Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson has issued a challenge to his fellow Democrats contenders:
In the most recent debate, [Richardson] asked the other major candidates a clear question: how many troops would you leave behind and for how long? We have yet to hear an answer.
All the major Democratic candidates say they are eager to end this war, and they all say they don't believe there is a military solution in Iraq. Why, then, do they maintain that we must leave an indefinite number of troops behind for an indeterminate amount of time to work hopelessly towards a military solution everyone says doesn't exist?
It is time to get a straight answer from all the other candidates: how many troops would you leave behind? For how long?
Campaign ploy? Sure. But it's an answer that we deserve to have nonetheless. Chris Bowers has more:
The more I think about this dodge from Clinton, Obama, and Edwards on how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq, the angrier I become. Why is an inquiry into how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq a hypothetical question not worthy of an answer, but inquiries into how much their health care plans will reduce the cost of insurance premiums a hypoethical question worthy of prominently displaying an answer to on your website? [..]
The refusal to provide an estimate for how many troops Clinton, Edwards and Obama has nothing to do with a refusal to engage in hypotheticals. Presidential campaigns are clearly willing to dish out hypothetical numbers all the time on issues like health care and energy costs, or issues like reducing poverty and pollution, as long as their internal hypothetical numbers make them look good. As such, the only conclusions I can draw from repeated unwillingness of these campaigns to estimate how many troops they would leave in Iraq is that they either have no idea how many troops they would leave in Iraq, or the actual estimated figure would make these campaigns look very, very bad to the base. Either conclusion is disturbing should serve as the operating assumptions for every Democratic voter until these leading campaigns provide an actual estimate.