This week's question: "What should the United States do to end the war in Iraq?"
The AJC--unlike far too much of the mainstream media--has correctly chosen to include Libertarian Senate candidate Allen Buckley in the mix.
Buckley, you may recall, is the Libertarian against whom Bob Barr has provide GOPer Saxby Chambliss thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, but who also polled over $75,000 votes in the lieutenant governor's race two years ago.
It makes a refreshing contrast to compare Buckley's answer to that of Chambliss:
Saxby Chambliss: I have visited our troops in Iraq six times, and I see continued progress toward the establishment of Iraqi security, stability and self-governance. Attacks against coalition forces and civilians are steadily declining. Iraqi forces are becoming more effective. Progress is being made, and our efforts to build a democratic, safe and free Iraq are bearing fruit. Security improvements are leading to political progress, reconciliation, and cooperation.
Responsible observers of the situation in Iraq agree that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would create a power vacuum leading to total chaos resulting in perhaps the largest and most dangerous situation in the world. Any attempt to micromanage the war by Congress weakens our efforts and emboldens our enemies. This is an unacceptable outcome.
The reality is that we remain at war with cowardly extremists, and we must remain committed to defeating their ideology of hatred. We end the war in Iraq by winning....
Allen Buckley : I believe we should give the Iraqis a choice, to be decided within three months via any mechanism the Iraqis choose (e.g., national referendum), between two options: (a) we'll spend two years helping them divide Iraq into as many countries as they desire; or (b) we'll depart within one year. If the Iraqis do not provide an answer within the three-month period, we depart within one year. If they choose division into two or more countries, we help them the best we can within reason for two years, but we leave after the two-year period expires, regardless of the amount of progress made to date. Iraqi oil (including future oil revenue, if necessary) would fund our costs incurred during the period we remain.
It is also important to note that, in Georgia, the Libertarian candidate has not been excluded from debates, as has been the case of North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Dr Michael Munger.
Indeed, the AJC's June 9 coverage of a six-candidate free-for-all gave equal coverage to Allen Buckley, citing him several times:
Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley called for smaller government and a get-tough attitude on the federal deficit....
The Democrats all called for some form of expanded or universal health care, drawing a sharp retort from Libertarian Buckley, who said universal care sounds good but is fundamentally flawed and would require a "50 percent" tax hike to fund.
The candidates advanced an array of suggestions to confront the current oil crisis.
Buckley called for the expanded use of fledgling hydrogen technology. Knight suggested the use of agricultural waste to produce fuel. Jones called for tougher auto standards and "energy diversity."
Given the fragmented state of the Democratic ticket in Georgia, if Bob Barr gets off his rump and actively supports a fellow Libertarian for a change, Buckley could break 100,000 votes this time.
By the way, in case you were wondering, Bob Barr is now polling at 6% in Georgia. McCain has 44%, Obama 43%, and Undecided 7%. What is really, really intriguing is that Barr's support is not all coming from GOPers. He is pulling 7.5% of Republicans, but also 5% of Democrats.