Letter to Rep. Price on Iraq Speech

Congressman Price:

I felt your pain during the policy speech and discussion on the Iraq war on August 12 at Binkley Baptist Church. The problem is one of epochal proportions. The human and financial costs of war already are astronomical, and far worse probably is ahead. You have given the dilemma great study and thought, and wrestled with the morality of pulling American troops out despite the consequences. Your very serious conclusions deserve your constituents' very serious consideration. Instead you received for your efforts not understanding, but a firestorm of protest and criticism. It was a sad occasion for all of us.

The divide between you and your constituents - or, as some said, the democratic party and its base - reflects fundamentally different perceptions of reality. I have read Senator Biden's speech, as you recommended, and have reviewed your speech on your website, including the benchmarks suggested by Rep. Pelosi, plus additional ones for the reconstruction effort and for involving allies and multilateral organizations. Senator Biden, Congresswoman Pelosi, and you should receive A+ for the quality of your analyses and suggestions. But I think that for most of us you have not addressed the real issue.

The issue is that this war and occupation are criminal under the international law that governed the Nuremburg trials, and, in addition, the occupation has been conducted with gross and wanton violation of the Geneva Conventions. Furthermore, the war already is lost, and all Americans should leave before they are chased off the roof of the American embassy, with the last persons out dangling from helicopter pontoons.

We do not need a course correction. We need an end to the occupation - of our own country, as well as of Iraq. Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld are not people of whom one can, or ought, to expect truth, or any decent respect for the opinion of mankind. It is no use presenting them with policy documents. Other goverments, despite democratic traditions, have been seized in the the past by anti-democratic, plundering, bloodthirsty cabals. Now it has happened in this country. We need to choose our responses accordingly.

As in Vietnam, the main objections to pulling out by the only means that were really available - i.e. by air and sea from Vietnam, but also by land from Iraq - is that a bloodbath might follow. From my Montagnard friends I know that terrible things happened in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, and are still happening, but not nearly so terrible as happened during the war. In hindsight, it appears likely that the sooner the Americans could have left, the less disastrous would have been the consequences. Certainly, one or two million fewer people, including Montagnards, would have been killed and maimed by American bombs and Agent Orange. The prospects for Iraq are more ominous than they were for Vietnam, as the resistance includes factions that are willing to massacre their own people mercilessly for purposes that we do not understand. Saddam Hussein might even be returned to power by these forces, if they are triumphant.

I think, however, that it is fallacious to try to understand the situation from the American government's perspective. Forget the American government. It has bungled everything, including prosecution of the war, beginning with the dismissal of General Shinseki. Try to see the situation from the viewpoint of a citizen of Baghdad. Would you want to have Donald Rumsfeld making decisions that affect the daily likelihood of life and death for you and your family? Would you accept having Dick Cheney's buddies at Halliburton and other corporations receiving many of the billions that the US is spending on the occupation, while you never know whether your children will be alive at the end of the day, or where your next gallon of drinking water will come from? I can understand that the first priority for such citizens of Baghdad would be to get rid of these buffoons. Get them off the backs of the Iraqi people, out of their oil fields, and out of their chambers of government. First get them out, and then, while they are leaving, take measures to avoid disaster, seeking help from the same governments who would lend support during the occupation under your and Senator Biden's plan. A plan to save Iraq from disaster simply can not be implemented realistically under America's criminal occupation. A rational policy can be implemented only after the country is freed from colonization by America's oil cartel and corporate elite.

I believe that you could best help to forestall mounting disasters not by offering solutions, but by joining bipartisan efforts to expedite an end to the occupation. The ideal instrument is H.J.Res. 55, already co-sponsored by several Republicans, including Rep. Walter Jones. I can find no evidence of Rep. Jones' backsliding, only a statement on his website, dated June 15, that qualifies his intentions, but does not qualify his support for the bill. Wisely, the bill specifies a date for beginning withdrawal, but not for completing it. More important than dates is the declared intention of total withdrawal. We need to find more Republican co-sponsors, but it would certainly be appropriate for the Democrats in the North Carolina delegation to display some solidarity with Rep. Jones by co-sponsoring this resolution:

Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States--

(1) to announce, not later than December 31, 2005, a plan for the withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

(2) at the earliest possible date, to turn over all military operations in Iraq to the elected Government of Iraq and provide for the
prompt and orderly withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and

(3) to initiate such a withdrawal as soon as possible but not later than October 1, 2006.

The resolution may not be ideal. But the important thing is to get the bill to the floor where it can be debated and, perhaps, amended, in order to begin steps to bring an end to the occupation.

Andrew Silver



Excellent letter. Time is growing short for our federal elected representatives to set in motion the withdrawal of all US soldiers from Iraq before we vote them out of Washington, DC and history judges them as complicit to the death of thousands of people.

The most pathetic thing about our current state of affairs is that - with a majority of the country against the war - there are no Democrats down at Camp Casey.

The Democratic party needs to be put out of its misery like an old crippled horse.

No Mark, there are a lot of things more pathetic. I think Camp Casey resonates a lot more with people without politicians involved. If congressional Democrats started a migration toward Crawford, it would seem like a political stunt. JMO

I say: If congressional Democrats started a migration toward Crawford, it WOULD BE a political stunt.

The power behind this movement is the grassroots nature of it. This should stay a populist movement at Camp Casey, and a political movement everywhere else.

BTW, I just heard that Cindy Sheehan has left Camp Casey to be with her 74-year old mother who has suffered a stroke.


So the Democrat's silence on this is really support for her and support for ending this illegal war? The Democrats have done nothing - actually worse than nothing as Hillary Clinton wants to send more troops and Joe Biden is a war supporter too.

A Democrat showing support for the peace movement would only be avpoliticalvstunt if it was not sincere. A sincere show of support would be leadership.


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