Five Questions for Congressman Langevin

Congressman James Langevin‘s op-ed in Sunday’s Projo explaining his vote in favor of a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq could benefit from a few clarifications. Congressman Langevin says…

Despite calls by the Iraq Study Group for a new approach to the “grave and deteriorating” situation in Iraq, President Bush has proposed escalating military operations…
1. Does the Congressman believe that Iraqi insurgents have themselves escalated their war against the U.S, or does he believe that escalation is something that only the United States can be “guilty” of? If he does believe that radical Islamists have escalated the war, why is a counter-escalation not appropriate, unless he believes the only appropriate response to an enemy escalation is always retreat?
Congressman Langevin says…
The Iraqis’ problems no longer require a U.S. military solution. The underlying causes of violence are primarily political and must be addressed as such.
2. But committing extra troops to Baghdad has made the city increasingly livable for ordinary Iraqis. Shouldn’t improving the living conditions of ordinary Iraqi citizens be recognized as a significant contribution to a political solution, or don’t ordinary citizens matter in Congressman Langevin’s view of politics? Does the Congressman accept the type of realist thinking that holds that politics is the process of elites making deals amongst themselves, regardless of the consequences for oridnary citizens?
3. A specific example of a political settlement that needs to be achieved in Iraq is an agreement on sharing of oil revenues. According to the BBC, a draft law has been prepared and is supposed to be finalized by May. Does the Congressman’s belief that there is no legitimate role for the military in rebuilding Iraq mean that he believes that something like a settlement on oil-revenues would be more easily achieved if the strongest armed groups in Iraq were Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias and Al-Qaida-in-Iraq?
Congressman Langevin says…
Our military now finds itself in the middle of a civil war, and it is time to bring our troops home….The House voted last week on an emergency spending bill that would, for the first time, set a clear deadline to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq. As one who originally voted against giving the president authority to invade Iraq, I proudly supported this Democratic measure as the first real step to end the war.
4. When the Congressman says that the war in Iraq a civil war and he says that Congressional action can end the war, is he implying that he sees the U.S presence as the cause of the war, or promising more than he can deliver, or just guilty of sloppy reasoning?
5. Does Congressman Langevin endorse a blanket policy of never using troops in a civil war, meaning that he will not support the use of force in civil wars under any circumstances, including the genocidal civil war in Sudan? If this is the case, then what incentive does the central government in Sudan have to stop their attacks on the people of Darfur?

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