Liveblogging Moveon.org's virtual town hall
If you haven't heard about Moveon.org's virtual town hall, you ought to listen to it RIGHT NOW. Go over to Moveon.org and check it out. If you miss it, it will be rebroadcast on Air America in the next few days. You must listen to this thing, because it will be our best chance to hear the candidates deal with real liberal questioners.
John Edwards is up now. He just answered a question about how to end the war. He has plan that will get all combat troops out of Iraq within a year.
Second question is "What will you do about contractors in Iraq?" His answer is essentially to get all US Contractors out of Iraq, to give contracting jobs to Iraqis, and to keep anyone associated with war contracts from having any influence in elections.
Next question: "Do you support the Murtha plan to force the President to fully train and equip the troops?"
Edwards fully agrees with this, and he closes by reminding listeners that Bush created this war, he's the one who's shortchanged the troops, and he reminds us that we need to continue to speak out against this policy. He quotes Dr. King who said "Silence is betrayal".
Quote: "Together I believe that we will succeed, and I thank you for the opportunity to join you in that effort."
Joe Biden is up now.
In response to the question "What will you do to get us out of Iraq?"
Joe says one should answer the question of "Then what?" after talking about each planned solution. He talks about his plan to solve the political problems that come after all solutions are created. He talks about the sectarian violence that is destroying the country. He suggests that there should be a federal solution that has a limited federal government that enables the three different regions to be fairly autonomous. He says there should be an oil sharing agreement, as well as reconstruction assisted by neighboring oil-rich regimes. Last, he thinks the Security Council, Germany and the four most powerful Muslim nations should hold a summit to determine what happens to Iraq once troops come out in '08.
Next question regards permanent military bases and the huge embassy.
Biden explains that he's against permanent occupation, and he's worked to limit the bases being built in Iraq. He says "we have to knock down the belief that we're there only for oil, or for a permanent military base in Iraq."
The last question regards the corrupt and violent Iraqi police, which is engaging in sectarian crimes against their ethnic rivals. Biden says we should stop funding the National Police Force. He says we need to give local control to local police forces in their own ethic communities.
[Commentary - not every neighborhood is ethnically pure, which will mean that we could be actually supporting violent division of ethic groups.]
Biden's closing remarks deal again with his plan for how to solve Iraq's problems once we leave. "We don't want to leave Iraq with a dictator at the end of the civil war." He encourages folks to go to his website to learn more about his plan.
Dennis Kucinich is up now.
He talks about his 12 point plan to get out of Iraq (HR 1234), and encourages folks to go to his website to read it. The idea is to stop the funding, end the occupation, withdraw the troops, close the bases, restore cooperation with the United Nations, move in UN troops, simultaneously pull out all US contractors, provide funding for the UN mission until the Iraqi government is stable, fund the reconstruction, don't partition Iraq, reparations for injured civilians (as many as a million killed), return the people of Iraq full control of their oil, give the Iraqi people loans not hobbled by IMF austerity guidelines, and more.
He explains that we need to go further, working to find peace in Israel and Palestine, as well as with Iran.
The next question regards how we should help the Iraqi people to deal with the impact of the war. Dennis says we need to work on forming a diplomatic relationship with other countries, as well as rebuilding the entire social network of the country, in order to forestall the humanitarian crisis in that country.
He reminds us it's an "illegal war and an illegal occupation". "We need to tell the world that we've learned our lesson and we reject war as an instrument of foreign policy." He explains that he's voted against the war and all subsequent funding for it.
Next question asks how do we fix our reputation with other countries. Dennis says we need to end the war now, we need to reach out to the world community, take a new direction, and not take policies that "put us on the threshold of attacking other nations". Sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the Landmine Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Treaty, Kyoto, and other international agreements. Personal diplomacy will be important, reaching out to other nations in an "open-hearted way", that "brings the best of America forward".
He reminds us that he's the only candidate who opposed the war and has consistently voted against funding the war, which will help him reach out to other countries.
Closing remarks: He thanks us for participating, reminds us to consider that he has been against it all along, fighting against each appropriation in the House, and the others are not really consistent with peace, so the choice is clear. He has a "vision of the world which is peaceful and focused on unity."
Bill Richardson is next.
[I've got to go to a meeting, so this is it for me for now. Have fun listening to the Meeting!]