Would Joe Lieberman Sign this Letter? –updated–
UPDATED: This story just got picked up by AP.
I don't mean to harp… okay, yes I do. But does anyone really think that Joe
Lieberman would sign on to the
letter Senator Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi sent to George W. Bush today?
Of course, we all know Senators Kerry and Feingold already pushed the envelope
on Iraq action, but that was weeks ago.
Now Democrats are making another push to get Bush to actually do something;
that is, besides send more troops into Baghdad.
If Joe Lieberman won't back Senators Kerry and Feingold, but also won't sign
on to the letter coming from the leaders of the Democratic Party in both the
Senate and the House, is he really a Democrat anymore? And if you say he is,
what kind of Democratic Party member is he?
I would suggest that Senator Lamont knows what it means to be a member of the
opposition party. It's obvious Joe Lieberman does not.
But let's get down to the nitty gritty. George W. Bush has now assigned U.S.
military to be policemen in the middle of sectarian fighting, which has spun
into a civil war. Our troops didn't sign on for this mission. Policing Iraq? You've got to be kidding. Unfortunately, it's real. Some Republicans — very few — understand the precarious nature Bush is putting us in today. Most Democrats understand this is a disaster, but Joe Lieberman
… Under a new security plan for Baghdad that President Bush and Prime Minister
Maliki announced last week in Washington, 4,000 American soldiers who had
been due to return home had their tours extended last week.
Today, United States Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican visiting
Baghdad with four other members of Congress, warned that domestic support
for assigning American troops to police the capital may not last.
“Americans are not going to be very patient about having American forces
essentially being police officers and maintaining order between indigenous
Iraqi groups,” he said.
Democratic leaders just sent this letter to President Bush. Do you think Joe
Lieberman would sign this letter? I bet Senator Ned Lamont would.
The White House
While the world has been focused on the crisis in the Middle East, Iraq has
exploded in violence. Some 6,000 Iraqis were killed in May and June, and sectarian
and insurgent violence continues to claim American and Iraqi lives at an alarming
rate. In the face of this onslaught, one can only conclude that the Baghdad
security plan you announced five weeks ago is in great jeopardy.
Despite the latest evidence that your Administration lacks a coherent strategy
to stabilize Iraq and achieve victory, there has been virtually no diplomatic
effort to resolve sectarian differences, no regional effort to establish a
broader security framework, and no attempt to revive a struggling reconstruction
effort. Instead, we learned of your plans to redeploy an additional 5,000
U.S. troops into an urban war zone in Baghdad. Far from implementing a comprehensive
“Strategy for Victory” as you promised months ago, your Administration's
strategy appears to be one of trying to avoid defeat.
Meanwhile, U.S. troops and taxpayers continue to pay a high price as your
Administration searches for a policy. Over 2,500 Americans have made the ultimate
sacrifice and over 18,000 others have been wounded. The Iraq war has also
strained our military and constrained our ability to deal with other challenges.
Readiness levels for the Army are at lows not seen since Vietnam, as virtually
no active Army non-deployed combat brigade is prepared to perform its wartime
missions. American taxpayers have already contributed over $300 billion and
each week we stay in Iraq adds nearly $3 billion more to our record budget
In the interests of American national security, our troops, and our taxpayers,
the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should
not be sustained.
Rather, we continue to believe that it is time for Iraqis to step
forward and take the lead for securing and governing their own country. This
is the principle enshrined in the “United States Policy in Iraq Act”
enacted last year. This law declares 2006 to be a year of “significant
transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the
lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions
for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq.” Regrettably,
your policy seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
This legislation made clear that Iraqi political leaders must be informed
that American patience, blood and treasure are not unlimited. We were disappointed
that you did not convey this message to Prime Minister Maliki during his recent
visit. Reducing the U.S. footprint in Iraq will not only give the Iraqis a
greater incentive to take the lead for the security of their own nation, but
will also allow U.S. forces to be able to respond to contingencies affecting
the security of the United States elsewhere in the world.
We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should
begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more
limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support
of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.
Additionally, every effort should be made to urge the Iraqis to take the
steps necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable political settlement,
including amending the constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and
resources. It is also essential to disarm the militias and ensure forces loyal
to the national government. Finally, an international conference should be
convened to persuade other governments to be more involved, and to secure
the resources necessary to finance Iraq's reconstruction and rebuild its economy.
Mr. President, simply staying the course in Iraq is not working. We need
to take a new direction. We believe these recommendations comprise an effective
alternative to the current open-ended commitment which is not producing the
progress in Iraq we would all like to see. Thank you for your careful consideration
of these suggestions.
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
But Lieberman laughing while Bush makes fun at not finding WMDs in Iraq, while soldiers are dying? Words escape me.