Bill Richardson knows a thing or two about foreign policy. The current New Mexico Governor served as US ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton and successfully negotiated with both Iraq and North Korea. Now he’s thinking about running for President (or at least auditioning for VP). In New Hampshire today, Richardson sharply took umbrage with John McCain’s plan to escalate the war in Iraq by sending more troops, which the Bush Administration is now seriously considering doing.
This excerpt from Richardson’s speech, obtained by The Hotline, is well worth reading:
“The leading advocate for escalating the war is Senator John McCain. I have served with John in Congress and I respect him. But John McCain is wrong, dead wrong to think that we can solve Iraq’s political crisis through military escalation.”
“There are no quick or easy answers to the crisis in Iraq. Our choices are between bad options and worse ones. Some prefer military escalation. Some choose staying the course. These options are illusions. The only realistic choice we have is to stand down militarily and let the Iraqis stand up and face the political crisis which only they can resolve.”
“I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan. I worked in this region…we should harbor no illusions. This withdrawal will not be pretty. People will die. But fewer will die than if we stay. There are no guarantees that our departure will end the civil war, but it is sure to continue so long as we stay. The Iraqis might, or might not, resolve their political crisis. It is up to them. They distrust and fear one another, and this makes it very tough. But they share one goal – they don’t want to destroy their own country. To save it, they need to stop killing each other and start compromising. And we need to get out of the way.”