As the Senate Democrats prepare to “call for phased pullout” on Iraq this week, comes a Letter to the Editor from former Senator Gary Hart, about John Kerry’s “real courage in proposing a realistic plan to extricate our troops” from Iraq.
Real Courage in Setting an Iraq Strategy
Monday, June 19, 2006
The Post applauded President Bush’s courage in continuing an open-ended commitment to an American military presence in Iraq and disparaged what it termed political expediency on the part of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in calling for a reasonable timetable for phased withdrawal of our forces [“A Boost From Mr. Bush,” editorial, June 14].
Mr. Bush’s political capital is waning because he misled Congress and the American people, because we have experienced 21,000 American casualties as a result, because a mere 23 percent of the world’s people respect our nation, because he has no strategy worth the title, and because he is responsible for a military and foreign policy disaster. To “stay” an undefined and unlimited “course” may demonstrate many things but it does not demonstrate courage.
Having acknowledged the error in trusting Mr. Bush’s arguments for war, Mr. Kerry has demonstrated the real courage in proposing a realistic plan to extricate our troops from a nation whose people no longer want us there and which is now capable of achieving democracy on its own.
The writer, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Colorado from 1975 to 1986.
John Kerry, was a leader on the call for withdrawal from Iraq last fall when he first said at Georgetown University, on October 26, “To undermine the [Iraqi] insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks.”
The Boston Globe reports that a “resolution, crafted by Democratic Senators Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Carl Levin of Michigan,” will also be entered into the second week of debate in Congress “over the state of the war.”
John Kerry, (as I have reported here and here) “will press ahead this week with his separate amendment to pull virtually all US troops out of Iraq by the end of the year,” said his spokeswoman, April Boyd.
Kerry’s binding amendment to a Department of Defense authorization bill garnered six votes when it came up last week, but Boyd said the senator hopes to put pressure on the administration to come up with an exit strategy.
“We’re not getting into whip counts” of how many senators will vote for Kerry’s amendment, she said. “This is about saying we need to set a date and we need to withdraw .”