What is the official Democratic policy on Iraq?
February 4, 2006 8:13 AM   Subscribe

What is the Democratic Party's official stance on the future of Iraq? If we were in power right now, what would we be doing differently?

I'm a lifelong Democrat, and this will most likely never change. However, I'm curious as to whether or not my party has a consistant stance on Iraq.

Please no flames or debates. Thank you.
posted by Afroblanco to Law & Government (12 answers total)
What do you mean by "stance"?

Do you mean, does the Democratic party have an official plan (we're going to deploy X number of troops in Basra, Baghdad and then they're going to do X, Y, and Z)?

Or, does the Democratic party have an official preferred outcome (democracy, secular government, free elections, X number of years until all US troops are withdrawn)?
posted by bshort at 8:25 AM on February 4, 2006

According to The Washington Post, Friday, November 18, 2005:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told colleagues at a closed meeting yesterday morning that she, too, would advocate an immediate troop withdrawal, according to several who attended. But by day's end, Pelosi -- a liberal who has sharply criticized Bush's handling of the war -- chose merely to praise Murtha and say he deserved to have "his day."
The Washington Post continued (emphasis added):
Murtha's Democratic colleagues reacted warily to his remarks, while Republicans pounced [on Murtha]. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), head of the House Democrats' campaign effort, said, "Jack Murtha went out and spoke for Jack Murtha." As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: "At the right time, we will have a position."
posted by orthogonality at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2006

The truth is that each legislator has their own ideas. Asking a massive national party to have a 'consistent' plan is asking for a bit too much.
posted by Firas at 8:41 AM on February 4, 2006

The Democratic Party is not known historically for lockstep views of things, unlike another party I could name, and thus as noted, there is at this point no single view. However, there does seem agreement that troops ought to be withdrawn fairly soon so as to let the Iraquis take charge. Now, if we were to pull out fully, soon, there will be either a new nation, stumbling to be a real nation. Or there will be a civil war. And there may be an Islam/religious nation...but then we have done what Bush has said we are thee for: to establish democracy (or something), and so it is upto the people living there now. Unfortunately, though, we are not going to leave fully,because there are oil assets there. We will as usual build and maintain bases under some guise or other and keep forces there unless we are asked to leave (as in Saudi Arabia).
I am not usre what the GOP plans are other than to continue there till some as yet undetermined time, with withdrawal of troops increasing as it moves toward election time.
posted by Postroad at 8:52 AM on February 4, 2006

There is no official, unified position. Some supported the war, some didn't. Some want to redeploy the troops, some don't. You can get a good glimpse of mainstream thinking among Democrats, however, by looking at the 2004 Democratic platform, from pages 11 through 13.
posted by ggreeneva at 9:08 AM on February 4, 2006

they don't seem to have a position, except to say they could do it better than george has done it

if you're confused, unimpressed or disappointed in that stance, i can't blame you
posted by pyramid termite at 9:35 AM on February 4, 2006

[a few comments removed. please just answer the question or take your beef to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:15 AM on February 4, 2006

On Face the Nation in August, Dean said the Democrats could not be expected to have a plan. I was stunned by the statement, but nobody else seemed to notice.

SCHIEFFER: ...I mean, saying we need a plan. I mean, sure, you need a plan, but do you have a plan? Is anybody working on a plan? What would you propose?

Dr. DEAN: Well, Bob, the president of the United States is commander in chief. It is up to him to come up for a plan. You can't expect a congressman and senators who don't have the same access to intelligence as the president does to come up with a plan to withdraw our troops from Iraq. We look--the president got us into Iraq 'cause people were willing to trust the president, even some Democrats were willing to trust the president in assuming he knew what he was doing. The problem is now that there's ample evidence to say that they didn't understand what they were getting into and they still don't know what we're doing there. They changed their goals. The troops are still not properly equipped. The constitution looks like it may take away freedom from the Iraq people, at least half of them, instead of added to them. What we need is a plan from the president of the United States. You can't expect a particular senator or particular congressman to have a plan. Only the president can do that.

Here's the entire transcript (pdf).
posted by probablysteve at 10:19 AM on February 4, 2006

Actually, there is an official position here: in the 2004 platform, and here on the party's site, under Agenda. The only thing that would change would have been more international cooperation and less corruption--all party officials and leaders had supported the invasion and occupation, and still don't officially say it was wrong--they just said it was done wrong and badly.
posted by amberglow at 10:23 AM on February 4, 2006

This is all off the top of my head with no googling whatsoever, but... I believe the democratic party has, on the whole, endorsed the same objectives that the Republicans have.

First and foremost among those objectives: replacing Saddam's regime with one more friendly to the US. Hence the sanctions against Iraq, Clinton's bombing campaign, various go-rounds with the UN, the oil-for-food program, etc, all carried out while Democrats were in power. And check me on this, but I don't think any elected democrat ever rejected this policy in subsequent years. There may have been a few who objected to the sanctions, but I don't recall anyone criticizing the overall goal.

So: the democrats' stance on Iraq is still, as far as I know, that it should have a government willing to do what Washington tells it. The only question, of course, is what they're willing to do to achieve that goal. But it's safe to assume that there will be some brutality involved.
posted by Clay201 at 11:28 AM on February 4, 2006

Man, what a sad state of affairs.

I've recently come to the conclusion that if Iraq is not already The Only Issue That Matters, it soon will be.

We need to come up with a cohesive platform on what to do about Iraq. Hell, we can't do much worse then the Repubs, can we?

Besides, this issue is a tremendous weakness for the Republicans. If we can successfully trounce them on Iraq, I think that we have a good shot at winning elections.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:25 PM on February 5, 2006

Afroblanca: Yeah, we need cohesive platforms on a lot of things. What hamstrings that is that Democrats are a large coalition of progressives and conservatives, meant in the pro/con status quo way. There are a lot of Dems who happily take corporate money, who have no real vision, and who are there only by the sake of geographic accident, being located in districts that vote blue. It's been a long time since the Dems believed anything. And that keeps them from cohesion.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on February 6, 2006

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