Mitt Romney on the "Surge" and its Aftermath

How Romney Sees The Transition

By Dan McLaughlin Posted in Comments (22) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Green Mountain Politics just emailed this short YouTube clip (audio only) of Mitt Romney talking this morning on the radio in New Hampshire about drawing down U.S. troop presence in Iraq if General Petraeus reports in September that the "surge" (and the broader strategy of which it is a part) is working. I'll let you listen and draw your own conclusions.


UPDATE: The Romney campaign emails:

Governor Romney has always maintained that success in Iraq is the best way to bring our troops home safely, just as President Bush has long maintained that as Iraqi troops stand up, our troops will stand down. A couple of relevant instances:

President Bush: "The Best Way To Start Bringing These Good Men And Women Home Is To Make Sure The Surge Succeeds." THE PRESIDENT: "Most Americans want to see two things in Iraq : They want to see our troops succeed, and they want to see our troops begin to come home. We can do both, and we will. Our troops in Iraq are serving bravely. They're making great sacrifices. Changing the conditions in Iraq is difficult, and it can be done. The best way to start bringing these good men and women home is to make sure the surge succeeds." (President George W. Bush, Weekly Radio Address, 7/14/07)

President Bush: "In my address to the nation in January, I put it this way: If we increase our support at this crucial moment we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home." (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, Washington , D.C. , 7/12/07)


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Mitt Romney on the "Surge" and its Aftermath 22 Comments (0 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Especially since all of the experts describe this as the long war. Terrorism won't disappear just because the Iraqi army can step up.

I think Fred has a much longer view of the situation. As does Rudy. Romney sounds like like Harry Reid-lite.

Fred Thompson's campaign manager helped fund Hezbollah:

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=13601

So much for having a longer view of the situation..

Weasel words, sounds like a donkey. Need a little bit more spine than that in my Commander in Chief, and a little less pandering

This post seems to imply that Mitt agrees with the Democrats that we should withdraw our troops as soon as we can regardless of the consequences. However, Mitt's statement is clear that we are only withdrawing our troops if (a) violence is down (i.e., the surge is working) and (b) if the Iraqis can successfully step in our place.

Does anyone believe we should maintain current troop levels if violence drops significantly and the Iraqis are capable of taking over for us?

"We want to get our troops out of Iraq as soon as we can...

We want to get our troops out of Iraq ONLY when we have proof that the Iraqi Army/Police can contain the enemy and maintain order. And under no circumstance should anything that even looks like a "date" be put on the table. aQ should believe that US troops will be in Iraq until the second coming of Christ.
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CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

Everything I have heard from Mitt leads me to believe that "as soon as we can" means "ONLY when we have proof that the Iraqi Army/Police can contain the enemy and maintain order."

I am not very concerned about Mitt's position if the surge is a success (what politician, even the Democrats, would stop doing something that is succeeding?). What is more important is Mitt's position if the surge is a failure. I heard anything from Mitt that he would cut and run from Iraq in that case.

... (what politician, even the Democrats, would stop doing something that is succeeding?). ...

John
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Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

Why in the world would you think that Congressional Democrats would find anything but failure in the surge? You could have a baseline of 100 events, if 99 were on track and one was behind schedule they would claim FAILURE!!!!!

My problem with what Mitt said, may just be the way he said it. Dealing with Democrats and the Media requires the same communication skills and techniques as dealing with children and teenagers. Very simple words, very simple conclusions... No! means No! Mitt sounds like he's waffling to me. I don't trust that.
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CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

Well by zuiko

Everything I have heard from Mitt leads me to believe that "as soon as we can" means "ONLY when we have proof that the Iraqi Army/Police can contain the enemy and maintain order."

It's too bad he didn't actually say anything like that, eh? If I need a secret decoder ring to decipher his support for finishing the job in Iraq, that support isn't worth much. I would sure like to see him make a "clarification" of these remarks.
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Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

that he, or any politician, say what he means the first time rather than come back and "clarify" his remarks after the confusion has set in. That would be refreshing in a politican.

John
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Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

you could, maybe, come to that conclusion. However, if you consider all of the other speeches, remarks, comments, etc. that he has made about Iraq, I don't think you would need a secret decoder ring to decipher where his loyalty lies. After I listened to his remarks that are posted above, I went to his website and found some videos from Ask Mitt Anything sessions that made it clear where he stood.

...in that Romney is -fairly- close to being right here. The whole purpose of the surge is to push Al Qaeda & the insurgency past the point of realistic sustainability, with the eventual goal of U.S. withdrawal.

All he seems to be saying in this quote is that if Petraeus reports positively in September, it will be the beginning of the end. I didn't get any impression that Romney is advocating pulling troops out in October.

Ultimately, I would hope that as Commander-in-Chief, he would leave strategy decisions in the hands of the generals.

on Romney's remarks is that he thinks we can withdraw at the earliest possible moment we can see demonstrable, sustained progress.

In my view my friend mbecker980 has hit it on the head; as far as anyone is ocncerned the troops are a permanent fixture --- you should never give your enemy insight into your plans. Using Romney's calculus is not a lot better than setting a timetable; all AQ has to do is let up a bit for a few months and we start withdrawing. At some point the withdrawl will have its own momentum and we will be below critical mass. At that point AQ can then simply start their own "surge."

No thanks, Romeny is lot a lot better on this issue that the Democrats.

John
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Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

I doesn't sound like "sustained" progress is part of the requirements. More like "at the first glimmer of success, we start the withdrawal." I doubt that will be Petraeus's position when he testifies in September.
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Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

if I gave the impression that it had to be sustained for very long. My guess is two news cycles will suffice to get the quiters to quit.

John
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Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

about not giving insights to the enemy, but Romney's position does seem logical to voters. And that's what he's trying to do, right? He doesn't know how it's going to end any more than anyone else. But to me he seems to be rising in the current bunch. I think he's more electable than the rest, right now. I admit tho, we gotta see about Fred. I'm hoping one of them can beat Hillary.

This is deceptive crap.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose or support Romney.

To try and use cut and paste recordings to convince people that Romney isn't dedicated to winning the Iraq war is despicable.

I call BS on this whole thing.

It is patently obvious that Romney is stating that we don't withdraw until after we win. Which is perfectly sensible. Compare this to the Democrats who are saying we should withdraw immediately to ensure we lose.

Now there is plenty of grounds to ask a follow up questions like:

How stable does Iraq have to be, and how long does it have to last, before we can say "we won" and start withdrawing troops?

Another good follow question would be: Will America need to keep troops in Iraq in a supporting role even after we draw down?

To simply leap to the idea that Romney is suggesting abandoning Iraq as soon is a "glimmer of hope" appears is nonsense.

You know how I know? Cause I've heard Romney answer those follow up questions. Romney thinks that "winning" means crushing the insurgents in Iraq, while achieving both a political stability, and Iraqi military strength necessary to maintain that stability. He further believe that lower numbers of American forces are likely to need to remain in Iraq to provide a supportive role (primarily logistical).

Now, does that sound like a man who is trying to cut and run?

Why do Republicans insist on eating their own?

The Democrats are the ones undermining the war. With the exceptions of Ron Paul and Chuck Hagel, all of the Republican candidates for president have repeatedly insisted that we stay in Iraq until the war is won.

I repeat that I think this attack on Romney is weasel-like deception.

Why can't people talk more about why their preferred candidate is good, instead of trying to dig pits for their fellow Republicans who are their political allies!

Is your candidate winning the primary really so important that it is more important than providing a united front on the issue of the Iraq war?

Dang-gone-it, wake up!

Right now I'm leaning towards Romney, but I am very interested in Thompson and may end up backing him. I'll also support any of the likely nominees for President- with the only possible exception being Guiliani- and that's just cause that whole nasty divorce really sticks in my craw- it's not political, it's personal. I'm trying to get over that but that's tough for me.

Even so I don't feel the need to go kicking Guiliani around on puffed up false accusations. He has alot of attractive things about him, and I am confident that a President Guiliani will keep our nation safe. I have the same confidence in Romney, McCain, Thompson (both of them), Huckabee, Brownback, ect.

So if I may make a suggestion to Redstate readers: Don't attack other Republican candidates on the war issue. We should be united on this issue- not using it to score political points with cheap attacks.

clearly. Very clearly. We have suffered through six plus years of really crappy communication and we don't need any more of it. Maybe Mitt means what you say he means. Maybe. This guy is supposed to be Mr. Communicator. This clip doesn't reflect that.

Would I not vote for Mitt because of this clip? No. Does it make me nervous about him? You bet.
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CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

Although I think we are fooling ourselves if we expect the MSM not to play "gotcha" with any Republican Candidate/President.

They even did it to Reagan several times. The difference between Reagen and Bush being that Reagen spoke out so often and made his views so widely known, that the "gotchas" didn't stick.

People already knew what Reagen thought, and they were not going to believe the MSM spin.

They didn't call him Teflon for nothing.

Bush has (understandably, if regrettably) decided to just ignore what people say and do what he believes is right without making much of an effort at defending himself. I think his dependence on one big speech as opposed to constant repetition was a mistake.

So I figure that the metric for the quality you are talking about is not the number of "gotcha" moments the Press pulls on the candidates. Rather it is the tenacity and clarity with which the candidate continues to defend correct positions despite having done so many times before- and despite being misrepresented by the press.

It's one of the things that I am looking hard at Thompson on. I really like what I hear from him when he does speak- but I get the sense that he is not talking as much as the other candidates. Of course, he hasn't announced yet so I'm still withholding judgment. I believe he'll become more vocal after he enters the race.

A secondary metric would be how well a candidate is able to weather the MSM onslaught of slime.

So far Romney is the only one I've seen really targeted by the MSM. Although signs are that Thompson will be targeted as much, if not more so. (Apparently the MSM hates both Mormons and Southerners).

Romney seems to be doing pretty well at shrugging off the MSM meme- at least in Iowa and N.H. where he has spent time. Time will tell if he can do the same nation wide.

It will be interesting to see how well Thompson does on this metric. I suspect Thompson will do quite well actually.

The fact that both Thompson and Romney are running well so far makes me much more hopeful about the 2008 election.

Why can't Bush start TALKING about a gradual withdrawal? That would help us in the '08 election.

It doesn't mean we even withdraw large numbers. It's TALK.

If he at least gives rhetoic to it, we can minimize Iraq as an election-year liability.

of a withdrawal, before the job is finished has a way of undermining morale, both among our troops and the Iraqi people.

1) The troops, knowing the Iraqi armed forces are not yet up to the challenge, will recognize that ultimate failure and defeat is looming. The troops would then be preoccupied with counting days until the end of their tours, while tending to avoid risks.

2) The Iraqis would become less likely to provide assistance to our side for fear of being considered collaborators by terrorists who would eventually gain control of their country.

 
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