Peace should be the guiding principle of our nation and the world. Peace is not merely an issue overseas, but must be an important focus for our domestic policy as well.
Keith understands, from the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that peace is not simply the absence of violence; it is the presence of justice. Keith believes that dialogue and engagement are the first steps toward non-violent conflict resolution. To advance those goals, Keith has made several trips overseas during his first term. He has traveled to Norway, to study that nation's unique work in resolving conflicts around the world. Along with his fellow members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, he has made several trips to the Middle East, and to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those trips put him in direct contact with some of the challenges to achieving just and lasting piece, but the people he met and conversations he had helped broaden and deepen his belief in people's power to set aside entrenched conflicts and work together for change.
Keith supports our troops. He supports our troops by working to bring them home safely, as soon as possible. Keith believes the first step to bringing our troops home safely is to set clear, firm timetables for redeployment. As with any hard task in life, we first have to start with a goal, and then pledge to meet it. In this case, our goal should be to get our people out of a conflict no one can win.
We won't desert the Iraqi people, but we cannot solve their problems with force. We cannot restore Iraqi civilization by sacrificing more American lives - lives that could be lived protecting America, rather than lost trying to stop a civil war. This is why Keith joined with 85 of his colleagues in a letter to President Bush informing him that they would only provide funds to protect the troops and bring them home safely.
During his first term in Congress, Keith cast six different votes, starting on February 16, 2007, opposing the Iraq war and occupation. Those votes included bills intended to force the Bush administration to redeploy our troops. Keith stood up to the President's "surge." Keith has also consistently opposed bills to fund our troops without establishing a timetable for their return home.
The United States must play an active role in pursuing peace and reconciliation between parties in the Middle East that will achieve a two state solution that reflects and respects the sovereignty of each nation to live in peace and security.
Keith believes the tragedy in Darfur has gone on far too long. He has joined colleagues in Congress to pass sanctions against the Sudanese government, encourage international companies to divest from Sudan, and pushing for greater international intervention to bring an end to the crisis. Keith has also been an outspoken supporter of encouraging China to take more active steps to stop the carnage in Darfur. China's strong relationship with Sudan puts it in a unique position to be a positive force for restoring peace in the region.