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Former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson just suggested to Tim Russert that all American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq in 2007 and that security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad be placed in Iraqi hands. Right. The embassy would be overrun in about five minutes if that happened. Does the Democratic Party really ache to relive the hostage crisis of their youth ?

I realize that the worst of the delusional screamers now dominate the Democratic primary process but an experienced international diplomat like Richardson should really try to preserve his intellectual credibility. Richardson isn’t going to win the nomination but he just might be a Secretary of State or Defense, and, as such, he shouldn’t be saying really dumb things like this on television.

9 Responses to “”

  1. A.E. Says:

    On this note, see Strategist’s post on the subject.

  2. The Lounsbury - l'Aqoul Says:

    Oh don’t be a whinging hysteric. Security in the hands of the Shia is likely to be a blood bath for the Sunni in Baghdad, but they are not going to behead the US Ambassador.

    Really, this sort of hysteria on your part is sad. The problems posed by his suggestion are utterly different.

  3. mark Says:

    Hi Col,

    Hope you are feeling better.

    It’s sarcasm, not hysteria.

    I have no beef with Richardson per se beyond today’s pandering to the kooks. He’s usually a good deal better than he came off today with Russert. It’s simply a question of capabilities.

    I don’t expect the Shia to attack the embassy but if the Shia militias had the competence to do security work on that scale we’d not have gone through the ” surge” in the first place. Being good at massacreing Sunni extremists ( or non-extremist Sunni bystanders) does not translate into maintaining a reliable defensive posture or keeping public order.

    At best, an American departure will stretch the most competent Shiite units ( militia and national Army) very thin. I stand by my comments that this was not a particularly bright idea on Richardson’s part.

  4. Mithras Says:

    Richardson was wrong and Mark is right. Clearly, we’ll have to abandon Baghdad to get out of the way of the ethnic cleansing. We’ll draw down our troops to the 50,000-60,000 level Hillary Clinton has proposed (no matter who the next President is), on bases outside of urban areas. That is, if the Shia will let us, given that we’re playing a double game of supporting Saudi-funded Sunni militias (some with ties with al Qaeda) in the region.


  5. Adrian Says:

    “Now, you know, I—I’m for securing our embassy, obviously, with, with Marine personnel.”



    You were saying something about delusional screaming…

  6. mark Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    As I said previously, sarcasm. An absurd suggestion merits an absurd title. If Maliki could do what Richardson suggests then we *should* withdraw because our work is done.

    And you know that the usual complement of Marines cannot secure that ridiculously acromegalic edifice of an embassy ( thanks to A.E. for the hat tip to the pic at The strategist). It looks like Ceaucescu’s palace before he was overthrown.

  7. A.E. Says:

    “It looks like Ceaucescu’s palace before he was overthrown.”

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. It should have never been built. They should sell it off or junk it, but by no means should it be occupied by American diplomatic personnel.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    [Getting here late.]

    “The embassy would be overrun in about five minutes if that happened.”

    Aside from the criticisms voiced above, this illustrates the danger of prediction. In particular, those who predicted a rose-petal-and-baklava welcoming to the US troops (I don’t know if this includes you, Mark) are not to be believed. By and large, they are the ones who are predicting such things, not at all with sarcasm, which I suspect is why some above took Mark’s sarcasm as hysteria.

    I’m trying to do some predicting of my own at WhirledView, on a different subject. It’s not easy, and it seems to me it’s more difficult on Iraq than on other subjects.

    But I agree that Richardson didn’t do well on MTP. Repetitive, almost whiny. Too bad. He actually has most of the capabilities you’d think we want in a president.


  9. mark Says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    No, while I strongly supported removing Saddam from power I thought ( and wrote long before the invasion) that it would take a 5-10 year American military occupation of Iraq to transform the country into a democracy. Something I thought was a worthy and achievable, if difficult, goal.

    My assumptions were based upon a WWII model of Allied occupation of Germany and Japan. Unfortunately, I had greatly overestimated the competence of the Bush administration as well as the degree of secular modernization of Iraq under the Baath – though the latter is harder to say as Bush/CPA policies also destroyed the power bases of the secular Shia who might have proven more influential had they been coopted and engaged (Obviously, we did not have any Douglas MacArthurs or Lucius Clays in Iraq and got off on the wrong foot almost from the moment after Saddam fell).

    Your nuclear threat piece is excellent BTW – I think I will do a post on it tomorrow.


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