Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Our Decision

If you care about changing direction in Iraq, now is the moment to act.

George Bush will speak to the nation tomorrow, and every indication is that he will announce an escalation of the war in Iraq. Such a military escalation would not strengthen our national security -- instead it would further weaken it by enabling the Iraqis to avoid taking responsibility for their own future.

Thankfully, escalation is not President Bush's decision to make. He must have the people's consent.

For too long Congress refused to hold the White House accountable for its failed policies in Iraq. It endangered the lives of our brave young men and women in uniform for a civil war that has no military solution.

No more. [...]

One misguided politician cannot simply decide to drop tens of thousands more troops into the middle of a civil war. As Speaker Pelosi said on Sunday, "If the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it."

Tell the president that we will not allow an escalation in Iraq without the people's consent -- support this legislation now...

Please add your name to the list of Americans who demand a voice in the debate over escalation...

Please sign our petition supporting this important legislation:


Thank you,
Edward M. Kennedy


Today Senator Ted Kennedy introduced "legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq."

Here is an excerpt (from the draft) of Sen. Kennedy’s speech:

My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan.

My proposal will not diminish our support for the forces we already have in Iraq. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure they have all the support they truly need. Even more important, we will continue to do all we can to bring them safely home. The best immediate way to support our troops is by refusing to inject more and more of them into the cauldron of a civil war that can be resolved only by the people and government of Iraq.

This bill will give all Americans -- from Maine to Florida to California to Alaska and Hawaii -- an opportunity to hold the President accountable for his actions. The President's speech must be the beginning -- not the end -- of a new national discussion of our policy in Iraq. Congress must have a genuine debate over the wisdom of the President's plan. Let us hear the arguments for it and against it. Then let us vote on it in the light of day. Let the American people hear -- yes or no -- where their elected representatives stand on one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Until now, a rubber stamp Republican Congress has refused to hold the White House accountable on Iraq. But the November election has dramatically changed all that. Over the past two years, Democrats reached for their roots as true members of our Party. We listened to the hopes and dreams of everyday Americans. We rejected the politics of fear and division. We embraced a vision of hope and shared purpose. And the American people voted for change.

Many of us felt the authorization to go to war was a grave mistake at the time. I've said that my vote against the war in Iraq is the best vote I've cast in my 44 years in the United States Senate.

But no matter what any of us thought then, the Iraq War resolution is obviously obsolete today. It authorized a war to destroy weapons of mass destruction. But there were no WMDs to destroy. It authorized a war with Saddam Hussein. But today, Saddam is no more. It authorized a war because Saddam was allied with al Qaeda. But there was no alliance.

The mission of our armed forces today in Iraq bears no resemblance whatever to the mission authorized by Congress. President Bush should not be permitted to escalate the war further, and send an even larger number of our troops into harm's way, without a clear and specific new authorization from Congress.

Our history makes clear that a new escalation in our forces will not advance our national security. It will not move Iraq toward self-government, and it will needlessly endanger our troops by injecting more of them into the middle of a civil war.

... Comparisons from history resonate painfully in today's debate on Iraq. In Vietnam, the White House grew increasingly obsessed with victory, and increasingly divorced from the will of the people and any rational policy. The Department of Defense kept assuring us that each new escalation in Vietnam would be the last. Instead, each one led only to the next.

There was no military solution to that war. But we kept trying to find one anyway. In the end, 58,000 Americans died in the search for it.

Echoes of that disaster are all around us today. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam.


Think Progress has obtained a PDF copy of Ted Kennedy's bill which you can see here.


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