THE DEMOCRATIC PLAN….Andrew Sullivan, in an apparent attempt to drive me insane, writes today that although he’s appalled by Republican ineptitude in the war on terror, he’s still waiting for a serious Democratic plan to come along that he can get behind. Without that, no dice.

As it happens, a mere four months ago Senate and House Democrats produced a document called “Real Security” that spelled out just such a plan. It was ? and let me be crystal clear about this ? a truly crappy document, a stitched-together pastiche that any major party should have been embarrassed to let see the light of day. A bright high school senior with an internet connection and a copy of Microsoft Publisher could have done a better job of production and exposition.

But ? if you’re willing to plow through the thing, it does provide an overview of how Democrats think we can win the war. In his post today, Sullivan noted six things that he’d like to see in a Democratic plan, so I’ve created the handy table below to compare what he wants with what the Democrats are offering:



Redeployment within Iraq to regions where we truly can encourage democracy and prosperity, like Kurdistan.

“Ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.”

More “soft” support for democratic movements in the Muslim world ? the kind of backing we gave Eastern European dissidents in the Cold War ? is essential, if done subtly enough not to prompt backlash.

“Eliminate terrorist breeding grounds by combating the economic, social, and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive; lead international efforts to uphold and defend human rights; and renew longstanding alliances that have advanced our national security objectives.”

Encouraging the entrepreneurial Gulf states to grow in wealth and influence cannot hurt.

Nope, nothing about Bahrain in the Democratic plan.

A serious non-carbon energy policy at home is part of the mix as well.

“Achieve energy independence for America by 2020 by eliminating reliance on oil from the Middle East and other unstable regions of the world.”

The credible threat of military force is also vital ? especially as far as Iran’s regime is concerned.

“Carrots are not enough: Iran should be concerned that it has no realistic possibility of making its enrichment and reprocessing facilities operational. Accordingly, Iran should understand the existential threat of a military response under some conditions.”

And a much more credible homeland defense policy.

“Screen 100% of containers and cargo bound for the U.S. in ships or airplanes at the point of origin and safeguard America?s nuclear and chemical plants, and food and water supplies….”

I’m not pretending that the Democratic plan is a precise match for what Sullivan wants to see. But it’s not far off, either. And it even adds in a few other critical items, such as opposition to torture; doubling the size of Special Forces; increasing the deployable capacity of the Army by 30,000 troops; and strengthening nuclear non-proliferation and programs to secure loose nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

All of this stuff is backed up by further detail for anyone interested in learning more. It may not be perfect, but it’s more of a plan than Republicans have offered; it’s supported by Democrats of all stripes; and it’s awfully close to the kind of thing Sullivan says he wants to see. So what’s the problem?

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