I think John Larson, our congressman, is right in pushing for an end to this war. Bush needs to compromise so we can pull out with at least some honor and dignity intact.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2007
LARSON STATEMENT ON BUSH VETO OF IRAQ ACCOUNTABILITY ACT
WASHINGTON- Today, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement recognizing the four year anniversary of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and President Bush’s veto this afternoon of the Iraq Accountability Act.
“Four years ago today the President wrongly declared victory in Iraq. Four years later, thousands of lives lost, and billions of dollars spent, we still find ourselves in the midst of a quagmire in Iraq—and the situation is getting worse, not better. Yet, tonight, the President chose to veto the Iraq Accountability Act that would forge a new direction in Iraq, fund our troops at a greater level than the President requested, honor our commitment to our returning veterans, but most importantly start to bring our troops home in a safe and responsible way.
“This past November the American people sent us a strong message for change in Iraq. Unfortunately, through his veto President Bush has been derelict in his duty by allowing his own hubris and arrogance to trump the will of the American people. As long as this majority is in the House of Representatives, the President will not receive a blank check for a failed stay-the-course policy that sends our troops into harms way to police a sectarian civil war. It’s time for a new direction, not more of the same. Democrats stand ready to work with the President and Congressional Republicans to find common ground and create a new direction in Iraq.”
Congressman Larson is currently serving his fifth term representing the 1st District of Connecticut. He is also Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Scrawled across the cover of the April 2 issue of Newsweek are a soldier’s words, in his own writing: “Any day I’m here could be the day I die.”
What follows inside is an extraordinary, deeply sad and wonderful look into the lives of our fallen troop — in their own words. It’s full of excerpts from letters, emails, instant messages, audio recordings and more that our warriors left behind after war took them from us forever.
Every reminder that so many of our soldiers are dying daily is a good thing, but this issue is a gift from Newsweek to America. It’s not particularly political in the narrow sense of bashing or bolstering President Bush, but it leaves an unmistakable impression that we’ve lost far too much.
Just looking at the pictures of men cuddling their babies breaks your heart, over and over and over.
I know the war is hell, that soldiers who perish leave gaping wounds at home, that battles grind up more than bodies. They blow up dreams. They shatter families. They leave a wreckage that goes far beyond the pieces of metal on a distant ground.
But what I realized as I read the words of these slain soldiers is that this war’s price is far too high for whatever it is that we’re getting out of it. After four years of conflict, it’s increasingly hard to see beyond the death toll, to see any vision at all for a future that isn’t just soaked in more patriots’ blood.
Bring ’em home.
Our congressman, John Larson, just got tapped as one of 10 Democrats who will serve on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. He’ll no doubt do a lot of cheerleading for fuel cells, since they’re made hereabouts, but the position is much bigger than a bully pulpit for local interests.
“The work of the committee is going to be critical as global warming and energy dependence are probably two of the most important issues facing the future of our planet. Global warming and our dependence on oil risk our economic security, our national security, and threaten our environment and public health,” Larson said, or at least his press release said he said it.
He continued, “In my district and throughout Connecticut, we have successfully expanded the use of fuel cell technology and I plan to bring this to the dialogue. This issue has been ignored for far too long and now it is time for serious solutions and action and I am proud to be a part.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fuel cells may be important, or they may not. Only time will tell, as they say.
But what is important is that the new commitee “will hold hearings and investigations locally, nationally, and internationally to gather the information needed to protect our national security and the environment. It is charged with recommending to the Congress policies, strategies and other innovations to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and prevent global warming.”
They key is that men and women like Larson take that job seriously. These are perhaps the most serious issues our country faces – how to lessen the impact of global warming and make us less dependent on half-assed Arab states that hold us hostage with oil. No empire should have its lifeblood in the hands of kingdoms so fragile and far away. We need to break free.
Larson has a chance here to make a real difference to the course of our history, to shed his party boy image and to advocate the kind of bold steps that can save us from a potentally dreary future of war and warmth. We do not have to blindly go forward on this same dark path. We can take a different direction.
Even though the Bush administration and Sen. Lieberman haven’t yet accepted that the war is lost, it’s clear enough that it is. All you have to do is talk to the returning soldiers. They know there’s nothing left to fight for, nothing there to win. It’s just a question of how much more of our blood and treasure is squandered in Iraq before we leave.
It’s not too early, however, to figure out what we did wrong. That strikes me as crucial if we are to get it right next time.
The answer seems pretty simple, really. We had a choice to make right at the start: were we going to whip Saddam and haul ass out of there, or were we going to occupy the country for the long haul? We planned for the first outcome, then adopted the second path, without a clue what it would take or where it might lead.
It strikes me looking back that we should have declared victory while the crowds were pulling down Saddam’s statues and then gotten the hell out there after putting some vaguely reasonable Iraqi general in charge of the transition to some new and more friendly government.
Why that didn’t happen is probably the administration’s lust for oil. They figured that we deserved it — and they weren’t about to risk having someone else take control of the oil fields. The quick seizure of Saddam’s oil ministry while museums were getting sacked shows where the priority was from day one.
You put oil men in the White House and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they act, well, oily.
Now that it’s all over except the fingerpointing — and watch how the GOP diehards try to blame the Democrats for their own failed war that happened when they controlled the entire U.S. government — we need to make sure that next time a president calls us to go into battle, we have a clear goal to achieve, then leave.
After all, we’re not imperialists. We’re no good at it because we’re not ruthless and we’re not mean. We give, not take. We just have no business occupying anywhere.
And let’s not elect any more of these crazy ass oil men.
With town meetings planned in 24 towns across Connecticut on Saturday, the valiant band of anti-war protestors in West Hartford is reaching out. There’s a pretty good story in The Middletown Press this morning that lays out what’s going on at the gatherings, which will include a conference call from Sen. Dodd, Congressman Larson and gone-but-not-forgotten Ned Lamont. I wish them all well.
Filed under Iraq war, News
Just read the sickening, wonderful news story from last Sunday’s Washington Post about the conditions that our wounded troops are living in at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It’s appalling.
These men and women, who have suffered grievously in battle, are living in crappy old apartments with mold, mice, cockroaches and holes in the walls. They’re getting the bureaucratic runaround at every turn. Our heroes are treated like the pests they’re forced to live with.
I’m genuinely outraged. These bastards in Washington are constantly talking about how we must all support the troops — and this is how they treat our wounded warriors just down the road from the White House?
It makes me more convinced than ever that it’s time to stop this crazy war. Our guys are stuck in the middle of a civil war with no real allies, no plan for winning, no idea even what winning means. They’re getting blown away for nothing. And the ones who come back wounded in body and spirit are abused by the very government that sent them off to fight.
Thank God for The Washington Post and its willingness to peak behind the facade to let us know how badly the Bush administration is taking care of our troops. It shows once again what kind of men started and guided this war — officials who don’t give a damn what happens to my fellow Americans who had the guts and sense of duty to put themselves in harm’s way for all of us.