Democrats & Liberals Archives

SOTU Pre-buttal

Senator Harry Reid made the Democrat’s pre-buttal to President Bush’s upcoming State of the Union Address,

Let me be clear: there is no partisan split in our commitment to defending this nation. America stands united in waging the War on Terror. We Democrats simply believe we need a stronger strategy for winning this war.

BAM! No kidding. The military is overstretched without the numbers or relevant mix of troops to fight a war against multinational terrorists. Democrats want to change that by authorizing 40,000 new Army and Marine Corps troops (Senate bill S.11), and another 2,000 Special Forces troops (Senate bill S.12) for greater flexibility in covertly going after terrorists in hard to reach places, like Pakistan.

President Bush sees no need for such measures.

Reid continues,

...There is a gap between saying we are a global leader and standing on the sidelines as new international institutions and alliances take shape without us.

There is a gap between saying to reformers that "the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors" and an Administration that stands by in virtual silence as Saudi dissidents disappear.

And nowhere is the gap between rhetoric and reality greater than in Iraq.

This month, the Defense Department gave up in the search for weapons of mass destruction and the CIA announced that any links between Saddam and al Qaeda before the war were flimsy at best. But now Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists. There are dozens of insurgent attacks every day. And the war has cost more than fourteen hundred U.S. soldiers their lives including soldiers and Marines from my home state of Nevada. It's resulted in over ten thousand soldiers being wounded. We owe it to those soldiers to start getting things right in Iraq.

...Yesterday's elections were a milestone, but on Wednesday night, the President needs to spell out a real and understandable plan for the unfinished work ahead: defeat the growing insurgency, rebuild Iraq, increase political participation by all parties, especially Iraq's moderates, and increase international involvement. Most of all, we need an exit strategy so that we know what victory is and how we can get there; so that we know what we need to do and so that we know when the job is done.

That last sentence really hits the mark. Unfortunately, the Bush administration is so unimaginative, that when anyone mentions exit strategy all they can think of is a timetable for withdrawal. But Democrats don't want President Bush to set a date. That would be foolish, and probably impossible.

But President Bush had damned well better start thinking about the conditions under which US forces will leave. What are the goals that need to be achieved before it's in our, and Iraq's, best interest to draw down troops? And what are the plans and resources needed to meet those goals?

The speech is a great example of Democratic ideals and principles. It presents a strong alternative to President Bush's radical rhetoric and far-right agenda, and it ties in closely with the legislation Democrats introduced in the Senate last week.

Posted by American Pundit at February 2, 2005 7:51 AM