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Bill Moyers asks...

In his interview with former Senator, Bob Kerrey, Bill Moyers asks:

I think just about everybody I know, including critics of the President, critics of the war, acknowledge that a unilateral withdrawal would lead to more murder, more mayhem. But how many lives should we expend? How many lives should we sacrifice to reach a state of equilibrium?

If you were in Kerrey's seat, how would you answer this question?


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I am a bit confused. It seems that Bob Kerrey is all for "ending the occupation," but was very unclear on what that means and how that would be different from "withdrawal."

I think he is the Muddled One.

He is unable to stop thinking about Saddam Hussein, even though he recognizes the fact that the "regime change" war is over.

He also seems to espouse the preposterous notion that one must either be in bed with oppressive dictators or militarily over-throw them. How simplistic... and to be expected from partisans like Bush, but from high-minded academic types, not so much.

All this muddles the real question, upon which we all (except the most partisan Republicans) agree. Lets move our soldiers as far out of harms way as possible as soon as possible. George Bush is the major obstruction to that.

Bob Kerrey is right about a couple of things... We need a bi-partisan plan... I would say we need a Unity Government. Unfortunately, George Bush is too interested in maintaining a divisive Red vs Blue America. As the POTUS, he has power to define the terms of the game.

Bob Kerrey is also right to quote Sen Webb: You do not have to occupy a country in order to fight the terrorists who are inside it.

Bob Kerrey scares me.
1. His defense for the Iraqi War is that it was good to remove a dictator. He neglects to mention that we attacked a sovereign nation that did not attack us. This appears to me as a war crime.
2. He happily says that we removed a dictator from Iraq, and that the people should be pleased about that. Later in the conversation, however, he admits that the probability of Iraq becoming a democratic government is slim and the odds favor another dictator. So, our troops are fighting and dying why?
3. He states that the votes of the 11/06 election voted "No", and that wasn't conclusive. However, I think what the American People voted for was NOT listed on any opinion polls as an option. When I voted this past election, I heard only one word in my head: IMPEACHMENT!
4. Lastly, this ties in with #3: Mr. Kerrey spoke of presented bills to President Bush only to have them vetoed. He says Dems made their point, so what else is there to do? The voice in my head screams at this pathetic man: IMPEACHMENT!!!!!
Bob Kerrey was a waste of time, Bill...

None. To delay the inevitable will only cost more lives.

I suggest we win the war first. Win or lose, Moyers hands will be wrung dry, while his wallet fattens.

I am sorry to post an off-topic comment, but this video requires your urgent attention.

It proves beyond doubt that aeroplanes did not, I repeat DID NOT, hit the WTC towers on 9/11. Instead video bluescreen effects were use.

I know, I know, tinfoil and all that, but please give this a chance. It is a video, 30minutes, and VERY VERY VERY well made, and it uses ONLY footage from that atrocious morning that you all have seen and some of you have on their VCRs.

For the technically challenged there are links to ONLINE VIEW .. but download the VCD, burn it, and watch it with you compatriots on the TV... and discuss the veracity of the argument.

Despite the claims, I'm unconvinced that withdrawal of US forces from Iraq will necessarily result in an increase in violence much above what already exists.

Where is the evidence that an increase will occur? To the extent that the presence of US forces and their activity is a significant cause of the violence, it stands to reason that their withdrawal removes at least part of the motivation for violence.

One could make at least as good a case that withdrawal will cause a net decrease in violence as that it would cause a net increase.

If this particular issue is in doubt, the logical rationale should be what is best for our troops and our legitimate interests in the region.

Most people, including the experts, agree that our withdrawal must be made at some point. Why not now?

My ex-hero bill moyers
capitulates to the corporatocracy. By allowing kerrey to retain the framing of the argument as ,'iraqiis
must stand up/ addressing the (so-called) war on terrorism, etc; mr moyers
in his own imagination, presented
a 'hardhitting' interview.
In reality, those few of us who concentrating on the big picture, understand that
by allowing a conspirator in collusion with reugs
to frame out the oil question, which explains the very basis of our need for bin laden. Who quotes
bin laden more than anyone else? W. Whose best friends facilitated a 'le vant affair' style 'terrorist attack on the us [ 9-11]? W. (see bandar bush and family).
By not attacking the dems collusion with repugs
and exposing that the only benchmark anybody cares about is the psa's of the multinat'l oil companies
that will confer 75% of IRAQS almost infinite oil reserves for thirty years at a minimal royalty scheme. All these repugs will end up working for exxon and halliburton in
exchange for the attorney general's willful ignorance of the antitrust activities that are not
going to be acknowledged.
LETS FACE FACTS, in this totally (un)constitutional
crisis that we are in , our corrupt congress WILL
not acknowledge that we are in the middle of a fullblown constitutional crisis. THE LAW IS WHAT PRESIDENT SAYS IT IS. sure the supremes have made a few superficial slapdowns'
those are the obligatory cover for since the election in 2000 they have capitulated to this cabal
of fascist revolutionaries.
What we have here is
Federalism dressed up in
a theatre of democracy that through the collusion of the media whores is presented
to the american people as a
debate, but all is based on a false premise (as are
ALL zionist crusading-friendly rightwing arguments. It would be amiss if I failed to mention the Large immigration distraction, being used by both parties as 'cover' to distract and confuse citizens. This is an attempt to incite nationalistpopulist fervor over a non-issue. Reagan used this same strategy of decrying the 'feet' people americans needed to worry about rather than look at what NEGROPONTE was up to funding terrorists in the
attempt to unseat the sandinistas for which hero reagan and vp bush were
totally 'unanswerable' for.
When Cheney threatened
Lee Hamilton with 'the end of bipartisanship forever', it was a not so veiled Real threat which successfully intimidated
the dems into not requiring the culprits to testify. If reagan And BUsh had been indicted for their obvious crimes, truth
and justice might have had a chance, as it went we now have REAGAN REDUX.
Anyone who doesn't DEFRAME a conspirators argument publicly is guilty of collaboration.
PS Before bush jr had won the primary, Uncle Jonny Bush had this to say,
" If my nephew wins the general election, it will be the worst thing that ever happened to this
country," at the cosgrove reception in long island.
It's nice to know SOMEONE
in the bush family is honest.

Instead of an inarticulate and confused man like John Kerrey, why not interview Chalmers Johnson, author of the trilogy on America's transformation into a corrupted imperial power?


I got this from the National Vaccine Awareness Center newsletter:

China Sentences Former Drug Regulator to Death

The New York Times
Published: May 29, 2007

by David Barboza

Andy Rooney said that if you want to clean up government you would make the job pay minimum wage. China's method would be a good start. Would the FDA/Congress being killing their citizens if they knew they would be accountable for it with their lives instead of getting promotions?

China is being portrayed as a backwards nation. Being held accountable for the lives of citizens seems progressive to me.

Why isn't this front page news to tear and compare with our broken system and pansy Ethics Reform?

How many more lives do we sacrifice?


The lives of others do not belong to me. They do not belong to you. There are no disposable people. There are no sacrificial lambs among us. That lives are lost is an inestimable tragedy. If we must go to war, we do so to save lives, NOT to sacrifice lives for a cause. Only in saving lives do we reach an equilibrium. Sacrificing lives drives us further from the equilibrium we seek. Life is balance, loss of life imbalance.

The only real answer is to stop warring. One need not take life or sacrifice life to achieve victory in a conflict. Any life lost is failure, whether that life be that of one's comrades or of one's enemy. Success is only achieved when there is no further loss of life on either side.

My last post wasn't published here.

I accused people of being cowards. Looks like the censor was not exactly daring, either.

here it is:

If he was a real man, the least Kerry would have to say is:

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

I just watched Moyers' BUYING THE WAR again... and I am shaking my head.
It should be screened every week in prime time.

Its crystal-clear conclusions:

Americans are mostly cowards. This would have never happened in another country, bar NAZI Germany.

Out of fear we can dismiss the following statement, too:

"It becomes ever clearer now that 9/11 could well have been an inside job.."

Why are we afraid? Do we need the Oil / cars / consumption more than we need decent lives?

All these comments must be sign of a great interview or a terrible one. How can we tell the difference? Actually, what I would really like to see is for Bill Moyers to bring in some people occasionally who can talk about alternatives to war. War doesn't work – it never has and we've given it our best shot. So what else is there? What are the alternatives? Who could possibly bring people on TV who could seriously discuss looking for another way? Bill Moyers is probably the only one I can think of. What about it?

If he was a real man, the least Kerry would have to say is:

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

I just watched Moyers' BUYING THE WAR again... and I am shaking my head.
It should be screened every week in prime time.

Its crystal-clear conclusions:

Americans are mostly cowards. This would have never happened in another country, bar NAZI Germany.

Out of fear we can dismiss the following statement, too:

"It becomes ever clearer now that 9/11 could well have been an inside job.."

Why are we afraid? Do we need the Oil / cars / consumption more than we need decent lives?

That so many people are absolutely convinced that a unilateral withdrawal would lead to more murder, more mayhem, is more a reflection of our collective ignorance and fear of global jihadism, than it is a reflection of the truth.

In our most recent past, so many people thought that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11, that Iraq had WMDs that were posed to strike at our allies, that our invasion of Iraq would be a slam-dunk, a cakewalk, and that the rest of the world was in agreement with us that we should invade Iraq.

How can we NOT consider the possibility that we are, again, wrong about a very fundamental premise behind our actions?

in response to Bill's interview with Bob Kerrey and the frustrating question as to how to get out of Iraq in a manner that is both ethical and moral, I think that Bill's viewers would be interested to know about the Network of Spiritual Progressives. NSP is a relatively new, national grass-roots organization that offers a solution to this issue that, while pure common sense, neither Left nor Right has come up with. Bill may know about NSP, since one of its co-founders is Sister Joan Chittister (along with Rabbi Michael Lerner and Dr. Cornel West).

In a full-page ad that ran in the New York Times on Thursday, May 17, NSP delineated its unique 3-point plan for an ethical end to our occupation of Iraq. A copy of the ad is included as an attachment here. This plan consists basically in the 3 R's of:
Repentance (apologizing for our mistake);
Replacement (of U.S. and British forces with an International Peace Force acceptable to the Iraqi people);
Reparations (through a Global Marshall Plan to rebuild Iraq and eliminate global poverty).
A 5-minute video of Michael Lerner discussing this ethical plan can be viewed at .

NSP believes that a Strategy of Generosity will go much further towards ensuring homeland security than the perpetuation of our current Strategy of Domination. Violence simply begets more violence. But showing genuine concern for our brothers and sisters in our global community through a real commitment to a Global Marshall Plan that eliminates poverty, provides adequate health care and education, and repairs the environment, is key to increasing global stability and our security.

Both political parties are in a "muddle" because they are stuck in the old paradigm of domination, motivated by fear and a desire to maximize the bottom line of wealth and power. They ignore the human factor, the psychological and spiritual dimensions that motivate us all, and think only of a very narrowly defined national interest. We cannot get out of this mess with the same thought processes and behaviors that got us into it. The Network of Spiritual Progressives offers an alternative that would end this vicious cycle of violence and promote our true national interest of lasting peace based on mutual respect, compassion, generosity and a sense of our shared humanity.


Stephanie Carrow, LCSW
Fairfield County, CT Chapter
Network of Spiritual Progressives

The big muddle is in the prevailing notion of democracy in the US, and by "prevailing" I mean the elite's notion. Mr. Kerrey says the Vietnam war was Ho coming down from the north, which could have been handled by regional arrangements. So the 80% of the public which would have voted for Ho in a Vietnam-wide referendum (called for by the Geneva accord of 1954), which was cancelled by the South at the behest, according to Neil Sheehan ("A Bright Shining Lie"), of Eisenhower (because the CIA knew the communists would win), didn't deserve to have their votes counted. The mideast today would vote, as Kerrey said, to get the US out and I'll bet also to have Israel adopt a secular constitution that gave equal rights to non-Jews: to abolish the "Jewish state" in favor of "a state for all the citizens". Why don't we respect that? Why don't you accept that?

Bill Moyers did an excellent job in interviewing Bob Kerry. One of Kerry's solutions could have been the redeployemnt of our troops to Afghanistan and find the person who planned the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., bin Laden. Kerry needs to read the late Senator Robert Taft's book " A Foreign Policy for Americans".The book gives a clear picture of the limits on Presidental powers and the duty of the Congress to keep the President from violating the Constiturion. Mr. Kerry and his fellow senators have failed all of us. "Nothing in the Constitution grants that the President shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader".

We are exacerbating the conditions that are promoting civil war in Iraq; I think just to give us an excuse to stay on until we have their oil.

The situation in Iraq is not much different than it was during the last "Crusades" in the "Holy Land." The Sunni and Shiites were at odds then, but would come together to defeat an outside or "infidel" invader. We (the crusaders) made deals with one side or the other to gain wealth and land, and just as readily broke the agreements if the other side made a better offer. The situation is about the same today, but the color of the wealth is black instead of gold.

If we would announce a cease fire, save for self defense, and announce a withdrawal from Iraq, I think the region would start to cool down as soon as they determined that we were serious.

I fail to understand the logic behind rejecting other Middle Eastern nation's offers to mediate or provide peace keepers.

The argument that we are bringing "democracy" to Iraq or any other Middle Eastern country is specious. You cannot bring democracy to anyone at the point of a gun, or by destroying cities and villages, killing the populace and devastating the country. The "Phoenix" program in Vietnam should have proved that. Every time we kill an Iraqi family and destroy their home, we create another "insurgent"

If we were occupied by a foreign power, we, the American People, would be fighting back with every weapon we could get hold of. No doubt the occupiers would call us terrorists and insurgents, but we would consider ourselves patriots and freedom fighters. We would welcome help from Canada and Mexico, who would be considered by the occupiers as outside agitators and foreign terrorists.

One of the biggest problems we currently face in America is that we seem to have completely lost the quality of empathy. We no longer can put ourselves in another's place and really feel their suffering and understand what is motivating them. We are in love with the "bottom line" and "What's in it for me?" It seems that everyone else can go to Hell, both here and abroad. Until we can cure this particular malady, I fear that we shall continue on until we self-destruct.

The conversation that Bill Moyers had with Bob Kerrey on the war and his stance ended with the same note that many conversations of this kind end with, Kerrey's statement on focusing on what we "agree" on to reach an answer. The answer was in Kerrey's words, when the words, "national" or "strategic" were coupled with "interest." Kerrey is part of the colonizing gang that runs the corporate media, the government and the reason for this nightmare we call foreign policy. Kerrey a warrior from Vietnam is like many of his fellow warriors, trying to achieve victory based on the last war's premise. The war in Vietnam was aggression on our part and interference in that people's affairs, the war in Iraq is aggression and interference into that people's affairs. That is why we lost the Vietnam war and why we will lose this war. Whether we pull out tomorrow or in ten years, the Iraqi people will ultimately make those decisions important to the makeup of their future, not us. I wish Bill would have asked Kerrey if he agreed with the potential giveaway of 85% of the Iraqi's national treasure, its oil resources to six western oil companies by the legislation in the hopper in the Iraqi Parliament's list of things to do handed to them by Bush and Cheney. It would have been interesting to hear Kerrey bob and weave with that subject, for I am sure that he is full in accordance with this outrageous act of thievery on a scale not seen for a long time.

The phone clip that Bill played at the end of the interview of LBJ talking about the mess in Vietnam in the spring of 1964, rendered Kerrey's dither to nonsensical blather. It also had a bittersweet connotation for me, as a baby boomer. I was coming of age in that spring and felt like most of my generation that we were the greatest nation with only best and humane notions for helping people around the world. The war in Vietnam was a faraway place, even though my cousin was preparing to go there to serve as one of those 16,000 advisors. I would follow in his steps several years later and several of my friends would also follow but not return, and are now names on that long black wall. The insights that such conversations provide us 43 years later can be used to keep us from building more long black walls on the mall in D.C., but do we have leaders who have the courage to buck the military-industrial behemoth that controls our nation?

I think this debate of why we are in Iraq does lend itself to goint beyond the words and that we as a country need to look at our life style and how we consume. After all, we tolerate dicatators of all types with no problems. If Iraq exported carrots as a main stay to their economy, we would be be in Iraq. It's is all bout the Oil in my view. Young men and the poor Iraqi people are being killed so we can maintain a consumptive lifestyle beyond what is reasonalbe. I don't think dying to maintain a level of consumption is worth and amoutn of death.

People will not pay attention until the monster arrives on their doorstep and then it will be too late cause it is alreay down the street

(This is not a hostile or derogatory comment but an oblique reference to Bill Clinton’s famous plaque that sat on his desk in the oval office.)

“After about an hour of common sense questioning most Presidents engage in, the very intelligent neoconservatives would have been forced to state, with considerable patience, "Mr. President, this really is about our nation's interest -- you know, oil -- as it was for the British, but it would not be a very good idea to tell the American people that. They might ask you, in the rare chance that you ended up in an audience composed of citizens who are not necessarily 'our people,' 'Do we really have to trade the lives of our sons and daughters for oil, Mr. President?' And you know we don't want to have that kind of discussion." Gary Hart

This is what we should be debating.

I'd answer that there are more options than just "stay" and "go." The Neo-cons have us all in such a polarized state of mind that we fail to consider other options. Withdrawing our troops doesn't have to mean leaving a vacuum. It's also racist and absurd for us to think we know better than they do how to conduct their government. I think we can finally close the coffin lid on our elitist, colonial aspirations. There will be no American empire, nor should there be.

We need to face the reality that there is no foundation for a democratic Iraq. It won't happen unless someone finds a way to teach an entire country critical thinking. Don't hold your breath. In the mean time, we need to get the UN to coordinate sending multinational troops to stand in as we stand aside.

In order to do that, we need to give up all claim on Iraqi oil, get all the "private contractors," a.k.a. merceneries, out of the country immediately and shut down Gitmo and any other torture palaces we have running whereever they are on the planet. Throw Halliburton out on their asses and make them leave all of their equipment so the Iraqis can use it to rebuild. Consider that a penalty for ripping off the American people.

We need to be the good guys we think we are. Pouring all kinds of aid into the country to help the refugees would be a great start. Not killing one more Iraqi baby would go along way toward slowing down the bloodshed. Feeding them would go a lot farther. Our only role there should be keeping the Red Cross, Peace Corps and other humanitarian workers safe.

We need to help the Iraqis withdraw to ethnically separate states. If it's ever going to be one country again, that will have to come from the Iraqis themselves. All we can do is separate them so they can find a little peace. No, that doesn't include building walls. Walls don't work - never have, never will. It means letting them be the independent tribes that they are, and helping them get back to that with as little blood shed as possible. We may have to accept the fact that Iran is always going to be there, and if the Iraqis want their help, they'll have it in spite of our best efforts.

No solution will be perfect. We are going to have to deal with the repercussions of this god-awful mess for generations to come. I pray that we have the sense to create an educational system that will produce voters too smart to fall for the lies of some fake CT Cowboy and his crooked computers. Our kids need to recognize a Nazi when they see one, especially when it is "draped in the flag and carrying a cross." Not enough of us did, and look where that got us. Al Gore tried to be honorable and civil, and we all know how that turned out. You can be civil to a fascist coup, so let's stop trying, shall we?

I registered a few hors ago. Yet, I get message my password is incorrect??

Withdraw or stay the course? Another false, either one or the other choice. Can we hear about the McGovern, Kucinich, and Biden Peace Plans.There are actual, complete thought out peace plans no one seems to be talking about them.
Kucinich for example, has us turning contracting work over to the Iraqis, convening a regional conference, preparing for international peace keeping, developing a process for Iraqi reconciliation, reparations, abandoning US plan to privitize Iraqi oil.
Heard on C-Span- Iraq could have a national oil co-op. GIve A shares to all Iraqi citizens, B shares to all Iraqi refugees who return to Iraq, give shares to Iraqi families for each member killed since we invaded. This would unite them.
Withdraw or stay the course is a false choice leading only to despair and death.

I was disappointed that Bill didn't point out Bob Kerrey's Board membership in The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a primarily Republican neo-con organization that promotes aggressive foreign policy and was pivotal in pushing for the Iraq War in the first place. It was also highly disturbing that Bob Kerrey was not challenged on the false dichotomy: embrace dictators or bomb them - these are the only two unimaginative immoral options of self-serving jingoists. Another false crock of nonsense: Democrats and their constituents, especially "The Left" that isn't one, just want us to get out of Iraq and to hell with the Iraqi people we invaded. Nothing could be more false, evidenced by polls that say the majority of Americans want out of Iraq and do not want to just run out indiscriminately, and by the statements of Sen. Obama especially when he voted No for the continued funding. "My plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism, and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. And if the Iraqis are successful in meeting the thirteen benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration itself, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have actually been met and that the suspension is in the national security interest of the United States." We are quite sick and tired of the lies about what the options are, and we do have sane alternatives to what DLC-led Democrats caved in to. A non-DLC Democrat, the only one in the top-three running for President, Senator Obama, has the sane alternative and the least donations from military lobbyists. It's time to change this dreary jingoist and, in the case of those who pushed for this filthy colonialist occupation, self-serving conversation. Inform yourselves: dump the DLC Democrats, and if you don't know if your rep is one, here's the list:

I was disappointed that Bill didn't point out Bob Kerrey's Board membership in The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a primarily Republican neo-con organization that promotes aggressive foreign policy and was pivotal in pushing for the Iraq War in the first place. It was also highly disturbing that Bob Kerrey was not challenged on the false dichotomy: embrace dictators or bomb them - these are the only two unimaginative immoral options of self-serving jingoists. Another false crock of nonsense: Democrats and their constituents, especially "The Left" that isn't one, just want us to get out of Iraq and to hell with the Iraqi people we invaded. Nothing could be more false, evidenced by the statements of Sen. Obama especially when he voted No for the continued funding. "My plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism, and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. And if the Iraqis are successful in meeting the thirteen benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration itself, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have actually been met and that the suspension is in the national security interest of the United States." We are quite sick and tired of the lies about what the options are, and we do have sane alternatives to what DLC-led Democrats caved in to. A non-DLC Democrat, the only one in the top-three running for President, Senator Obama, has the sane alternative and the least donations from military lobbyists. It's time to change this dreary jingoist and, in the case of those who pushed for this filthy colonialist occupation, self-serving conversation. Inform yourselves: dump the DLC Democrats, and if you don't know if your rep is one, here's the list:

After watching your interview with Kerrey, I just want to thank you for pressing him on some of his answers. Although I don't agree with him on some positions, he is altogether an honest, articulate, and intelligent, more than just self-serving politician.

Thanks again for this interview. I think you outdid yourself on this one.
Nonetheless, he did not make a case for how our staying in Iraq will result in our capability to better confront global jihadism. I continue to think that Iraq is not the key to the problem of global jihadism. But the fact that he recognizes the problem as being global jihadism, instead of the Bush administration's undefined GWOT, is at least an improvement.

Here are the two basic obstacles that I see as preventing the American people from being able to get behind Bush in his Iraq policy: (1) There is no military effort that will ever result in equilibrium in Iraq, or in the rest of the Middle East, or in other parts of the world where global jihadism is developing and growing; (2) the Bush administration is failing to show the proper recognition and respect for our troop sacrifices, by not attending funerals, and by not allowing our people to witness the coffins as they are brought into the country from Iraq. Kerrey hit upon these two topics, and I think that a democratic (or republican) presidential candidate who brings these two topics up will strike a collective nerve in America. Let's hope someone out there does this.

On the topic of our "occupation" of Iraq, and the Bush administration's insistence on denying that we are an occupier, I have this question: If our goal is not to occupy Iraq, then why are we building a 104-acre, $592 mn U.S. embassy monstrosity in Iraq?!

And one of Kerrey's final statements struck me as being flat-out wrong. He said that the American people are creating the impasse that prevents our Congress from working together to solve this Iraq crisis. He is absolutely wrong on this point. Karl Rove's political machine, together with the media pundits who continually spew ideology out over the airwaves, masking as fact, is what is stopping America from working together now to fix George's disastrous Iraq problem that he is leaving us as his legacy.

Thanks again for this interview. I think you outdid yourself on this one.

Bill Moyers introduced Kerry saying, "He was also a member of the independent, bipartisan 9-11 Commission that investigated the attacks and made recommendations for the future." Wow. Bipartisan and Independent, huh? When you have Zelikow (a Bush regime operative) chairing the commission (Kissinger had a conflict of interest since he is paid by the Saudis) with utter control over everything, and the only Dems are of Hamilton/Kerrey ilk, I would hardly qualify it as independent and it is only bipartisan in the sense that both branches of the War Party were included.

Kerrey may have expressed remorse for the war crimes in which he personally participated in Vietnam (, but he has not atoned - in fact, he seems to be continually justifying them by averring the righteousness of war-making. He is truly a troubling and and troubled individual and for him to call the Dems muddled is to suggest that somehow he is not? It's the kettle that's black and not the pot?

This war was conceived by policy wonks:wolfowitz,cheney and rice similar to the domino theory applied to our nation's intervention in Vietnam. Ill-conceived, and designed with the profit motive in mind for Haliburton and the Bush Crime Family. We must acknowledge the global war on terror and wage it where our enemies are not in Iraq

Thank you for this interview, Mr.Moyers. I disagree vehemently with Mr.Kerry. No American should be asked by our leaders to lay their life on the line for reasons based on political power and/or greed. Our military is first and foremost tasked with the defense of the US, not Iraq. Our servicepeople are not disposable toy soldiers and I wish Mr.Kerry had had a more coherent answer when you asked him 'what do you tell the mothers of the fallen?'
I appreciate the fact that he understood that the nation needed to grieve, but I don't think he gets that burying our dead and moving on isn't the end of it.
The questions by the families and nation won't stop until we have honest answers and at least some measure of justice for being taken to war under false pretenses.
As far as the US leaving Iraq and there being a bloodbath...there is a bloodbath now in Iraq. We should only be staying if there were some realistic plan that has more than a snowball's chance of helping to make a positive difference. Since we have no creditablity because we invaded and set down bases I don't see that as a viable option. The only people who seem to think we have the option of staying are the ones who have been consistantly wrong over the last four years. Why should we trust them now?
And for anyone who thinks we need to stay, the military has plenty of openings. Please hussle yourself down to the nearest recruiter and feel free to sign on the dotted line.

Valarie Fletcher/Military Families Speak Out

Daughter of a Vietnam KIA
Mother of a young man currently at risk in Iraq for the multiple time

Mr. Moyers

I think you missed a good chance to advance everyone's understanding by failing to challenge Senator Kerry's false dichotomy: either support dictators, or invade countries and have regime change. Saddam Hussein was a brutal and dangerous dictator, not unlike many others with whom the American government has friendly and supportive relationships. In fact, the US had friendly and supportive relations with Saddam at the very time he was committing some of his worst atrocities, which were well known to US government officials.

It is certainly possible that the inspections and sanctions and increasing international pressure might have brought about change in Iraq. Indeed, we know it did, because there were no WMD's found, or being produced. Saddam was in his 70's. How much longer did he have?

The point is to stop giving support and political cover to governments that routinely use state terror against their own citizens and others. Egypt certainly qualifies as a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, as well as Syria and Iran. And we continue to provide endless uncritical support for open defiance of UN resolutions, state terror and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli government in the West Bank. If an "ally" like Israel can detain without trial, torture, assassinate, and ethnically cleanse with our support, how can we credibly criticize a government in Miyanmar, or China, or Russia, that does the same? They all think what they are doing is justified, which of course it is, by the principle of might makes right. A principle we embrace by unilateral use of military force.

I agree with Sen. Kerry that, having contributed largely to this mess in Iraq, we must maintain sufficient military force in the area to protect Iraq against open invasion from Turkey, Syria, and Iran. I also agree that we must extricate ourselves from the internal affairs of the country. If the Iraqui government, after years in power, with huge sums at its disposal and support of the one superpower in the world, has so little support that a group of rag-tag terrorists can take over the country, then it hardly deserves our continuing support, and we should deal with whatever government emerges. That government will know that the US will not tolerate another Afghanistan, and that the US is no paper tiger when it comes to destroying a government which becomes a haven for and open supporter of terrorism. (Well, unless it is Israel using state terror against Lebanon.)

Having said that, and Christopher Hitchins misguided belief in the the good intentions of George Bush aside, we should never again be in the business of regime change by military force.

Intervening to stop open genocide, or under a real consensus from the UN, should probably be the limit of military intervention that is not truly self defense. And, George Bush's baloney aside, no state is about to attack the US, and no terrorist group has the power to inflict more than symbolic injury on the country.

It is hard to imagine a tool less suited to establishing a friendly government than occupation by American military forces, especially given the tactics they employ.
These are aimed a minimizing American personnel losses while being generally indifferent to the consequences for the civil populations.

I'm afraid--literally--that Sen. Kerry, like most Democrats and Republicans who make up the one big party that rules the US, still believe in the validity and utility of unilateral American military action to change regimes anywhere it suits the reigning President. A belief that will lead us again and again into expensive, immoral dead ends.

Mr. Moyers...
I truly appreciate your journalistic stances... However, when Sen.Kerrey stated that there was no one in the S. Carolina Rep debates that had (paraphrase) anything to say that was relevant to our being involved in the Iraq Occupation "not war"... I do believe that Dr. Ron Paul explained his position quite well... Do you think it is possible that I missed something? Or maybe the good Sen should be educated! If you find the time I would truly appreciate a response... A 68 year old patriot supporting the Constitution...

I would find it a great event for the American people if you would invite Dr. Paul on your show... Thank you... Joel Lemieux

It is very clear from the comments you have received that this subject troubles all of us. My contribution to the discussion would be this:

Very early in the war and occupation, I read from Professor Juan Cole a commentary on the language being used in this confrontation with extreme violence that has been called 'War on Terror.' It may seem superficial, but language itself can be and is an important recruiting tool. Continually through the interview the terms that were being used included the words 'Islam' and 'jihad.' As Professor Cole has more eloquently explained, these are holy words to ALL Muslims, just as 'Christian' and even 'Fundamentalist' are holy words to those of my faith.

Even as peaceful Islamists understand who is being meant by the terms "Radical Islamic jihadists", even if they are mature enough to overlook the implicit slurs, they - as I would do - inwardly cringe at the secularization and derogation of what for them are holy terms. We really have to take this into account and respect this honor accorded to words, and use them more carefully, rather than trampling on what is one of the great faiths, even in ignorance. This would do much to bring the conversation to a more level playingfield with those we wish to ally our selves with.

Cannot we simply refer to them as fanatical terrorists and leave it at that? Why bring in the faith - that serves the fomenters of violence very well, it seems to me, as the young recruits will be persuaded by our blasphemy (as they would see it) as they are persuaded by our answering, if accidental, violence towards their loved ones.

Professor Cole would be an excellent guest. We didn't get this right at the very beginning of the confrontation - how much more we need to get it right now.

Without taking away from the excellent comments of others, I have to say I am somewhat disappointed with Moyers for not addressing the real, honest to God reason for the entire Iraq fiasco, and that, of course, is that Saddam began selling his oil for Euros. By taking a moment of your time and reading, an article published BEFORE the invasion, you will learn why the US invaded, why Britain is our lapdog, and that the French weren't really "cowards" at all. When Kerry says this is a war over "jihadists" I have to cringe. When Moyers asks "How do we get out of Iraq" I want to say, "Read this, Bill." The answer, unfortunately, is "When the US economy collapses." The US will never leave Iraq. Read for yourself why.

Bill, I am a long time fan and supporter. However, it�s becoming more and more evident that interviews with ex-war heroes, ex-politicians, and ex-military officers only establishes the fact that opinions continue to be like noses, everyone has one! It appears that a majority of the previous posters came to the same conclusion after your interview with Bob Kerry.

I became increasing impatient, as the interview proceeded, waiting for Mr. Kerry to say something of relevance. His concluding remarks defending the political establishment in Washington summarized this less than captivating discussion; �We don�t know who to listen to !�. Your previous interview with Ms. Claybrook illustrated that they apparently knew who to listen to when 43% of them abused the publics trust and used their elected positions to snag a very well paid job on K Street. Meanwhile, the Bush administration keeps this so-called war going while they twist the arms of the current Iraqi government to sign an agreement with multinational oil interests that cedes the bulk of their national wealth.

May I suggest that you interview someone who you have consulted several times when you were affiliated with �Now�, Kevin Phillips. Despite his former association with the Republican Party and the Nixon White House, he brings a refreshing perspective to the table based on his keen political sense and previous experiences. In an interview with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, about a year ago, he stated that our two party system had reached an impasse similar to what the British Government experienced in the early 20th century. The Brits recognized that they had a quagmire and constructed a coalition government to maintain a functioning Democracy. He didn�t elaborate on his comments but, it would be interesting to hear what Kevin�s take is at this point in time.

Keep up the good work !

If you were in Kerrey's seat, how would you answer this question?
I think the question should be if you were in Moyer�s seat how would you ask the questions? I was very disappointed with Moyers interview with Kerrey. I found the entire interview confusing, superficial, incomplete and uninformative. Read the transcript. For example; Kerrey�s comment �Our mission should not be to occupy Iraq. Our mission should be to be a reliable ally of the Iraqi government in their effort to survive.� Moyer�s response �That�s a very specific point�. In my opinion that Kerry�s comment is as vague as they come. Another example, Kerrey� you begin by saying that global jihadism is a genuine threat� Moyers� I agree with that�
I hoped that Moyer would follow Kerrey�s statement by asking him if he feels that global jihadism is a result of our occupation of Muslim land and our aggression or support of aggression of Muslims. Another example, Kerry- �No, it's not all about oil. But that's an important source of our energy and an important source of our jobs, and yeah, it becomes more important as a consequence.� Moyers- �You're saying we're fighting it the wrong way?� It seems to me that Moyers missed an opportunity to ask a very important question, Should foreign policy be based on the future of US oil supply? I�m hoping that Bill Moyer�s does not let another opportunity go by and gets back in the game or I will be tuning out.

As US Navy war ships hit Somali targets (June 2, 2007) the War on tERROR widens due to poor oversight by an Executive branch with little reality of purpose!
Bob Kerry speaks from his heart and experiences, those thoughts are resonant with many Americans filled with contempt for the "Bush" plan as regards the mistakes that opened the War on tERROR to a broader stage.

A reporter once said, just before Iraq was subjected to "Shock & Awe" and it sums up the mistake best:
"you break it, you own it"!

We 'the people' of the US own the problem because we let a maniac, clueless sitting President invade a nation when the real need was for the throttling back of an aready functioning global enemy taking refuge in the mountains in the Kush regions.

Iraqi government may not have the full efforts of their own people to restore an orderly form of control.
All indications are, too many factions feel a need to influence that goverment. Both inside and outside of Iraq.

A long term contracted conflict (It is not a War) is not sustainable given the loss of people and equipment. The financial burden has been skillfully hidden due to funding being projected out years ahead with the sale of treasury instruments owned mostly by foreign governments.

Support out troups by giving them all the best planning and technology we can, but draw a line and plan for the support of an
Iraqi system to take over but don't expect the violence and mayhem to end.

As to OUR country's needs,
perhaps the Former Republicans can come back and take back their Party so rest of the country can get out of this Quagmire!

Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for all you do to help America through this devastating period in our history. When you stated that no sacrifice is being asked of anyone but the military, you are right. The only way to solve the problem of Iraq is for our legislators to demand the sacrifices needed to win in Iraq. First, restart the draft, so that we can send the numbers needed by the military, as they say they need: Shinseki stated a few hundred thousand, Petraeus, in his instructional on insurgency stated 25 (or was it 50?) soldiers per 1000 population of the country. Second, increase taxes, especially on capital gains, inheritance over $1million, war businesses and outsourcers, and raise the gas tax. The pain of these sacrifices will either be met, (and we will have a better chance of cleaning up the weapons and Alqaieda and foreign fighters in Irag, as well as improve the rebuilding effort), or there will be a massive outcry and more than likely an initiative to remove our presence in Iraq. If only our politicians had the guts to propose anything that does not directly benefit them or their re-election campaigns.

I wanted this separate from my other post.

Again and again we hear that leaving Iraq would give Bin Laden a "psychological" victory, now Kerrey ratchets it up to a "real" victory.

So friggin' what? It doesn't matter WHAT we do, he claims victory, and - surprise surprise! - no one CARES what he says. The choir he is speaking to is ALREADY singing along - his nebulous claim to any "victory" would not make, say, a Sufi suddenly change his ways to Wahabiism. The Shia's aren't going to suddenly convert to Sunniism and proclaim Bin Laden as their new leader - it is all smoke, no fire.

The only time any politician brings up the words of Bin Laden is when they want to back a particular point they are pressing.

Again, who cares one whit what Bin Laden says? Why do we insist on GIVING him the power to control America's actions?

I have a lot of respect for Bob Kerrey, but he is in the same mindset as the politicians in office. Did you notice that he brings up the same straw-men about Iran, Syria, and Turkey "taking over" Iraq TWICE - yet none of us have EVER seen any proof that this is justified logic. He assumes, as do the War Hawks, that the population of Iraq WANT that to happen - that the Arab Shia would accept Persian Shia rule. Where's the proof? Even Bill seems to accept this as fact, simply because people have said so. Why doesn't he ask for and show us the PROOF of these claims?

And, as usual, the words "Saudi Arabia" were not included as a place where terrorists cross the border, funding flows freely to Iraqi Sunni insurgents (AND Al Qaeda in Iraq), or would be players in any conflict should we "up and leave." Why is Saudi Arabia a non-entity when it shares as much border with Iraq as Iran - and, let us not forget, the homeland of 17 of the 9/11 hijackers. Why is so much of our focus on Iran - who HELPED us in the invasion of Afghanistan - while Saudi Arabia has received a free pass from the get-go? Where is the political pressure on Saudi Arabia - HOME of Wahabiism?

Wanna leave some troops in Kuwait, just in case they're needed? Fine. But get the hell out of Iraq - YESTERDAY!!

It's Kerry who is "muddled". We can say that it is not an occupation all we want, but with an embassy bigger than the Vatican and 10 bases located there, its just words. And he says there is no military solution yet, still wants a prominent role for the military. How on earth will retreat to the bases in a failed state work? It will still be cheered as a victory by bin Ladin no matter what we do. Propaganda doesn't care what is true. Perhaps, Kerry's future polictical interests color his opinions.

My answer to the question is that like the lyrics to the Eagles song Hotel California "you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave". That loud CLICK we heard when we entered the war meant the door only opened one way. So any question about when and how to leave is moot, and anyone trying to answer seems to be talking in circles because hard as it is to swallow yes "we can never leave" and won't. War and quicksand have a lot in common too late to draft an exit plan after having entered either.

We should withdraw from Iraq within 60 days, to be replaced by a multinational Muslim peacekeeping force. We have done enough damage there and we need to get out now.

As far as the war on terror against the Islamic jihadists, I'm tired of Americans vilifying someone else when we have wreaked so much havoc.

The official 9/11 story (Bob Kerrey was on the 9/11 commission) is a fraud.
The Jersey Girls only had 30% of their questions answered and they demand a new investigation.

The progressive left is still burying this issue and supporting the "War on Terror" and the Military Industrial Complex.

At our Town Meeting in Lincoln, Vermont, I helped pass a resoution demanding a new, independent, forensic investigation of 9/11. We are the only town in the nation to demand this.

The Demorcrats are divided and losing credibility. Bush and Cheney must be impeached now for stealing the elections and most likely, complicity in 9/11.

My answer to the question is that like the lyrics to the Eagles song Hotel California "You can check out any time you like but you can never leave". That is not what any sane person wants to hear,but that loud CLICK meant the door into Iraq only opens one way,so questions about withdrawal from Iraq are moot,that is why anyone who gets sucked into the debate about when and how to "get out" come off as "confused" at best. War and quicksand have a lot in common, too late to try and draw up an exit plan after having entered either.

And your show indicates, there is much to debate as to why and whether we should be in Iraq. But, from a practical view, our presence would be more tolerable if we weren't taking as many casualties. In my view Iraqi freedom is not worth the life of a single american, but if there was some way to combat the IED's --- high minded purposes such as freedom and stability for the iraqis can be entertained. Right now the price is too high. Solve the IED problem. It makes no sense to put men in harms way against a weapon for which you have no defense. Either defend against it or withdraw to a safer position.

I found this interview stunning. Really. Kerrey's logic seemed convoluted, pro neocolonialist, heavy on pronouncements, light on solutions. Seemed to me his primary point was that we simply redefine the terms of war.

Groucho Marx would have loved it. "Say the magic word(s) and you win a hundred dollars..." The magic words? "We are no longer occupying your country." Presto change-o! We're the good guys again--no matter what we have done or what we do next. We can stay put because it's a good thing to invade a sovereign nation to topple a tyrant.

I am no politician, no think tank policy wonk. I'm an ordinary woman with kids and grandkids who writes a weekly column down here in the South arguing for sanity in public policy. I am, however, smarter than this administration. I actually read--so I knew a little about the tortured history of a nation-that-wasn't-one until colonialist intervention early in the last century drew artificial lines in the sand and created it. Iraq was never a naturally evolved nation united by shared interests or common culture. Knocking off Saddam Hussein wasn't about to make it one.

There has to be a better answer than Kerrey's. And, maybe, that answer can be found right here--rather than over there.

So here's a partial solution conceived by one ordinary woman, lifted from a column I wrote some time ago, "War Games: the pre-emptive punch and fair play":

...War Games. That's what it's all about. It's just fine to play The War Game when the "pieces"--the toy soldiers--belong to somebody else. When the same group of military families bears all the burden of The Game while the rest of America shops-for-freedom and complains about the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

There's an answer fot that. Look to games to define the rules of fair play for games. We need a draft again. Not the old one. Nothing like it. The old Selective Service was just that: Selective. There were easy deferments for those who "had other priorities" like Dick Cheney, for those who could
afford to stay in college. Lots of Vietnam era guys got a sudden yen for graduate degrees. And you could avoid the draft altogether--like Dubyah, like Dan Quayle--if your daddy had power or influence. He just saw to it that you got bumped ahead of every other guy on the National Guard waiting list. Or he got you into graduate school even when your academic record put you so low on the list of applicants you left skid marks. Nope. Can't have that. We're going to play fair this time no matter whose keester winds up in a sling.

Let's do a shiny new draft. Let's do it like, say, the NBA. Like basketball. First round draft picks, second round, third round and so on. No deferments. None. Here's how it goes:

First round: The kids, nieces, nephews and grandchildren of every member of the executive branch of government. The president and vice president are the first to see their families' kids off to war.

Second round: Kids from legislative branch families. Every last one.

Third round: Department of Defense kids; the kids of war-mongering think tank policy makers.

Fourth round: Hit up big business. Kids of defense contractors, kids of oil company execs. Take your pick.

If you love the notion of a war, if you stand to make a profit from it, your kids are fair game. They're gone.

It'll work. I'm sure of it. There won't be another Vietnam or Iraq in our future--not with the sons and daughters of the powerful at risk first. You can bet we'll see some serious talking going on; we'll see a veritable renaissance of diplomacy and intelligent, compassionate discourse in solving problems worldwide. No more dishonest, for-profit, pre-emptive rush-to-war. Ever again.

The cost of such a war, our leaders will tell us then, is just too damn high.

Mr. Moyers, this is only one woman's opinion. It's wise-acre and simplistic, but I am deadly serious about the concept. And it sure beats anything I heard
coming out of Bob Kerrey's mouth last night.

Kerrey spoke like an idiot which is quite unexpected from a former congressman. I hope he’s not representative of the caliber of folks that work on our behalf of Capitol Hill.
One side note; politicians and the Bush administration in particular like to bring up al-Qaeda and Osama bin-Laden all the time as a way to justify our presence in Iraq. Let’s get real, we are dealing with sectarian/ethnic violence there, that's enough. As for bin-Laden he’s been dead for years but he is being used like Elvis and is too convenient a prop to dismiss…

Thank you Bill for doing what you do so well. Your thoughtful, yet persistently critical questioning of Bob Kerrey last night was a great journalistic service.

You gave Kerrey just enough rope to hang himself, and thereby helped to clarify the 'muddle' on the Iraq war debate that has been fostered by centrist and conservative Democrats seeking, as Russ Feingold recently noted, "political comfort...over real action."

To listen to Bob Kerry's evasive answers, elisions, and downright sophistry as he fell all over himself trying to re-frame Bush's disastrous policies in terms of some kind of high-minded realpolitik was truly revealing.

Kerrey, of course, is no stranger to the kind of DLC doublespeak that we were treated to in last night's interview.

Clearly, this intervention by Kerrey is meant to pave the way for Hillary et al. to triangulate a new 'moderate' version of continuing Bush's imperial war and occupation.

I suppose we can expect to see Kerrey featured quite prominently in the corporate media in coming weeks. I hope that some other brave journalists might take up the critical line of argument that you have opened up against this DLC-inspired flapdoodle. But, I'm afraid I'm not very hopeful about that.

In the event, thank you again; and keep up the great work.

Perhaps Bob Kerrey knows the politics of ancient military empires, but nothing about Living Things.

Every living thing on earth will defend it's offspring from EVERY ATTACKER, regardless of nationality, religion, race or even species.

EVERY Living thing will defend the future of Creation from EVERY attacker.

Who in America would NOT shoot the soldiers of an invading army?

Who in America would NOT try to bomb the invading Gestapo's ''Green zone'' ?

Who in America would NOT shoot the traitors who sided with that foreign invader ?

Who in America would NOT sacrifice their lives to save their children from a horde of invading, murdering barbarians ?

Who in America would simply hand America over to a lying, invading, murdering foreign dictator like Bush ?

I wouldn't, and neither would the citizens of Iraq.

Dear Mr. Moyers

I feel indebted to you for what you have added to our national debate about politics and morality. Though I have to say I am flabbergasted after watching your lengthy discussion with Bob Kerry about Iraq that included absolutely no discussion about the real reason we are there--oil.

Oil is why we are there and why we will not leave. This fact explains every action taken by the Bush Administration and every action not taken--like creating a genuine self-governing political system in Iraq. It explains the size of our new embassy and the significance of our role in helping Iraqis develop their constitution. Apparently we simply cannot allow Iraqis to control their own resources and work out a way of sharing them without having multi-national companies call the shots. Once Iraqis realized we were not there simply top liberate them and set them on the path to democracy, the insurgency began. Iraqis know us better than we know ourselves. America’s motives are not what we say they are.

If Americans had an honest discussion about Iraq, Iran, oil and gas, pipeline routs, and all of the competing interests fighting for control of them, then maybe we could find a plausible solution to the Iraq problem. Maybe we could weigh the costs of this kind of energy-driven neocolonialism against other options like renewable energy?

How can we find a reasonable solution to end the occupation of Iraq if we cannot have an open and honest debate about whether America should be able annex a country in order to control its resources? Or whether it is even in our strategic interest to do so? Discussions about whether democracy is achievable in Iraq, or whether we can or will, extricate ourselves from this quagmire seem “quaint”--if not absurd--given our actual motivation for occupying the country.

There is no way to pacify Iraq because we took the key issue off of the table and it seems no one is willing to talk about it.

Hello again Bill. Great discussion with Sen. Kerry - we need more like it. When he asked you rhetorically "what could the Democrats do?" in response to your comment about Congress capitulating on war supplemental, I had to share the letter I sent to several members of Congress about what they could and should do. I sent it shortly after the President vetoed their timeline bill. It is a long read but I hope Congress will gain some courage and use such ideas when the Defense budget comes up for debate this summer. This is my answer to Sen. Kerry.

Subject: A decisive win-win Democrat supplemental funding bill that ends the Iraq war regardless of the actions of Bush and Republican Congressmen.

Introduction: I am an active-duty intelligence officer with over 12 years experience including tours to support operations to end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and to the Mideast to first restrain Sadaam Hussein and then again to deal with the conflagration that ensued following his toppling. I am currently stationed in Korea a few miles from an unstable, budding nuclear power. I willingly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and have been utterly horrified to see this Administration foment domestic fear to trample upon it whilst pursuing ill-advised and unwarranted action in Iraq that are wholly opposed to the sacred liberalist foundations upon which our founding fathers conceived this nation. Citizen voter turnout and choice in 2006 has renewed my faith in country and happily preserved a career in public service I was fully prepared to end. That vote placed you in a position to preside over a rare moment at which you have the great privilege to make history and the unfathomable responsibility to choose our path toward an uncertain but better future. It is in the spirit of this moment and in the purest pursuit of fulfilling my oath that I plead for a moment of your sparse time to please consider the following idea.

Summary: What I offer is a course of action for the war funding supplemental that offers the following:
Provides full funding within the required timelines
Has a real chance of reducing and/or ending the occupation of Iraq
Destroys unity among Republicans and/or forces them to alienate their base
Resolutely confronts the President and Republican supporters of the war, responsibly escalating the stakes offered in the vetoed timeline bill, not retreating from them
Fully awakens the public consciousness to this issue, increasing awareness, scrutiny and opposition beyond the Presidents ability to withstand

The course of action I am advocating is a bill that meets all the Presidents requirements, but includes a 5 cent per gallon increase in the federal fuel tax and a 5 percent increase on both the capital gains and corporate tax rates for CY 2007, all earmarked to fund the war. Furthermore, if US forces in Iraq are not reduced to a total of 70,000 or less by and at any time after 30 Sep 2007 the language would also require the initiation of a military draft (the real onus on the President) beginning 1 Oct 2007 of 50,000 men to be enlisted (for 3 years) into the Army and Marines by the end of FY 2008.

What follows is the analysis I used to develop this strategy as well as an analysis and comparison of other courses of action currently being considered. Please forgive me for organizing this proposal in a military manner. As a military planner, I chose this methodology for its inherent efficiency, logic, and for me, familiarity.

Mission: Upon the presidents veto of the current bill and subsequent failure to override that veto, Democrat leadership within the legislative branch begin the end of US military combat involvement in the Iraqi civil war by drafting and presenting a war supplemental bill that forces Republican and independent legislators who support the President and the President himself into a dilemma that inevitably alienates their base and either simultaneously strengthens and broadens opposition to the war or hypocritically neglects clear and present threats to national security and defies all definitions of fiscal responsibility.

Purpose: Develop and present a realistic, responsible and morally, logically and politically unassailable bill that secures decisive moral high ground and forces the opposing party to choose between either taking supporting action that raises non-partisan public opposition to the war to insurmountable levels or taking opposing action contrary to their own rhetoric, exposing their false-patriotism. Either action destroys their last remaining defensible political position which allows for the continuation of the war.

End state: Under serious political threats from legislators from his own party, to include impeachment, the President significantly reduces US military combat forces within Iraq by 30 Sep 2007 and redeploys all remaining forces no later than 4 July 2008. Quarrelling Iraqi parties agree in substance and undertake a peaceful separation of Iraq into three semiautonomous regions largely in accordance with Senator Bidens federalist plan. On the strength of the decisive, courageous, centrist and conscientious actions, Democrats strengthen majorities in Congress and secure the Presidency in the November 2008 elections.
Current Opposition

Situation: The Administration is at ebb in public support, particularly with regard to the handling of the Iraq operations. Their strategic center of gravity remains the unwavering support of their conservative base preserved largely through the consistency of their message (and reinforced by conservative media sources) that ties Iraq operations to GWOT and a related argument that a significant withdrawal, even at some future point, equates to an unacceptable declaration of defeat. Their key capabilities remain the constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief and veto authority that is preserved by partisan discipline within Republican congressional minorities still large enough to prevent any override. They also retain Whitehouse bully pulpit information operations though their credibility is weak with the majority of Americans.
In this current political struggle, they are employing a balanced defensive approach. First, they reject artificial troop withdrawal timelines because they equate to surrender, and, micromanagetie the handsand reduce the flexibility of commanders in the field, and because timelines ultimately aid and abet the enemy. Second they counter-attack Democrats for delaying the funding our troops desperately need, conjuring dire (and unsupportable at this time) consequences in the event of further delays. While they realize the majority of Americans now support withdrawal timelines, they rationalize their commitment for unfettered continuance of the war by arguing that the new SECDEF and GEN Petraeus be given time to succeed with the new strategy. They operate with the notion that they retain the patriotic, pro-troops ideology, whilst attacking Democrats for undermining the troops at every turn. Their aggressive offensive maneuver is founded on a significant public majority that supports funding the troops even though Bush vetoed the timeline-enhanced funding bill.
As debate gets underway on a new bill, the opposition will continue these maneuvers in the near term, despite the dubiety of their logic and inconsistency with fact. Though these weak arguments are easily refuted, such repudiation will do little to split the opposition with its base of support, thus having little effect in accomplishing the mission.

Current Friendly Situation: The House and Senate majorities have public support for timelines, and have achieved a small victory in gaining support for a reconciled war funding bill with timelines that, had it been approved, would have begun to getting us out of Iraq. In doing so, they clearly put Republican legislators and the President on record in opposition of ending the war in the near term and thus in conflict with the majority of Americans. For Republican congressmen, particularly those moderates up for election in 2008, this will result in increased pressure from their electorates. However, those conservatives with a strong base of support at home, as well as the President, will remain largely unaffected by these latest actions. Furthermore, Democrats revealed some weakness in passing this bill, as highlighted by the inclusion of non-emergency / non-war related earmarks that were needed to ensure passage. There was also little bipartisan support for the bill, with few Republicans voting in support. This, combined with the Presidents prior public threats of a veto, gives credence to the opposition-fueled public perception that the bill was purely a partisan political act.
The lack of Republican support for the bill places heavy reliance on the Democrat members of Congress, particularly in the House, where a significant number are vehemently anti-war. This caucus is under intense, unrelenting pressure from their base and will only support measures that result in a precipitous redeployment from Iraq. The pressure-induced position represents a troublesome fracture in Democrat House unity that will translate into a loss of votes for centrist bills that cannot be overcome unless and until significant support from Republican members of both bodies is also gained. These conditions combined with the slim Democrat majority in the Senate currently guarantee the intractability of the Presidents veto.

Planning Assumptions:
1) Most Republican congressmen will not support, and the President will veto, any subsequent bills that include timelines for withdrawal.
2) Public opposition to the war will not significantly increase, especially among the conservative base that supports Bush and conservative Republican Congressmen, so long as the war does not significantly affect their pocketbook or, at least potentially, their immediate family.
3) The President will make no moves to significantly reduce force presence in Iraq during his remaining term regardless of how good or bad things are on the ground.
4) Moderate Republican members of Congress will not support withdrawal plans in numbers sufficient to produce veto overriding super-majorities until Spring/Summer of 2008, by which time we will have accrued at least 1,000 additional US casualties and $200B more in war debt.
5) The civil war and underlying political problems in Iraq will not significantly improve so long as the US occupation protects and illegitimatizes the corrupt, factional and failed central government.

Key Facts:
1) The Administration has run-up the largest war bill in modern times, at least $500B in Iraq, all unpaid and added to the national debt, after presenting pre-war estimates of $20-50B in total war costs and assurances that oil revenues would provide for all reconstruction.
2) Readiness of the non-deployed US Army is at its lowest point in modern times, leaving Guard and Reserve forces ill-prepared for national domestic emergencies and regular forces unable to respond in a timely fashion to other contingencies worldwide, making vulnerable our national secutiry and our commitments to allied nations.
3) The moral, educational, physical, and age standards for enlistment into the Army are at the lowest point in modern times while enlistment and reenlistment bonuses are at record highs. Despite this, the active Army struggles to meet manning quotas and fails to meet them within the Guard and Reserve components.
4) The US economy is growing and healthy with corporate profits beating expectations and Wall Street setting fresh records this spring.
5) In 2000 and 2003, the Administrations cuts in capital gains and corporate tax rates were justified by the need to stimulate the weak economy and to return surplus tax revenue. The USG has run multi-hundred-billion-dollar deficits ever since.
6) Most of the Army and Marine personnel deployed to Iraq are on their third or fourth tours to either Iraq or Afghanistan, with each tour extended up to 15 months. Both services have instituted stop-loss and ready-reserve recalls needed to fill and maintain their ranks; essentially an involuntary draft of those who have already fulfilled their service commitment.
7) The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on longer than WWII but without any significant sacrifice or direct-life connection to the overwhelming majority of American citizens.
8) The President and Vice President both deliberately and successfully avoided the draft during the Vietnam War largely through the fortunes and political connectedness of their families. The public and the President do not want to reinstitute the draft. However, it has been seriously discussed both before and after the 2006 elections.
9)The President has publicly demanded a war-funding bill that contains no time tables for withdrawal, does not micromanage commanders in the field, and fully supports the troops. He has recently warmed to the idea of benchmarks but it is unclear what strings he is willing to attach to them.

Constraints (must be done):
1) Congress must fund the troops by June or July of 2007.
2) Democrats must negotiate in good faith with the President, but stand firm and resist the President in his attempts to continue the war on his terms.
3) Any bill passed must achieve significant bipartisan support.
4) Democrats must preserve unity.

Restraints (must not do):
1) Democrats must not again resort to earmarks unrelated to the war in order to gain votes.
2) Democrat action must not alienate the party and independent center to placate the anti-war base, nor can they alienate the anti-war base to placate the center.
3) Democrats must not give the Administration a cleanblank check bill.
4) Democrats must not be forced by Republicans to add or remove fundamental language in order to ensure passage of the funding bill.

Specified Task:
1) Draft a supplemental spending bill containing language that upon debate and consideration in the House and Senate will accomplish the following:
a. Meets the Presidents publicly stated requirements; namely, contains no time tables for withdrawal, does not micromanage commanders in the field, and fully supports the troops.
b. Is fair, responsible, and clearly represents an act of conscious vs partisan maneuvering.
c. Gains and holds wide attention within the country by creating a direct, potential stake in the bill for every citizen within the country by justly and necessarily widening the immediate consequences of the war beyond the all-volunteer military.
d. Places a clear moral and ideological conflict between the remaining Republican conservative political base and pro-war congressmen. This wedge ideally is unavoidable and will take effect regardless of whether they act to support or oppose the bill.
e. Gains support of a majority within the Democrat caucus large enough to demonstrate unity and resolve while ensuring the sincerity and viability of the bill.

Implied Tasks:
1) Privately lobby sufficient commitment within the Democrat Caucus to achieve e. above.
2) Seize the initiative through surprise by publicly introducing the bill broadly and simultaneously in a well-prepared and controlled context.
3) Quickly introduce the bill for debate within the House and Senate with responses to all the predictable opposing arguments well-prepared and delivered by the most able and credible Democrat voices.
4) After appropriate opportunities for debate, bring the bills up for a vote.
5) Prepare and enact contingency plans to immediately take advantage of all possible results.

Risk Assessment: Risk analysis indicates the necessity for Democrats to find a balance in choosing and pursuing their course of action. They must balance between intractably sticking to language that leads to withdrawal and placating the President with a bill devoid of any consequences for continuing the war.
1) The primary hazard that presents risk to Democrats in this mission is to allow the perception to take hold within the public majority that that they are playing politics in a time of war such that it imperils our troops. The simple and effective mitigations to this risk are negotiations in good faith with the President and an otherwise diligent effort to provide a bill that allocates at least some funding prior to end of June and/or summer recess. Additional mitigations are already underway, namely exposing the hypocrisy in the oppositions arguments by pointing out the timing of past supplementals and the real, repeated, and unconscionably failures of both the administration and previous congresses to effectively protect, support, or care for the troops.
2) A secondary hazard is to allow the perception to take hold within the public center majority that Democrats have ceded defeat to the administration and allowed the subjugation of a co-equal congress on the issue that was the most pivotal and paramount in the last election. The mitigation to this risk is simply to force the President to make some concession; the greater his compromise, the smaller the risk.

Course of Action Development: The following courses of action (COA) are not all-inclusive or exclusive (additional combination proposals are possible). They do not include other published proposals that are not suitable; in other words, have little to no chance of completing the mission, creating a Republican dilemma (see task d. above), or gaining bipartisan support sufficient to override a Presidential veto or passage and his approval. Each of these COAs are; however, suitable (accomplishes the mission), feasible (possible given the environment and the capability of available friendly instruments of power), acceptable (in terms of assuming risks and possible political costs), distinguishable (significantly different from each other).

1) COA 1: Draft, present, and pass a relatively clean bill that meets all the Presidents requirements except it provides only partial funding, thus requiring a subsequent spending bill in June or July.
a. Similar to what Rep. Murtha has proposed and the House has already passed.
2) COA 2: Draft, present, and pass a bill with full funding and no timetable or restrictions on US operations, but would include benchmarks for the Iraqi government with language that at least tacitly obligates the President to begin withdrawal in September/October 2007 if some or all benchmarks go unmet.
a. Similar to what Sen. Snowe has proposed.
3) COA 3: Draft, present, and pass a bill that meets all the Presidents requirements, but includes a 5 cent per gallon increase in the federal fuel tax and a 5 percent increase on the capital gains and corporate tax rates for CY 2007, all earmarked to fund the war. Furthermore, if US forces in Iraq are not reduced to a total of 70,000 or less by and at any time after 30 Sep 2007 the language would also require the initiation of a military draft beginning 1 Oct 2007 of 50,000 men to be enlisted (for 3 years) into the Army and Marines by the end of FY 2008.
a. No form of this COA is being publicly advocated.

Course of Action Analysis:
1) Overall score: 29 out of 100. As COA 1 plays out, its most notable critique is that, on the whole, it is little more than a delaying tactic, usually reserved in military schemes to support or protect a main effort. Accordingly, it is only suitable if it can be assumed that, after being successfully passed and signed, subsequent circumstances in June or July will allow for a more forceful and direct confrontation of the President. However, it is doubtful that this COA will even pass the Senate for his signature, or that he will be compelled to sign it.
a. Maintains Democrat Unity: 8 out of 10. This is non-controversial COA that does confront the President in that it provides only some of what he has asked for. As such, it will receive support from nearly all Democrat members in the House and Senate.
b. Supports the Troops: 3 out of 10. Regardless of who and what is funded by this COA, its greatest weakness is the duration of the funding. Secretary Gates has already outlined the pitfalls of this COA in that it places difficulty on the Pentagon machinery, a bureaucracy infamous for its inflexibility and inefficiency in developing and allocating an deliberately planned annual budget, much less one that only represents a few months of funding. This is a reasonable flaw logically based in fact which likely will culminate in a Presidential veto, further delaying funding and increasing risks to the Democrat Party, that will be difficult to mitigate.
c. Destroys unity among Republicans and/or alienates their base: 1 out of 20. So long as they dont obstruct the effort, they will feel no pressure from additional delays. Otherwise, this COA is devoid of any political dilemma for those who choose to oppose it.
d. Garners significant support from Republican legislators: 1 out of 10. Based on the reasons outlined in b. and c. above, little support for this bill is likely. Without significant support, the President can confidently veto it for based on its perceived partisanism and lack of principle.
e. Meets the Presidents stated requirements: 6 out of 10. The relative strength of this COA is its reasonableness. There are no time-tables or restrictions on commanders within this bill. However, it does not fully fund the troops and thus falls short leaving the President with sufficient rationale to veto the bill without enduring significant political consequence.
f. Demonstrates Principle, Resolve and Responsibility: 3 out of 10. This COA will likely be painted and perceived as partisanship and/or procrastination vs. an act of principle. It looks more like the easy, expedient path than the responsible one. It does show some resolve in standing up to the President in only providing partial funding, but leaves the public wondering if a real confrontation will follow this summer.
g. Increases Public Awareness and Mobilizes Opposition to the War: 3 out of 20. This COA fails to create any additional public stake in this war. This COA provides additional public attention during the debate, but once complete, the public will lose interest until the issue returns in July.
h. Mitigates Political Risks: 4 out of 10. The political risks of this COA are significant. It does support the troops, if only temporarily, and it does confront the President. However, it is vulnerable to opposition attack. They will highlight wasteful inefficiencies the piecemeal funding will cause at the Pentagon. They will also attribute the action to partisan political gamesmanship and, by consequence of its timing just before summer recess, an act of irresponsible procrastination. These are surmountable but difficult arguments which, if successful, provide sufficient political cover for the President to veto the bill.
2) Overall score: 31 out of 100. The efficacy of COA 2 depends on numerous variables. They include the weightiness and relevance of the Iraqi benchmarks, the timing, scope and scale of the corresponding consequences of failure to meet those benchmarks, and the strength of the language that both binds the President to a meaningful interpretation of benchmark measurement and ensures he abides by and implements consequences. Based on the current situation, it can be safely assumed that he will not allow himself to be tied to any significant Iraqi benchmark or consequence that will obligate him to near-term troop withdrawal. In order to evaluate this COA, it must be accordingly assumed that benchmark consequences will be very subjective and/or be tied to consequences that only advocate for troop withdrawal in weak and unbinding language. Other consequences will be tied to reconstruction, economic aid, and similar unrelated and irrelevant US support. As such, this COA is analogous to an organized Democrat retreat. Its only chance of success lies in the unlikely possibility that, following a benchmark failure and/or wider chaos in Iraq, increased public pressure will force the President to abide by the otherwise unbinding troop withdrawal language within the bill. Given that a clear majority of the public is already in favor of timelines, the President has little to lose by continuing to ignore that sentiment, even if more widely held.
a. Maintains Democrat Unity: 5 out of 10. This COA presents the weakest challenge to the President in that it provides all that he asked for but forces little if any compromise in return. As such, it may be opposed by significant numbers of Democrats in both the House and Senate.
b. Supports the Troops: 7 out of 10. This provides full funding within the required timelines, but by allowing the perpetual occupation of Iraq, it will result in additional casualties and the continued, unrelenting consumption of the Army and Marine Corps.
c. Destroys unity among Republicans and/or alienates their base: -10 out of 20. Given the reasonable assumption that the consequential language in this bill will be weak, this COA will likely unify Republicans and be hailed by their base as an unequivocal victory.
d. Garners significant support from Republican legislators: 9 out of 10. Based on the reasons outlined in a., b. and c. above, unified Republican support for this bill may exceed that of Democrats.
e. Meets the Presidents stated requirements: 10 out of 10. The president would find little credible cause to oppose this COA as it would be the most advantageous to him. Even if it includes undesirable language, he will be forced to accept it so long as the language does not bind him to withdrawal of forces from Iraq.
f. Demonstrates Principle, Resolve and Responsibility: 4 out of 10. This COA is responsible in so much as it demonstrates a willingness to compromise in order to end the impasse that has delayed funding of the troops. Unfortunately, this COA abandons the resolve to reassert the Congresss coequal status on a matter paramount to the voters who acted implicitly to place that branch into the hands of Democrats. Press and pundits will also disparage the action as being without principle with liberals labeling it as surrender and conservatives using it as further proof that the preceding vetoed timeline legislation was little more than a partisan stunt.
g. Increases Public Awareness and Mobilizes Opposition to the War: 2 out of 20. Like COA 1, COA 2 fails to create any additional public stake in this war. With this COA the public interest will be lost for the remainder of the year.
h.Mitigates Political Risks: 4 out of 10. The political risks of this COA are also significant. It supports the troops, but only symbolically confronts the President. Without strong, binding or credible language that leads to the initiation of force withdrawal, this COA hands victory to an unprecedentedly weak President. There are reasonable excuses for this defeat given the difficulty and circumstances of the mission, but the Democrat base and liberal pundits will offer little credence or sympathy. Limited infighting will inevitably ensue, but the greatest cost will be the overall impression that Democrats talk a good game but their acts lack courage.
3) Overall score: 76 out of 100. If cutting off all funding for the war represents the nuclear option, COA 3 personifies at least shock and awe, especially if it retains provisions for a conditional draft. The risks for Democrats in pursuing such a bold scheme are high, but the subsequent risks to Republicans are much higher and unavoidable. In military terms, this COA is akin to a surprise attack against the Republicans flank, namely their presumed superiority on national security issues. They can easily defeat or veto a bill containing the revenue and draft provisions, but will concurrently defeat themselves when they attempt to justify their actions. They may infinitely spin their opposition to the measure, but the fundamental message will be clear - especially to the troops; this war is important, but not worthy of national sacrifice beyond the all-volunteer forces. Should they support and enact the bill, they will exponentially raise public attention and scrutiny. The rationale for Democrats actions to responsibly deal with the problems created by this war will withstand that scrutiny. The Republicans rationale for creating, exacerbating, and perpetuating the failed war will not.
a. Maintains Democrat Unity: 6 out of 10. The specter of a draft, even if conditional, makes this a very controversial COA. Even if intended as an asymmetrical approach to end the war, several anti-war legislators will see this issue as a non-starter; a pure escalation. As such, it will be opposed by some Democrat congressmen, particularly in the House. However, if the mission and intent of this scheme is first fully and convincingly explained, sufficient unity can be preserved to ensure the viability of this bill and the integral burdens and dilemmas it places on Republicans.
b. Supports the Troops: 10 out of 10. This COA not only provides full funding within the required timelines, it also has a real chance of reducing and/or ending the occupation of Iraq. If it does not end the war, it will provide the Army and Marine Corps a huge quality-of-life boost in the addition of fresh Marines and soldiers to help carry the load. Either way, this COA initiates the reconstitution of these broken and over-stretched services.
c. Destroys unity among Republicans and/or alienates their base: 15 out of 20. If Republicans oppose this bill, they will irrevocably cede any claim they have to the moral high grounds of national security and fiscal responsibility; any subsequent arguments to paint withdrawal deadlines as surrender and against the troops will ring with a hollow and hypocritical tone. Alternatively, supporting this bill will immediately raise taxes, especially for their affluent base, a mortal sin in Republican ideology. When it is explained to their base and the wider public that these significant increases raise less than half of the revenue needed to pay for this lone supplemental, the scale of monetary costs for the entire war will be realized, a sober shock sure to enhance skepticism and anger over the war. Likewise, the apprehension over immediate family members being forced into service by an Administration run by two draft-dodgers as a result of their poor decisions and mismanagement will be more than even the most loyal Bushies can withstand. Regardless of the bills success or failure, this dilemma will fracture the Republicans, preventing a united stand on the war, and summarily isolate the President from his party for the rest of his term.
d. Garners significant support from Republican legislators: 6 out of 10. Based on the dilemma outlined in c. above, a significant portion of Republican legislators may be forced to support this bill. However, given the likelihood of some Democrat opposition and limited Republican support, the President will likely retain the viability of his veto.
e. Meets the Presidents stated requirements: 10 out of 10. This bill fully funds the troops, without timelines, but not without consequences. It does not tie the field commanders hands or micromanage the war, if anything it serves to enhance the long-term flexibility and capacity of DoD not only in Iraq but throughout the world and within the United States. These assertions are undeniable. By meeting or exceeding all his stated requirements, he cannot counter-attack this bill for its insufficiency. In military terms, this is the fixing attack that supports the flanking maneuver; he can only attack this bill based on its tax and conditional draft provisions.
f. Demonstrates Principle, Resolve and Responsibility: 9 out of 10. This COA responsibly supports the troops whilst simultaneously raising the required revenues and ensuring the viability of the Marines and Army should the President seek to continue the war. It resolutely confronts the President and Republican supporters of the war, escalating the stakes offered in the previous bill, not retreating from them. It forces them to fight this war on principled, Democrat terms, including reasonable citizen sacrifices. Some will impugn the draft provision as escalatory, counter-productive, and irresponsible. However, the reasoned, conditional nature of that provision puts the real onus on the President. Democrats will be seen as the responsible adults holding the spoiled child responsible for the consequences of his intractable pursuit of this war. Though these sacrifices will not be welcomed, the rationale behind them is undeniable, their size reasonable, and the burden-sharing equitable and appropriate. The larger public may not cheer, but they will certainly appreciate this courageous and righteous stand, leaving only deaf ears for those detracting voices on the left and right of this debate.
g. Increases Public Awareness and Mobilizes Opposition to the War: 16 out of 20. The tax increases and draft potentiality will fully awaken the public consciousness to this issue. The awareness and opposition could only be enhanced if we returned to the public sacrifices of WWII and unpopularity of the Vietnam War in its final stages. This is the decisive element that will end this war as it ended the Vietnam War. The Presidents lack of credibility and evident failures ensure his inability to withstand the larger scrutiny.
h. Mitigates Political Risks: 4 out of 10. The political risks of this COA are significant. It should not be pursued unless Democrat unity within Congress is first established and can be reasonably assured. Without Democrat unity, Republicans will dismiss the bill as another political stunt, hurting Democrats credibility while escaping the intended dilemma. Further, the anti-war Democrat base may fail to appreciate the intent behind the draft provision of the COA, leading to a further split with the base and within the party.

Course of Action Comparison: In comparing and selecting a COA, it is clear that COA 3 has greatest strengths and lesser weaknesses. Its advantages far outweigh its risks and disadvantages. It has the highest probability of success, especially since it succeeds regardless of the oppositions reaction and irrespective of the bills passage or Presidential approval. There is risk of internal fracturing, but it is comparable to the other COAs and can be mitigated with careful groundwork. Perhaps its greatest attribute is the position it puts Democrats in for subsequent battles, particularly on matters concerning this war.

Conclusion: In submitting this strategy, I do not pretend to ascribe any skills, knowledge, or experience in matters of national political debate or legislative matters. I humbly offer this idea as nothing more than a concerned citizen who happens also to be a public servant. I do so sincerely, but without any delusions that I have grasped or considered all the weighty issues you face in undertaking what you believe is both feasible and right. My analysis is weak because it is mine alone and is obviously biased, but I stand by its logic and believe it worthy of your consideration. Having conjured the idea and subsequently finding nothing comparable being discussed in the debate, I felt compelled to deliberately sketch it out and share it with you. I hope you find it helpful or at least entertaining. For me, it was therapeutic. Godspeed to you in whatever course you choose, you have my support.

Wow, Bob Kerrey has really made me see the error of my far-left ways. I never realized before this interview that overthrowing Middle East dictators or supporting them are our only two options as a nation. What a fool I've been!

(Just found your blog -- how cool!)

First of all, Mr. Moyers, I just want to say this was your best interview/discussion since your first Journal show looking at the press leading up to the war. In your earlier discussions -- I'm thinking particularly of the one with Bruce Bawer -- it felt more like a platform for that person to rant without any gentle but firm questioning for which I so admire you. This was a lively exchange between you and Bob Kerry in which you both asked some of the difficult questions that we desperately need to ask on this issue, and I look forward to more robust dialogue in the future.

As a former academic specializing in the Middle East, I was not only opposed to the war but could not envision a scenario this war would lead to other than the current catastrophe that today is Iraq. Yet, despite my disagreement with Kerry regarding the threat of "global jihad", I do agree that the Democrats are not looking at the whole picture here. When the President or John McCain say that if we pull out, ethnic cleansing will increase, they are -- as uncomfortable as it is for me to say it -- correct. When they say leaving Iraq now will provide sanctuary for terrorists, they are also correct (though they were wrong about it being so on a substantive level before the war). Unfortunately their "solution" of sending an additional 20,000+ troops is irresponsible at best.

What I hear the Democrats saying is that we should simply pull out, wash our hands of the whole mess, blame the Iraqis and leave them to their fate. That we bear no responsibility for the complete break down of Iraqi society. While, indeed, those blowing themselves and others up and planting car bombs and kidnapping those of other sects and dumping their tortured corpses on the street do bear the responsibility for their actions, we bear responsibility for creating the situation in which such horror has occurred (and will get worse) as it was not difficult to predict this is what was going to happen in the first place.

Any US withdrawal must include acknowledgment of the epic disaster our reckless invasion of Iraq has been. We must acknowledge the 1 to 1.5 million Iraqis we andSaddam Hussein killed during 12 years of sanctions. We must acknowledge the 655,000 Iraqis who have died during this war. We must acknowledge the 3 million Iraqis made homeless by the war. We must assume financial responsibility for rebuilding Iraq. We must denounce all claim to Iraqi mineral resources. We must engage the region and the international community (i.e. the UN that this administration has so marginalized). And we must honor the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made by giving them well-earned financial reimbursement and proper disability compensation

But the details of how we get out? I'll be very honest and say that I don't know how (it's why I was against a war in the first place). What I wish is that both Democrats and Republicans would start being honest too. Bob Kerry has made a good first step towards having an honest discussion in which we look at what we do agree on rather than alienating those who disagree with us.

Ultimately we need to acknowledge our own legitimate fear and rage but only with the hope that we can eventually move on to reason and moral duty.

I have not heard anyone mention:

Moqtada al Sadr recently resurfaced and stated that he wanted to make peace with the Sunis.

I am assuming that the Iranians would not be in favor of hosting terrorists in either Iran or Iraq, if al Sadr were the leader of Iraq.

Why have we not sent out feelers on the diplomatic front to see if some kind of agreement can be reached with al Sadr if he can make peace with the sunis?

Hi Bill,

I'm writing because I'm a fan of you and your new show and I'm really disappointed in the time I feel was wasted interviewing Bob Kerrey. (I loved the first half of the show!)

Bob Kerrey said virtually nothing that made sense for a half an hour.

Bob Kerrey either doesn't understand the Iraq situation, or is a propogandist with a mission of further confusing the issue. From what I observed tonight I believe he may be using his position as president of The New School to pose as a voice of "left".

Thanks for your good work.

It absolutely dumbfounds me how we have let one single megalomaniac begin to bankrupt the US Treasury, deplete the National Guard into almost total uselessness, lie and lie and lie again to the American Public and then demand a further escalation of the Biggest Mistake Ever Made by an American President and get away with it! Why on earth isnt everybody in America screaming at the top of their lungs STOP THIS INSANITY!
A major point of Osama bin Ladens argument for 9/11 is that America had consistently meddled in the affairs of the Middle East for the last 80 years (buying off sheikdoms, gunboat diplomacy, installing crooked figureheads like the Shah of Iran, etc) So, what do we do, we roll into the Middle East, overthrow a government and cant understand why were not being welcomed with open arms, how come all the neighbors are agitating unrest and why is there suddenly a civil war going on! Duh! Is the entire Bush Administration on a Valium drip? Did no one bother to read the history of Iraq before we launched Viet Nam II?
Bill Moyers frequently asked question to Bob Kerrey how do we get out? begins with one simple little step - We stop playing John Wayne in Iraq and come to the realization that we need external help to extricate ourselves from the mess weve gotten into. That means serious talk and negotiations with ALL of the countries surrounding Iraq (whether we like them or not) along with assistance from the United Nations. We desperately need to come to terms with the Arab World, especially concerning a country smack in the middle of it if we ever seriously hope to have even a thimbles full of peace and tranquility there

I need a answer to the following question " why Iraq that has been established as an entity for even far before the pharaohs of Egypt , would need either a Sadam Hussein or an American flag in order to survive and flourish ??????

Kerry seemed to rely on war as a valid means to bring peace to the world. Yet war has never brought peace in spite of dedicated efforts by masters of that art. I would like to see thoughtful enquiries on programs like Bill Moyer's about other ways to handle the world's problems instead of war, threats and economic domination. Now would be a good time to build such a new world. A new century is here and new opportunities may be present. If we could build such a new world what are some of the ways we might begin? Bill Moyers can bring some of the people with these ideas to his program and help share their insights with a larger audience. I would love to see some of that.

The people have spoken, and they have been ignored. Why does Congress have to send any further funding legislation to the President?

Bob Kerrey has always been a Democrat who's made me uncomfortable. Not because he's not thoughtful, but because his positions always want to be the ones that 'split the difference intelligently'. Too often they just sound like straddle.

He retains what much of the current discussion doesn't -- a healthy respect for Bin Laden. That has gotten lost in much of the Iraq talk. But what he doesn't seem to buy into is that Bin Laden has ALREADY won his arguing points. Our Iraq policy has been so wrong, so very wrong, that nothing is going to save the anti-America backlash. We will continue to eat off the plate being served our way for many years.

Kerry's one contribution was legalistic: remove our 'official'UN status as 'Occupying Force'. Okay. But remain there as de facto occupying force -- onsite, but not as 'police'?

We all would like this to be resolved reasonably, but a withdrawal from the country -- hey, the 'redeployment' mentioned by Murtha and others -- would serve well. We'd be out of harm's way, but close enough to protect what seriously may need protecting.

There is no really good solution and there has been much long-lasting damage. Someone (clearly not Bush) has to act, unpopularly, and take (no doubt) very negative 'hits' and likely a political loss for doing it.

A leader has to act. And in acting, likely 'fall on the (political) sword'.

The people have spoken, and they have been ignored. Why does Congress have to send any further funding legislation to the President?

The interview with Kerrey was disappointing. Not at all up to Moyer's standard. The simplest remark about the Iraq government being stooges of the US, thus disintegrating Kerrey's thesis about responding to its "requests," was not even posed. Moyer's assertion of his "disagreement" with Kerrey was feeble. Why was this "disagreement" not brought out in the questions.

I am puzzled by why Bob Kerrey, and indeed, everyone else I've heard weigh in on Iraq, fails to consider an obvious solution: let the Iraqi people themselves decide whether we go or stay. After all, aren't we there (presumably) to establish a democracy? Then let's quit trying to decide what these people can and can't do in their own sovereign nation.

I would love to see Mr. Moyers do a program based on this question. At first blush, the question may be rejected as being naive, BUT WHY?
Because the country may descend into civil war if we leave? It's already there. Because terrorists may get a permanent foothold? So what do they have now?

Letting the Iraqi people make the decision is a simple, logical solution. It lets the U.S. save face -- or help, if indeed help is requested. It's non-political, which lets politicians of both parties off the hook.

What do you think?

Yes, a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would lead to an expansion of the civil war, with the accompanying end of al Qaeda in Iraq. The Shiites, controlling the military and police, will together with the militias attack and defeat the Sunnis' and al Qaeda. Sunnis' who elect not to fight will flee the country or assist the Shiites by going after al Qaeda. We should not for one more day prop up this Shiite government with American blood and treasure. By doing so we are only delaying the inevitable expansion of the civil war. If the Shiite government wanted peace in Iraq they would be making more of an effort to reach an accord with the Sunnis' by sharing oil resources, etc. The govt is more than happy to let our troops do the fighting and dying, while taking billions in dollars, much of what no doubt ends up in Swiss bank accounts. Bring our troops home now.

Bob Kerrey represents the Council on Foreign Relations view on things, since he is a member. It seems he was very disingenuous when
talking about what to say to mothers of fallen soldiers. You can tell by his body language he doesn't care about their sacrifice. He wants the American Empire. and he knows if America withdraws from Iraq, China and India win not OBL. Notion that Democrats represent the Left is so funny it embarrassing. Bill Moyers kept letting him get away with fallacy after fallacy.

Once again another politician (ex) misses the point. The Middle East has no history of democracy or even viable attempts to institute it. Democracy must begin from within, from the people. It has never been successfully instituted or forced into a region; it has only arisen from within and Iraq had no viable, internal movement that was strong enough to establish a democratic government. There was no overwhelming desire by the people to establish a democracy. Kerry, like Bush, simply does not understand that. So to show USAMA BIN LADEN our resolve, we send thousands of Americans to die and tens of thousands to be maimed and hundreds to be turned into inhumane people who attack and torture the innocent as well as the guilty. All that to prove a point to Bin Laden. That is the weakest of reasons. The long term damage that the Iraq war has done and will do to this country (USA) is not worth this expenditure of lives, resources and our humanity. There is another way to deal with the Jihadists. It is an enormous mistake to occupy a country. Strategically attacking, destroying or weakening the havens of the jihadists in the countries and then departing immediately is a far more viable alternative. Making it clear to countries who harbor the terrorists that we will not hesitate to violate their boarders if elements of threat exist inside their borders may cause them to reassess their position. More than likely they will be grateful that the threat has been removed because often the terrorists are also a threat to them.
Kerry's solution to the Iraq war will not work. The country needs to be divided into three regions Shihite, Sunni and Kurd with Bhagdad or other common religious centers remaining neutral. Let each establish their own governments and develop economic links. To think that we can end centuries long disputes is preposterous. The time to leave was yesterday.

If Bill Moyers continues to have interviewees of the quality of Kerrey, I will not look forward to the show as I always have.

Please, please, this is far too critical and dangerous a time. Give us top quality people such as Chalmers Johnson. Kerrey didn't say anything except that "we" should end the occupation. Good start. After that he danced around and remained superficial.

I highly respect Bob Kerrey for his service in Vietnam but I believe he's all wrong about Iraq and "handing" Bin Laden a "victory" if we just withdraw. International diplomacy is no different than any other human interaction. If you error (as clearly we did by invading Iraq in the first place) you admit your transgression to those effected by it, apologize and then work with them to drive the best result. I heard the discussion about taking out a dictator and how a person needs to choose between "dealing with dictators or taking them out". If I didn't know better I would have thought Dick Cheney was on the show. What the Iraq war was about was the U.S. invading a sovereign nation without provocation. If I didn't know better I would have thought we were going after the Spanish for sinking the Maine all over again. The U.S. needs to gain the high ground and we do that by setting a clear departure date and then engaging the key players in the region on arranging a diplomatic solution that likely breaks Iraq into three clear states that share the oil reserves.

As a supposed Democrat, Bob Kerry should know he's on the wrong side on the Iraq war when Rush Limbaugh agrees with him. I love your show, Bill but feel that the right wingers, no matter what party they are affiliated with, have the only voice in the corporate media. On your independent show, lets hear more from the people that represent the 70% of Americans that think the Iraq war was a mistake. We have little, if any voice.

A second comment to answer the question, what to do now:

When ventures ends in defeat, as our meddling in Iraq and war against terror have, then withdrawals to positions from which we can regroup are necessary. Sometimes, in warfare, this require a deep withdrawal to defensible lines and allies. It may require the sacrifice of positions that were too far extended and all that lies between them and our most secure line of manoeuvre. Our withdrawal may expose allies to danger, but we cannot continue to bleed on their account, even if they warned us and suffer on our account. We must think of ourselves, first. We must decide what are our national interests (not the interests of favored industries!) and defend those. The safest and most productive policies are not those that cause "collateral damage" to others. There is always blowback from that. They are diplomatic efforts in preference to military ones. I think that is now clear to almost everyone.

Bill -

I don't believe in foolish consistency. I may be a fool, but I'm not consistent.

So much for me - Bob Kerrey is a fairly consistent fool in that he is inconsistent in his analysis vs. his recommendations for action. He points out all of the policy failures, leading up to the current debacle, then posits that we stay there to - I don't know what. And neither does he.

Good to see you back. I was about ready to give up on PBS. Do us all a favor, though, and find somebody more useful than Kerrey.

The Moyers - Kerrey dialog was very good. It clearly showed the difference between leftist and liberal. Moyers has learned nothing from history, recent or past. Kerrey understands global dynamics as Democrats once did until those like Moyers kidnapped liberalism.

"If you were in Kerrey's seat, how would you answer this question?" What a bizarre question. As a former senator, he no longer has any "seat" that I know of.

From my own equivalent position as a private citizen, my answer is NONE. No more lives. Zero. Stop now, this minute, since it's the best we can do, given that the madness wasn't stopped years ago (or, far better, never begun).

Damn shame for the Irqis that some misguided people with a lot more power than sense chose to stir up a hornets' nest in their country, but we can't set it right for them. We're only making things worse.

Of course Shrub and His Thugs want it to continue, because every day transfuses more millions from the American people into the war contractors' coffers. They'll drag it out as long as they can. Good for business. Hell for everyone else.

It burns me up. The PBS station in my area, KNME, Albuquerque, has censored Mr. Moyers show - we the viewers are being treated to a stale rerererun of folk music instead! I would love to comment but unfortunately my rights as a citizen are being drastically curtailed. This does not feel like a democracy to me. And I have no reservations saying that our troops should not be in Iraq, should not have ever been there. A local show earlier this evening revealed that a contingent of New Mexico National Guard troops are about to deploy for the first time in several years - with only thirty percent of the equipment they need. What is that we are doing to our servicepeople? And in Santa Fe I hear that the police force is so understaffed because of the drain of young New Mexicans who would normally be recruited that they are considering hiring Mexicans. And still, it is the censorship that most oppresses me. What have we become?

Thank you Bill for your passionate opposition to this war. Kerrey was not very consistent and did not answer what to tell parents of soldiers killed in this war. The Democrats should be ashamed for caving in instead of opposing any more funds for combat activities.

The Moyers interview of Bob Kerry was a waste of time. Kerry is muddled. He supported the Us military deposing of Saddam Hussein, because Kerry forgot the noblest of our founders, George Washington, who is alive today in his warning: do not meddle in the affairs of foreign nations.

Why don't you interview Chalmers Johnson, author of "Nemesis", part of his trilogy on America's imperialism from which we suffer "Blowback".

The citizens of Iraq know that Bush is a liar and that Iraq has no government of it's own.
It has a Gestapo that was installed, armed and funded by our ruthless dictator in Washington.

If Bush invaded MY TOWN, then the democrats, republicans, independants, christians, muslims and jews would all band together to kick him and his gestapo out of our capitol city.
We would not only be killing Bush's soldiers, but also any traitors siding with his installed gestapo.

There are 27 million people defending Iraq.
We have less than 200,000 Americans trying to murder them all.
Each person that we murder has a family.
Do the numbers. It is only a matter of time before the citizens of Iraq take back their country, or else we have created another Israeli-Palistinian styled stand off.

The minimum possible. And, Iraq could help us by giving all Iraq citizens a stake in the success of their country. What if each adult Iraq Citizen had a significant share of the profits from their oil. They would have to have that for their lifetime, without being able to sell it. Then, the whole country and those that left, would be helping themselves and us, to do the right and wise things.

Bill Moyers asked an excellent and relevant question to Bob Kerry and of course he fumbled. It was not "the Left's Iraq Muddle" as Bill Moyers mentioned. Left did not start the Iraq war.If at all anything only about 20 to 25% of the country (probably people like me)opposed the war from the beginning. Again, when Bill Moyers asked Bob Kerry about what his answer will be to the mothers of the young men and women who were killed in this unwanted and unwarranted war Bob Kerry did not answer the question.Nearly 600,000 Irquis and about 3500 American lives have been lost. Anybody who still supports George Bush must be ashamed of themselves.

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