LETTER: Bill Richardson’s plan to leave, stabilize Iraq deserves your support

I must express my dismay at the way nearly all the Democratic candidates for president have been backpedaling so soon on how to end the war in Iraq. Nearly none of the candidates in the Democratic field has even been able to answer how many troops would be left in Iraq or how long they would be there.

Our soldiers have become targets, trapped in a bloody civil war between factions in Iraq. In President Bush’s speech on Iraq, he referred to the progress being made but failed to mention that this bottom-up political reconciliation seen in Al-Anbar province – mainly a partnership of convenience for local Sunni leaders depending on our extended presence there – is next to impossible in any Shiite dominated region of Iraq. None of the political benchmarks set by Congress have been met by the Malaki government.

Without a firm message that our presence there will be not be endless the Iraqi government will continue to drag its feet on any kind of oil revenue-sharing bill or any of the other numerous goals set, which are necessary to reach reconciliation.

So, as the war in Iraq rages on, while the debate continues at a standstill in Washington D.C., one presidential candidate has come out with a clear plan to end this horrible bloodshed.

Bill Richardson has been the only candidate to give a firm number of troops that will be left in Iraq – none. His proposed plan to redeploy our troops out of Iraq within six to eight months can and should be achieved, contrary to what other candidates and politicians have led the public to believe.

His plan is feasible and is supported by many military experts, including Anthony Cordesman, the current Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Samuel Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser; and Bruce Riedel, senior fellow of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Through this action we can begin to repair our military and refocus our attention in Afghanistan. Richardson’s proposed all-Muslim peacekeeping force, in addition to a regional conference to reach Dayton-like accords, engaging Syria and Iran to help stabilize the region, is the only plan to end the war in a timely fashion without partitioning Iraq among sectarian divides.

Richardson’s extensive foreign policy and diplomatic skills are just what our country needs to restore America’s standing in the world, and I encourage all to take a closer look at Gov. Richardson in the upcoming caucus season.

Alan Yeats


Political science