Edwards and the Region

Several people responding to my complaints about John Edwards’ Iraq policy have directed me to this email Chris Bowers got from the Edwards campaign some time ago:

And just the same, if American civilians are providing humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people, we’re going to protect them. How in good conscience could we refuse to protect them and then allow humanitarian workers to be at risk for their lives or the work not to happen at all? Finally, it’s also Senator Edwards’ position that we will have troops in the region to prevent the sectarian violence in Iraq from spilling over into other countries, for counter-terrorism, or to prevent a genocide. But in the region means in the region — for example, existing bases like Kuwait , naval presence in the Persian Gulf , and so forth. I hope this helps explain Senator Edwards’ position. Thanks for standing up for what we all believe in.

I still don’t know what this means. I understand how soldiers based elsewhere in the region could support a counter-terrorism mission in Iraq (this is the common position of Edwards, Obama, Murtha, and myself) by, basically, jetting into Iraq to blow some shit up if necessary, but otherwise sitting tight in Kuwait or Turkey or Qatar or some such. But you can’t try to prevent a genocide in Iraq with Kuwait-based hit-and-run missions. And, again, if you want troops in Iraq to guard humanitarian workers that might mean a ton a troops. Then again, it might not. It’s just very hard to say what this means, and I get the sense that the campaign’s being deliberately ambiguous about what they mean to do, in part simply because Edwards doesn’t want to foreclose more options than he needs to.

So, on Iraq I think Edwards and Obama are now better than Clinton (because of the difference over training) but it’s not totally clear to me what either of them are proposing.