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Sen. Jeff Merkley

Sen. Jeff Merkley

Posted: March 18, 2008 03:29 PM

Why I Support the Responsible Plan to End the War


Five years ago, Gordon Smith and George Bush led our country in war. It's been a disaster. Nearly four thousand military men and women have given their lives, and billions of dollars have been squandered.

The plan was authored by distinguished military experts, including Major General Paul Eaton (U.S. ARMY RET.) former Security Transition Commanding General, Iraq; Dr. Lawrence Korb former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration; Brigadier General John Johns (U.S. ARMY RET.) specialist in counterinsurgency and nation-building; and Capt. Larry Seaquist (U.S. NAVY).

Yesterday, I joined Darcy Burner and other congressional candidates around the country in signing on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

I opposed this war publicly from the very beginning. It's now long past time to bring our sons and daughters home, repay the debt we owe our veterans, and restore America's standing in the world.

It's not enough to wait for a new president to lead us out of war. We must start today to bring our troops home.

The plan calls for a new diplomatic dialogue with allies in the Middle East and around the world to gain back the trust that has been lost over the last eight years. We must replace American contractors with Iraqi contractors -- and increase Iraqi involvement in rebuilding their country. And tribal leaders in Iraq will have to take responsibility for what's happening in the region.

The plan to end the war will immediately:

  • End military action in Iraq and transition control of and responsibility for Iraq to the Iraqis;

  • Create the capacity for nation-building and the use of diplomatic
    power by both the United States and the international community; and

  • Commit to human rights in Iraq.

The plan will also prevent another military disaster like Iraq, by:

  • Restoring American moral standing in the world;

  • Restoring transparency and accountability to the executive branch;

  • Incorporating ongoing war funding into the normal Congressional
    budgeting process;

  • Removing fraud and abuse from the U.S. contracting system; and

  • Developing a clean energy economy.

Senator Gordon Smith and the Bush administration led us into this war and have never offered a plan to get us out. Smith has manipulated and confused the media and the public and done nothing to bring an end to this war.

In December 2006, shortly after voters repudiated the war in the 2006 election, Smith gave a speech saying that he was "at the end of my rope" and calling the war "absurd." Since then, he's voted five times to keep our troops in Iraq.

From 2002 to 2007, Gordon Smith voted over 20 times to fund and authorize the Iraq war.

And he was one of the earliest and proudest supporters of John McCain for President, who has promised to keep us in Iraq indefinitely.

It's time to send Gordon Smith home to Oregon.

Visit JeffMerkley.com to learn more and join our campaign for progressive leadership for Oregon. I hope to earn your support for the U.S. Senate.