Biden and Brownback planning joint campaign event

For those of you who can attend lunchtime events in central Iowa:

Join Us for an Unprecedented Bipartisan Summit in Pursuit of a New Way Forward

On Friday, October 12th, Republican presidential candidate Senator Sam Brownback and Democratic presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden will hold an unprecedented joint campaign event to discuss their bipartisan plan for Iraq. The event is hosted by the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations.

WHEN: Friday, October 12
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

WHAT: Biden, Brownback to Outline Iraq Plan

WHERE: Wakonda Country Club
1400 Park Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50315

This event is open to the public (lunch provided for $25.00).
For more information and reservations, contact the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations at 515-282-8192.

I understand what Biden is trying to do here–as he has said in many debates, he has a plan for Iraq, and he has experience getting Republicans in Congress to support his agenda.

But this really annoys me. Aside from the fact that I think any partition plan is doomed to fail, Biden is throwing Senate Republicans a life raft. Now they can credibly say that they have voted for a solution to the Iraq problem.

The reality is that Republicans in Congress are still carrying water for the Bush administration on Iraq and everything else, and we need to call them on that. Biden is allowing them to make a show of voting to change course in Iraq, when we all know that this plan is going nowhere.


  • I have to disagree with you here - on several points.

    First of all Biden’s plan for Iraq does not call for a partition.  That is a RW talking point!  You can read about Biden’s plan here.  Pay attention to the bottom section called “Plan for Iraq: What It Is – and What It Is Not”.
    1. The Plan is not partition.

    In fact, it may be the only way to prevent a violent partition – which has already started — and preserve a unified Iraq. We call for a strong central government, with clearly defined responsibilities for truly common interests like foreign policy and the distribution of oil revenues. Indeed, the Plan provides an agenda for that government, whose mere existence will not end sectarian violence.

    Second – Biden’s plan is already being adopted in Iraq.  The Kurds are all for it.
    The Shia have agreed to federalism – but are waiting until the violence calms down. The Sunni are against it.  Why?  Because they have no oil and are concerned that oil revenues will not be shared.  However, Hashemi, a Sunni leader, is promoting almost the identical plan to Biden’s to other Iraqi leaders and has gained the support of Shiite top cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  Google “Hashemi National Pact”.

    Third – I think it is great that Biden and Brownback are willing to appear together.  I view this as a historic event.  Two Presidential candidates from different parties are willing to put aside their differences to work towards a political solution in Iraq.  I’d like to see the so-called frontrunners be so secure in their policies to do something similar.  ha!  They are too busy playing it safe.  We can barely find out where they even stand on Iraq.  Seriously – they want to cut the funding for the troops at the same time they say the troops will be there until 2013.  give me a break!

  • Biden and Brownback planning joint campaign event

    I’m not in agreement with your assessment on the Biden plan nor the reason you feel the Republicans supported it.  Regardless of our differing viewpoints, the fact remains that this is the first time the Republicans have supported a plan OTHER than what their party line is promoting.  That’s a major accomplishment.

    And if, as you state, we “all know that this plan is going nowhere”, wouldn’t the Republicans be better served by voting against it so they could say – See?  We knew it wouldn’t work.  It doesn’t make sense they would vote for a plan they felt wouldn’t fare well.

    Biden, more than the other candidates, appears to have the ability to cross the aisle and transcend the party line to focus on the issues – fewer political games, more leadership.


  • Unsure

    Not sure what I think of the Biden Plan, honestly.  It’s forced Federalism.  It’s also the same plane promoted by Harold Ford in 2006.

    • I can't see regional powers

      going along with his plan. Our NATO ally Turkey would not tolerate a semi-autonomous Kurdish state. Iran and Saudi Arabia have no interest in a Biden-type solution when they can keep arming and funding the Shia and Sunni insurgents.

      Just wouldn’t work.

  • Biden Would Keep Us in Iraq for Years to Come

    Biden is full of contradictions.  He claims to have the best plan to end the war yet continues to vote to fund it – he even wants billions more for it than Bush is asking for.

    Biden was wrong on Iraq when he voted for the war. From the Rolling Stone in 2006:

    Or maybe it’s just that Biden, more than almost anyone in American public life, will do or say anything that he thinks will secure him even the most temporary electoral advantage. A year and a half ago, back when the Iraq war was still a winner politically, Biden spent a lot of his time slamming other Democrats for not being On Board enough with the war effort, and he even went out of his way to bitch out Democrats for criticizing Ronald Reagan.

    As he told the New Yorker: “Everybody knew ‘Reagan is dangerous,’ remember? He talked about freedom, so what do we do? We say it’s a bad speech, dangerous speech,” Biden said, adding that Democrats were “making the same mistakes again.”

    Biden at the time also complained that Republicans were getting away with taking credit for the idea of a pre-emptive war, when it was really a Democratic idea. “What is so transformational in the last four years is that these assholes who wouldn’t give President Clinton the authority to use force” have now become, Biden said, moral interventionists. He added: “Give me a fucking break.”

    Of course all of that mine’s-bigger-than-yours militarist rhetoric is staying in Biden’s garage this election season, as he’s chosen to attack the Republicans on Iraq now, not his fellow Democrats, which ought to tell you where the polls on that issue are. But Biden attacking Rumsfeld even on the issue of his conduct of the war is outrageous in itself, for other reasons.

    Right around the time Biden and his fellow Democrats launched their Rumsfeld attack, the Defense Department released a study showing that an inordinately high number of military recruits were being disqualified from service in Iraq because of debt problems, often resulting from so-called “payday loans,” i.e. very high-interest loans made between paychecks by predatory lenders who set up show outside military bases.

    The study made the front page of USA Today and was briefly a media sensation, with many commentators noting the injustice of a system that allows credit companies to prey upon young men and women about to serve in the Iraq bloodbath. Making matters worse was the fact that Congress voted specifically to deny debt protection to servicemen a year and a half ago.

    Back in early 2005, Senator Dick Durbin proposed an amendment to the infamous S. 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 — better known as the Bankruptcy Bill, a law pushed by credit companies which made it more or less impossible to declare bankruptcy.

    Durbin’s amendment, called the G.I. Protection Amendment, would have exempted U.S. servicemen and women from the so-called “means test,” a procedure which under the new law every bankruptcy aspirant must submit to before he is allowed to sue for bankruptcy. It also would have protected soldiers from losing their homes to creditors during their deployments, and would have offered some debt protections to the spouses of slain servicemen. It also would have offered some protections to soldiers in trouble because of payday loans.

    Now, the logic of this amendment seemed unassailable. Soldiers sent to war often end up in financial trouble, and reservists sent to war for long deployments have it even worse, often seeing their small businesses fail or bills pile up while they trade in their normal salaries for meager Army wages. It seems like a small concession to make to soldiers to offer some relief on these fronts, in exchange for asking them to risk their necks for some pointless military adventure dreamed up by a bunch of half-wit Ivy League trust-fund babies who’ll never go broke and whose kids will never serve.

    So Durbin’s amendment made sense, but of course it died, 62-38. Most of the Republicans voted against it, but they weren’t alone. Some Democrats voted nay, too, including that great old friend of the credit industry, Joe Biden.

    In the election cycle immediately preceding the historic Bankruptcy Bill, Joe Biden collected some $62,125 from the credit industry, putting him in 12th place among all American politicians. To date, for his career, he’s taken over a quarter of a million dollars from credit card companies, many of which are headquartered in Delaware. So it was no surprise that Biden was one of the chief pimps for this notorious law.

    And Biden is wrong on Iraq today.  Biden castigates other Dems (mainly Richardson) for wanting a rapid withdrawal of forces, but then Biden wants the anti-war vote.  So what does he say? 

      Responsibly Drawdown US Troops

      * Direct U.S. military commanders to develop a plan to withdraw and re-deploy almost all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2007
      * Maintain in or near Iraq a small residual force — perhaps 20,000 troops — to strike any concentration of terrorists, help keep Iraq’s neighbors honest and train its security forces

    That is from Biden’s website.  Going from 160,000 troops to 20,000 in less than six months is a rapid withdrawal. 

    The difference between Biden’s and Richardson’s plans is Richardson doesn’t compromise and try to have it both ways. Richardson understands that our troops are targets of all sides in a civil war. 

    Baghdad is Iraq’s largest city with 7 million residents.  Iraq has 15 other major cities, hundreds of smaller cities and towns and thousands of villages with another 20 million people in a nation the size of California.

    We don’t have nearly enough troops now in Iraq to bring peace and stability to the country – and never will absent re-instating the draft and sending over 600,000+ soldiers, which of course should not and will not occur. 

    Keeping 20,000 troops in Iraq as Biden advocates just means that the tens of thousands of insurgents and militia forces in Iraq will have a much easier time killing our troops.  They can concentrate all of their forces on a much smaller number of U.S. troops.

    And Biden wants to spend billions more on Iraq:

    Understand that “supplementary” means, in this case, an allocation of funds beyond the $750 billion that US taxpayers spend each year on the regular defense budget. And that’s a conservative estimate made by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle in an interview on Truthdig. As Coyle points out, this is money spent largely without significant oversight, particularly during the years after the 9/11 trauma heightened the already irrational evaluation of our national security needs.

    The full extent of this irrationality can be seen in the response of Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to the Administration’s latest funding request. This leader of the loyal opposition rises, not to criticize Caesar, but to one-up him. The panic button that Bush is using this time is the need for more mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, fortified troop carriers that cost a million bucks a piece but evidently provide better protection against roadside bombs. Bush wants to spend about a quarter of the new money on the rapid production of MRAPs–a mere $12 billion. But that’s not good enough for Biden, who introduced legislation to increase spending on MRAPs by $23.6 billion, arguing, “We have no higher obligation than to protect those we send to the front lines.”

    Actually, Senator, you do have a higher obligation: to think through the need for this mission before you vote to put troops in harm’s way, as you failed to do when you voted to authorize the Iraq war. Also, before you rush to create new bottlenecks in the assembly line of the military-industrial complex, producing vehicles that would not be needed if we got out, you might heighten your efforts to force an end to this war. Spending $23.6 billion on fortified vehicles that will take years to produce is an admission that you are planning a long-term occupation of a hostile population in Iraq, and possibly Iran. Recall that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was able to tour France and Germany in an open-air jeep, waving at friendly crowds, to fully comprehend the different reception Bush gets in what he still calls “liberated” Iraq.

    The MRAPs are needed only as a weapon of choice for an occupying army in a country that strongly resists foreigners. If the Iraqis had greeted us as liberators, as Biden and other hawks anticipated, then they would be throwing flowers at our troop carriers rather than being complicit in planting the bombs that destroy them. Fortified vehicles only further separate the occupier from the population, which will remain fully vulnerable to attack. The emphasis on the protection of the foreigner–the Green Zone model–is a failed tactic of colonizers that alienates the local populace.<\blockquote>


    Biden has emerged as the Joe Lieberman of the 2008 race — the Democrat least likely to end the war.


    • Stephen - you need to realize that even if Bush said the troops could come start coming home tomorrow

      it’s going to take months.

      In the meantime, I have to ask you – would you prefer that the troops get killed or just loose a couple of limbs?  Because that is what is going to happen if they do not have MRAPs.  You can say what you want about Biden getting funding for these vehicles.  But the people that matter on this issue have nothing but praise for Biden.

      And Richardson?  Name me one military leader that agrees with his plan.  We follow Richardson’s plan and we’ll be back in Iraq within years to stop the genocide.

      Hillary is the candidate least likely to end the war.  And to top it off – she voted for the Kyl/Lieberman amendment.

      • Yes, months, no to Years

        To get our troops out of Iraq, it will take months but not years. 

        Who is advising Richardson?  The answer is several retired generals including Lt. Gen. Robert Gard who has stated:  “Overwhelming majorities of Iraqis, both Shia and Sunni, oppose the presence of US troops in Iraq and believe that US troops are more a cause of violence than a solution to it. Our presence in Iraq fuels the insurgency, strengthens Al Qaeda, and distracts us from the urgent task of defeating the real terrorists who attacked this country on 9-11. It’s time for a phased and coordinated, but rapid, withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, and Governor Richardson has a realistic plan to do it.”

        The quote is at http://www.richardso…

        Gard has been right on the war from the beginning. Read what he had to say two years ago – we as a nation would be so much better off if Gard’s advice was listened to.


  • The plan is not about saving the Republicans; it is about saving America's interests.

    The fact of the matter, is Joe Biden remains the only candidate to have presented a concrete political solution for Iraq.  The resolution passed in the Senate shows a huge shift in the Congress’ position.  The passage of the Biden resolution is a clear rebuke of the Bush policy, thus showing the American people progress is being made and the government is not completely dysfunctional.

    Through the grace and experience of Joe Biden, he was able to court 26 Republicans to the Democratic side of the aisle, bringing America one step closer to success.

    The only way we can end this cycle of self-sustaining sectarian violence in Iraq is through a federalist system of government.  A similar plan was used in Bosnia in the 1990’s and peace shortly ensued.  The Biden policy is the only responsible solution for Iraq.

    Whether it be continuing the current policy or withdrawing all troops in six month, there has been no other political solution presented other than Joe Biden’s plan.  Open your eyes sir, Bill Richardson is either very naive or extremely misled.  We need a responsible well thought out plan.  Not one that wavers with the political dialogue.

    Gov. Richardson originally supported the senators plan for Iraq, but once it became clear the inordinately liberal wing of the Democratic Party would not support any type of bipartisan resolution, Richardson backed off.  All he does, along with many other candidates, is pander to the far left.  We need to bring this nation together again if we are to get important issues resolved.  If we would like universal health care to be a reality, if we would like to launch a diplomatic initiative with Iran, if we would like to withdraw our troops in Iraq, if we would like to solve Social Security and Medicaid once and for all, this nation and its leaders will have to become one again.  The person with the most leverage to do so is the President and the person with the best track record of doing so is Joe Biden.

    So please, wake up, open your eyes, Joe Biden is the realistic choice to be our nation’s commander in chief.  It is evident through his solution for Iraq.  It is evident through its passage and above all else it is evident through Sen. Biden’s willingness to do whatever he can to protect America’s best interests.

    • Bosnia is not remotely comparable

      The big regional power, the European Union, was very interested in seeing that Bosnia solution work. There was no big regional power supporting the warring parties (aside from a little Russian diplomatic support for the Serbs).

      Around Iraq you’ve got our NATO ally Turkey, which will not want to see a semi-autonomous Kurdish state, and Iran and Saudi Arabia, which will continue to be interested in stirring up the pot by financing and arming the Shia and Sunni groups.

      I just can’t see how a federal solution would work in Iraq.

      • Federalism will work.

        Let me explain this to you, once peace in Iraq occurs stability will be brought to the Middle East.  Turkey, Iran and Syria will see that this is the only way that their situations will be able to strengthen.  Turkey will not have to worry about their Kurdish population overflowing into Kurdistan.  If that was the case it already would have happened.  Kurdistan is already its own semi-autonomous state. 

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.