Eager To Bring About America's Failure
Running To Liz's Left
By James Taranto
A year ago, Saddam Hussein had just been executed, but post-Saddam Iraq looked like a disaster, and Democrats, poised to assume a congressional majority, were making noises about a quick surrender. How things have changed: Although Saddam Hussein is still dead, things are looking up in Iraq, and the Democrats are not talking so loudly about cutting and running. With one exception, as the New York Times reports from Sioux City, Iowa:
John Edwards says that if elected president he would withdraw the American troops who are training the Iraqi army and police as part of a broader plan to remove virtually all American forces within 10 months.
Mr. Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who is waging a populist campaign for the Democratic nomination, said that extending the American training effort in Iraq into the next presidency would require the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to provide logistical support and protect the advisers.
"To me, that is a continuation of the occupation of Iraq," he said in a 40-minute interview on Sunday aboard his campaign bus as it rumbled through western Iowa.
In one of his most detailed discussions to date about how he would handle Iraq as president, Mr. Edwards staked out a position that would lead to a more rapid and complete troop withdrawal than his principal rivals, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have indicated they are open to keeping American trainers and counterterrorism units in Iraq.
Edwards--originally a strong supporter of Iraq's liberation--is so far out on a limb, however, that he's even running to the left of his better half:
Elizabeth Edwards, his wife and political partner, who listened in on the interview from a seat across the aisle, intervened at the end of the session to underscore that Mr. Edwards did not intend to stop all training and was prepared to train Iraqi forces outside of the country.
The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow, and polls show that Edwards is competitive with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If he finishes first or second, it may be a sign that a substantial number of Democratic voters are so opposed to the Iraq mission that they are eager to bring about America's failure, not just to cut its losses.