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Howard Dean warns of danger in Iraq pullout

Minneapolis Star Tribune | April 21 2005

Comment: Another example of the phony left-wing supporting the Neo-Cons. and other establishment left organizations also want to prolong the war, bleed taxpayers of more war funds and see more American troops die.

Howard Dean came to Minnesota Wednesday evening without the scream that ended his 2004 presidential campaign, or the anti-Iraq war rhetoric that started it.

"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out," he told an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the United States where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there."

An American pullout could endanger the United States in any of three ways, Dean said: by leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran, which he called a more serious threat than Iraq ever was; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the Sunni Triangle a magnet for Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. "That's where Al Qaida will set up," he said.

Dean, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, spoke at a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, even though he noted that as Vermont governor, "I got sued by the ACLU." Charles Samuelson, the local unit's executive director, said Wednesday's event raised about $40,000.

Between a speech he delivered without notes and a question-answer session, Dean regaled an appreciative audience for nearly 90 minutes without once raising his voice, as he did after last year's Iowa primary election. But he did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh.

"I'm not very dignified," he said. "But I'm not running for president anymore." In fact, as part of his commitment to lead the party for the next four years, he has sworn not to seek any office until after 2008.

Dean, 56, outlined his strategy for returning Democrats to electoral success in campaigns large and small. "We need to get organized in all 50 states," he said. "You can't win the presidency if you're an 18-state party. I truly believe this is a Democratic country -- with a big D."

Beyond that, he said, Democrats have to learn how to speak from the heart and with respect to Americans who have found more comfort in Republican appeals to their fears about their jobs, health care, schools and national security.