Richardson Best Explains the Facts on The Middle East Situation

While the media (and most bloggers) concentrate on three candidates with the least experience, Bill Richardson demonstrates again why he is qualified to be president. Writing in The Washington Post, Richardson argues Why We Should Exit Iraq Now. Richardson understands what most of the other candidates do not, that it is our very presence in Iraq which inflames the situation and strengthens the hands of the terrorists who are taking advantage of the situation.

While many of the Democrats do not go far enough, it remains the Republicans (other than Ron Paul) who are totally clueless. A meme going through some Republican sites today is that Osama bin Laden wants us to leave Iraq, and therefore we should remain so that we don’t do as he desires. Beyond the point that we should not allow bin Laden to influence our decisions either way, we must also question why he calls for the United States to leave. Having the United States in Iraq attracts many to bin Laden’s cause. Bin Laden benefits as long as he can call on the United States to leave, but once we do leave we remove this recruitment tool from al Qaeda.

Richardson argues similarly when he discusses the situation:

Those who think we need to keep troops in Iraq misunderstand the Middle East. I have met and negotiated successfully with many regional leaders, including Saddam Hussein. I am convinced that only a complete withdrawal can sufficiently shift the politics of Iraq and its neighbors to break the deadlock that has been killing so many people for so long.

Our troops have done everything they were asked to do with courage and professionalism, but they cannot win someone else’s civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay taking the necessary steps to end the violence. And it prevents us from using diplomacy to bring in other nations to help stabilize and rebuild the country.

The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda. It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq’s oil and repressing Muslims. The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country. Our departure would also enable us to focus on defeating the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11, those headquartered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — not in Iraq.

Another example of Richardson’s view of foreign policy was recently discussed, with an excerpt from his article on A New Realism in The Harvard International Review.

It is a shame that our political process is largely based upon sound bites and one minute responses to questions in a pseudo-debate. When Richardson is out campaigning, or writing on his views in greater detail, he appears much more presidential than during the debates. The news media prefers to make a news story out of a comment which was clearly a joke while paying little attention to matters of substance such as Richardson’s writings on foreign policy.

Al Gore has recently discussed the way in which his campaign was harmed by poor media coverage. One function which the blogs might perform is to counter this type of coverage from the media by discussing matters of substance such as the views Richardson has expressed. Instead we saw some liberal blogs repeat and distort poorly reported news from the media without concern for the facts.

Richardson has been receiving increasing support from voters who listen to him speak in Iowa and New Hampshire. There have also been writers, both in the media and blogosphere, who have recognized this. James Boyce recently picked Richardson as the number two candidate. Some predict that Richardson will even win the Iowa caucus. The Concord Monitor has noted that Richardson is on the way up. Even Fox News has moved Richardson up to number three in the horse race.

Hopefully Richardson’s statement on Iraq will force the other Democratic candidates to either adopt a similar position or to fully explain how many troops they plan to leave in Iraq and what they expect them to accomplish. I’m also hoping that this forces Obama, the one “top tier” candidate who has the intelligence and ideas, if not the experience, to respond to our current problems to present his views in more detail.

Global Warming Anticpated to Eliminate Two Thirds of Polar Bears

The New York Times reports on a United States Geological Survey report which finds that. “Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050, even under moderate projections for shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

The finding is part of a yearlong review of the effects of climate and ice changes on polar bears to help determine whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists estimate the current polar bear population at 22,000…

The scientists concluded that, while the bears were not likely to be driven to extinction, they would be largely relegated to the Arctic archipelago of Canada and spots off the northern Greenland coast, where summer sea ice tends to persist even in warm summers like this one, a shrinking that could be enough to reduce the bear population by two-thirds.

Polar bears are expected to disappear entirely from Alaska.

A report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to be published today in Geophysical Research Letters, says “sea-ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean will decline by more than 40 percent before the summer of 2050, compared with the average ice extent from 1979 to 1999.”

Several Arctic research groups have also reported that this year the ice “has retreated much farther and faster than in any year since satellite tracking began in 1979.” It is believed that the Arctic ice cap will continue to shrink over the next fifty years regardless of whether changes are made in greenhouse emissions.

Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have been urging that polar bears be placed on the endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior will be making that decision in January.

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