This essay was originally published on buzzflash and answers the
attack on John Kerry and Democrats by
a Republican President and Congress that
have caused needless tragedy in Iraq. Now
they are even trying to cover up massive
fraud in Iraq contracts by attempting to fire
the Inspector General for Reconstruction.
To Military Families: This note will contain
harsh words and for those who serve, and
those who love them, two suggestions right
at the top.
First, what follows here will be a series of facts that in my view
justifies a vote for a Democratic Congress. Second, having been
criticial of Democrats myself at times, you should take every
opportunity to work with Democratic Leaders and if they do not live up
to your standards, fire them in 2008, as Republicans should be fired in
It is factually correct and important that on
issue after issue, year after year, Democrats
in Congress have offered proposals for greater
military, health care and financial support for
our troops and vets and have been voted down,
usually by party line votes, by the one party
To military families and troops, the issue is
much deeper than individual policies and
amendments. It is the inherent abuse of
any political institution controlled by only
one party and disrespectful of all other
opinion. It is inherent failure that follows
the unprecedented attitudes of ridicule
and derision that have led the President,
the Vice President, and the Secretary of
Defense to catastrophic mistakes that
they were warned against, which led to
many unnecessary deaths of our troops,
which continue today.
It is accountability time.
Fact: before the Iraq war was initiated not
merely one general, not merely two, but the
entire command structure of the United States
Marine Corps and the United States Army
urgently fought for a far larger force to fight
the war in Iraq. They were not enthusiastic
about this war to begin with, but they strongly
urged that if it were waged, troop strength
needed to be double to triple the inadequate
troop levels forced upon them, against their
judgment and advice.
They were ignored, in some cases demeaned,
at times verbally abused by civilians. Because
of this attitude, the force was too small, and too many troops died
because of the misjudgments
that were inevitable results of this attitude of
intolerance and contempt, towards those who
knew the most about war, from those who knew
Fact: LIke our commanders, the political and
military leaders of the NATO alliance warned
very strongly against the war policies that the
President so obsessively pursued. Remember
when our sneering Secretary of Defense spoke
words of mockery and ridicule towards what
he called "Old Europe", which was really a
contemptous sneer towards the NATO alliance.
This atttude of intolerance, ridicule, contempt
towards the military alliance that has served
the world brilliantly for generations of American Presidents, from both
parties, led to inevitable
and catastrophic disasters and the death of too
many American troops from this attitude and
Contempt can kill.
Fact: Before this war was waged, there were
desperate attempts to persuade the President
that well-planned policies of reconstruction
and rebuilding Iraq were urgently needed.
The entire command structure wanted post-
war planning. The Secretary of State and
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
argued vehemently for post war planning.
The man designated by the President to lead
post war reconstruction, General Garner,
pleaded for more support and warned the
President he was not being given the tools.
Such plans were made in detail, but those
who made them, those who advocated them,
were treated with ridicule and contempt and
they were thrown away. The contemptous
attitude of the President and Secretary of
Defense directly created failed reconstruction
policies, and directly led to the death of too
many American troops.
Ridicule can kill.
Fact: When American bombs were exploding
on Osama Bin Laden's cave at Tora Bora
the command structure of the American
mlitary, our special forces, our CIA, pleaded
for reinforcements so they could finish the
job and kill Bin Laden and the terrorist commanders who were with him.
Again, the President, Vice President and the
Secretary of Defense showed disrespect and
disregard for them, because they were so
obsessed with their war in Iraq. Their advice
was rejected, reinforcements were not sent,
Bin Laden and his commanders escaped and
regrouped with some ultimately finding their
way to Iraq. Because of the inevitable disaster
caused these attitudes of obsession and
contempt for advice, American troops ended
up being needlessly killed.
Obsession can kill. Disrespect for advice and
military opinion can kill. Contempt can kill.
Fact: from the beginning of "Reconstruction"
in Iraq our commanders on the ground, our
State Department and agencies that specialize
in development all warned that money was
being wasted, lost and stolen because the
program was being run by young Republican
political ops rather than experts.
They repeatedly warned that no bid contracts, crony deals, and bucks for
crooks were wasting taxpayer's money and wasting resources that should
have made life better for Iraqis whose hearts and minds we need to win,
and should have provided desperately needed equipment for our troops.
Again, they were disrespected, ignored and
treated contemptously. Again, the inevitable
disaster caused directly by these reprehensible
and arrogant attitudes, caused directly the
needless death of American troops.
Fact: for two years military experts, military
families and American troops pleaded for
body armor, fortified vehicles, bandages,
helmets and other equipments that were
in disastrously short supply. Military moms
and dads contacted the Pentagon, pleaded
for support, and scoured the internet for the
supplies the President failed to provide.
Our troops even told the media, with one brave
American directly staring down the Secretary
of Defense at a public meeting, then being ridiculed himself by right
wing media as a
whiner and complainer, fed talking points against him by Republican
Again, military leaders, troops, moms and dads
were disrespected and ignored until the Marine
Corps pathologist publicly stated that up to
70% of American casualties were not caused
by the enemy, but were preventable, and were caused by the neglect from
Again, the inevitable disaster caused by these attitudes of derision and
disrespect led directly to the preventable deaths of American men and
women in uniform.
Fact: from the beginning of this war until today
virtually the entire Administration of President
George Herbert Walker Bush, including former
President Bush himself, warned against this
policy and urged, repeatedly, different policies
that would have would mobilized our allies and
included serious diplomacy with the nations of
the region. They knew how to run and win a
war in Iraq, but they were ignored, disrespected
and given the back of the hand from those who
made this mess today.
Again, the inevitable disasters followed from these attitudes of
derision and disrespect
against those who had run successful wars,
and again, these attitudes directly led to the
unncessary deaths of American troops.
Fact: the American intelligence community
from every agency argued that this war creates
more terrorists than we kill. And what is the
response of the President? Even when he
knew they strongly believed this in a national
intelligence estimate they all signed, he kept
the report secret, publicly stated the opposite,
and treated these views with contempt.
Again, because of the inevitable disasters
caused by these reprehensible attitudes of
disrespect, the result was more preventable
deaths of Americans wearing our uniform.
Finally, for military families, troops who will
vote, patriotic Americans who want to do the
right thing on election day, these attitudes,
these disaster, these destructive policies
and the attitudes behind them continue to
Only days ago, an American soldier was missing and probably taken
murderous Shi'ite militia who support the
current Iraqi leader. It is a time honored
truth that in our military, we never leave
anyone behind, so our military set up
checkpoints to fight to get him back safely.
Even after the President conferenced last
weekend with Mr. Al Maliki, the Iraqi leader
allied with the Shi'ite militia and with the
government of Iran, gave our President
and commanders the back of his hand,
ordered the checkpoints ended and risked
the sacrifice of an American soldier, because
the government we support is allied with those
who are killing our troops.
This is crazy. And what is the response of
our President? He lets it happen, while his
party fills the airwaves with negative television
ads, in their desperate hunger to keep one
party power in Washington, so they can have
two more years without changing the policy
that has done so much deadly damage to
our troops and our security.
Fact: even now the Secretary of Defense holds
a news conference telling Americans to sit
back, chill out, stop worrying, and stay the
course. What a staggering demonstration
of contempt for the vast majority of Americans,
for common sense, at a time when American
commanders are warning that the situation
is degenerating into chaos and potential
How many more Americans must give their
lives for policies so disastrous and attitudes
so contemptuous? How much more damage
must be done, by those so dismissive and
derisive when the dangers and disasters
are so clear, to everyone but them?
To military families, the stakes in this election
are these: if the Republicans keep control of
both Houses of Congress, they will feel these
policies are vindicated with their power
unchecked. Within days of the election we
will learn of more troops being sent to Iraq,
and more Army, Marines and Reserves
recycled back to continue a policy that is a
road to even greater disaster.
If the Democrats are elected to control of
Congress, both parties will sit down with
a mutual respect that has been lacking
for six years, the attitudes of derision and
contempt will change because they will
have to, and the policy will change with
two party government and mutual respect
returning to Washington.
There are no easy answers in Iraq; this is
a hard situation, with mistakes that have
given us only painful options. These are
hard words, these are hard truths, these
are hard times. The right thing to do, in
my humble opinion, is restore two party
government, mutual respect, and common sense in Washington, because it
for accountability, and time for change.