Joe Lieberman's big speech on Iraq today had a lot of the same attacks on Ned Lamont that we've seen before, with a few sort-of new proposals thrown in. Some excerpts from the AP:
"The clear choice before Connecticut's voters in this campaign is Ned Lamont's plan for giving up on Iraq and my plan for getting the job done there," Lieberman said in a speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
"The Lamont plan for immediate withdrawal and an arbitrary deadline is doomed to fail and weaken our security," Lieberman said. "It will leave our troops more vulnerable to attack while they remain, and will leave Iraq to become a failed state and a terrorist breeding ground when were gone."
In his speech, Lieberman proposed replacing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, doubling or tripling the number of American soldiers embedded in Iraqi units and increasing the size of the Army and Marines to better prepare for global conflicts.
Lieberman warned against withdrawing troops too soon, saying such a move would embolden terrorists and spark an all-out civil war in Iraq. But he also says he does not support an open-ended deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq.
"We have to realize that reasonable people can disagree on this difficult question, and that does not make you a terrorist sympathizer, on the one hand, or a warmonger, on the other," the senator said.
A few things:
1. If American troops are embedded with Iraqi troops, won't that leave a lot of holes? How will those be covered? We can't reasonably expect Iraqi troops to cover them right away, especially given their past performance.
2. How does he expect to expand the size of the military, given current recruitment? It isn't as they're lining up around the block at recruitment centers. If they were, we wouldn't need stop-loss.
3. Putting those things together... is this a call for a draft?
4. There are a few shades of meaning between what Lieberman says not to do in the last quote, and what he actually does in the first and second ones. He's not outright calling Lamont a terrorist sympathizer. He's implying that Lamont is more of a terrorist emboldener. But how far is that, really, from that guy who dresses up as a terrorist and holds up a "We Support Lamont" sign?
But otherwise, there wasn't much that I saw that was terribly new or different from what Lieberman has said before. He is still against timelines and leaving too soon. He still thinks Lamont's plans are reckless. He's already stated that he wants Rumsfeld gone, and that he wants to strengthen the Iraqi military.
"Lieberman says troop pullout timelines 'doomed to fail'." Associated Press 25 September, 2006.