Gov. Bill Richardson has an op-ed in the WaPo this morning, and, in it, he reinforces his recent attacks on other Democratic candidates who won’t call for a complete withdrawal form Iraq:
Our troops have done everything they were asked to do with courage and professionalism, but they cannot win someone else’s civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay taking the necessary steps to end the violence. And it prevents us from using diplomacy to bring in other nations to help stabilize and rebuild the country.
The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda. It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq’s oil and repressing Muslims. The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country. Our departure would also enable us to focus on defeating the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11, those headquartered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — not in Iraq.
Richardson has been banging this particular drum all week, but the WaPo piece will give him some high-profile visibility on the subject. In addition, it’s well-established that Richardson has some foreign policy chops, and, hopefully, this will lend some weight to the “Get out of Iraq Now” argument. But, I imagine the Very Serious People will find fault anyway.