Monday, August 15, 2005

Bryant, Hilleary, and Corker Must Answer The Tough Questions On Iraq

After nearly two and a half years and over 1,800 casualties in Iraq, the American people are beginning to demand accountability and answers. Ever since the the downfall of Saddam Hussein and his regime, it has been clear that the Bush Administration and the Republicans have no plan to secure and re-build Iraq.

As the death tolls and costs in Iraq continue rise, nothing changes in the Republican's stance in relationship to Iraq. To paraphrase the President, "We must stay the course", they exclaim. However, is the course worth staying if we are failing? It is now crystal clear that we must change courses in Iraq immediately.

Make no doubt about it--Iraq remains our number one national security objective. That is why it is so crucial that we put forth a coherent plan to win there. However, as dire and urgent as the matter is, the President and the Republicans in office and seeking office do nothing. They offer no new ideas, no new strategies, and no hope for success in Iraq.

That is why the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Tennessee is so crucial. In the next few years, the decisions that will be made in the Senate will change the world. It is up to us make sure we get the person in there that can make the right decisions. The choice is clear. You can either have more of the same or you can have a fresh start.

There is only one candidate that represents a fresh start from the failed policies that are now in place and that is Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Ford for one understands the seriousness of what is going on in Iraq. He has already visited the country three times and plans to go back in early October. Since his last visit to Iraq in May, the Congressman has stepped up his criticism of the handling of the war effort after seeing the situation first hand.

First, upon arriving back to the United States, Congressman Ford sent a letter to the President in which he offered his assessment of how things were going in Iraq and offered some candid advice to the administration. Second, in early July the Congressman offered his own plan on how to achieve our goals in Iraq. Ford has also went where few elected officials dare to go when discussing the issues--to the root cause. Harold Ford Jr. understands that until we ween ourselves from foreign oil and develop new alternatives, we will be in similar situations for years to come. That is why in July he sent a letter to Senate Majority leader Bill Frist urging him to reduce our country's over-dependence on oil and also released his own plan towards energy independence.

As you can see, unlike most politicians, Congressman Ford's rhetoric does not ring hollow. It turns into action. That is what we need in a U.S. Senator. Someone who means what they say and are willing to work towards real solutions on the problems that face Tennessee and the nation the most. We don't need someone who will continue down the same road of failure and offers up the same tired ideas.

The same questions that I asked last week of Republicans in relationship to oil and energy independence should be asked on this issue too. Are they serious about about winning in Iraq? If so, what actions have they taken to better the situation there? Do they have a detailed plan for victory as Harold Ford Jr. does? These are questions that must be asked and must be answered.

So far all I have heard on the issue of Iraq from Republicans is that we should stay the course and support the President and the troops. (I have also heard one Republican candidate challenge Jane Fonda to a debate. Not sure how that helps though) The truth is we all hope and pray the President gets this thing right. No one is rooting against the President when it comes to Iraq. Too much is at stake to be foolish and do that. We all also support our troops 100%. Part of supporting our troops involves getting things right in Iraq and Congressman Ford understands that. Hopefully sooner rather than later his opponents will too.

Note: While asking the tough questions and seeking real solutions in regard to Iraq, Congressman Ford has remained fully supportive of our brave men and women who are in harm's way. He understands that we have the best and bravest troops in the world and that we must honor them in every way possible. That is the reason that since 9-11 the Congressman has brought home over 3 trillion dollars for the military and homeland security.

Read Congressman Ford's plan for Iraq here!
Read Congressman Ford's letter to the President here!