Thursday, April 06, 2006

John Kerry Speaks on His Iraq Strategy: Two Deadlines and an Exit, Introduces Senate Resolution on Iraq

Following up on his NY Times OP/Ed yesterday, in a speech on the Senate floor today, John Kerry lays out two important deadlines for Iraq –- If Iraqi leaders can't form a unity government by May 15, American troops must leave rather than be stuck in the crossfire of an escalating civil war; If they do form a government, we need to empower the new Iraqi leaders by agreeing on a schedule to withdraw American combat forces by the end of 2006.

The resolution Kerry introduced in the Senate today is attached (PDF).

Below are Kerry’s remarks as prepared:

Thirty nine years ago this week, Dr. Martin Luther King gave a speech at the Riverside Church in New York about the war in Vietnam. He began with these words: “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” His message was clear: despite the difficulty of opposing the government’s policy during time of war, “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

I am here today to speak about Iraq. There should be humility enough to go around for a Congress that shares responsibility for this war. I believe that the time has come again when, as Dr. King said, “We must move past indecision to action.”

When you stand in the “V” at the Vietnam Wall, you can’t help but see that half the names were added after American leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion.

Yes we would prefer to see democracy in Iraq – indeed in the whole Middle East. The simple reality is – Iraqis must want it and embrace it. If the Iraqi leadership isn’t ready to make the changes and compromises that democracy requires, our soldiers, no matter how valiant, can’t give it birth from a humvee or a helicopter.



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