Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
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Larry King Transcript


When asked by Larry King about what to do in Iraq, Dean said last night:

I would begin the process of going to the United Nations, getting a resolution to bring foreign troops in, preferably including some troops from Arabic-speaking nations and some Muslim troops so that we can make this truly an international occupation. I do believe it's a worthwhile goal to rebuild Iraq into a democracy. I think that's unlikely to happen with this president, given his track record in Afghanistan.

I support the president's invasion of Afghanistan because I thought that was an issue for national security of the United States. But I think what s happened since then has been a very bad harbinger of what the president may do in Iraq.

We're under -- we have probably a fifth of the number of troops that we need to have in Iraq -- excuse me, in Afghanistan. The president is making deals with the warlords, who are certainly not Democratic forces. i think things look bad in Afghanistan. We need the U.N. and NATO to come in and help us there. And the problem is the president has managed to alienate and humiliate all the very countries that we now need to help us maintain the peace both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

I'd say this expresses pretty sound understanding of national security. Disclosure: I disagree with Dean here, as many of you well know, but I of course am not mainstream on the issue of military force.

First, Dean is not just saying that BushCo is wrong, he's stating what he would do as President. He wants to internationalize our efforts in Iraq to legitimize the occupation and give us much needed help. And he believes our building a democracy is important.

Second, anybody who wants to paint Dean as a pacifist and anti-war candidate has nothing on him. Indeed, he did not support the war in Iraq, but he did support the Afghan campaign and was, as you might recall, pushing for intervention in Liberia. Dean is not afraid to flex our military muscle. He does object to putting our soldiers in harm's way without good reason.

Third, Dean recognizes the value of allies and diplomacy. We're in exactly the bind many of us predicted due to the Bush administration's arrogance. Dean understands the limits of power, which is just as important as being able to point at a map and say "bomb this".

Incidentally, Dean's position on internationalizing our operations in Iraq is in line with the Army's own thinkers. From the SSI report I blogged about yesterday:

The United States needs to expand the numbers of foreign Arab and Muslim troops involved with the management of postwar Iraq. Their presence in Iraq for postwar security duties could also be very valuable in convincing Iraqis that the United States is not interested in severing them from the larger Arab World.Such a deployment would have to be coordinated with responsible Iraqi leaders. Moreover, many Arab and Muslim countries would probably be willing to contribute to a postwar stabilization force if it was authorized by the United Nations.While the United States may have to help finance such a force, it would be worth the expense to reduce the danger of U.S.confrontations with the population and assuage Iraqi fears of U.S.domination.

When asked if he would move to the center in the general election, Dean responded:

Larry, I am in the center. I balanced budget. The president hasn't done so. I believe that states have the right to make their own gun laws, after enforcing the federal laws vigorously. I believe that we ought to have health insurance for every single American. Harry Truman put that in the Democratic Party platform in 1948. There's nothing that's not centrist about me. I just think that the party and the electorate, the Republican Party and even my own party has simply moved too far to the right.

You heard it from the horse's mouth, folks. I know that some Dems think Dean isn't left enough because of his fiscal policies, but I'm sorry, that's silly. I'm not actually a Dem myself, I'm one of those Indies that you need to court. I will have a hard time voting for somebody who does fit the stereotypical tax-and-spend mold. Balancing budgets is good. I think most Americans agree, and as Dean observed back in '92, if people don't trust you with their money, they're not going to trust you with anything, including all the good things you want to do for them.

I also dig how Dean is more Federalist than supposed conservatives in many respects. Leaving most of the decisions about gun laws to the states is a good approach--indeed, what works for Vermont would not necessarily be good for New York. And while not stated here, Dean makes a similar argument regarding civil rights for gays.

The one pinko thing Dean does propose is universal health care. Too bad that's not enough for the Leftwing of the Democratic party. I don't think it's Left enough for BushCo to make an issue of it, either, given most Americans have great concerns about healthcare. Of course, Rove and his minions will make something of how Dean will pay for it: rolling back the irresponsible Bush tax cuts. I think Howie will be able to make the case.

I'll let y'all read the rest of the transcript yourselves. The panel discussion after Howie's appearance is also interesting.

ntodd 
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