|"Here’s my position on Iraq and it’s not on the one hand on the other hand, benchmarks, etc… if I were President today, I would withdraw American troops by the end of this calendar year. I would have no residual force whatsoever. |
"What I would do coupled with that withdrawal, using the leverage of an American withdrawal of forces, would be to convene two very strong diplomatic initiatives, two diplomatic conferences. One, in a US-led effort to get the three entities, the three religious groups, the three sects, the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds… to put them in a room and I would say, there’s gonna be a coalition government, you’re gonna divide up oil revenues, you’re gonna divide up ministries, cabinet ministries, there’s gonna be three entities in Iraq, based on the Dayton Accords. And what I would do is have an Iraqi central government. Hopefully that would be Iraq’s future political structure.
"This will be tough. This will be difficult but the full force of withdrawal, the full force of American diplomacy, and the full force of bringing other entities Europe, Muslim countries, and the region for a solution. We’ll give Iraq a chance.
"Right now, our current policy is a massive failure. What we have is a civil war. Sectarian violence. We have 30,000 surge of American troops at a time when we need these troops for instance, with graver threats like in Afghanistan, and what we have is a foreign policy that is has been so obsessed with Iraq that we have not focused on the real dangers affecting this country, like the threat of international terrorism, like global climate change, like the threat of nuclear proliferation, or a loose nuclear weapon. This is my plan for Iraq. It would be clear, it would be succinct, it would be strong, it would be almost immediate. I would withdraw within the next 8 months and I believe with this strong diplomacy, we give Iraq a chance to survive security-wise in the future and we protect our interests."
- - - Bill Richardson