Thursday, October 27, 2005

A critical time for Iraq

Dear Friend,

Later today, I will deliver a major speech on the war in Iraq.

It asks a hard and essential question: how do we bring our troops home within a reasonable and responsible timeframe, while achieving what needs to be achieved in Iraq?

One thing is certain. It isn't by continuing to pursue the Bush administration's "stay for as long as it takes" rhetoric. And it isn't by blindly following their policy of cutting and running from the truth that underlies that rhetoric.

That's why my speech today will call on the Bush administration to immediately draw up -- and present to Congress and the American people -- a detailed plan with target dates for the transfer of military and police responsibilities to Iraqis so the majority of our combat forces can be withdrawn.

I hope you'll take a moment to read excerpts from this critically important call to action on Iraq.

My speech today will assert that there is no reason Iraq cannot be relatively stable, no reason the majority of our combat troops can't soon be on their way home, and no reason we can't take on a new role in Iraq, as an ally not an occupier, training Iraqis to defend themselves by the end of 2006.

Today of all days, it is important to note that instead of attacking Ambassador Wilson's report, instead of attacking his wife to justify attacking Iraq, the Bush administration should have simply paid attention to what his report revealed.

As I write this, we are waiting to learn whether the administration's attacks will prove to be an indictable offense in a court of law. But for its CIA leaks, and for misleading a nation into war, the Bush administration will most certainly be indicted in the high court of history.

Sadly, there have been a legion of Bush administration miscalculations that have left us having far too few options in Iraq.

It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it to those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.

In fact, while some say we can't ask tough questions because we are at war, I say no -- in a time of war we must ask the hardest questions of all. No matter what President Bush says, asking tough questions isn't pessimism, it's patriotism. If you agree, I urge you to join me in demanding a new course in Iraq. You can start by making sure as many people as possible see this speech.

The American people -- most importantly, the families of the brave men and women serving in Iraq -- can no longer tolerate George W. Bush's failure to spell out a reasonable and detailed plan of action on Iraq. If the President refuses to act, we must call on Congress to take the decision out of his hands.

I urge you to read the speech I plan to deliver at Georgetown University in a matter of hours -- and to forward it to as many people as possible. Most of all, I hope you will resolve to join the entire community in the weeks ahead as we work to create an undeniable groundswell of public pressure for a detailed, date-specific plan of action on Iraq.


John Kerry

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