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Union Leader - Biden Says Current Policy is "Breaking" Military

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Son Hoang

Delaware senator and presidential candidate Joe Biden called for a sensible end to the violence in Iraq yesterday.

Addressing members of the Nashua Rotary Club at a luncheon at the Nashua Country Club, Biden called the war in Iraq a "big boulder" preventing the United States from regaining credibility around the world and taking care of its domestic issues.

The war, Biden said, has cost the United States more than 3,600 lives and injured nearly 25,000 others because the country went to war prematurely without the a significant number of soldiers and without a plan on how to end it.

"Everyone has said there needs to be a political solution yet neither party has offered a political solution," said Biden. "Not a single person has suggested a political outcome that will stop the civil war." Biden also criticized a continued occupation or picking a side in the sectarian conflicts and wiping the opposition out. Instead, Iraq should have a decentralized government, which the Iraqi Constitution calls for, and give control to the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis to their own regions.

"Not in the lifetime of anyone in this room will there be a centralized democratic government in Iraq," Biden said.

Unfortunately, the United States does not have the credibility to fix Iraq on its own, which is why he is urging the Secretary of State to set up a meeting with the United Nations Security Council for an international conference on Iraq, he said.

However, Biden added, "This plan has a shelf life. If it doesn't occur shortly, it will end in a catastrophe." The U.S. military also cannot sustain the troop rotations in Iraq much longer, said Biden, who recalled that during one of his visits to the country he met some troops who were on their fourth or fifth tour.

"We are breaking the U.S. military. We're killing these guys. We're killing these women," he said.

Biden's appearance in Nashua was one of several he had scheduled in the state. He had stops at the Veterans Home in Tilton, at the Manchester Veterans Hospital and at Liberty House, also in Manchester.

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