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October 13, 2004

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Substantial German troops are not available for any use. Substantial German equipment is not available for any use. This is pure electioneering.

I bet Germany could beat Poland. Afterall, they did it before.

Substantial German troops are not available for any use.

This is the point in our program where the President jumps up, almost threatening the moderator to make sure he gets to speak, to insist that each of the coalition partners' contributions gets its due respect.

Which is it? Do only countries sending the numbers of troops the US has in Iraq count as "substantial"? I'm confused.

Hey, and on the same day that the Bush administration adopts Kerry's plan for Irana, too.

"Which is it? Do only countries sending the numbers of troops the US has in Iraq count as "substantial"? I'm confused."

Kerry is looking for a large number of troops to REPLACE US troops so that we can draw down the number of troops in Iraq.

Bush is looking for a moderate number of troops to AUGMENT US troops so that we can be more effective in Iraq.

If you are confused about the implications of that difference, I don't know what to say.

[B]ut I believe this adds credence to the Kerry claim that a fresh start will be the best way to move forward in Iraq

To a Kerry supporter, I'm sure it does. Of course to the Kerry supporter, all of Kerry's claims already have credence. I note that a senior official added: "If a democratically-elected Iraqi government were to ask the UN for support, the international community, including Germany, must be in a position to respond."

Sounds more like Germany's assistance is predicated upon what happens within Iraq and the UN more so than who wins the US election.

Keep in mind that one of Saudi Arabia's conditions for sending forces is that their troops replace U.S. troops. Now, I have no idea if KSA is serious. But I'm sure a Kerry administration could figure out pretty quickly if they are.

There you go again, Sebastian.

Kerry says he'll draw down the US troops ONLY when the job is done. What part of that is so hard to understand?

Yes, he does want to draw down US troops as soon as possible. So should Bush.

And I'm sorry, but NOW Bush wants to be more effective in Iraq? NOW??? That horse has left the stable.

Doesn't the Administration claim that the current level of troops is adequate? Therefore, any forces committed by new coalition members would, logically, allow the U.S. to draw down it's commitment under a second Bush administration?

Or is the current level of troops inadequate?

Sounds more like Germany's assistance is predicated upon what happens within Iraq and the UN more so than who wins the US election.

In part, yes, but that doesn't take anything away from the part Kerry's suggested summit is doing to help make the whole package look more attractive to Germany. Bush claims he too wants a summit, but the difference is Germany and others already know what kind of brusque treatment they'll get from the Bush team.

There you go again Edward

Kerry refuses to define "the job". He intentionally chooses not to define "the job". He intentionally focuses his rhetoric on "removing US troops". This shows that he thinks the "removing US troops" is the important focal point, while "the job" is not. By refusing to define "the job" he allows himself to remove US troops by declaring "the job" finished without worrying about objective criterea.

Since any reasonable definition of "the job" which includes even a modicum of stability and even a dash of freedom in Iraq requires US troops for many years, it is clear that either Kerry's definition of the "the job" does not include much stability or freedom in Iraq, or he is blatantly lying about a US troop drawdown.

This is even more obvious with respect to troops from countries in non-British Europe. Any studied observer, which frankly at this point ought to include you Edward, knows full well that there aren't enough available troops to substantially REPLACE US troops. And since substantially REPLACE is what Kerry is talking about, he is either lying or delusional.

Since any reasonable definition of "the job" which includes even a modicum of stability and even a dash of freedom in Iraq requires US troops for many years, it is clear that either Kerry's definition of the "the job" does not include much stability or freedom in Iraq, or he is blatantly lying about a US troop drawdown.

How many troops Sebastian?

Does the Kerry "draw down" vary in numbers from the suggestion by Rumsfeld that he'll draw down troops after the elections in January?

Any studied observer, which frankly at this point ought to include you Edward, knows full well that there aren't enough available troops to substantially REPLACE US troops. And since substantially REPLACE is what Kerry is talking about, he is either lying or delusional.

Your assessment, studied as it may be, seems to hinge on the idea that the troop levels will remain the same. It doesn't allow for the idea that a combination of fewer US troop overall PLUS more European troops overall EQUALS fewer combined nonIraqi troops overall. Both camps, Kerry and Bush seem to be suggesting that's the goal.

So one year from now there are substantially fewer nonIraqi troops in Iraq. With Bush in the White House the vast majority of non-Iraqi troops are still American. With Kerry in the White house the percentage of US troops over there is smaller.

Easy choice if you ask me.


Kerry refuses to define "the job".

As opposed to "the course" Bush wants us to stay?

Sebastian: you wrote: "Kerry refuses to define "the job". He intentionally chooses not to define "the job". He intentionally focuses his rhetoric on "removing US troops". This shows that he thinks the "removing US troops" is the important focal point, while "the job" is not. By refusing to define "the job" he allows himself to remove US troops by declaring "the job" finished without worrying about objective criterea."

Kerry has said what he thinks the job is. He said it in his speech at NYU:

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear:  We must make Iraq the world’s responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden.  We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security.  We must move forward with reconstruction, because that’s essential to stop the spread of terror.  And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it’s up to them to run their own country.  That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

He has said more about what each of these steps entails on his website.

Even if Kerry hadn't said much about this, that would not necessarily show that he's really only focussed on removing US troops. But the fact that he has said clearly and explicitly what he thinks "the job" is makes your statement, and the grounds for your repeated insistence that Kerry is fixated on troop withdrawals at the expense of stability in Iraq, mysterious to me.

"Your assessment, studied as it may be, seems to hinge on the idea that the troop levels will remain the same. It doesn't allow for the idea that a combination of fewer US troop overall PLUS more European troops overall EQUALS fewer combined nonIraqi troops overall."

Hmm, aren't you someone who has been complaining that troop levels are too low in Iraq?

Even if you are correct in the current position which I quoted, and I suspect that you are not, the percentage difference is quite small.

I'm not sure what you are talking about with Rumsfeld. Do you mean articles like this ? It suggests a commitment of at least 5 more years with troop levels increasing during that period. That is only September 25, 2004. I'll admit the quotes are classically incomplete and could cause a fit about shoddy reporting.

Hmm, aren't you someone who has been complaining that troop levels are too low in Iraq?

Up to this point, they have been, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress there and work toward lowering the numbers...come on now.

Even if you are correct in the current position which I quoted, and I suspect that you are not, the percentage difference is quite small.

Here's what I'm talking about... (I thought this was widely known):

The United States may be able to reduce its troop levels in Iraq after this country’s January elections if security improves and local forces continue to expand and become more effective, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says.

And let's face it, for democracy in Iraq to work, the numbers of foreign troops there must decrease...no elected Iraqi PM will have much credibility if there's a sense the country is still "occupied." So, with more and more reductions in US troops, any contribution of European troops become increasingly significant. The two work together see...

To recap, both teams are hoping to draw down US troops. The difference is, with Kerry in the White House, the percentage of US troops to nonUS troops in Iraq stands to be lower. This is a good thing.


"“Our hope is that as we build up Iraqi forces, we will be able to relieve the stress on our forces and see a reduction in coalition forces over some period of time, probably post-Iraqi elections,” the Pentagon chief said. “But again, it will depend entirely on the security situation here in this country.”"

Note the reiterated focus on the security situation in Iraq. Note the rather large and explicit contingency on the success of Iraqi forces. Note how the hopeful drawdown is a side effect of the policy Rumsfeld is promoting, as opposed to a focus of the policy.

"And let's face it, for democracy in Iraq to work, the numbers of foreign troops there must decrease...no elected Iraqi PM will have much credibility if there's a sense the country is still 'occupied.'"

Once again that isn't true. Take South Korea for instance. I'll mention Japan and Germany only in passing to note that Germany is currently complaining about us withdrawing troops from their country--some 50 years later. (Troop levels in Germany recently were around the 73,000 range. 50 years later and only half of what is in Iraq after 1 year.)

Bush claims he too wants a summit, but the difference is Germany and others already know what kind of brusque treatment they'll get from the Bush team.

That's conjecture on your part. And in fact, Kerry himself has been, at times, condesending and curt to our supposed friends. What will bring people to the table is an improving situation in Iraq, not election year political rhetoric.

Edward,

It's been a fun thread to watch, but Schroeder slaps down minister - no troops for Iraq.

It's been a fun thread to watch, but Schroeder slaps down minister - no troops for Iraq.

Ahhh, Stan...party pooper.

Yeah I saw that...still...it does suggest there's a difference of opinion Kerry could exploit.

Yeah I saw that...still...it does suggest there's a difference of opinion Kerry could exploit.

So the evidence is fake, but the story is true? :)~

So the evidence is fake, but the story is true? :)~

The evidence is in no way fake...the minister said what he said...the chancellor contradicted him...the fact remains that the German government is apparently somewhat less than unified in their opinions.

What a buncha malarkey. I hope that Schroeder appreciates it during his next election when Bush (should he win) "slaps" down his defence secretary for announcing that Germany might be a more hospitable place for our troops with Schroeder out of office.

Edward,

the fact remains that the German government is apparently somewhat less than unified in their opinions.

Maybe it was never unified in the first place?

Edward,

You should probably update the post to reflect the fact that Schroeder slaps down minister - no troops for Iraq.

I understand the temptation not to - the election day is getting near, but come on... :)

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