Iraq Dominates Democratic Debate
14 US Troops Killed over Weekend
The Democratic Party candidates for president debated on Sunday evening. Iraq dominated the first half of the debate. Shorter versions:
Biden: We can’t get out of Iraq because we don’t have the votes to end the war in the Senate. Since Congress cannot force Bush to withdraw, we have to vote money to support the troops while Bush unilaterally keeps them there. We need a new president to get the troops out.
Edwards: We need to admit openly that voting to authorize an Iraq War was a “mistake” and then we have to withdraw US troops from Iraq. (This was a slam at Hillary, who voted to authorize the Iraq War and will not apologize for it]. Clinton and Obama didn’t come out strong enough or early enough against authorizing more money for Bush’s war in the supplemental.
(Barack replied: Edwards voted for the war in the first place and is 4 1/2 years late to provide leadership on this issue.)
Clinton: The vote to authorize the president to fight the “war on terror” seemed reasonable at the time. We are safer than we were before 9/11 but not safe enough.
Obama: I was against the war in 2002 when Edwards and Clinton voted for it. Get out by March 31, 2008, but keep troops in Kuwait.
Kucinich: The way to end the war is to end the war.
Christopher Dodd: Was first to sign on to the Feingold-Reid-Dodd bill to set a timetable for US withdrawal. He also stressed energy independence.) (Dodd’s campaign complained that he was given very little time to speak by Wolf Blitzer).
Mike Gravel: The way to end the war is to end the war.
Reuters reports on civil war violence in Iraq for Sunday, another bloody day.
The US military announced the killings of 14 US GIs over the weekend, with 6 killed on Sunday alone. Iraqi guerrillas used roadside bombs to effect most of these deaths.
In Baladruz, a carbombing in a market left at least 10 dead and 20 wounded.
Police found 31 bodies in Baghdad (victims of sectarian death squads), and another 9 near Baquba to the northeast. Bodies also showed up this weekend in the northern, largely Sunni Arab city of Mosul.
A Sunni Arab cleric was assassinated in West Baghdad (Shaikh Ali Khudir al-Zand in the al-Khadhraa district).
There was fighting this weekend between local guerrillas in Diwaniya (Shiite) and Falluja (Sunni) and Iraqi and/or US forces. In Diwaniya 3 were killed and 29 wounded on Saturday in Mahdi Army/ Iraqi army clashes. In Falluja, US & Iraqi government forces claimed to have killed 9 radical Salafis (“al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia”).
McClatchy says that two separate roadside bombs in Baghdad killed 2 and wounded 5.
Northwest of Baquba, guerrillas set up a fake checkpoint & stopped Iraqi government forces, then opened fire on them, killing 5 and wounding 7.
Residents of the Sho’la district of Baghdad risked coming out in the hundreds to protest [Ar.] the continued lack of water, electricity and services in their part of the capital. They said that the politicians who ran for office in 2005 had betrayed their promises to the people.
Sort of like what Gravel said in the debate about the results of the November 2006 election, which the people clearly intended to end the Iraq War.