Friday, November 25, 2005

John Kerry: Hoping to bring Home the Troops

From the StonyBrook Independent:

John Kerry: Hoping to bring Home the Troops

Submitted by lpositano on Fri, 11/25/2005 - 18:24.

John Kerry may not have won the presidency, but he still, as a senator, keeps caring about the soldiers. A frequent topic on his campaign trail was the quagmire in Iraq and how there needs to be an exit strategy to eventually get the soldiers home. Kerry understood how the situation in Iraq was so complicated because of the real potential for a power vacuum, a political abyss, so he knew such a strategy had to be nuanced. Now, a year after his shocking defeat in a close presidential election between the incumbent “war president” and the actual war veteran, the soldiers are still in Iraq.

Over 2,000 soldiers have been killed, and this statistic has angered even Republicans who once were, in the name of party loyalty, outspokenly supportive of Bush’s Iraq war. President Bush has a popularity rating in the thirties, a steep unpopularity that has drawn comparisons to Lyndon Johnson during the dismal Vietnam era. John Kerry, who once was parodied by Bush’s supporters as an intellectual who was oblivious to what needed to be done in Iraq, has been low on the political radar, but has now begun a campaign to get troops home. Through e-mails to supporters, Kerry has been mobilizing thousands of signers to his online petition to get the more than 20,000 American troops home before Thanksgiving.

In a speech displayed on the website, which he delivered at Georgetown University, Mr. Kerry expressed angst and frustration, even anger, about the war and its incessant casualties. He discussed how senators , who were mislead into giving Bush the go-ahead for the war, had some responsibility for the casualties, albeit indirectly. He also expressed dismay at why coffins of American casualties were not allowed to be shown by the American media, for the public to see.
Here are some excerpts of his speech, in which he expresses both his angst and his solutions to withdraw the country’s troops.

“A few weeks ago I departed Iraq from Mosul. Three Senators and staff were gathered in the forward part of a C-130. In the middle of the cavernous cargo hold was a simple, aluminum coffin with a small American flag draped over it. We were bringing another American soldier, just killed, home to his family and final resting place.
The starkness of his coffin in the center of the hold, the silence except for the din of the engines, was a real time cold reminder of the consequences of decisions for which we Senators share responsibility….

I wondered why all of America would not be allowed to see him arrive at Dover Air Force Base instead of hiding him from a nation that deserves to mourn together in truth and in the light of day. His lonely journey compels all of us to come to grips with our choices in Iraq….. Now more than 2,000 brave Americans have given their lives, and several hundred thousand more have done everything in their power to wade through the ongoing internal civil strife in Iraq. An Iraq which increasingly is what it was not before the war — a breeding ground for homegrown terrorists and a magnet for foreign terrorists….

We are entering a make or break six month period, and I want to talk about the steps we must take if we hope to bring our troops home within a reasonable timeframe from an Iraq that’s not permanently torn by irrepressible conflict….To undermine the insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks. At the first benchmark, the completion of the December elections, we can start the process of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000 troops over the course of the holidays…”


Post a Comment

<< Home