Live Blogging the Iraq Town Hall, Part 2

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Kucinich (Rep. from Ohio): We can only engage the world community on Iraq after we announce our intention to leave. Touts his history as an early and loud opponent of the war.

Kucinich does have thoughts on the “Then what?” question (see Biden below). He talks about how to rehabilitate Iraq even though he emphasizes repeatedly the need to end the war and bring the troops home immediately. Primarily, he says, we should not partition Iraq the way Biden suggests. We should instead reach out to the players in the region and convince them that America is changing, that America is no longer the big bully that shoved them and the United Nations around for so long. This was “an illegal invasion, an illegal war, and an illegal occupation,” and we need to end the war-mongering culture of America, the culture that allows for the idea of a war of preemption, looks the other way when the United States chooses not to participate in international bodies like the International Criminal Court, and fosters the largest military in the history of the world.

Says he’s the only candidate who has consistently voted against funding the war.

Bill Richardson (Gov of New Mexico): “If I were president today, I would withdraw American troops by the end of this calendar year, and leave no residual force whatsoever.” Rely on strong diplomatic moves to keep things together in the void created by the departing American troops. One diplomatic move: bring the three sects in Iraq together to hammer out the future form of the Iraqi government. Second diplomatic move: convene all major players in the region and urge them to invest in their neighborhood. The full force of our withdrawal, coupled with the full force of American diplomacy, will (hopefully) stave off a regional conflagration.

Observation: Richardson has ideas that are as bold as Edwards’ and Kucinich’s, though Edwards is a lot more eloquent in presenting them.

Richardson’s focuses (foci?): ending the war immediately, and using diplomacy to deal with whatever fallout results.

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