Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Sign Of Hope On Thanksgiving

I would like to highlight what looks like a good direction the Democrats are taking on a national level with regards to Iraq. It's not just forcing the Bush administration to finally start answering questions about the horrible situation in Iraq but pointing out the fact that, like everything else this administration does, they have politicized this war and it needs to stop, for the good of our country. What I'm referring to are these two statements this week from Rep. John Murtha and Sen. Barack Obama.

Rep. Murtha at The Huffington Post, Time for a White House Meeting on Iraq :
It's been less than a week since I spoke out calling for the redeployment of our troops to the periphery of Iraq in the most timely manner consistent with protecting their safety. I've been moved by the immediate outpouring of support I've received, including the calls and letters to my offices: 78% approving of what I'm doing, 22% disapproving.

I never thought there would be such a response, but it's obvious that the American people are thirsting for a solution in Iraq. The American people are ahead of Congress in recognizing that we must give the Iraqis incentive to step up and seize their own destiny -- sooner rather than later -- so that our young men and women in uniform will not continue paying such a heavy price for an indefinite period. I hope that the president will put aside partisan rancor and call both sides to the White House to seek a resolution.
Here's an excerpt from a speech Sen. Obama gave earlier this week at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Moving Forward in Iraq:
In the end, Iraq is not about one person's legacy, a political campaign, or rigid adherence to an ideology.

What is happening in Iraq is about the security of the United States. It is about our men and women in uniform. It is about the future of the Middle East. It is about the world in which our children will live.

Responsible voices from all parts of the political spectrum are coming forth to say this in increasing numbers.

Colin Powell had the courage to call his presentation to the United Nations on Iraq a "blot" on his distinguished record. And recently John Edwards said he made a mistake in voting to go to war in Iraq, and accepted responsibility for this decision.

It is no coincidence that both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Powell no longer serve the government in Washington. Those of us in Washington are falling behind the debate that is taking place across America on Iraq. We are failing to provide leadership on this issue.

Iraq was a major issue in last year's election.

But that election is now over.

We need to stop the campaign.

The President could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television and say to the American people "Yes, we made mistakes. Yes, there are things I would have done differently. But now that we're here, I am willing to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find the most responsible way out."

Nearly four decades ago, John F. Kennedy took responsibility for the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He admitted that mistakes had been made. He didn't spend a good deal of time publicly blaming the previous Administration, or the other party, or his critics. And through these decisive actions, he earned the respect of the American people and the world - respect that allowed his diplomacy to be trusted a few years later during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Americans everywhere are crying out for this kind of leadership today. They want to find pragmatic solutions to the difficult and complicated situation in Iraq. They want to move forward on of the greatest foreign policy challenges that this nation has faced in a generation. And they want to get it right for every American son and daughter who's been willing to put their lives on the line to defend the country they love. It's time for us in Washington to offer the rest of the country this leadership. Thank you.
In essence what these two men are saying is that true leadership in not being stubborn and "staying the course" of a failed policy. True leadership is admitting your mistake and bringing the country together to find a solution. If that was to happen it would be something to give thanks for.

An editorial from Pinkdome, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
News moves fast these days. It seems like ages ago that we watched in disbelief as one of America's most treasured cities drowned before our eyes. We listened to a panic stricken poor population abandonded by our own government cry for help. We opened our hearts and our homes to people left homeless. Then we got mad. We got mad out of shame. We were supposed to believe our government could take care of us when we couldn't take care of ourselves. The shock and scale that showed even our government was overwhelmed even frightened us a little.

So here we are. We've moved on. We're getting ready for the holidays. We're focused on so much news about a failed presidency and a growing national discontent with the war in Iraq that we don't think about New Orleans or Biloxi or the dozens of other towns that have been wiped off the map. There is an editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune that says they feel like they are being treated as if they wore their skirt too short and invited trouble. As reasonable people, we know that rarely, if ever, do we really invite trouble.

Without a doubt, New Orleans and Louisiana are rife with corruption and incompetency. At the same time, we also know that it is an entire region of the poor, the barely employed and a culture that is so rich with heritage many have never ventured further than a few miles from where they were born. Now, those people are spread across the country. The Statesman mentioned briefly the culture shock of moving from a vibrant urban life to exile in the suburbs of Austin. (A fate I wouldn't wish on any of you) While we don't know if people will ever be able to return to their homes, we know as a nation we must try our best to help rebuild their lives. This is not a partisan issue, but it will be a political issue. After all, someone will have to speak up and tell us we're going to have to pay for this. It isn't fair, but it is what is right. Morally, we have an obligation to help our fellow citizens in times of great distress. Through charity, through compassion, through faith and yes...through the government.

As we approach a season of giving thanks, I'm thinking a lot about the people of the Gulf. A place we know well. Our backyard, our playground and for some of us, our home. Let's work together to make sure our government doesn't ignore their promises to rebuild. Let's let our leaders know we expect nothing less. There's a saying in Texas, "Cowboy up," and it's what we expect. After all, but for the Grace of God go I. We hope that each of us will remember to remind our elected officials that we want the Gulf back and we want them to make it happen. In the chaos of the season, put your Congressmen on your Christmas Card lists and put the people of the Gulf scattered across the country in your thoughts and prayers.


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