We must end the war now. Congress must stop funding the war and rescind its authorization if the administration refuses to make plans for immediate withdrawal. We can't continue to squander our resources on the worst foreign policy mistake in our country's history. Leaving will be complicated, but staying only continues the tragic loss of our soldiers, Iraqi citizens, and almost unthinkable amounts of money.
I also believe that while Congress and the President debate whether we can "win" the war instead of how best to withdraw our forces form Iraq with the least amount of damage, they are irresponsibly prolonging this disaster. Instead, they should be tackling the hard debate of what needs to be done next.
America must no longer be seen as an aggressor in the world. We need to embrace a new foreign policy to restore our reputation. In the future we must work cooperatively with other nations, acting multilaterally first and unilaterally only if necessary.
This spring I joined with Darcy Burner (a candidate for Congress in Washington State,) and military and national security experts like General Paul Eaton (US Army Ret.) to create a comprehensive plan to end the war in Iraq and repair the damage it has caused, at home and abroad. Since then more than two dozen US House and US Senate candidates have joined us and committed to the plan.
The Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq builds off the work of the Iraq Study Group and existing legislation in Congress and is intended to accomplish three objectives:
* End the military effort in Iraq and bring our troops home;
* Begin to repair the damage five years of war and occupation have caused, at home and abroad;
* Prevent a repeat of this sort of epic and costly foreign policy blunder in the future.
This plan presents a set of actions that Congress can take to remove all troops from Iraq while engaging in a diplomatic offensive in the region. It is designed to convert our current costly and unsuccessful military approach in Iraq into a more effective civilian one that addresses the root problems we face in Iraq. It moves us away from the use of military tools and enables more robust diplomatic and humanitarian work. It offers a path to rebuild the military, the State Department, and a commitment to take care of returning veterans. It also offers a deeper look at our decision-making problems, and fixes the breakdown in checks and balances by rolling back excessive executive authority, restoring civil liberties, and ending practices such as torture and the privatization of the military. Ultimately we believe that restoring our Constitution is the only way to prevent a repeat of these mistakes and take us where we need to go to end this war responsibly. This is a substantive plan to end the war in Iraq responsibly, and it is a political document that citizens should use in guiding their political decision-making in 2008.
For too long we have been denied a public debate over what to do in Iraq, and it is time to break out of this limited conversation.