Senator Jose Biden interview / NTL
Senator Jose Biden interview / NTL; Terry Moran Camera.
Story: Politicians Exit Strategy
Correspondent: Terry Moran
Location; Date: Wilmington, DE; 12/4/2006
Producer: Mary Marsh, Hilary Lefebvre
Tape: 1B, Moran Cam
Vbt: Robyn Weil
Senator Joe Biden= SB
01:41:03 TM: Okay, very simple basic question, why do you think Iraq should be split up into three virtually independent regions, each one dominated by one group, Sunni, Shiite, Kurd?
01:41:17 SB: I don't. That's not what I'm saying. This is the constitution, Iraqi constitution I have in front of me. Hardly anybody but you has read this constitution. The constitution says 'One or more governates shall have the right to organize in a region based on the request of those in the region. Secondly, that region shall have responsibility provided it doesn't contradict the overall constitution. And thirdly, it shall have an equal share of the oil and control its own police forces.' Now, I ask the question, why are we fighting what the constitution says? What the Kurds have already done. All we're talking about is something that is a click back from Bosnia. What did we do in Bosnia? To hold a sectarian, warring country together we gave them all some breathing room. What's Bosnia doing now? Amending their constitution to have one president and become part of Europe. If we don't give these regions breathing room and we insist upon a strong central government, which is not called for in the constitution, there is no possibility of Iraq standing together in my view.
01:42:21 TM: The concern is that if you encourage these regions to establish some form of autonomy, independence, the country will just split apart.
01:42:30 SB: Well, look, look at the circumstance in, in uh, where in the Kurdish areas now. They've already done that. The Sunnis and the Shiite have already voted that they want to do it. It's their constitution that we put in place with them. Their constitution sets out those provisions. Now, I ask you the rhetorical question, do you think there's any possibility in your lifetime that you're gonna see a national police force made primarily up of Shiite patrolling any part of Anbar Province? The Sunni areas? What, are we crazy? Why don't we understand that? We should turn the militias, there's two ways of dealing with the militia. One is to turn them back in and become their own police (inaudible.) A little like the Badr Brigade is doing up in, uh, Kurdistan. Turn around, I mean the Peshmerga, turn around the Badr Brigade and force them in a circumstance where they become the local police for their areas. We have the Delaware State Police, we have the Maryland State Police, and the Pennsylvania State. we don't have a national police force. Take the Army, which is ten divisions. One, three, five, seven and nine are pretty solid divisions. Two, four, six, eight and ten need to be purged and really made real. Get the army down to be an army that can guard the borders, provide for the national security for the state, and begin get about the business of giving the Sunnis what they're promised in the constitution-a piece of the oil revenues. You've been there, Ter, five times or more. I've been there seven times. You've been all over Anbar Province. There's nothing there. There's nothing there and we're saying after we implicitly, their constitution promised them, and we implicitly said, 'There'd be a constitutional amendment once you had this, this new government set up their constitutional amendment guaranteeing you part of the oil.' What have we told them? 'Well, that's too difficult to do.' Look, the entire premise of this administration, strong central government, stand up the Iraqis so we can stand down. Both fundamentally flawed. We've stood up 425,000 Iraqis. That's not the issue, we can't stand down. Get them to stand together. How do you get them to stand together? And what do you do in terms of having a strong central government when they call, their constitution calls, for a regional government that already 20 percent of the population has voted to establish? You need a political solution. 01:45:00 All these guys we're seeing in this scene-all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot hold Iraq together again without a political agreement among the parties.
01:45:10 TM: That is a piece of paper, though, [SB: That's right.] their constitution, and the reality on the ground is that already there's ethnic cleansing. [SB: That's right.] They're pushing people out of neighborhoods, [SB: That's right.] sectarian killing. Wouldn't this make it worse [SB: No.] for the minorities in each place?
01:45:26 SB: I think it'd make it exactly the opposite. Already 960,000 people have been cleansed from their neighborhoods. The one criticism of Les Gelb's plan and mine is that it calls for this ability to have these regions. They say, 'Well, you've got a lot of mixed cities.' They're right, a lot of mixed cities, but guess what. If you already are finding that you're not having these death squads come into your regions, you're able to patrol your own region, you're gonna find there is much less conflict in those mixed neighborhoods. Because what are they fighting over? They're not fighting over control of the nation then. They've all agreed to one thing, we have more to lose by being outside this government than we do by being part of this country. Now, my retort, though, the flip side of that is, let me tell you what's happening now. [laughs] If you're worried about ethnic cleansing under my plan, look what's happening now every single day. And I really believe that the way you do that is, look, didn't you find it kind of interesting, and I know you know a lot about this, but didn't you kind of find it interesting when six, eight weeks ago the Iraqi parliament voted to set up the mechanism to allow this federalism to take place, the enabling legislation as they call it? That was interesting coalition, the Kurds were for it, the majority of the Shiite were for it, the Sunnis were against it and guess who else. Sadr, the guy killing most of the Sunnis. Now why would Sadr join with the Sunnis to stop this? Because he knows if there's a Shiite region like the Kurdish region under a central government, guess what, he's gotta compete for ascendancy with the other Shiite militia in that region. He likes it the way it is now. He likes chaos. Chaos works very well for him. I would argue that if there was a Shiite region like they're about to do if the constitution prevails over the next 18 months like a Kurdish region, you're gonna find Sadr's attention not being focused going into Fallujah killing Sunnis, not focused on going into the parts of Baghdad that are Sunni, but he's gonna have to figure out what his piece of the actions is politically in the Shiite region.
01:48:02 TM: What about that Sunni family, though, that finds itself in one of these mixed areas? A minority. What do you say to them? Are they going to be safe?
01:48:20 SB: The answer is they're safer than they would be now. Right now they are in hell. Right now they don't know when they see a policeman knock on the door wearing a uniform whether or not that policeman is just a Shiite thug who's gonna do what they've been doing routinely-drag them out of the house, put a blindfold on pop, put handcuffs behind his back and you find him in a ditch with his brains blown out the next morning. If you end up with, and one of the ways to stop the support of the insurgency, the old Bathists and Saddamists, it's a tribal nation, Terry. The tribal areas that are Sunni, they now have nothing to look forward, you give them 20 percent of the oil like their constitution calls for an equal distribution of the oil, guess what, they've got some local control now. They're not nearly as interested as keeping these Bathists who they're not crazy about or the jihadis who have come in from across the borders that are now infecting Anbar Province. They have not future with them and they know it. But right now they have no future in an Iraq dominated by a prime minister who either seems unwilling or unable to treat them equally and a parliament dominated with 61 percent of the parliament with Shiite who are unwilling to take on the militia who are killing them. And conversely, by the way, the insurgency, the old Saddamists, they're taking on you know, innocent Shiite. And so you gotta pull them apart. A little bit of breathing room. Remember the same thing happened in Bosnia. We talked about a mixed city. What was an ultimate mixed city? Sarajevo. Mixed city, Birdgko (Sp?) up in the north. Mixed cities through out Bosnia-Herzegovina. We did the Dayton Peace Accords. We pull them apart, we gave them breathing room, and what happened? We've had 30 thousand troops, 20 to 30 thousand troops there for ten years. None of them have been killed, thank God. And the ethnic cleansing has stopped. Mixed cities, and by the way, more ethnic cleansing in the last 800 years in the Balkans than in 5000 years in Iraq.
01:50:28 TM: So how do you do it? How does this work? [SB: Well, I think.] You've got to get all the leaders into a room [SB: Yeah, I think, look.] and do what?
01:50:33 SB: You know I think what's, you know, I was on a show I guess Meet the Press or one of them when President Clinton, I mean, excuse me, President Bush made his first trip over there, uh, to meet Maliki when he was sworn in and, uh, and I think it was Tim Russert, whoever it was, flipped up on the screen a picture of the president whispering in the ear of Maliki. And he said, 'What do you think of that?' And I said, 'Well it depends on what he's whispering in his ear.' And I meant it seriously, if he's whispering in his ear what he's saying publicly, 'We're with you Mr. President, stay the course, we're there, count on us,' we're in real trouble. But if he was whispering in his ear in a polite way, 'Hey Jack, let's get something straight here. Three things have to happen. You gotta do something about the militia, and the way you gotta do something about the militia is you gotta let this regionalism move as your constitution calls for because that will provide for them to be able to be the local police policing their own folks. Secondly, you gotta make sure that you give the Sunnis a piece of the oil like was impliedly promised by you all and what it says in the constitution. And thirdly, you gotta agree to a regional conference so we can get all the neighbors to agree to uphold what you all sign onto. Keep the neighbors out because right now what, what happens is you have the Iranians who are deathly afraid of a full blown civil war.' That's the last thing they want on their border with 72 million Shiite not so crazy about their leadership in Iran and are Indo-European and not Arab. The Turks are worried as a devil if it ends up a full blown civil war they're going to have to move in and take the Kurds because they're gonna cleanse Kirkuk and take out Turkmen and others. And you've got the Shiite, the Sunni financial empires of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States saying, 'God, we better not let this become a Shiite crescent.' Nobody wants a civil war. Nobody. It's not in their interests. But no one has the power to trust that they can be the one to kind of broker a deal. That's why I think the Baker Hamilton commission is going to report, I'm guessing, that they're going to suggest that you bring in a regional conference, bring in the Iranians, bring in the Turks , bring in the Syrians, bring in the Egyptians, bring in the Sau, I mean the Saudi's etc. because it is in everybody's interest to do that. But sometimes you need a single catalyst. And what I find fascinating is the president says, 'We're not gonna tell the Iraqis what to do.' Wait a minute. What did we tell them to do about their constitution? They're about to vote and we said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa you've got to amend it so you get the Sunnis to buy in.' We set up two govern, unity governments before that. We said Joffre (Sp?) could not, we said, we determined that we weren't gonna let the guy they picked to be the prime minister, that's how we got Maliki. And what did he do? He made a Faustian bargain with a guy named Sadr who he's beholden to now which has caused paralysis in any movement. So the idea that we are not able to influence, and legitimately, and we had 145,000 folks there, 3,000 close to 3,000 dead, tens of thousands, I mean well over, almost 20 thousand seriously wounded now and you're telling met that when Sadr comes in and yanks a couple of our guys and drags them into Sadr city that we are gonna take down cantina wire and not go after him. Because we're told by the government that we can't do this? This is the outfit, remember, that said, 'we're never gonna let politics dictate what we're doing.' We have bad politics at home, no politics in Iraq; it's about time they get flipped.
01:54:24 TM: So we would be the catalyst for this grand political bargain. What do you say, though, to the argument that the Iraqis have demonstrated they can't do traffic control, much less share oil revenues equitably.
01:54:36 SB: That's right they can't do traffic control because how badly this administration has botched it up on the civilian side. How many times, I'm like a broken record, I apologize, repeating this for three years in a row; we missed the boat by not putting massive civilian help in there to get these agencies up and running. Their department of energy, their department of education, their department of public works; as you said, I was in Iraq, I guess it was last time around the fourth of July, and I was with General Chirelli (Sp?), tough guy, first cavalry, shoots straight, can you know, tough guy and he said, he's frustrated. He said, 'You know, we have the largest water fountain in the Middle East.' He said, 'We built this water reprocessing plant right in the middle of Baghdad to bring water, to give these people some relief,' and he said, 'but guess what. There's no pipes going from it to the houses. And when I said to the civilian administration we should do something. No that's up to the Iraqis.' Give me a break. 01:55:39 Look, we, we have mismanaged this so badly it may not be redeemable, but I know one thing. There is no possibility of it being redeemed by a military solution, we've passed that point. As general, as a guy he was a really (inaudible), he was a good general, the first trainer of Iraqis. And I'm paraphrasing him, he said, 'There's a point at which you go from being a liberator to occupier. It's a brief moment but once you pass it, you're past it.' We're past it. There's a need for a political solution. If the Iraqis don't decide to stand together we cannot want a unified Iraq more than they want it.
01:56:22 TM: Do you really think that the Iraqis are capable of achieving a political agreement that allows each group to separate yet remain in one country, [SB: Yes.] share the oil revenues equitably, not ethnically cleanse more than they are now? Do you really think they can do that?
01:56:38 SB: I think that is, I think that is possible because we've seen it happen in even more disconcerted and disconnected history of violence, and you know, there were 285,000 people cleansed in the, uh, women and children in Bosnia. And we saw it happen there. Look, the incentive here is that each of them know that as much as they want to be the dominant force that the equation is changed. I don't think any of the Sunnis think that they're ever going to be in control of Iraq again, at least not in their lifetimes. I don't think the Shiite believe there's any way they can fully crush all of the Sunnis. And the Kurds, although they want independence, know if they ever declare it or have de-facto independence, the Turks and the Iranians are going to come down on them like a ton of bricks. So there's a mutual interest here. And one thing I do think the vast majority of the Iraqis want, they want the killing to stop. And but this revenge killing is one that unless you rely on a national police force, if you rely upon a national unified government that is going to have all the control, there is no likely, they don't trust one another, they don't trust the system, they don't trust anything about it, so you've got to build some trust. And one of the first things to do is a lot of them have their own local police forces in their areas; allow them to make judgments over their own local laws. The divorce laws in California are different than the divorce laws in Maryland. A lot of this is ethnically based and also religiously based. And so you've got to, you know, but the interest of them all staying together, let me give you one example about oil. Oil should be the glue that holds the country together. And were I president, I would be bringing in literally the leaders of the Iraqi communities, all the communities, and I'd be bringing in the largest oil executives in the world. Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, etc. and let them tell them what they've told us and what they know, and that is they're not going to invest the 30 to 50 billion dollars needed in Iraq unless there's peace and a unified oil ministry. So if you give up 10 percent of your claim to the oil as a Shiite and you give up 10 percent of your claim as a Kurd, you're going to have a smaller piece of a much, much, much bigger pie. You know, sometimes there's just reality. And sometimes people who are in the midst of this God awful civil war that's going on are unable to see it. And they're not able to step up. There's nobody strong enough in any one of those constituencies to say, 'Whoa, wait a minute,' it's gotta be a little bit the devil made me do it. It's gotta be a little bit we had to give them a piece of the oil. It gotta we had to agree to the regional decision. I was up in (inaudible) before the war started with Chuck Hagel. We got smuggled in on a long ride through the mountains to meet Talibani and Birzani. The warring Kurdish clans. And we spoke to what they called the Kurdish parliament at the time because they were the no fly zone. They presented us with a federal constitution before the war. They said, 'This is the deal, we aint in this unless there's a federal system.' What does this constitution end up being? It sets up, it says, 'One or more governates shall have the right to organize a new region based on the request to be voted on a referendum submitted to one of the following two methods.' They did it. The Shiite have now voted to do that in the parliament. So what are we saying? Are we saying, 'Yeah, we want to help you set up a democracy and a constitution, this is the one you set up, but we don't think it will work the way it works here now?' 02:00:32 Guess what, it's the only hope. The only hope. You need a political solution. You've got to give the parties breathing room. If you don't this is going to implode.
02:00:43 TM: What do you say to the people who look at this plan for a federal system dividing up Iraq and say, [coughing in the background] they say, 'What this will do is strengthen Iran? Iran will be the dominant influence in the south and Al Qaeda will be a dominant influence in the Sunni area.'
02:01:01 SB: I say you want to be Iran to be even more dominant, let Sadr become the Hezbollah of Iran, Iraq. You already have Hezbollah gaining power because of our incompetence in Lebanon. You already have a Shiite crescent that's rolling from Tehran to the Mediterranean. One way to stop it is give the Shiite a significant portion of the political muscle they have without worry about being annihilated by their Sunni brethren in a country that is an Arab country, predominantly an Arab country. They do not want to be in the thrall of Iran, but if you let this civil war go on, guess what; they're going to go where the help is like they've been going where the help is. And the way you strengthen Iran is continue to have 145,000 Americans there. Our blood and our treasure being spilled. Emboldening Iran to do whatever they want because they know there's no credible threat that can come from us relative to their behavior. And let it go like this. Let it metastasize. You gotta give the country a chance to stand together by giving it some breathing room.
02:02:24 TM: So bottom line the idea is to let these regions set up their own.
02:02:29 SB: Let their constitution work. [TM: And then.] Let them decide that they want to patrol their own streets.
02:02:36 TM: So they won't be threatened by.
02:02:38 SB: So they won't be threatened by. [TM: The others.] Look, like I said, you're sitting there now, I mean, and you're sitting in any Shiite neighborhood or Sunni neighborhood, particularly now Sunni, and the police force comes dressed in the new green uniforms we gave them, and they knock on the door. Are you going to open the door? Heck no, you're not going to open the door because you know what's been happening in the last year. In the mean time what the central government should be doing, and no one argues about it, they should have control of a national army. National armies don't go into the neighborhoods, national armies protect the borders. National armies protect their national interest. There's an interest in making that a fully integrated army, and as you pointed out, and we both know from our time being there, some of these divisions are real. They're good, they're solid. Some of them aren't worth the paper that they're, you know, written on because they were just put up there slap, slam, bam, thank you ma'am in order to demonstrate we stood up all these Iraqis. I'd ask again the rhetorical question; we have stood up now about 400,000 Iraqis from the facility protection patrols to the army to the 89 or 79 thousand policemen. What's the problem? They're killing each other and us. And the irony of all ironies, those kids, those men, those women that are on the back of that humvee, do you know what they're acting like now? They're essentially being used as apartheid cops. Don't you find it interesting that the Iraqi people wants us out but the leaders of the Sunnis, leaders of the Kurds, and the leader of the Shiite all want us to stay in? Why? Guess what, we allow them to be able to expand and go out to do damage to the other group without fear of them being able to be totally overrun. Because we're there. 140,000 forces. Stops this civil was from being a full blown metastasized disaster. But it's there and my problem with my friends like Lindsay Graham and John McCain who now talk about putting more troops in, I talked about putting a hundred thousand troops in three years ago when there was a time to do it. We could have solidified the circumstance and pulled out. Once we established some order and allowed a political settlement to arise, but now what happens? Let's say we put in, we don't have a hundred, let's say we found a hundred thousand troops, we stripped our force all around the world and put it in. Let's assume it brought order to the neighborhoods. Absent working out a political settlement, what happens when they leave? What happens when they leave? And is it all thick, that old saying. haven't we kind of tried this before? Didn't we have two separate major initiatives to beef up through the US Military the Baghdad, the ability to control Baghdad?
02:05:41 TM: What happens to Baghdad in your plan? That's a mixed city.[SB: It is, it's a major city.] It's going to tear itself apart.
02:05:46 SB: Here's what happens. Because people are going to be occupied about just like the Kurds are occupied about making sure their Kurd, their population is taken care of. That will be the major focus of each of these ethnic groups and in the big cities like Baghdad, Baghdad like this constitution says, it's a federal city. Washington DC is not part of any one of the regions, it has control of the border and it controls the foreign policy, the currency, and the distribution of oil. Our plans calls for international monitors to monitor the distribution of oil until they get this thing up and running. And what you'd find happening is, as there is less unrest around the country the idea that it makes sense to continue to Baghdad diminishes. Let's assume for the sake of discussion that the plan we're talking about radically reduce the (inaudible) warfare in Anbar Province and from Baghdad south through Basra. Now does that mean you have peace in Baghdad or in other mixed cities? No, but guess what, it puts inordinate amount of pressure because why would they have signed onto that (inaudible)? They would have signed onto that new political structure because they've made a basic decision. It's better to be inside a unified government secure within their borders from their neighbors, not a threat to their neighbors and not a haven for terror to be able to build something using oil as the glue that holds them together. Because that would be the decision they would have had to have made to make this agreement. If that's the case, the collective pressure of all the parties is put upon those who continue to engage in ethnic cleansing. And that's the reason why we should be focusing on purging and making tight, strong, and national the army. The army then would have the position to be able to control what they can't now. But the army is not going to. You have not heard one general in the United States Military or one civilian person in the military say that we're training the army, the ten divisions, to be strong enough to be able to take on the militia. They're not going to take on the militia; they're taking on their own brothers and sisters. But if the militia are in their own neighborhoods, figuratively speaking, then there's a reason to take on the thuggery and there's a reason to take on the outliers. Whether that outlier happens to be a guy named Sadr or some version of him.
20041 JB: let's say you've got the smartest, Sunnis, Shia and Kurds together, some of them are already together and you say we're going to have a strong central government and that ought to bring peace. Now you are the Shia, Sunni representative of that government. What is it that you get for having control of a department. Don't you want to say now are you going to make sure by the way, that right now the way it is, the kurds own all the oil, and the sunnis own all the oil, I mean the shia, and we don't own anything, but that's okay with me as a Sunni leader. No problem, I have a ministry now, I'm the minister of education. So we've got a deal. Look, this is reality based, and it is what is it that makes the leaders and it is a tribal society. What is it that makes the tribal leaders out in Anbar province where there's nothing but sand and shale and rock, make them say it's better to be in this deal. What do they get? What is it they get? Well one thing is they want to get is don't send these death squads into my neighborhoods anymore and let me protect my own people
0210 we will take care of ourselves, just like local police forces do. Secondly, you've got to give me some revenue to rebuild the town, you got to give me some access to something. Am I going to be at the largess of a Sunni, I mean a Shia/Kurd dominated parliament to say, okay comes time to rebuild the sewer system out in Anbar province. What are the chances of my getting any of that money? What is my tax base? How do I control my local town? How do I grow? What do I do? And are you in the national parliament going to tell me that the women in my town have to wear a burka? Are you going to tell me? Look, it goes nowhere. The question is I give, quote, the government gives each of the regions proportional representation in the government, but for what purpose if I only have 18 percent of the representation, I'm not likely to get the sewer money? The constitution says there should be an equal distribution, an equitable distribution of natural resources, oil. They were supposed to pass a constitutional amendment to say how they were going to do that. (whispers) pass it, pass it. I promise if you pass it you will see something of an epiphany, as we Christians say, in Anbar province. Now, it is a reason to stop the carnage, a reason to stop the Saddamists and the rest. Because, guess what, you may be able to rebuild your city, your town, your tribe, the road, the neighborhood, jobs.
20405 TM: I wonder, though, you talk about reality, is it too late? JB: it may be. The honest to god truth is, when we laid out this plan basically six months ago and versions of it a year and a half ago, I thought there was a 65 to 75 percent chance it was doable with presidential leadership and I'm not laying on the president, but it takes that kind of leadership, but now, it's getting really down there now man, it may not even be 50-50. but I don't know what alternative there is. The alternative may be a bad alternative. We may be faced with a Hobson's choice, stay and get killed and basically just be apartheid cops, keep it from getting worse or leave and try and contain it inside it's borders. I think that's the next major foreign policy dilemma the president is going to face or the next president is going will face if this plan or some version of it doesn't work. (pause)
Commission on revenues..kind of punts
0533 it doesn't have to be the Biden Gelb plane but I don't know anyone who says there's likelihood in the near term, in the next year, 18 months to have relative calm in Iraq absent control of the militia and a piece of the economic action being guaranteed the Sunnis and some regional control over local police. I don't know how you do it without those three things.
0557 TM: but if it is too late, what do make of the suggestion by a lot of Democrats by a lot of Democrats that it's time to come home? JB: By the way, it's not only made by Democrats, it's made by John McCain, it's made by everybody. They say if you can't get it right, you've got to get out. You cannot continue to keep the bleeding at the rate it is now. And look, think about this, I know you know this, everybody know this, Iraq may not be the most important long term foreign policy problem we face, China, India, Russia, etc you could point to nuclear arms, but guess what, absent our ability to deal with a solution, we are hamstrung in every other aspect of our foreign policy. Every other aspect so it is the essential first dilemma that must be addressed and solved. And it's getting down to you either get a political solution with the military backing up a political solution and/or you get out. One of the reasons to talk about my plan or in the democratic plan is a phased withdrawal is you've got to get the attention of the Shia. The Shia right now, the Shia leadership, all the Iraqis for that matter, you've got to get their attention and as long as they see that this is going to stay, there's no incentive for them to make some of the very hard, hard decisions they have to make. And they are not easy men. .
0818 I always say to everybody, if it ain't that, what's your plan, what's the alternative? And any alternative that doesn't have a political solution internally is doomed to fail. You will not find a person, I shouldn't say that, no one that I've been involved with the last three years, left, right and center who will tell you that there is a military solution to this problem now. Military is necessary, but not sufficient.
0858 TM: .under your plan, what happens to American troops?? JB: American troops begin to draw down now, they're out by the end of 2007, the beginning of 2008. you're probably going to have to leave behind a residual force of 20-30,000 to deny Jihadis, to deny the al qaedas of the world, which is a small problem, occupation of territory in areas where there is not a strong enough local government and central government to control their occupation. That means you can have it out in the middle of al aram base that sits way out in the middle of nowhere, you've seen it, 2 12,000 foot runways, the nearest town, baghdadia, 5,000 that could jump from there to deny territory, it may be in Kurdistan, it may be across the border. But it can only work in conjunction with a political settlement that goes along with it, that the Iraqi political leadership agrees they are going to try a new way of doing this.
20955 TM: but the American troops come home under your plan regardless and that's the incentive. JB: that's the incentive because one of two things happens, Terry. I ask a rhetorical question again, does anybody thing if the carnage is at the same rate and the same circumstances this time next year, in December of '07, does anybody think that the American people or the united states senate, including my republican friends are going to tolerate them staying there? When you're going to have for the marines, 6th and 7th rotations going in there, for the regular army, 4th and 5th rotations, for the national guard and reservists, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rotations. I mean, look, I got there as a 29 year old kid in the middle of the Vietnam War the idea that the public is going to sustain this, the best thing we got going for us Terry is the last election and there are 22 Republicans up for re-election. This is not a political statement, this is a practical statement. None of those 22 republicans who are running for re election in 2008 want to inherit this so there is an overwhelming bipartisan incentive for us to work out a solution. Let's assume we all came together on my plan,..
21145 He is going to have overwhelming republican pressure to do something about this. Because if he just says we're there as long as it takes without maliki changing his tune at all about dealing with militias or dealing with revenues, I just don't think. I think the place will blow up politically speaking
21210 TM: what have we learned about what president bush said was one of the main reasons we went to iraq in the first place, encouraging Iraqis to develop democratic self government. JB: we learned what a lot of us said in the beginning, Dick Lugar, Joe Biden, and the foreign relations committee. No possibility of establishing a liberal democracy without years and years of hard, hard work. The president and his administration have confused elections with democracy. I give you a little example, I came back from one of my trips where I was officially there watching the vote on the constitution, and the formation of the government, about a year ago, a year ago now. And I came back and I was debriefed by the president and his war cabinet, secretary of state, vice president etc. he said great democratic election and I said, no mr. president great free election but not a democratic election and he looked at me. I said it was a sectarian election, turns out but I didn't know it at the time 93 percent of the votes cast were cast along sectarian lines. democracy is about compromise, compromise. That's what you do in democracies, you give up something to get something. That's democracy. That is not in the psyche right now. So to confuse an election with democracy is a dangerous thing. What has it resulted in..lebanon, west bank.Egypt.iraq now. We legimitzie death squads.
1356 elections are necessary but they're not sufficient. It takes real hard work. I wrote a report when I was chairman of the foreign relations committee about six months before we went to war pointing out that if we went in, we'd be there for 5 -10 years, we'd be there with tens of thousands of troops that entire time, that if we went in without a significant paramilitary police force to occupy the corners once we got in, the corners of the neighborhoods, if we went in and thought oil was going to pay for it, we were sadly mistaken. It ..alot of people are saying you guys are second guessing now, united r states.com. go on the website, the reports sitting there, it was written before we went to war. I'm not the smartest guy on the block, dick lugar's not the smartest, he may be the smartest guy on the block, but guess what, the vast majority of people who looked at this knew it wasn't going to be a slam dunk, knew it was something that was going to take a lot of heavy lifting, what did this administration say from the beginning, we don't do nation building. What did they think we were doing? You can't impose democracy with an army, it's never been done.
1520 TM: so now in your judgment, the last chance is to get them to separate, JB: get them to give some breathing room, not totally separate. Keep the central government controlling currency, the borders, their national army and the distribution of the oil. Give them control over their local police, as their constitution calls for, control over their local laws, control over their local education, control over the local distribution of funding, control over those social laws. Just like we have the difference between California and Maryland, those differences.
1555 imagine if right after Cornwallis signed the surrender papers to Washington, imagine if 6 months later we had a vote on the United States constitution. Does anybody think South Carolina and Massachusetts would be in the same country? It took us 11 years, 11 to get to our Philadelphia moment. We had a thing called the articles of confederation, a weak central government and significant autonomy in the 13 states. That's another analogy, that's what this calls for, that's what we should be doing in order to accommodate the possibility of Iraq staying together.