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.

9 comments

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  1. …my feeling is that this idea is too good to become government policy.

  2. The focus should really be on the people of Iraq…1 million dead…not 4,000 dead Americans…..

    And all the other war crimes committied jointly by the troops and their supporters….the people of American who have a choice to vote for 3 war criminals who are awfully vague about ending the war…..

    • justice on March 25, 2008 at 3:47 am

    oh, I forgot “running” for the right to make decisions like this on our behalf.  Both candidates need to exercise some leadership here and sign on…

    • justice on March 25, 2008 at 3:48 am

    it would be a nice gesture after this great diary.

    • geter on March 25, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Sorry, I find it to be a typical political statement with no real meat to it.

    > It gives no actual ideas for disengaging the military.

    > I quote: “Many of Iraq’s neighbors are currently contributing to instability and need to be persuaded to assist instead in stabilization.”

    –> You don’t think we have been trying to do this for 5 years?! Of course we have, I am sure we have tried everything from cheap prices for weapons, to increased importing of their junk exports, to closed-doors handshakes to let them charge whatever they want for oil, to bribes. (I know I can’t prove any of this it is just IMHO.)

    This plan offers nothing on how to get these other countries to stop being so scummy.

    > Addressing humanitarian concerns. Again, no real answers of how to address all the humanitarian concerns. Seems to me you have at least 3 different religions in Iraq and they all hate each other and they all have guns. If we pull out now there will be mass murder over there.

    Sorry for the long comment but I have been searching for a real answer of how to get the US out of this nightmare war and have yet to find a real answer.

    • Diane G on March 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Sadly, not ONE Michigan person on any of those lists for me to get behind.

    X please?

    L, d

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