The Responsible Plan, Part I

If you’ve caught me in any kind of public forum since March 17, you’ve heard me talk about something called the Responsible Plan. You might be wondering what it is, what it does. 

What I’ve been working on is, essentially, a seven-part digest of what the plan is. If you don’t have time for that, though, here’s what you need to take away, in thirty seconds or less:

The Responsible Plan is a plan to not just end the Iraq War, but to end the mindset that made the Iraq War possible.

That’s it. No more, no less. 

The Responsible Plan accomplishes seven goals:

  • End the Iraq War
  • Use American diplomatic power
  • Address humanitarian concerns
  • Restore our Constitution
  • Restore our military
  • Restore our independent media
  • Create a new, American-centered energy policy

The key thing, as I’ve mentioned here (and other places, like the Boulder Community Forum on Monday), is to end the Iraq War. We’re spending $720 million a day in Iraq, and we’re not deriving any national benefit from the war.  

But it goes beyond that.

In getting ourselves enmeshed in Iraq, our diplomatic capability took a huge hit, as nation after nation objected to our involvement. In order to mitigate that damage, we decided to wrap ourselves in the mantle of United Nations authority, through the Security Council, so that we could elide our lack of respect for the decent opinions of mankind. 

When the UNSC failed to authorize the Iraq War, however, we lost the ability to properly address humanitarian concerns after initial combat operations ceased, and we attempted to transition to what we in the military call stability and support operations (SASO) — what you would refer to as peacekeeping operations.  

The UN, briefly, attempted to manage humanitarian concerns on the ground in Iraq. That attempt essentially came to an end with the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello in the August 19, 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Since then, UN efforts on the ground have been sporadic, due to the lack of stability in the country.  

Meanwhile, back home, our Constitution was getting trampled underfoot. Between the President appending “signing statements” to legislation that essentially amounted to him saying that he’d follow the law if he felt like it, the Vice President saying that he was a hitherto-unknown “fourth branch” of government, and the wholesale abrogation of human rights (at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and indeed, across the world), one would be correct in thinking that the Constitutional system that our nation had labored under for over 200 years was twisted beyond recognition. 

That’s not all, though. 

Both here and abroad, our military is stretched to the breaking point, as servicemembers serve three, four, even five and six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan (remember that place? It’s where our actual enemies are hanging out). Meanwhile, if you’re a discharged veteran, many times, it’s well-nigh impossible to draw upon the benefits you were promised when you enlisted, which means your ability to get ahead in this society (one of the reasons you enlisted) is diminished.

You’d be hard-pressed to see that in the news, though, since many times, they’re loath to criticize that which they see. And what takes the cake is that, in the five years since we’ve been in Iraq, we are more dependent on energy production from that part of the world than ever before.

The Responsible Plan addresses all those concerns. Over the next few days, I’ll be writing about why this plan can achieve both the former and the latter objectives, and why you should support this plan, whether you’re a candidate or a citizen. 


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