Congress is back
The Democrats are going to make a concerted effort to push even lower
President Bush’s standing on the War on Terror. The first line of attack
will be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Here is the text of the letter the surrender Democrats sent the president:
September 4, 2006
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
Over one month ago, we wrote to you about the war in Iraq. In the face of
escalating violence, increasing instability in the region, and an overall
strain on our troops that has reduced their readiness to levels not seen
since Vietnam, we called upon you to change course and adopt a new strategy
to give our troops and the Iraqi people the best chance for success.
Although you have not responded to our letter, we surmise from your recent
press conferences and speeches that you remain committed to maintaining an
open-ended presence of U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come. That was the
message the American people received on August 21, 2006, when you said,
"we're not leaving [Iraq], so long as I'm the President."
Unfortunately, your stay the course strategy is not working. In the
five-week period since writing to you, over 60 U.S. soldiers and Marines
have been killed, hundreds of U.S. troops have been wounded, many of them
grievously, nearly 1,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and the cost to the
American taxpayer has grown by another $8 billion dollars. Even the
administration's most recent report to Congress on Measuring Stability and
Security in Iraq indicates that security trends in Iraq are deteriorating,
and likely to continue to worsen for the foreseeable future. With daily
attacks against American and Iraqi troops at close to their highest levels
since the start of the war, and sectarian violence intensifying, we can only
conclude that our troops are caught in the middle of a low-grade civil war
that is getting worse.
Meanwhile, the costs of a failed Iraq policy to our military and our
security have been staggering. As you know, not a single Army non-deployed
combat brigade is currently prepared to meet its wartime mission, and the
Marine Corps faces equally urgent equipment and personnel shortages.
Lieutenant General Blum, the National Guard Bureau Chief, has stated that
the National Guard is "even further behind or in an even more dire situation
than the active Army." Your recent decision to involuntarily recall
thousands of Marines to active duty to serve in Iraq is but the latest
confirmation of the strain this war has placed on our troops. At the same
time, the focus on Iraq and the toll it has taken on our troops and on our
diplomatic capabilities has diverted our attention from other national
security challenges and greatly constrained our ability to deal with them.
In short, Mr. President, this current path – for our military, for the Iraqi
people, and for our security – is neither working, nor making us more
Therefore, we urge you once again to consider changes to your Iraq policy.
We propose a new direction, which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S.
mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force
protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq
before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the
militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement,
including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and
resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group
to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty,
and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort.
These proposals were outlined in our July 30th letter and are consistent
with the "U.S. Policy in Iraq Act" you signed into law last year.
We also think there is one additional measure you can take immediately to
demonstrate that you recognize the problems your policies have created in
Iraq and elsewhere –consider changing the civilian leadership at the Defense
Department. From the failure to deploy sufficient numbers of troops at the
start of the war or to adequately equip them, to the prison abuse scandal at
Abu Ghraib, to disbanding the Iraqi military, to the failure to plan for the
post-war occupation, the Administration’s mistakes have taken a toll on our
troops and our security. It is unacceptable to dismiss the concerns of
military personnel and their families when they are affected by the
consequences of these failures, as the Secretary of Defense recently did in
Alaska by suggesting that volunteers should not complain about having their
deployments extended. While a change in your Iraq policy will best advance
our chances for success, we do not believe the current civilian leadership
at the Department of Defense is suited to implement and oversee such a
change in policy.
Mr. President, staying the course in Iraq has not worked and continues to
divert resources and attention from the war on terrorism that should be the
nation’s top security priority. We hope you will consider the
recommendations for change that we have put forward. We want to work with
you in finding a way forward that honors the enormous sacrifice of our
troops and promotes U.S. national security interests in the region. We
believe our plan will achieve those goals.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
Dick Durbin, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader
Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip
Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
Ike Skelton, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee
Joe Biden, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee
Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee
Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
John Murtha, Ranking Member, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
Edwards in the Quad Cities
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) made a trip to the Quad Cities for the Labor
Day Picnic. Also in attendance was Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Quad cities Times reported on the visit:
The party’s 2004 vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, and U.S. Sen.
Dick Durbin, D-Ill., criticized the Bush administration policies in Iraq and
indicated the Democrats can be successful if the issue is national security
and the war on terrorism.
"We’ll win because what George Bush and the Republicans have done is make
the situation worse," Edwards said in an interview.
McCain’s perilous travels
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was traveling in the Republic of Georgia boosting
his foreign policy credentials when someone shot a missile at his escort
helicopter. Georgia is under turmoil because of split in the country
following its split from Russia.
War on Terrorism Plan
The White House released an updated version of its plan for combating
terrorism. It is very different from the Democrat’s surrender plan. Visit
White House website to read the full text.