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Brent Budowsky: Letter to Senators Hagel, Warner, and all Senate Republicans

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Dear Senator Hagel, Senator Warner, Senate Republicans:

For four years of failure and bloodshed in the Iraq war, you have issued warnings, concerns, sage advice, and major suggestions for change.

For four years, the man who calls himself the Decider has given you nothing but contempt for your views, confident that in the end, you would vote with your party.

For four years, you have proven him brilliantly right in his judgment of you, as he was deadly wrong in his conduct of war.

For four years, you advised no, and voted yes.

Three years ago, you issued more warnings, counsel, and sage advice and were treated with the same disrespect that was shown to our commanders when their advice, too, was ignored.

Three years ago, you advised no, and voted yes, again. Two years ago, again. One year ago, again. And now with this latest tragedy and spectacle in the Senate, again.

You issued warnings, advice, and sage counsel again. You said no and voted yes, again. You were disrespected, again, by the President who gnored your advice, again, and you voted to enable yet another escalation that you know is wrong, again.

You were reduced to voting against your own resolution.

Let's not hide behind procedural excuses or genteel evasions. You know the Senate rules. I worked for Congressional leaders and senior senators and know them, too.

The Majority Leader, in a show of good faith and bipartisanship, supported including the key provision in the Gregg proposal into the Warner proposal. He made a mistake. I made a mistake in advising senior Democrats to work with you in good faith. And you know very well that the only reason the Republican leadership, in league with Karl Rove's shop, demanded a vote on the Gregg proposal was that it would help promote the escalation that you oppose, but enabled, again.

My mistake was one of character judgment. Senator Reid's mistake was an attempt at statesmanship. Your mistake was putting a party line vote designed to promote the escalation, over the high principle of trying to prevent the escalation you oppose.

Four years ago, Three years ago, Two years ago. One year ago. And now
this week. Again.

So you voted against your own resolution, in the name of demanding a second resolution designed to promote the escalation that you oppose.

And this from the party that criticized John Kerry for flip flopping?

The Senator from Arizona accused you, and me, and Senator Reid of favoring a vote of no confidence in the troops. Once upon a time, when Senator McCain was younger and truer and his idealism trumped his ambition, he would have known such a statement to be untrue. The advocates of this escalation have learned nothing from mistakes, except to believe that their short pants McCarthyism can bully and intimidate good men into doing bad things.

If there are two men who should never be accused of voting no confidence in the troops, it is you, Senator Hagel and Senator Warner. But, then again, if there are two men who should have made public votes consistent with their private views, after four years, it is you, as well. Again.

How more powerful and right it would have been, for you to charge like lions to the Senate Floor and answer the defamation that you voted no confidence in the troops, in terms as strong as the false accusation. Instead, you retreated to the Republican cloakroom, and cast a party line vote. Again.

For four years, you have been wiser, smarter, more knowledgable and experienced than those who disrespected your advice, as much as they disrespected the advice of military leaders.

For four years, you said no and voted yes.

For four years, you enabled policies in war you knew were wrong.

For four years, the failure became more deadly, the carnage became more ugly, the casualties became more painful, the damage to our troops and our country and our credibility around the world, and our military force structures, and our deterrent, and our national unity became more grave and extreme.

Yet for four years, the Senators from Virginia and Nebraska issued their words of warning and their counsels for change, but in the end, for four years, based on the real votes on the floor of the Senate, Virginia and Nebraska might as well have been represented by Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman.

What a shame. What a waste. What a tragedy for our country.
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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