Saturday, July 16, 2005

Barbara Boxer's PAC For Change

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Dear Kevin,

Last week's terrorist attack in London was a barbaric and despicable act.  We stand united with the entire civilized world to condemn those who would prey on such innocent and decent people just trying to take care of themselves and their families.  Unfortunately, the attack also reminds us once again that despite all the rhetoric, the war to break the back of Al Qaeda and to capture Osama Bin Laden has taken a backseat to the war in Iraq.

It's time -- no, it's past time -- to develop a strategy that can succeed in Iraq, defuse the terrorist insurgency, and bring our brave men and women home. That will only happen if we immediately bring credibility, accountability, and responsibility to a war that has been lacking in all three.

Join me in demanding a timetable and success strategy for Iraq -- sign my petition to President Bush today!

Make no mistake about it, the war in Iraq was a war of choice, not necessity.  In the process, the Bush Administration took their eyes off the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  Now we've spawned a whole new training ground for insurgents in Iraq that, even by the Bush Administration's own reports, didn't exist before 9/11 -- a hotbed of terrorism that puts America at even greater risk today.

After two and a half years of war, the American people are still waiting to hear the truth about what our mission is in Iraq and how we are going to accomplish it.  Frankly, it is difficult to keep track of all the missions we've had so far, because the story changes every few weeks.  First there was the weapons of mass destruction mission, then regime change, then rebuilding, then bringing democracy, and now it's fighting terrorism.

For the sake of our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq, and to protect ourselves and our allies from terrorism here at home, it's time to set out a plan to succeed in Iraq.  I think our Iraq strategy must be anchored by 3 key tenets:

  • Credibility:  It's high time for the Bush Administration to be truthful with the American people.  President Bush had that opportunity during his prime-time address two weeks ago, but he didn't do it.

It's time for the Bush Administration to stop spoon-feeding us things that sound good -- like "Mission Accomplished" and "the insurgency is in its last throes" -- and start telling the truth.  That's the only way to build support from the American people.

  • Accountability:  Last month, I co-sponsored Senator Feingold's resolution asking the President to submit to Congress the remaining mission in Iraq, the time frame needed to achieve that mission, and a time frame for the subsequent withdrawal of our troops. 

I believe our mission in Iraq is this: Security for Iraqis provided by Iraqis.  We need to hear from the Administration exactly how many Iraqi forces are needed; how to meet that goal; and by when. And the current pace will not cut it.

We have no idea -- none -- how long the Administration plans to be in Iraq. Is it two years, ten, twenty?  The President's message of "as long as it takes" is counterproductive.  It is time for President Bush to send a clear message that we do not intend to remain in Iraq indefinitely or maintain permanent bases there. That doesn't mean we should set an exact date for withdrawal. But it does mean we need a general timeframe to complete the mission.

  • Responsibility:  In his speech two weeks ago, the President told us how important it was to honor the courageous young men and women of the military on the 4th of July. And I couldn't have agreed more. But we need to do more than that. We must also honor our soldiers every day by giving them the equipment they need while they are deployed and the health care they deserve when they come home.

In April, I had to fight -- too hard -- for an amendment to provide $60 million for jamming devices. And, we had to fight -- too hard -- to get the Administration to finally admit that it was $1 billion short of funds to provide health care for soldiers returning from war.  It's time for the Bush Administration to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to taking responsibility for our brave men and women in uniform.

Please stand with me and call on the Bush Administration to produce a success strategy for Iraq -- sign my petition today!

In 50 or 100 years, I hope historians will be able to look back and say that the summer of 2005 is when Americans brought credibility, accountability, and responsibility to a very tough situation.

I hope they say that we finally began to level with the American people. That we articulated a winnable mission and a detailed plan to fulfill it. And that we gave our troops the support they needed and deserved in Iraq and upon their return to our beloved shores.

We owe it to our soldiers, to the American people, to Iraqis, and, yes, to history, to do nothing less.

Please sign my petition to President Bush today!

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

P.S. Remember, a time frame is not a date certain -- and don't let anyone tell you that it is. A time frame is flexible, but we ask that the mission be set out clearly with a time frame attached so we can track our progress as it is carried out.

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