In today's Union Leader, Chris Dodd lays out his plan to end the war in Iraq swiftly and responsibly, hold the Administration accountable for its devastating policy failures, and bring our brave men and women in uniform home to their families. Chris Dodd is leading the presidential race with bold solutions to some of our nation's most pressing problems. He was the first candidate in the Senate to fight for a firm deadline tied to funding that will allow for the responsible withdrawal of our troops in Iraq.
I wanted to share this article with you and ask you to forward it along to anyone you know that is interested in ending President Bush's failed policies in Iraq. For more information on Senator Dodd's plan to bring our troops home please visit www.chrisdodd.com or contact the New Hampshire campaign office at 603-668-DODD (3633).
New Hampshire Press Secretary
By SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD
IT IS IMPERATIVE that we change course in Iraq now.
As the latest National Intelligence Estimate shows, George W. Bush's failed policy in Iraq has distracted us from the War on Terror, allowing al-Qaida to rebuild strength, and has made the country less secure.
That is why the Republican filibuster of a measure that would help bring the war to a responsible end was so disappointing. But the day will come when Congress will have the courage to say enough is enough -- sadly, it will not be before more American lives are lost, our security is further threatened and our standing in the world is further diminished.
With so much at stake, we can no longer afford to wait. We can no longer afford half-measures.
That is why I have proposed a plan that would bring the Iraq war to a close by ending the financing of combat operations, mandating a phased redeployment of combat forces, and ensuring that the administration actually carries out that redeployment. It will also direct any savings realized from a reduced military presence in Iraq to restore the readiness of our war-battered National Guard and armed services.
It has been quite difficult to track the administration's ever-changing justifications for continuing our combat operations in Iraq, and there appears to be no end in sight. First, the administration refused to admit that Iraq was in a state of civil war.
Then, instead of acting upon a unique chance to implement the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Commission, the administration implemented a surge tactic, but assured us that it was an Iraqi plan.
We were told that despite the previous catastrophic policy failures of this administration, the surge would take time to work and that we could not judge its success until U.S. forces had "surged" to their maximum levels -- up to six months.
Now that the surge is at full force, the administration has changed its story again. We are told that the time is still not right to judge the success of the surge tactic -- we must wait until September.
I do not need any more time, or any more reports and briefings, to confirm what many of us already know -- that the administration's Iraq policy, including the surge, is a failure.
We must not sacrifice any more lives, we shouldn't countenance any more bloodshed, and we shouldn't support the continuation of the failed escalation of a disastrous policy.
While feverishly attempting to find linkages between Osama bin Laden and Iraqi insurgents, the administration has taken its eye off the ball of the bigger threats posed by looming terrorists having little or nothing to do with Iraq. The Bush administration has made Iraq the central front in their "War on Terror," but this misplaced focus has made America less secure as a result.
The cost of the war in Iraq has been mainly measured in the number of lives lost and U.S. treasury spent -- and rightly so. More than 3,600 brave American servicemembers have been killed, tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives, and Congress has approved approximately $450 billion.
But there is yet another cost of war: our military's readiness.
While long, arduous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are testing the morale of our troops in the field and their families, they are also taxing critical stocks of aircraft, vehicles and equipment that our military desperately needs.
We are short of equipment to respond to natural or man-made disasters here at home, short of equipment for training, short of equipment for units deploying into harm's way -- short of equipment to protect the American people.
Now is the time to begin the rebuilding process, and the sooner we redeploy out of Iraq, the sooner we can redirect these vital funds to rebuild our forces.
None of our choices is easy, but they are clear. I call on my colleagues in Congress to make the choices that experience, common sense, and overwhelming data compel: Force the President to redeploy. Rebuild our armed forces. End this disastrous war.
Christopher Dodd is the senior U.S. senator from Connecticut and a candidate for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.