September 9th, 2007
08:18 AM ET
7 years ago

Richardson: U.S. should leave Iraq now

Richardson said the U.S. should begin withdrawing from Iraq.

(CNN)–New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson says United States troops need to begin leaving Iraq immediately.

Writing in an Op-Ed that appeared in the Washington Post Saturday, Richardson drew a sharp contrast between his position, and that of some of his fellow rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Clinton, Obama and Edwards reflect the inside-the Beltway thinking that a complete withdrawal of all American forces somehow would be 'irresponsible'," he said. "On the contrary, the facts suggest that a rapid, complete withdrawal - not a drawn out, Vietnam-like process - would be the most responsible and effective course of action."

"The American people need answers," he said. "If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years–a tragic mistake."

Richardson, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, said continued American military presence, would delay any political reconciliation among Iraqi factions.

"The presence of American forces in Iraq weakens us in the war against al-Qaeda," he went on to say. "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."

Richardson wrote that it was logistically possible to withdraw from Iraq in six to eight months. "After the Persian Gulf War, we re-deployed nearly a half a million troops in a few months," he said. Some of his rivals for the nomination have said in previous debates that a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be a timely enterprise. Delaware Senator Joe Biden said it would take one year logistically to get all U.S. troops out.

Richardson also proposed regional security negotiations among all of Iraq's neighbors, and donations from wealthy nations in order to help rebuild Iraq.

Richardson is scheduled to appear in a debate with the other Democratic candidates in Miami Sunday, for a debate sponsored by the Univision network.

– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Patrick, Prairie Village, KS

    I love Bill Richardson. He is the best of all the candidates. He has the experience and all the right tools for the job, except his Iraq policy. No candidate should be saddled with this piece of crap war, however, they are and will have to figure it out and leaving right now just is not the right choice. We are there and we have to see it through, or we need to figure out how to convey the message that the corruption in the government and lack of political will from each major party is making our decision to stay or leave easy. Does anyone even remember why democracy works? It's the active belief in goodness and doing the right thing. When you have leaders that are worried about lining their pockets and building power instead of working for the good of their constituants there is no amount of military force that can make it work.

    September 8, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Dan TX

    Bill Richardson isn't likely to win the nomination. I want to know who Richardson would support for the nomination if he doesn't make it.

    September 8, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Ron Nebraska

    Patrick...in your last sentence were you referring to the Republican party?

    September 8, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. RM (Austin, TX)

    I don't trust Richardson when it comes to Iraq or other foreign policy. When Richardson was US ambassador to the UN under the Clinton administration, he defended the economic sanctions against Iraq, in spite of reports from the UN that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were dying as a result. Shame on Richardson! He's not qualified to be president.

    September 8, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. pete Denver Co

    Bill Richardson should be nominated for the position of Attorney General. He's not Presidential material, but is certainly more than qualified to fill Gonzalez's shoes.

    September 9, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. Bob - Montclair NJ

    Withdraw now! Leave Iraq to solve their own problems.
    Forget that al qaeda is swarming all over Iraq.
    We have made mistakes in Iraq but to pick up and leave the country will result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
    Great idea Bill!

    September 9, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. Ray, Rochester

    This guy is the biggest idiot running...well except for Gravel (who is still staring at us I think).

    Sure, let's just go to other countries asking them to help fund Iraq's rebuilding. Is this guy even awake?? How many countries will provide money??? How about zero.

    A complete withdrawal inside of six months is his way of trying to separate himself from the other candidates and pander to the moveon.or far-left loonies. It would be a complete disaster and one which would be used as propaganda by terrorists, Iran and Syria, among others.

    How he can even seriously consider withdrawing 168,000 troops, equipment, support personnel, etc. etc in six months should show all of you how dumb this guy is.

    Thank god no one with a brain is going to support this clown. He may get a shot as a VP, which will be perfect for him, but the Dems won't win the White House anyway. Hillary is too hated and Obama is too naive.

    September 9, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Luke M, San Antonio, TX

    (I quote:)"The day we leave, this myth collapses, and the Iraqis will drive foreign jihadists out of their country."

    Are these Sunnis and Shiites killing one another because of the presence of American troops? I wish it were so simple. Let us be a bit more realistic.

    September 9, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    I believe Governor Richardson is right.

    Someone commented: "to pick up and leave the country will result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands."
    The invasion of the country has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens and military members. Staying will also result in these numbers increasing.
    Whether we stay or leave there will be more lives lost as a result.

    If we stay America and Nato Nations will have to pour billions more into a war that has already proven itself to be unwinable.

    I believe it is time to cut our losses and send the troops home.

    I believe Govenor Richardson is also correct in saying,
    "It endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq's oil and repressing Muslims."
    And it as well strengthens the hatred felt by Al Qaeda, Muslims, Iranians, and Iraquis against Americans. And it is the hatred that is the catyalist for terrorist attacks.

    As far as taking our military to the fight instead of letting the fight come to us –

    We need to have our military on our shores to protect any possible attacks while focusing on giving America a more palitable image across the Mid East. War mongering won't enhance or improve American's image. But it most certainly will increase Terrorist Attacks on American Soil.

    Did you ever hear the old saying, "You will get more with sugar than with vinegar." It has been proven many times to be correct. And a War initiated on Hatred certainly doesn't need of more vinegar or gall.

    September 9, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Louis Gray, Bartlesville, Ok

    Bill Richardson is not afraid to correct a mistake created by the Bush team. With regards to other ideas of leaving a force within the borders is just not going to work. We have to leave and begin the arduous journey to repairing American goodwill in the world. Who better than Gov. Bill Richardson. We've had 8 years of the face of intolerance and gunboat diplomacy. Now we need mature and wise leadership from someone with real foreign policy experience. Richardson is the logical choice.

    September 9, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Paul Conley, Palmetto Bay, Florida

    I think that the majority of Americans agree that the war in Iraq was a mistake.
    Many of us are convinced that the books were cooked to persuade the gullible that we had to "stike" against the 9/11 terrorists. Now we are stuck in a national nightmare.

    The honorable thing is to admit we screwed up in a massive manner. Only an arrogant ass will continue to do the same thing and expect different results. You should never be so arrogant that you will not ask for help and correct your mistake.

    Very simply we have 2 choices:

    Stay in Iraq and unknown thousands more will die while an Islamic nation evolves.

    2. Leave now and unknown thousands more will die while an Islamic nation evolves.

    Pick one.

    September 9, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. therealist

    "If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years–a tragic mistake."

    Democracy in Iraq is a tragic mistake? Is that a tragic mistake for the Iraqis or the Democrats, Bill??

    September 10, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Unfortunately, we broke it so we bought it.

    The time to think about avoiding war is before getting involved in one.

    September 10, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.