Thursday, April 06, 2006

Max Cleland: A Brother in Arms

Max Cleland has been vocal over the past year or so, that his support still lies with John Kerry (see here, here & here), so it's no small surprise that Max has come out strong in support of Kerry's position on Iraq that was published today's NY Times.

A Brother in Arms
By Max Cleland

I’m proud of my friend John Kerry for speaking up.

He’s been in some tough political fights these last years and he fought like hell. It would’ve been easy to walk away, but that’s not who John is. Losing a hard and bitter campaign made John think even more about what he cares about, reflect on what got him into public service in the first place, and now he’s fighting his heart out right now with all the conviction and passion he had at 27. There’s an old saying that I believe in, and I believe applies to my friend John today: he’s “stronger at the broken places.”

John's OpEd in today’s New York Times is the best of his head and his heart.

He knows it’s hard serving in a war that’s gone wrong. It’s even harder when you know there are politicians in Washington afraid to speak out for a better policy.

Say what you will, but my friend John Kerry today stood up and spoke out about what he believes has gone wrong in Iraq and what has to happen – how he believes we can get tough with the Iraqis, get our brave troops home, and give the Iraqi people a shot at their own democracy.

Now, I know what’s going to happen next – and so does John. Way back in 1971 when he testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John took a stand against those who say we can’t ask tough questions because we are at war – and he paid a heavy price – he had the full force of the Nixon White House used against him. He knows those tactics haven’t gone away. Every time someone has the guts to speak up – whether it was John in 2004 or Jack Murtha in 2005 or John again now in 2006 – they get attacked.

John’s not afraid of any of that – because he believes wartime is when we a moral responsibility to ask the hardest questions of all, that’s how you keep faith with the brave men and women in uniform who are putting something bigger than their reputations on the line.

I’m proud of John – and I hope you’ll help him change our Iraq policy, and I hope you’ll stand by him when the right wing attack machine tries to Swift Boat him again. This is too important for our country -- we can’t sit here silently and let history repeat itself. Good for John for telling it straight and letting the chips fall where they may. That’s all the honor anyone needs in their lives.

John Kerry and Max Cleland recently attended a forum at at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to premier a documentary from NECN — “Hidden Wounds,” about veterans returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you didn't catch my earlier post about that, there's video of the event with both Max Cleland and John Kerry speaking on PTSD. Both of these men know what our troops are up against in Iraq and they get that enough is enough.


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