual" blundering.

The ultimate goal is war with Iran, followed by a takeover of control of mideast oil (all of it.) Bush and the rest don't want the war to end, don't want it to ramp down. They want escalation so they have cover for their real goals. The Congress needs, for the good of the country, to recognize that the Constitution gives it major power over war and also to recognize why. It's staring them in the face. They need to pay attention.


Typical Republican is being sarcastic, folks, lampooning what he believes the response from a "Typical Republican" would be to what Biden has proposed.


Were the previous plans "binding"? How is that working out.

At least it is something beyond "stay the course".


They were three seperate groups 80 years ago (at the end of WW One) when Britain and France decided they should be one country.

This is a return to their historic roots. Much in the same way the former Soviet Union, Czechkoslovakia and Yugoslavia divided up and returned to their ethnic origins.


Sounds like a federal system to me, 3 states.


*****

By arming the Sunni, we have almost guaranteed they will not ever be ruled by the Shia. Three separate regions with autonomy are inevitable

Posted by: c. perry | September 26, 2007 4:57 PM

This is wishful thinking. The Shiites comprise the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi security forces we've been training. They can easily lay claim to the lion's share of all the available war-making equipment. They also have the firm backing of Iran. So, do you realistically believe the numerically inferior and (relatively) poorly equipped Sunni have a snowball's chance in hell?

It's a nice sentiment, and I wish it were true, but I just don't think so.


Is our goal to have Iraq be an autonomous nation that governs itself?

Of course it is. Senator Biden and the other fools (Democrat and Republican) should be ashamed of themselves. Who the hell died and made them king?


How cynical folks are here

I didn't notice anyone offering a better way out of the Iraq mess, but they're quick to criticize

No wonder we're not getting any where on the Iraq War


* * * * *

At least it is something beyond "stay the course".

Posted by: Carl L | September 26, 2007 5:55 PM

No, Carl, it's not. It is no different than "stay the course" because it doesn't require anyone, Iraqis, Americans, or anyone else to lift a finger to make any change. It's worse than a failure.


Let's see now. "Democrats have no plan for extricating us from the Iraq quagmire."

A democrat, Biden, suggests a policy change similar to the one that worked in Kosovo and the republicans go ballistic, castigating the man, the non-binding nature of the idea, suggesting that is "Was a good idea four years ago", and concluding that it "has no chance of success".
Where is a considered analysis of his idea? Every member of the UN security council has given support to this idea. Biden took the idea to Bush and Bush's responsed, saying he thought our present course could still work. Biden has also broached this idea to world leaders, including the French, receiving support wherever he went. Seventy five of our Senators think it's good idea.

Let's see some thought full analysis of the idea before dismissing it out of hand.

It seems to me a workable way to tell everyone in the region with a stake in Irag's future exactly waht our new policy will be and let them deal with it.


The irony of Senator Biden's plan is that Iraq itself was a British plan to cobble a few of the broken pieces of the Ottoman Empire into a state that did not take historical sectarian conflicts into consideration. What goes around comes around. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it - hence we have Vietnam II, and there will be for our children's generation a Vietnam III, and theirs a Vietnam IV, and V, and VI and ... until we collapse financially and morally bankrupt like the Roman Empire, or begin to learn. I do not hold Senator Biden liable for his idea, whether it will hold water or not. Beyond staying the course, with no definite end in sight to our billions of tax dollars and the lives of our soldiers - I would love to hear a solution from one of the letter writers that rights the wrong, sets an end to our involvement before we all retire or die in our beds, avoids bankrupting our children, and leaves the citizens of Iraq happy. Republicans please step forward and give us a Nobel Peace Prize winning strategy. We are waiting.


To the John's

John Chuckman and John W, spot on. Very incisive posts.

John E, you're a bigoted idiot.


all politics, partisan sophistry, and blame agenda's aside


religious fanaticism
and
ingrained ethnic tribalism-
amongst a people who've never known an "open"
representative democracy

let them organize in the old
while introducing the new
yes,
its centuries of cultural conditioning
and this is about the best you can do

don't inflame the chaos by forcing one ruling side
or insult their heritage;
claiming divisions must die

the invasion has happened.
no matter right or wrong
that past cannot be changed
the baathist party is gone
and troops from many countries
have died in the effort
not a bad idea
for all to salvage together
a chance for some peace
freedom from violent life
after years in what must be,
unbearable strife


self autonomy and freedom
united by a larger state-
with those will not get along,
perhaps the only civil way.


The audacity of this congress and this administration. How would WE like to be on the receiving end of a plan like this? Who are WE to decide what should happen to another country...unless we wanted their OIL or something. Hmmmm.


I once thought Biden's so called plan was a way out of a ridiculous war we should not have gone into.
Now, I'm wondering if it's too little and too late.
Placing troops on the boundaries of Iraq, having the UN and others help people in need, giving hundreds of millions to those people who will lay down their guns and stop the fighting might help, but first the so called central government has to stop their internal manipulations. We have a quagmire here, folks, regardless of Petraeus, Gates, Crocker, Bush and Cheney's dream.


Mr. Bidden plan is only succesfull if he is sincerely and honestly wants the best for Iraquis, and not for his political campaign.
No matter how the states and federal government be ruled , the diference and diversity along with unity of Iraquis people has to be preserved, otherwise is a failure.
Americans at least should demonstrate for god sake one time in their history that their use in this world is not destruction of other culture and their money is not for killing of another human being called "non-american" and their dollars has no blessing other than death and misery. This is their last chance.


This is a "plan" only if you think like the characters in the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian." It is all talk and no chance of success. I thought it would involve, at least, asking the Iraqi government to do something (although that wasn't likely to work because of the overwhelming Shiite majority). So, now what? We're not even going to ask?
I hope we plan for ourselves better than this.

Posted by: John W. | September 26, 2007 4:41 PM


John W,

What do you suggest we do?
The "Surge" aka "Stay The Course On Steroids" is a disaster.


Hey, check out the 'Burma Buddists'!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7015212.stm

Now here are some people that want their freedom.

Maybe we should have invested our extra $1,000,000,000,000.00 on these folks, instead of Iraq??

Ya know, maybe if we had backed them in Vietnam, instead of Diem/General's Junta/Ky/Thieu, we would have fared better there, hey?


"We are certainly headed toward a three state solution. The people are running to safe areas and we have a de-facto separation already. By arming the Sunni, we have almost guaranteed they will not ever be ruled by the Shia. Three separate regions with autonomy are inevitable

Posted by: c. perry | September 26, 2007 4:57 PM:

C Perry,

It may be the only solution.

Problem; Turkey and 'Kurdistan'.

We don't want to blunder into a war between the two.

Fool and the Gang needs to be working on a solution to this problem NOW.

Why do I think they are not?


..."Now here are some people that want their freedom.

Maybe we should have invested our extra $1,000,000,000,000.00 on these folks, instead of Iraq??"...

...do they have any oil?...


When will the Democrats, ANY Democrat offer a plan? All they offer is hatred of George W. Bush and want America to lose

Posted by: Typical Republican | September 26, 2007 4:07 PM

Typical Reupublican is right. More disinformation and crap! All the Republicans offer are lies and failed policies.


kb, I've stated that I do not think Biden's plan will work. However, it is a proposal worthy of debate.


I am thrilled with Mr. Biden's success today. I've liked it from the beginning. I have always supported his political efforts as I do still. I would love to see him as president, however, when he speaks it seems as though he doesn't belive that it is a posibility...so why should others?


Joe Biden will make a great Secetary of State. He is a true statesman who has made numerous trips to Iraq. He has a grasp on it's complex make-up. Truely a great public servant.


"We are certainly headed toward a three state solution. The people are running to safe areas and we have a de-facto separation already. By arming the Sunni, we have almost guaranteed they will not ever be ruled by the Shia. Three separate regions with autonomy are inevitable"
Posted by: c. perry | September 26, 2007 4:57 PM:
C Perry,

It may be the only solution.

Problem; Turkey and 'Kurdistan'.

We don't want to blunder into a war between the two.
Fool and the Gang needs to be working on a solution to this problem NOW.

Why do I think they are not?
Posted by: C.Morris | September 26, 2007 8:25 PM

This brings up an important point related to our newest rush to war: Iran has a sizable Kurdish population, and an Iraq-style mission in Iran would be extremely likely to end with an independent Kurdistan carved from Turkey, Iran and Iraq. This would drive Turkey to take the military action they've promised to prevent an independent Kurdistan (and why, exactly, don't the Kurds deserve their own nation?), and the regional war expands even further.

And that's just a drop in the bucket of likely consequences of military engagement with Iran.

I'm begging anyone with any ounce of sense to do everything they can to stop the Iran War. Let's quit while we're "ahead" with our quagmire in Iraq.


Will one of the pinheads here who thinks that Biden's "plan" is a good one, kindly explain how we are going to divide Iraq? It would not be possible without a larger war, but why do you think we would even have the right to do so? I think the Iraqi government that we fought to install might have something to say about it.


Anonymous Pinhead,

1. Let them divide it.
2. Why did we have the right to invade?
3. 'install' is a good choice of words.

As we have already discussed, the Turkey/Kurd problem could be a deal buster.

Yep, George Tiberius has really got us painted into a corner.


What do you suggest we do?
The "Surge" aka "Stay The Course On Steroids" is a disaster.

Posted by: John E | September 26, 2007 7:57 PM

Well, first off, I would do more than talk about the problem in a non-binding resolution. The problems there require concrete solutions, and not just talk.

Second, I would round up as many of Iraq's regional neighbors, at least those that are willing, and spend some time convincing them that contributing to keeping the peace in Iraq is in their best interests because none of them can afford the consequences of a failed state. That shouldn’t take too much convincing, since most of them must be painfully aware the number of refugees moving into their countries from across their borders is a crisis already.

We should actually recruit help from all parts of the world, but we need to have on-the-ground participants from the immediate region for the pacification process. I say this because our presence there - because non-Muslim - is becoming more and more of a sore point even among those with whom we are on peaceful terms. Ultimately, reducing our profile in the region is an essential goal in order to leave the natives with less to fight about. Thus, we need to enlist the regional players to assume whatever security and training roles need to be filled as we get the hell out of there.

Third, we need to remain pledged to rebuilding the infrastructure there and supporting those who will have taken our place on the ground – to whatever extent that may be needed. Another poster mentioned that one of our failings has been to wreck the place and then fail to turn back on the electricity and clean drinking water after all these years. Regardless of why it hasn’t been fixed, this failure is travesty by itself. I say this knowing full well that local resistance has made the repairs difficult. There must be change in this regard if we expect anything good to happen. Think about it. Turn off the electricity and drinking water in Chicago and its suburbs and see how un-peaceful the place will get. This is an area where we can remain involved, and even bring in the U.N. (as long as it isn’t handling the money).

Fourth, we must continue to support the legitimacy of the government in Iraq, and keep up diplomatic efforts for them to reach a peaceful reconciliation among its various factions. This is where I differ from Biden. Having given the government back to the Iraqi people, I would never even suggest that we interfere any further with the internal workings of the government. Period. The Iraqis view such interference as an infringement on their sovereignty. To impose a change would be yet another violation of international law. We have to encourage them to work things out, but we have to stay out of their way when they do so.

- and,

Fifth, and finally, we must be patient. Peace does not come to this region easily.


Posted by: John W. | September 27, 2007 10:31 AM

Well spoken but W/Cheney need to "try" and change the tone with Iran ( I do realize that their Prez is a nutjob but he is weaker in his own country than most Americans know), we need to have some FACE to FACE talks, if it fails we can then show the world that Iran really is the problem, which believe me, a large percentage of the world believes we are the problem.

Hard to believe that the NeoCons thought that they could invade and occupy Iraq and other neighboring countries would not get involved in some way, Brillliant!


John W for president.


C.morris

1) Let them divide it? Huh?

2) Did I say we had a right to invade?

3) I'm well aware that "install" was a good choice of words.

...pinhead.


I am a fan of Biden's plan.

And for those who say "its nonbinding and therefore meaningless" might want to rethink it. For the first time we have a possible BIPARTISAN solution for iraq that has passed in the senate. It is a small step in a slow process, but we cannot be reckless.
Iraq is not a race to the finish.


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