I would want a trade, Senator Chuck Hagel for Senator Joe Lieberman. Here's my reasoning:
This Thursday, VoteVets.org Iraq War Veterans Jeremy Broussard, Andrew Horne, Shelley Burgoyne, Pete Granato (from the body armor ad) and several others had the unique opportunity to lobby senators in Washington D.C. and to articulate the egregiousness of Bush's decision in their own words, drawing upon their own experiences. After all, these aren't new troops going to Iraq, they are troops like myself, who are going to get extended, be sent early, or get sent again. Bush has even gone so far, as to propose taking troops out of Afghanistan and away from the terrorists that attacked us. These are potentially 21,500 people who are leaving their families behind, and putting their lives on hold...putting their lives in jeopardy. And this will accomplish what, Mr. President?
We went down there and had the honor of speaking with democratic Senators; Clinton, Obama, Kennedy, Kerry, Mcaskill, Brown, Tester, Akaka, Murray, and Casey, all of whom demonstrated an inspiring level of interest and support. We're pleased with those senators. They're clear on opposing the troop escalation. They're going to play, in other words. And, in football terms, they're going to score points for the troops.
We also spoke with the staffs of Republican Senators Sununu, Brownback, Coleman, Specter, and Hagel. I have to say that I'm pleased with their willingness to level with the coalition when it comes to opposing Bush's policy in Iraq. But, when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, one man stands out above the others: Senator Hagel.
Hagel is crystal clear on his opposition to the escalation. He understands that sending more people to Iraq is useless, if not counterproductive. Maybe that's because Hagel has combat experience in Vietnam, unlike the draft-dodging presidential posse.
At the same time, nothing will get in the way of Joe Lieberman pretending he has a clue as to what's best for our troops and our nation. In reality, his only concern is trying to give the President political cover for saving his ass in Connecticut, even if that means paying it in American blood.
Hagel is a leader. If military experience factored into this fantasy football analogy, Hagel is the player who got the Heisman. Lieberman is the player who didn't even play college ball. Lieberman is the guy who sat on the sidelines of a pick up game in high school because he had a cramp. A trade is a no brainer.
VoteVets.org is going to do everything that we can to support Senators who vote against the troop increase. Voting with the troops means voting against the escalation. You're either with the President (and weapons of mass destruction, insurgency in its last throes, links to 9/11) or you're with the troops. I'd also like to mention that voting against the escalation is a good way to prevent hard-hitting ads, like our body armor commercial, from airing in your state, next election season.
As combat veterans, we believe in diplomacy first. If politicians don't listen now, make no mistake - they WILL hear us in 2008.
That's not a threat, by the way. It's a commitment.
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