For too many years, those of us who advocate a responsible use of our military, and thus have spoken against the President's failed Iraq policy, have been falsely tagged as against the troops by the Bush Administration, neo-conservatives, and their cronies. Today, that all changes.
VoteVets.org, the leading political group of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, is launching a television advertisement that makes it crystal clear - opposing the President's escalation of the war in Iraq means you are supporting the troops. VoteVets.org is joining organizations such as MoveOn.org, SEIU (Service Employees International Union), and Center for America Progress as founding members of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. I am proud to say that I am an active Board of Advisors Member to VoteVets.org, and even prouder of how they are taking up the fight and leading the way in opposing the President's folly.
The President's new so-called plan for Iraq amounts to nothing more than "Stay the Course," a futile exercise akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
More than 20,000 troops are being sent into harm's way for a mission that is not achievable by military power alone. Changing our approach in Iraq must go hand in hand with fixing a regional strategy that has been an abject failure. As I noted in my USA Today op-ed published in November, much of which was picked up by the non-partisan Iraq Study Group when it came out against an escalation of the war, what is needed now is more diplomacy that brings all the players to the table, including our enemies. Absent of this, the President is sending the troops needlessly into harm's way. That's not how you support the military and its members.
VoteVets.org is backing up the launch of their ad with a two-day, seven-city tour, to pressure those Senators who are on the fence regarding escalation to oppose the President's plan and change the strategy in Iraq. These young veterans are not just content to buy air time - they are taking the fight to Senators' home turf and making them answer the question, "Are you with the President, or are you with the troops?"
My friend Max Cleland said of VoteVets.org, "These are the young turks of the veterans world, a counterweight to the hard-core radical right... They are a powerful force in this guerilla war for the moral high ground of who really represents America's vets."
I couldn't agree more. This is the group leading the way for policies that truly support our troops and veterans, and I ask you, if you are not already a member, to join me in supporting VoteVets.org.
Follow Gen. Wesley Clark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GeneralClark