House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Albright on Iraq. (C-SPAN2 AUDIO)
Sat Jan 20, 2007 03:38

RECORDED 1/19/07... C-SPAN2....
Albright on Iraq, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

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Madeleine Albright Raises $329 Million for New Fund

Albright on Iraq.
January 18, 2007, 2:50 pm
Posted by Grant Gallicho

Commonweal columnist and Huffington Post contributor Melinda Henneberger reports on former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee.

One of the sharpest exchanges of the day was between Albright and a fellow Democrat. Responding to her suggestion that more should be done to encourage religious leaders in the region to serve as peacemakers, New York Representative Gary Ackerman seemed not to have gotten the memo about how Democrats would do well to avoid seeming hostile to believers in general: "I have no problem with people who pray,'' he said. "They can pray all day and talk to God. I have a problem with the people God talks to...How do you compromise with people who are driven either by evil or by religious convictions?''

Talking with people does not mean compromising with them, she answered coolly, and "I have not turned into a religious mystic, and I'm not a theologian.''

And what about Iraq? Is the president's plan to increase troop levels any good? It's "less a statement of policy than a prayer,'' Albright explained. What's left, then? What can be done?

"There are no good options.'' She said she felt free to speak in a way that had not been possible when she was in government service and every word had to be vetted: "This is the first time I'm appearing before you as myself.''

And she kept her word on that: Iraqi officials, she said, "have no appetite after Abu Ghraib and Haditha for our lectures on human rights.'' Her general impression of escalating violence there, she said, is that, "We have brought a lot of this on ourselves, and put our armed forced in an absurd position,'' in the middle of a civil war. "Is our mission to play the hired gun with one side against the other.'' No. Or to keep the peace on all sides? Impossible. So, "I agree with the president it would be a disaster to leave under the present circumstances,'' she said, "but it may also be a disaster to stay.''

Be sure to read the whole thing.
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Posted by Bill Mazzella
on January 18, 2007, 4:49 pm
Unfortunately, we cannot leave a war we should have never started. And those who supported this preemptive war should not get a bye. In addition to the fanatic theocons there were plenty of moderates who were seduced by such inanities as Middle East strategy, spreading democracy and securing oil.

It was about oil and the fact that we could easily topple Sadaam. Rome and Europe had it right about the war. We in our belief in predestined prosperity thought that God had to be with us no matter how we acted. And did we act badly.

The democrats should be careful. The people are against this war and one might say that God is on their side. How is that for irogny?
Posted by Jean Raber
on January 19, 2007, 9:32 am

Albright's comments puzzle me: If we can do no good in Iraq, then why stay? If it will be a "brutal year" either way, then what is the point of keeping forces in Iraq, especially if Al Qaeda is in Iraq because we are?

What does she think we will achieve by staying?

Posted by Joseph Jaglowicz
on January 19, 2007, 11:24 am
Jean, I think what Albright means is that there would be an all-out bloodbath if we were to pull out now. On the other hand, we may see a bloodbath if we stay --- unless this "surge" can pull off a miracle. I suspect that Albright, like most Americans, is not the least bit optimistic here. "There are no good options."
Posted by Bob Nunz
on January 19, 2007, 11:34 am
Sen, John Kyl of Arizona, a fervent administration supporter, was all over the airwaves yesterday defending the surge.
He carefully explained that seeing a lot of violence would be proof the surge is succeeding. I kept thinking if vilence should temporaily decrease, does that mean we are failing?
Much spin has been put forward this week by the President (60 minutes, PBS, etc. and
his congressional suporters, particularly mcConnel and Kyle.
But there are no good options and there will ve a continuous waste of human life.
Posted by eugene mccarraher
on January 19, 2007, 12:18 pm
I don't see why anyone should give Albright any credence. She is the one, after all, who replied to Leslie Sthal's question about the horrific impact of sanctions against Iraq in the '90s by saying, "We think it's a price worth paying" -- an easy thing to say when the currency in question is other people's lives. What a ghoul.

And besides, there are "good" options. Unfortunately, they require American humility, and a recogition that the United States did something morally, legally, and politically wrong. The U.S. must talk with Iran, Syria, and the insurgents. Every imperial power has said "we won't talk with terrorists" -- and then, months later, they talk with terrorists, having realized that they can't get their backsides out of a terrible situation without directly engaging the other side(s).


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