* Point 1 Although this presidential debate is about foreign policy and national security, we cannot avoid mention of the financial meltdown on Wall Street. Without a strong economy we cannot be strong in national security. The Wall Street fiasco will cost well over $700 billion dollars, the current cost of the Iraq War. The mistakes in both cases, Wall Street and
Senator McCain was a key leader in pushing for the invasion of
* Point 2: Sen. McCain will claim, with some facts to his credit, that his advocacy of the surge in
We have put one side in power, a sectarian Shi’a coalition that has conducted ethnic cleansing, torture and the detention of 50,000 people in prisons where human rights are abused every day. We have left Moktada al-Sadr’s army intact in
If peace really is "on the horizon", as the White House claims, we could begin withdrawing all our troops now. Instead, under the Bush-McCain plan, we will have more troops on the ground in
* Point 3: The solution is to withdraw our ground troops as promised, perhaps starting with an immediate redeployment from
It is worth noting that both Bush and McCain have abandoned their long-standing principle of never accepting a withdrawal deadline, and now are playing election-eve word games about "horizons" and "aspirations". We all remember past presidents promising they would never send ground troops to
* Point 4: We should not leap from the simmering quagmire in
* Point 5: Every civilian casualty, every destroyed village, gives birth to new al-Qaeda recruits. The only solution is to reduce the pool of potential terrorists by ending our policies that breed and inflame them, in particular:
– Afghanistan and Pakistan are two of the poorest countries in the world, and there is no credible economic development plan in place;
– Iran shares a long border with Afghanistan, and was our ally in the first war against the Taliban. Negotiations with Iran on these and other issues are indispensable to finding a solution in Afghanistan.
– Getting out of Iraq while continuing humanitarian assistance is crucial to opening a new chapter of diplomacy in the region.
– Resuming an American initiative towards the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace process will begin to rebuild Arab and European confidence that America has a constructive role to play in dampening down the fires set by the Bush Administration with its surreal campaign to impose American-style democracy on the Middle East.
* Point 6: John McCain has offered no diplomatic, political or economic approaches to managing, not to mention lessening, these multiple crises. But his acting as an isolated hawk- yelling about bombing Baghdad, singing about bombing Iran, encouraging a conflict with the Russians on their border – is comparable to being General Custer at Little Big Horn.
* Point 7: Even the greatest power on earth cannot sustain more devastating experiences like the past five years in Iraq and the cascading catastrophe on Wall Street. Our military can’t take the wear and tear of forever wars. Our economy can’t take the flow of our taxes and profits to such a narrow stratum of the rich. Our cities and schools can’t take the burden of budget cuts and tax breaks. Our environment, our rivers and streams, our eagles and polar bears, can’t wait another generation. Our courts can’t take the appointment of extremist judges who unilaterally diminish the civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights and environmental protections past generations have fought and sacrificed for. Enough.