Bring Them Home… “We need to rethink the Pottery Barn rule.”
Saying the American military's continued presence in Iraq is fanning the flames of conflict, Kennedy said at least 12,000 U.S. troops should leave at once, and a complete withdrawal should be finished as early as possible in 2006.
The Massachusetts Democrat said America must give Iraq back to its people rather than continue an occupation that parallels the failed policies of the Vietnam war.
"The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution," Kennedy said in a speech to Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. "We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces."
Earlier this week in remarks at the Brookings Institution, Congressman Marty Meehan called for a similar withdrawl of the troops from Iraq . He and Kennedy plan to press Congress for a debate on this in Armed Services committees.
Kennedy said the United States and the insurgents are both battling for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the U.S. is losing.
"There may well be violence as we disengage militarily from Iraq and Iraq disengages politically from us, but there will be much more violence if we continue our present dangerous and destabilizing course," said Kennedy. "It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq , but we must begin."
It is time to recognize that there is only one choice. America must give Iraq back to the Iraqi people.
We need to let the Iraqi people make their own decisions, reach their own consensus, and govern their own country.
We need to rethink the Pottery Barn rule. America cannot forever be the potter that sculpts Iraq's future. President Bush broke Iraq, but if we want Iraq to be fixed, the Iraqis must feel that they, not we, own it.
Read the full text of Senator Kennedy’s speech, including Fact Check.
Read the full text of Congressman Meehan's remarks (PDF—114Kb)