Yesterday, twelve former Army captains wrote that short of reinstating the draft, "our best option is to leave Iraq immediately." In an extraordinary editorial in the Washington Post, these captains--all of whom served in Iraq--made it clear that we need to end this war and we need to end it now. They wrote that a " scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition."
I strongly urge every American to read this important report from those who served in the failed conflict in Iraq. Army captains are the staff officers who plan operations against insurgent strongholds. They are the company commanders who lead our soldiers through the streets of Baghdad. And they are the soldiers who will direct our withdrawal from Iraq.
These men and women know the score. They know that we must leave Iraq. As they put it, "It's time to make a choice." Americans are fed up with the President's stalling and Congressional failure to act. Frankly, it is well past time we make a choice. And the only responsible choice left to us is to get all of our troops out of Iraq, with no residual forces left behind--no combat forces, no non-combat forces. As President, I will do it. I will get all of our troops out within a year after I take office - sooner if we can get it done safely.
The other major candidates in this race have said--again and again--that they will not. Senators Edwards, Obama, and Clinton have all refused to commit to getting all of our troops out of Iraq by 2013. None of them are willing to be clear about removing all troops - combat and non-combat. It's unbelievable. Are they looking at the same war the rest of us are? Furthermore, they are all advocating precisely the sort of scaled withdrawal that these twelve captains are warning against. It doesn't make any sense. Real leadership is about making the tough choices, and knowing when it is time to make bold moves. Now is the time for action, not hesitation. Ending this war requires real change, not more incrementalism.
Ending this war is the most important issue of our time. And it is the fundamental difference between me and Senators Edwards, Obama, and Clinton. I will end the war; they will not. I will get all of our troops out; they will leave troops behind indefinitely. I will order a safe and rapid withdrawal and have our troops out within a year. They have proposed a long, protracted withdrawal that will only increase the danger to our fighting men and women and drag out the war.
2013 is six years from now - six years. In six years, will we have lost 6,000 men and women in Iraq? 10,000? More? In six years will this be a $2 trillion mistake? Or $3 trillion? The war has been going on for four and half years already. Six years from now, we will have been there for more than a decade. Are you okay with that? I'm not.
The choice in Iraq is clear. We need to get all our troops out quickly. We need to end this war for real. Go to getourtroopsout.com to join Americans across the country in calling for a quick, clear, responsible end to the war in Iraq.