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Our Number One Priority

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"There is a power in public opinion which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow citizens."--Martin van Buren (1782-1862), 8th President of the United States Our Number One Priority by Mick Youther Prior to the Election Day 2006, polls indicated that Americans opposed "staying the course" in Iraq by a margin of three to one. The Bush Administration responded by stopping the use of the phrase "staying the course" ; and started referring to its unchanged policy as "adapting to win" . This didn't fool anybody, and on election day, voters sent a clear message: We have had enough of the War on Iraq. It is time to bring the troops home. Obviously, somebody didn't get the message: • "We'll continue to be flexible, and we'll make the changes necessary to succeed. But there's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete. We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren." --George W. Bush, NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, AP, 11/28/06 • "Asked if the Vietnam war held any messages for U.S. policy in Iraq, Bush said it showed that 'we'll succeed unless we quit.'" --AP, 11/26/06 (Based on that statement, we can assume that Mr. Bush is willing to sacrifice at least 58,000 American lives and spend eight and a half years in Iraq--like in Viet Nam, and still not give up.) • "I know what the President thinks about Iraq. I know what I think. And we're not looking for an exit strategy. We're looking for victory." -- Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted by Seymour Hersh in the 11/27/06 issue of The New Yorker Even before the election, Vice President Cheney announced, "We've got the basic strategy right," and vowed that they were going to go "full speed ahead" with their Iraq policy--no matter what the American people said on Election Day (ABC News, 11/3/06). The only problem with their approach is that no one understands what the mission is; or knows what victory means; and they don't appear to have a strategy. • "There's no plan! You open up this plan for victory. There's no plan there. It's just, "Stay the course." That doesn't solve any problem. It's worse today than it was six months ago..."--John Murtha (D-PA), Meet the Press, 6/18/06 • "[President Bush] doesn't understand the urgency of this. It's all victory for him, but I don't know what that means anymore in Iraq. I do know what we are doing now doesn't work." -- Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), AP, 11/15/06 Gen. John Abizaid, the top American military commander for the Middle East, recently testified before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. The General explained that America couldn't significantly reduce its troop strength in Iraq without causing a serious problem; but he also said we couldn't significantly increase our troop strength without causing a serious problem (to me, that sounds like a serious problem). He estimated that the U.S. had "four to six months" to secure Iraq before the country slips into chaos. It is always the next four to six months that's important in Iraq. For the past three and a half years (longer than we fought in WWII), we have been strung along with promises that the next Iraqi election would make the difference; or as soon as they agree on this, or as soon as we do that--things will get better. Be patient. Look! Isn't that a light at the end of the tunnel? • "... in the next six months to a year...you will see significant progress made by the Iraqi military, and we are pretty much on the right track in many areas..."--Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), 12/4/05 • "... we're in a critical and crucial time. We're either going to lose this thing or win this thing [the Iraq war] within the next several months." --The same Senator McCain (R-AZ), almost a year later, 11/12/06 (At every opportunity, Sen. McCain also falsely states that the American people do not want to withdraw our troops from Iraq.) The fact is that things have not improved in Iraq. They have steadily deteriorated, and our own intelligence agencies believe Mr. Bush's Wars have fueled an increase in world terrorism and turned Iraq into a training ground for terrorists (with real, live targets). • "The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded." --The New York Times, 11/25/06 • "Iraq is as bad as it looks, and Afghanistan is worse than it looks. A year ago, the Taliban were fighting us in units of eight to twelve, and now they're sometimes in company-size, and even larger. Bombing Iran and expecting the Iranian public 'to rise up' and overthrow the government, as some in the White House believe, is a fool's errand." --Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State in Bush's first term, quoted by Seymour Hersh in the 11/27/06 issue of The New Yorker In Afghanistan, insurgents now launch more than 600 attacks a month. There have been more than 3,700 deaths this year, making it the most deadly year since the Taliban was ousted in 2001 (Baltimore Sun, 11/13/06). The United Nations reported (11/22/06) that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in the month of October, making it the most deadly month since the invasion in March 2003. Every month, 100,000 Iraqi leave the country to escape the violence. • "'[T}he social and political situation has deteriorated to a point' that U.S. and Iraqi troops 'are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar,' the [Marine Corps intelligence] assessment found. In Anbar province alone, at least 90 U.S. troops have died since Sept. 1." --Washington Post, 11/28/06 • "[America] is in a civil war, and we're being shot at by both sides." -- News analyst Fareed Zakaria, ABC News, 11/29/06 Seventy two percent of American troops in Iraq said [eight months ago] that they should leave country within a year (Zogby poll, 3/1/06). Seventy one percent of Iraqis want us out of their country within a year (Program on International Policy Attitudes poll, 9/6/06); and the American people have issued a mandate to their government to bring the troops home (2006 election). So, what are we waiting for? Please contact your Senators and Representative today. Let them know that bringing the troops home must be their number one priority. They don't need to wait to confirm a new Secretary of Defense or hear any more recommendations from anyone--especially the Baker Commission. Poppa Bush's friends can't fix things for Junior--this time. They can't just pay the fine and make the records disappear. This time, the record of George W. Bush's colossal arrogance and stupidity is carved in stone in graveyards all across America. It is time to bring our troops home!

 

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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