Sunday, March 23, 2008

Let's talk about leaving Iraq. Seriously.

A few months ago, I suggested that we tie the cost of Iraq to everything, and it is good to see that Obama did just that when he tied Iraq the the economic peril that we face here in America.

But it isn’t just for “strategic” or “political” reasons that this should be done. It should be done because, well, it is true. The price of oil, the economy, the deficit, that things that we could otherwise be spending money on, a sane energy policy, national security, foreign policy decisions and matters - they all are impacted by what is going on in Iraq.

And yet, more than 5 years in and close to 4,000 US troops deaths, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths and millions of displaced refugees and hundreds of billions of dollars later, we are still hearing empty rhetoric and platitudes about what should be done. The occupation is very unpopular in American people’s minds, only turning slightly in favor once the corporate media stopped reporting about it. It is costing a tremendous amount of money, lives and resources - and is frankly not working.

As even General Petraeus said, there is no military solution to Iraq, and things getting worse overall, not better. With Bush’s approval rating at or near historic lows, and while it is long past time to start putting together a responsible plan to end our military involvement in Iraq and move in a new direction, fortunately, there is a group of true American heroes (and heroines) that have done just that.

Titled ”A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq”, it incorporates existing proposed legislation, recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (which were endorsed by a large percentage of the population, yet were completely ignored by this administration) and touches on many issues and challenges arising from the decisions and consequences of the past five years.

Amazingly, this initiative was taken by Democratic Congressional candidates. Not Speaker Pelosi, not Majority Leader Reid, not Senator Clinton (or Obama), or those who we have already elected to make good on their promises in 2006 and end the occupation.

Yes, Congressional candidates, along with noted military leaders. Tomorrow’s leaders, acting as today’s leaders, while today’s Congressional “leaders” are doing little in the way of their jobs, and more disingenuous pandering or just plain scolding of their core supporters.

If you haven’t seen the plan yet, it is comprehensive and impressive enough that the dialogue should be moving away from the same, tired, inside the box thinking and sound byte slogans that are doing nothing more than wasting more lives, time and money. It addresses seven main areas:

Our plan will:

1. End U.S. Military Action in Iraq
2. Use U.S. diplomatic power
3. Address humanitarian concerns
4. Restore our Constitution
5. Restore our military
6. Restore independence to the media
7. Create a new, U.S.-centered energy policy

These candidates are our leaders, and recognize the urgency of acting now. They understand that there must be pressure on the current Congress (and I’ll add especially in light of the corporate media blackout and the unwillingness to do the right thing by current Congressional leadership) right now. From the Executive Summary:
Supporters of this document have committed to these objectives. The American people do not need to wait for a new Congress and new administration to pursue this agenda: public pressure on our current elected officials to act can help us move in the right direction even before January 2009, when we hope a new presidential administration and a new Congress will avail themselves of the opportunity to address the great challenges we face as a nation.

I highly urge that you check out the Plan, the site and even join the Facebook Group. We need to put pressure on our elected officials NOW, and with a document such as this one (as well as momentum) garnering the support of more Congressional candidates every day, even more so due to the overexposure given to the current Presidential primary.

With tens of thousands of Sunni insurgents that WE ARMED AND PROMISED TO PAY pissed off that we decided to stop paying them after we armed them, time is even more of the essence. With yet another “McCain moment” happening as he continues to conflate Iran with al Qaeda, the dialogue needs to be established now so he can be put on the defensive when he starts backpeddling on his “100 years” or “there will be more wars” comments. And most importantly, the time is long past where we devote our money, resources and troops to things that they are supposed to be used for. It is time to have an adult discussion about ending the occupation of Iraq in a responsible manner.

Before ending this diary, I want to point out those who put their time, effort and reputation into being a leader, so here are the true patriots who are stepping up and creating a framework that should be adopted by anyone who loves this country and wants to move away from an era of reckless disregard and dangerous simple minded chest thumping:

The plan is endorsed by the following 16 featured House candidates

Darcy Burner, candidate for U.S. House, Washington
Donna Edwards, candidate for Representative - U.S. House, Maryland
Eric Massa, candidate for U.S. House, New York
Chellie Pingree, candidate for U.S. House, Maine
TOM PERRIELLO, candidate for U.S. House, Virginia
Jared Polis, candidate for U.S. House, Colorado
George Fearing, candidate for U.S. House, Washington
Larry Byrnes, candidate for U.S. House, Florida
STEVE HARRISON, candidate for U.S. House, New York
SAM BENNETT, candidate for U.S. House, Pennsylvania
Harry Taylor, candidate for U.S. House, North Carolina
Alan Grayson, candidate for U.S. House, Florida
Dennis Shulman, candidate for U.S. House, New Jersey
Larry Grant, candidate for U.S. House, Idaho
Leslie Byrne, candidate for U.S. House, Virginia
Bill O'Neill, candidate for U.S. House, Ohio

And by the following two featured Senate candidates

Steve Novick, candidate for U.S. Senate, Oregon
Jeff Merkley, candidate for U.S. Senate, Oregon

And by

Major General Paul Eaton (U.S. Army ret.) former Security Transition Commanding General, Iraq
Dr. Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration
Brigadier General John Johns (U.S. Army ret.) specialist in counterinsurgency and nation-building
Capt. Larry Seaquist (U.S. Navy ret.) former commander of the U.S.S. Iowa and former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning

And by the following seven candidates

Darius Shahinfar, candidate for U.S. House, New York
Faye Armitage, candidate for U.S. House, Florida
Jim Hunt, candidate for U.S. House, Montana
Tom Wyka, candidate for U.S. House, New Jersey
Cheryl Sabel, candidate for U.S. House, Alabama
Greg Fisher, candidate for U.S. Senate, Kentucky
Ed Fallon, candidate for U.S. House, Iowa

Please sign on to endorse the plan or send a note to any of the above leaders and patriots.


Y said...

Please add Camille Abate to your list of Congessional candidates supporting The Plan. See Herb Jackson's column, Capital Games for Abate's insights into The Plan. What is particularly admirable about Abate is she took time to think about it. Clearly, she read the whole thing. We don't need any more band-wagon representatives. Sure, I'm glad Rabbi Shulman endorsed it, but I would like to have seen analysis and to know he read and understandsthe the commitment he made.

clammyc said...

to "Y", if you read this:

I took the names directly from the web site for the Responsible Plan. If Camille's name was there, it would have been added to my list as I did a copy and paste job.

I am being impartial in this race until the primaries and am gathering as much information from both candidates.

However, I don't need to be lectured and if you want me to have a good taste about supporting Camille, that also includes her supporters. I don't take kindly to being insulted or shamed, and don't appreciate negative politics - either on the Federal or the state level.

So you can make your point without taking a dig at Dennis. It dilutes from your message and makes me wonder why Camille's supporters get so defensive.