Sunday, February 18, 2007

Representative Ben Chandler Gets it Right

I wanted to make a quick note that my Representative Ben Chandler gets it right on Iraq. Here's his comments before the House vote regarding Bushco's escalation plans in Iraq. I certainly disagree with Ben Chandler at times(here for example) but also agree with him more often than not. He say's it pretty well here:
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"..Mr. Speaker, as we debate this resolution on Iraq, we are reminded of the uncertain world in which we live. While the 5-year anniversary of 9/11 has passed, the memories of that day are still with us, as are the actions of this administration that led us into this war.
Following 9/11, our country missed an important opportunity that will forever change our history. Instead of building coalitions and using that support to maximize our strength, we alienated much of the world. We lost sight of the simple truth: A respected America is a more secure America.
But this administration insisted on going it alone in Iraq. They refused to let U.N. inspectors complete their work, and they launched an invasion without the support of the international community. We are now faced with lasting repercussions of that decision. And it appears the President still has not learned from that mistake.
Once again, the President is going it alone with his call for more than 20,000 additional troops in Iraq. He does not have the support of the international community, and he has lost the support of many in the military, the Congress, and, most importantly, the American people.
I fear, Mr. Speaker, the President is once again missing an important opportunity. He is missing his chance to send a strong message to the Iraqi people that we will no longer police their civil war, and that it is time for them to assume responsibility for their own country so that our troops can be removed from harm's way.
In my judgment, this war is beyond the scope of our men and women in uniform. The situation in Iraq is in dire need of a diplomatic solution. Sure, we need to be ready to take down al Qaeda training camps in the region, but we do not need to be refereeing age-old religious disputes.
This is an untenable situation and unfair to our brave troops who have become targets of insurgents. If we are going to support our troops in every way possible, it is vital that we not only support them with the supplies and armor that they need, we must also ensure that they are being deployed in such a way that they have a realistic chance of success. We must make certain that the funds we are sending to Iraq are going to our troops and not into the pockets of no-bid contractors and war profiteers.
Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution, because I support our men and women in uniform. I have heard speakers on the other side say that this debate will demoralize our troops. Well, I submit that nothing can demoralize our troops more than having them police a civil war. And that is what this administration is asking them to do.
All of us in this body believe in the spread of democracy and freedom. But that grand responsibility cannot solely rest on the shoulders of our troops. It must rest on the shoulders of free nations across this world. And it must rest on the shared sacrifice of all citizens of this country.
No doubt we have real enemies. They are the Islamist jihadists, and they must be opposed. These same enemies are shared by all free nations. But escalating the war in Iraq is not the right approach to defeat the jihadists. It is an approach that will cost more American lives and mire us even further in the Iraqi civil war.
We can win the long-term struggle if we are smart, if we focus on the real enemy, if we build our alliances properly, and if we do not let our own pride get in the way.."

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