Darcy Burner opened this afternoon’s conference call on the Responsible Plan to End the Iraq War by quoting an unlikely ally: General Petraeus, who declared last year that “There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq.”
When it comes to ending the war, it’s not surprising so much attention has focused on military presence and troop timetables. With the current administration, it’s tough to see how else to demand accountability except through concrete deadlines.
But while candidates like Chellie Pingree face attacks for the Plan’s failure to endorse a withdrawal date, as Matt Stoller argues, even if Congress successfully imposed a timeline, the war would continue via the use of more mercenary soldiers and covert operations. A fixation on such deadlines detracts from an examination of the diplomatic, political and economic reasons why we entered Iraq in the first place–and, to no small extent, why we’re still stuck there. On the other hand, as the Plan argues, engaging international institutions to rebuild Iraq’s economy, working with Iraq’s neighbors and tackling contacting reform–those efforts might be more substantive.
The Plan’s other priorities include ending signing statements and–because the war’s conception was by no means just a Congressional or executive failure–encouraging more diversity in media. In short: the Plan doesn’t want to simply end the war, it also wants to end the mentality that got us into war in the first place.