Kucinich hits Iraq withdrawal: 'You can't be in and out'
Stephen C. Webster
Friday February 27, 2009
It wasn't even one year ago when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and members of his political campaign said now-President Barack Obama "seems to think losing a war will help him win an election."
Which is what makes this week's announcement of -- and the fallout from -- President Obama's plan to withdrawal troops from Iraq so surprising. It isn't the opposition party Obama must now win over: It's his own political allies.
Sen. McCain and top Republican leaders actually support the Democratic administration's plan, while some top Democrats have openly criticized it. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), himself a former presidential candidate, hit back Friday against a portion of Obama's plan which would leave 35-50,000 "observer" soldiers in the country.
"You can't be in and out at the same time," said Kucinich in a media advisory.
"America must determine at some point to end the occupation, close the bases and bring the troops home," he said. "We must bring a conclusion to this sorry chapter in American history where war was waged under false pretense against an innocent people. Taking troops out of Iraq should not mean more troops available for deployment in other operations.
"In February of 2007 I presented H.R. 1234, legislation that would end the war in Iraq, and the process I outlined is still necessary. We should immediately bring home American service members and contractors, convene a regional conference to prepare an international peace-keeping force and accelerate Iraq-driven reconstruction."
"As a candidate for President, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops," Obama said on Friday. "Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months."
Obama added, "Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."
Congressman Kucinich has been a leading opponent of the Iraq war policy even well before many of his Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives came to agree with his position.