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Classic: Truthdigger of the Week: Ted Kennedy

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Posted on Jan 12, 2007
Ted Kennedy
boston.com

Editor’s note: In honor of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s passing, we’re re-posting one of his classic moral stands. This 2007 speech against the escalation of the Iraq war was so good we had to give him the Truthdigger of the Week award back then.

This week Truthdig salutes Ted Kennedy for calling on Congress to honor the will of the people and block the escalation of the Iraq war. While many in Washington have stated their opposition to Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, the senior senator from Massachusetts has actually acted on those convictions—authoring a bill that would require congressional approval before any more troops could be sent.

Kennedy has positioned himself as one of the most vocal opponents of escalation, demanding that Congress exercise its constitutionally mandated “power of the purse” to prevent this madness from going any further. Where some have busied themselves searching for the right words, Kennedy has been shouting from the rooftops.

We tip our hat to the senator for realizing this issue is about more than triangulation and political gain—it’s about human life and the balance of power in our democracy.


Kennedy’s speech to the National Press Club on escalation:


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  • The Boston Globe reports on Kennedy’s attempt to stop the surge.

  • Text of Kennedy’s Senate floor speech on escalation:

    Iraq is the overarching issue of our time. American lives, American values, and America’s role in the world is at stake.

    As the November election made clear, the American people oppose this war, and an even greater number oppose sending more troops to Iraq.

    The American people are demanding a change in course in Iraq. Instead, the president is accelerating the same failed course he has pursued for nearly four years. He must understand that Congress will not endorse this course.

    The president’s decision to send more American troops into the cauldron of civil war is not an acceptable strategy. It is against the advice of his own generals, the Iraq Study Group, and the wishes of the American people, and will only compound our original mistake in going to war in Iraq.

    Just this morning, the secretary of state testified that the Iraqi government “is ... on borrowed time.” In fact, time is already up. The Iraqi government needs to make the political compromises necessary to end this civil war. The answer is not more troops, it’s a political settlement.

    The president talked about strengthening relations with Congress. He should begin by seeking authority from Congress for any escalation of the war.

    The mission of our armed forces today in Iraq no longer bears any resemblance to the mission authorized by Congress in 2002. The Iraq War Resolution authorized a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein because he was believed to have weapons of mass destruction, an operational relationship with Al Qaeda, and was in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

    Not one member of Congress would have voted in favor of the resolution if they thought they were sending American troops into a civil war.

    The president owes it to the American people to seek approval for this new mission from Congress. Congress should no longer be a rubber stamp for the president’s failed strategy. We should insist on a policy that is worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

    President Bush has been making up his mind on Iraq ever since the election. Before he escalates the war, the American people deserve a voice in his decision.

    He’s the commander in chief, but he’s still accountable to the people. Our system of checks and balances gives Congress a key role in decisions of war and peace.

    We know an escalation of troops into this civil war won’t work. We’ve increased our military presence in the past, and each time, the violence has increased and the political problems have persisted.

    Despite what the president says, his own generals are on the record opposing a surge in troops.

    Last Nov. 15, 2006, General Abizaid was unequivocal that increasing our troop commitment is not the answer. He said, “I’ve met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the corps commander, General Dempsey—we all talked together. And I said, ‘In your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq?’ And they all said no.”

    On Dec. 29, General Casey said, “The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. ... They can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s problems, which are at base their problems.”

    Time and again, our leaders in Vietnam escalated our military presence, and each new escalation of force led to the next. We escalated the war instead of ending it. Like Vietnam, there is no military solution to Iraq. The president is the last person in America to understand that.

    We must not only speak against the surge in troops, we must act to prevent it.


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    Russian Paul's avatar

    By Russian Paul, August 26, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

    Give me a break. Kennedy had no problem supporting the expansion of the AfPak
    war under Obama. He was just another conniving politician, playing the stalwart
    liberal, but always succumbing to political convenience.

    Report this

    By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 17, 2007 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Hondo admits we don’t live in a democracy—-he calls it a “representative government”—-but who is it representing, certainly not the middle-class nor the working-class as seen by the decline of manufacturing jobs from 33 percent at mid-century to 14 percent now. The proportion of factory workers could decrease further to 5 percent or 6 percent within the next 25 years—we’ve lost more than 3 million jobs due to NAFTA and other trade agreements.

    Hondo must be thinking about Regan’s “trickle down theory,” an economic theory that never served the middle-class; but is an economic theory that certainly defies gravity—-because the money never trickles downward, profits always trickle upward, in fact, very upward toward the super-rich to make them even more powerful at the worker’s expense—-hence creating a global elite, who relies on the U.S. military to protect their interests, and to declare war for the purposes of economic expansionism—-always resulting in the death of the innocent, like the more than 3,000 troops that are dead now.

    Hondo, I think your neo-con friends will need a “swimming coach,” they are way over their heads, all caused by their corrupt deals; illegal invasion of Iraq;, war profiteering and the selling of ineffectual body armor which has killed U.S. troops, yes, the Republican party is drowning in its own corruption, and by 2008 the Democrats will inundate the presidential election with winning ballots-—thank-you George Bush.

    Report this

    By Joel Gordon, January 17, 2007 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Stand and watch the waves come up on a beach.  Endless.  The waves keep coming, rising, falling, rushing back, taking a few grains of sand with the water.
    For 4,000 years, all invaders of countries come, invade, kill, pillage, rescue, whatever…hang around, then leave.  The good guys or the bad guys wait for the invaders to leave and then go about their business, just like the repetitive tide, rising, falling, rising, falling.  That is what all indigenous peoples do. Iraq is no different.
    Sending more troops is futile, whether 10M or 10 million.  Pointless.  Nothing will change because local habits, customs, peoples’ collective will is as powerful as the tide….and no transplanted political construct will alter that eternal fact.

    Joel Gordon

    Report this

    By gary296, January 17, 2007 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I heard a great way to stop the war profiteers. You allow the defense companies to make all they want during peace but limit them to a very small percentage during war thereby making peace much more profitable. After all it is a defense industry. Not offense!!!

    Report this

    By Mad as Hell, January 17, 2007 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Hondo,
    old buddy, you couldn’t tell a fact from a Sean Hannity lie if you tripped over it and broke your leg.

    I have watched right-wing-nuts like you try to pigeon-hole liberals, making ABSURD claims about them (Like “why do liberals hate America?”) that border on libel.  No, you do NOT get to define what a Liberal is any more than you get to define “The Liberal Agenda”.  If you think so, perhaps you’ll let ME design the neocon agenda.  Besides, I’d be far more successful than they are.

    You right-wingers keep coming back to Kennedy and Chappaquidick, back in 1969—38 years ago.  All kinds of conspiracies—hear you call him “The Swimming Coach”. Neither you nor I know what happened, or why.  I’ll bet you weren’t even old enough to be aware of it—I was, being a few days shy of 14 at the time. Now when you are willing to talk about “The Driving Instructor” and the kid SHE killed (IE, the FLOTUS) then you’ll have a basis for discussion.  You all NEVER talk about Laura Bush killing a kid, do you? 

    But the funny thing is, the VOTERS of Massachussets don’t seem to think it was the same conspiracy that you do, and have re-elected him FIVE TIMES!!!! Got that? HIS constituents have RE-ELECTED KENNEDY FIVE TIMES SINCE CHAPPAQUIDICK!

    Tell me why Laura Bush’s killing is not relevant, then tell me why Chappaquidick is relevant to Sen. Kennedy’s actions of the last few weeks.

    LOWERED TAXES?  I guess you’ve kept your head buried in the sand so you wouldn’t have to hear about the ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX!  It’s being lowered AUTOMATICALLY to households making $90,000 or more.  That means, if each member of a couple makes $45,000/year (a nice junior management level income, but well below something like a systems analyst or senior programmer) they will get a BIG tax increase this year. AMT has been around since Clinton as a stealth tax increase that hits the middle class squarely in the crotch.  You lose ALL deductions and exemptions and simply a percent of your income to the feds.  Plus state income tax, and property tax, etc, NONE of which is deductible. 

    That floor was $100,000 (two people making $50K—you won’t live too well in the NYC region on that), now it’s going down to $90,000 for the AMT.

    Some tax break that is!  This HAS been an issue and was a Democratic Party issue for the November election.

    Report this

    By Chris Bieber, January 17, 2007 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Vain and supercilious Mr. Kennedy is yet another tired old politician who is left to stick finger in air and see which way the wind blows. 

    Crooked and contemptous Mr Kennedy is like a broken clock…right twice a day…and today he is correct(on Congress DOING ITS JOB PER ITS MANDATE/PREEMINENCE IN THE CONSTITUTION)to having Congress authorizeALLOW or DISALLOW the “surge”.

    The few handful of Representatives and fewer Senators who FOLLOWED THE RULES AND REASON and did NOT vote for AUMF…..why were they condemned as traitors and worse by the warmongers and “patriots” then - and the hypocrits today?  They were correct…and the BIPARTISAN MilIndusComplex EMPIRE were/are wrong…and destroying YET ANOTHER country….and turning the United States into a Militarized and BANKRUPT society that is teetering on the edge of fiscal debt collapse… the Fed is printing more and more papermoney….remembner Germany in the 20’s???? and what happened???

    Support via emails and personal effort those representatives/Senators who need reminding of their OBLIGATION"PROMISE!!” to honor and OBEY the limitations and rules of the US Constitution.

    And support those who have stood firm in defending our Constitutional Republic and its remaining freedoms….such as Presidential Candidate Congressman Ron Paul.

    Report this

    By Hondo, January 16, 2007 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    To Polly Ester—You are horribly confused about the Republican agenda. Please allow me to educate you on this particular issue.
    1. Republicans don’t want to take all of your taxes. Don’t you remember? We cut taxes. You were probably asleep when we did that.
    2. Give huge tax deductions to corporations? Why, yes, Republicans do want to cut taxes for businesses. The reason why is that it spurs employment, research and development, and expansion. This puts more money in EVERYBODY’S pocket and grows the economy.
    3. No bid contracts? Actually, I agree with you on that point. Democrats and Republicans both have done this, and it stinks to high heaven, no matter which side of the aisle it happens on.
    4. Condone war profiteering? Somebody has to make a profit on the equipment, supplies, etc. that is produced for the war. Funny how Democrats never complain about that when a Democrat is president.
    5. Public mandate? Recheck your high school government book. We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a republic. As such, “we the people” elect representatives to make public policy decisions for us. If we don’t like their decisions we can vote them out of office. There’s nothing that says that Bush has to listen to the people if he believes that the people are wrong.

    I hope that helped. If you need clarification on anything else, just let me know.

    Report this

    By Hondo, January 16, 2007 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    To Mad As Hell—I DO get to define what liberals are all about. It’s actually quite a simple excercise. All I have to do is listen to what liberals say and watch what liberals do, and then just report the facts. Everything I said about liberals in my comment is true.
    That’s really not the point, though. The point is that I made some very simple statements about The Massachussettes Swim Coach, and you failed to respond to any of them. That’s probably because you know you couldn’t respond. Isn’t that always the way with liberals? Thanks for the teachable moment!

    Report this

    By Mad as Hell, January 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Hondo,
    Guess what? You don’t get to define what Liberals are, what they believe in, or what they support.

    You need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, because they are just delusional in making up what they think Liberals are as you are.

    I read all this nonsense about “what liberals want” and it’s as absurd as reading about “The Jewish Conspiracy” to take over the world.  It’s all invented paranoid delusions that have NO relation to reality.

    These delusions are taught by nutty christo-fascist preachers who still think the Earth is only a few thousand years old.  They need to invent someone to be “Satan’s minions” so these days it’s Liberals.

    Hitler and his followers wrote about Jews in EXACTLY the same terms you right-wing nuts write about Liberals, and the way Stalin wrote about capitalists and Muzhiks (prosperous peasants).  You can look it up.

    But despite your best efforts, you don’t get to define Liberal policies or positions.  I wish you could understand that.

    Report this

    By Polly Ester, January 15, 2007 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    “Most liberals believe that “we the people” need to be cared for by Mommy and Daddy Government because we don’t have the ability to care for ourselves. But we CAN make an intelligent decision on Iraq?”

    Hondo,
    You might be funny, if you weren’t so pathetic—no, “we the people” would prefer the Republican agenda—we want the government to take all our taxes, give huge tax deduction to corporations, pilfer the treasury giving no bid contracts to business buddies, condone war profiteering and never listen to the public’s mandate after an election.

    Report this

    By Mad as Hell, January 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    “Comment #47412 by toc on 1/13 at 1:37 pm

    This says all there is to say about Ted Kennedy. He has no right to speak about anything.”

    He’s still the duly elected senior Senator from Massachusetts.  That GIVES him the right to speak!Or do you want to throw away the right to elect senators along with the other rights that Mad King George has violated.

    This straw man about voting on funding is just that—a straw man.  Bush will simply veto it and ignore it.  No, for such a bill to have teeth requires 2/3 majorities in each house—67 Senators and 292 Representatives.  Then it’s veto-proof.  But that’s when he writes a signing statement that says he’ll ignore it—which is ANOTHER reason he should be impeached.

    Report this

    By John Konop, January 15, 2007 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    President wants gratitude from Iraq?

    In the 60 minutes interview last night President Bush claims the one of the reason Americans are upset is due to a lack of appreciation from Iraq’s for liberating them from Saddam Hussein. I have a few questions for the President.

    Did a large coalition of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds before the war guarantee you that they would stop over a 1000 years of fighting and form a peaceful democracy if we took out Saddam? If not why would you expect gratitude? And if so why did we not have a coordinated effort with all three sides leading the invation?

    President Bush said “Saddam Hussein was rushing for a nuclear weapon to compete against Iran”. Did we go to war over an arms race between Iran and Iraq? Do we have a new foreign policy to attack any Country that develops WMD? And if so when are we going to North Korea?

    CNN-President Bush said Iraqis should be thankful for all the United States has done for them since the invasion nearly four years ago.

    “I think I am proud of the efforts we did,” Bush said.

    “We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That’s the problem here in America: They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq.”

    Bush allowed that low troop levels “could have been a mistake,” that led to a widespread breakdown in law and order after the March 2003 invasion. The president also cited other mistakes, including the abuse of inmates at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison — where pictures of U.S. troops mistreating prisoners led to international condemnation — and his use of “bad language” like his July 2003 challenge to the then-budding insurgency: “Bring ‘em on.”
    He also rejected the suggestion that the U.S. invasion created more instability in Iraq than it eliminated.

    “Well, our administration took care of a source of instability in Iraq,” he said. “Envision a world in which Saddam Hussein was rushing for a nuclear weapon to compete against Iran.”

    Report this

    By Jim, January 15, 2007 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I’m rally tired of reading and hearing all the miss truths about President Bush and Iraq.  I would suggest that Senator Mary Jo and the rest of those opposed to stopping the Muslim terrorist pestilence just call for a damn vote to cut funding for the military or just shut up.  I keep hearing about a mandate received from the people to change the War in Iraq, so now do it.  No hearings, no non-binding anything, just end it for Pete’s sake so they can assume the responsibility of their actions instead of continually shooting of their mouths any longer!

    Report this

    By Moe Hare, January 14, 2007 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    G.I. JOE,
    Support the troops by bringing them home.

    Report this

    By Hondo, January 14, 2007 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Sen. Kennedy seems to be saying that we should immediately pull out of Iraq because that’s what “we the people” want. His position is puzzling on several different levels:
    1. Does he believe that the American people are sufficiently informed on the complex situation in Iraq to make an intelligent decision? That would be a curious position for a liberal to take. Most liberals believe that “we the people” need to be cared for by Mommy and Daddy Government because we don’t have the ability to care for ourselves. But we CAN make an intelligent decision on Iraq?
    2. If Kennedy and his liberal cohorts want to end our involvement in Iraq, all they have to do is to cut off funding. Simple, right? Well, maybe not. If you’re not 100% sure that America supports “cut and run”, you might be a little skittish about casting a vote like that.
    3. What part of the Constitution states that the Commander-In-Chief must seek permission to use the troops? Kennedy must have been drunk when that particular topic was covered in class.

    Report this

    By Joe, January 14, 2007 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    G.I. Joe (Comment #47536), 

    “God Bless the USA and [its support of ‘democracy’ throughout the world].”

    Support of ‘democracy’? Quit being delusional. It’s systematic cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians ordered by the White House ‘throughout the world’. Maybe you slept while Dubya signed last October 17, ‘06 the bill that, “legalised torture and kidnapping and effectively repealed the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus”. Included in that bill, “The CIA can now legally abduct people and ‘render’ them to secret prisons in countries where they are likely to be tortured.” Testimony ‘beaten’ out of witnesses can be used to sentence people to death. That’s spreading democracy throughout the world? Note also what US historian Alfred W. McCoy says about what’s happening: 

    http://pilger.carlton.com/page.asp?partid=416

    “There they go again:”

    I trust you’re aware that, “the global system of US global imperialism has destroyed ‘democratic’ and ‘popular reform movements’ in Pakistan, in Turkey, in Syria, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, in Yemen, in Iran, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan… Popular democratic movements in country after country, destroyed ...” and “... it’s the ruling interests in America, who are doing this to them,”

    So much for establishing democracies throughout the world. Listen to Part 2 of Parenti’s chat:

    http://www.workingtv.com:80/parenti.html

    SamSnedegar’s comment #47340 below nails it.

    “Accolades are not in order for a Kennedy who has yet to acknowledge that we went to Iraq to ‘steal oil’, we stay in Iraq to ‘steal oil’, and we will BE in Iraq for many years for no reason other than to ‘steal oil’.”

    “The radical left on this forum support any anti-Bush comment they can get their hands on.” - G.I. Joe.

    Gee whiz, so you support radical right-winger Richard Perle’s and his nutter neocons’s ‘endless war’ scenario? Look up the definition of ‘warmonger’ and add an ‘s’.

    Report this

    By John, January 14, 2007 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    What is the democrats plan to end this war?

    Report this

    By Genrikh Yagoda, January 14, 2007 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    In speaking of definitions,try this one-AshkeNazi
    Here is some help
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Ashkenazim.html
      Now are you educated now to know something wrong with USa. Try this one—-Zealots and have they settled in Washington ?
    Ashkenzie-they sure did a number on the Shepardic Jews and about to do it to USA Christians.
    All our troops are about to get the same beating as Custer did—if stupid Bush goes after Iran. I say send the Bush’it twins to Iraq on the front lines.

    Report this

    By George S Semsel, January 14, 2007 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Three cheers for Kennedy - Too bad Bush has made it very clear that he doesn’t care what his constituants think, that he’s going to do what he DECIDES to do. After all, he’s the . . . . The rest of us can go to . . . . And as he knows perfectly well,  the Democrats, other than vocalize nice words, will do nothing.

    Report this

    By G.I. JOE, January 14, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    There they go again:

    The radical left on this forum support any anti-Bush comment they can get their hands on.
    They are ignorant and anti-American.
    The U.S. has not lost the war in Iraq.
    The democracy will just take longer to establish.
    Iran better watch out, they are next on the hit list.
    God Bless the USA and its support of democracy throughout the world.

    Report this

    By Joe, January 14, 2007 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The following’s by a guy from the wrong end of the city of angels; he calls it, “the scum end of LA ... raised in a pastel house between the power plant and the city garbage dump,” page 5 of ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’. 

    Sure must’ve had some interesting aromas wafting by in his youth… 

    “George W. Bush has an urge to surge. Like every junkie, he asks for just one more fix: let him inject just 21,000 more troops and that will win the war. Been there. Done that. In 1965, Tom Paxton sang,

    Lyndon Johnson told the nation
    Have no fear of escalation.
    I am trying everyone to please.
    Though it isn’t really war,
    We’re sending 50,000 more
    To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese.

    Four decades later, Bush is asking us to save Iraq from the Iraqis.”

    Irony of ironies, and ends his piece with: 

    “It reminds me far too chillingly of a Pete Seeger tune written when LBJ was saving Vietnam from Vietnamese. It was based on the true story of a US platoon in training, wading into the rising Mississippi, whose commander ordered them to keep going, deeper and deeper - until they drowned.

    We’re waste deep in the Big Muddy
    And the big fool says to push on.”

    WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY
    http://www.gregpalast.com/waist-deep-in-the-big-muddy/#more-1567

    Report this

    By Bert, January 14, 2007 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    When’s impeachment?

    Report this

    By John Crandell, January 13, 2007 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    People: look up the word ‘Moloch’ in your dictionary. If ever there was a word that applies to contemporary American history, that is it.
    And now is that time.

    Report this

    By LibertyWatch, January 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Every day that the politicians delay action is costing more lives of our troops on assignment. I agree that this is the best action I witnessed this week. There are other good bills being tended but I’m not interested in anything from the PR blitz of feel good litigation. Constitutional obligations mandate Congress to oversee the Presidents wartime activities via the national treasury.

    Four words I want to hear in the media spin cycle and more importantly in the halls and Chambers of Congress are accountability, investigations, censure and impeachment. Less we forget the immediate restoration of the centuries old Writ of Habeas Corpus!

    PEACE a real pro-life action!

    Report this

    By John Konop, January 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Conservative Brownback rips troop surge

    Brownback leading conservative candidate for President from the GOP does not support Bush’s new plan to increase troops in Iraq. President Bush has lost support from all sides on his plan. Do you think it is fair to the troops for the President to go forward with very little support? Do you think it is time for everyone in Congress to go on the record if they support the new plan before President Bush sends in more troops?

    BAGHDAD – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today commented on President Bush’s proposal to increase the number of troops deployed to Iraq.

    “I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer,” said Brownback. “Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution. In the last two days, I have met with Prime Minister Maliki, with two deputy presidents and the president of the Kurdish region. I came away from these meetings convinced that the United States should not increase its involvement until Sunnis and Shi’a are more willing to cooperate with each other instead of shooting at each other.”

    During a two day visit to Iraq, Brownback met with several Iraqi and U.S. officials, including U.S. Generals Raymond Odierno and George Casey, Jr., and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

    Brownback continued, “The Kurdish leadership does not wish to get in the middle of a sectarian fight between the Sunni and Shi’a, and the United States should not either. Instead of surging troops, we must press the Iraqi government to reach a political solution. We cannot achieve a political solution while a military solution is imposed. The best way to reach a democratic Iraq is to empower the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own nation building.”

    Report this

    By Polly Ester, January 13, 2007 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The American people are demanding a change in course in Iraq.  Instead, the president is accelerating the same failed course he has pursued for nearly four years. He must understand that Congress will not endorse this course.”

    Kennedy is absolutely correct, Americans wanted a change and that is what the results of the 2006 election reflects; Democrats are in control of the House and Senate and they were voted into office to prevent the further escalation of the Iraq War and to change the course.  If Democrats were courageous, they would cut-off spending and start impeachment hearings now.

    The Congress and the Senate think they can simply sign a symbolic amendment saying that they are against the surge; such an amendment means nothing, and more than that, it will do nothing—so now we have two “do nothing” political parties in Washington- Diddle Dee and diddle Dum.

    Report this

    By Jon B, January 13, 2007 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Ted has the conviction and courage to act while other democracts including prez candidates Hilary, Rudy, McCain… not only had supported the war, they also are for the war as well as for more troop to Iraq as this writing. 30% of war loving voters may vote the aforesaid candidates but 70% of peace loving voters will vote someone else.

    Report this

    By toc, January 13, 2007 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This says all there is to say about Ted Kennedy. He has no right to speak about anything.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Jo_Kopechne

    Report this

    By Bill Blackolive, January 13, 2007 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Ted, please.  The crime of the twentieth century was coverup of the killing of your brothers & MLK.  You know it, and you know the crime of US history is cover up of 9/11.  Why not stop worry about your place in history and really get there. Be stronger. Get real and be respected.

    Report this

    By William S. Lind - Part II, January 13, 2007 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Part II:

    As I have said before and will say again, the price of an attack on Iran could easily be the loss of the army we have in Iraq. No conceivable action would be more foolish than adding war with Iran to the war we have already lost in Iraq. Regrettably, it is impossible to read Mr. Bush’s dispatch of a carrier and Patriot batteries any other way than as harbingers of just such an action.

    The final hidden message in Mr. Bush’s speech confirms that the American ship of state remains headed for the rocks. His peroration, devoted once more to promises of “freedom” and democracy in the Middle East and throughout the world, could have been written by the most rabid of the neo-cons. For that matter, perhaps it was. So long as our grand strategy remains that which the neo-cons represent and demand, namely remaking the whole world in our own image, by force where necessary, we will continue to fail. Not even the greatest military in all of history, which ours claims to be but isn’t, could bring success to a strategy so divorced from reality. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush’s words give the lie to those who have hoped the neo-cons’ influence over the White House had ebbed. From Hell, or the World Bank which is much the same place, Wolfi had to be smiling.

    No, Incurious George has offered no new strategy, nor new course, nor even a plateau on the downward course of our two lost wars and failed grand strategy. He has chosen instead to escalate failure, speed our decline and expand the scope of our defeat. Headed toward the cliff, his course correction is to stomp on the gas.

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    By William S. Lind - Part I, January 13, 2007 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Less Than Zero

    by William S. Lind

    Part I:

    On the surface, President Bush’s Wednesday night speech adds up to precisely nothing. The President said, “It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq,” but the heart of his proposal, adding more than 20,000 U.S. troops, represents no change in strategy. It is merely another “big push,” of the sort we have seen too often in the past from mindless national and military leadership. Instead of Dave Petraeus, why didn’t Bush ask Sir Douglas Haig to take command?

    Relying on more promises from Iraq’s nominal government and requiring more performance from the Iraqi army and police are equally empty policies. Both that government and its armed forces are mere fronts for Shiite networks and their militias. If the new troops we send to Baghdad work with Iraqi forces against the Sunni insurgents, we will be helping the Shiites ethnically cleanse Baghdad of Sunnis. If, as Bush suggested, our troops go after the Shiite militias in Baghdad and elsewhere, we will find ourselves in a two-front war, fighting Sunnis and Shiites both. We faced that situation briefly in 2004, and we did not enjoy it.

    All this, again, adds up to nothing. But if we look at the President’s proposal more carefully, we find it actually amounts to less than zero. It hints at actions that may turn a mere debacle into disaster on a truly historic scale.

    First, Mr. Bush said that previous efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two reasons, the second of which is that “there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.” This suggests the new “big push” will be even more kinetic that what we have done in the past, calling in more firepower – airstrikes, tanks, artillery, etc. – in Baghdad itself. Chuck Spinney has already warned that we may soon begin to reduce Baghdad to rubble. If we do, and the President’s words suggest we will, we will hasten our defeat. In this kind of war, unless you are going to take the “Hama model” and kill everyone, success comes from de-escalation, not from escalation.

    Second, the President not only upped the ante with Syria and Iran, he announced two actions that only make sense if we plan to attack Iran, Syria or both. He said he has ordered Patriot missile batteries and another U.S. Navy aircraft carrier be sent to the region. Neither has any conceivable role in the fighting in Iraq. However, a carrier would provide additional aircraft for airstrikes on Iran, and Patriot batteries would in theory provide some defense against Iranian air and missile attacks launched at Gulf State oil facilities in retaliation.

    To top it off, in questioning yesterday on Capitol Hill, the Tea Lady, aka Secretary of State Rice, refused to promise the administration would consult with Congress before attacking Iran or Syria.

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    By rabblerowzer, January 13, 2007 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
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    “California congressman Sam Farr introduced legislation Thursday that would repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, essentially pulling the rug out from under the president.”

    Congressional Democrats who are too spineless to impeach the psycho in Whitehouse have a responsibility to at least strip him of the power to escalate the war. George W. Bush is a threat to every man, woman and child in America, and every day that he retains power is another step toward World War 3.

    I know Sam Farr, he was a classmate at Carmel High School and even as a boy he displayed character qualities which distinguished him as a leader. Sam is a man of courage, honor and integrity who instinctively knew the right thing to do and wasn’t afraid to stand alone against the mob. Sam Farr is a wise man, a decent man of principles and we should demand that Congressional Democrats follow his lead.

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    By Arun, January 13, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Where are other senators and lawmakers? Why aren’t they vocal about it in their contituencies ? Are they getting any money under the table from the WAR PROFITEERING LOBBIES ?

    We need more Ted Kennedys to make our world a safer place.

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    By Kellina, January 13, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Countdown:


    01 February 2007

    The year 2007 begins to mark the closing of the window of opportunity for military strkes against Iran.

    CBS News reported on 18 December 2006 that the Bush administration has decided to ramp up the naval presence in the Persian Gulf to send a message to Tehran. CBS reported that an additional aircraft carrier would be added to the Gulf contingent in January 2007, arriving on station around 01 February 2007. The New York Times reported 20 December 2006 that the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier CVN-74 John C. Stennis and its strike group could leave weeks earlier than planned as part of a move to increase the U.S. military presence in and around the Middle East. Moving up the Stennis’ departure date in January 2006 allows a longer overlap with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the carrier currently in the Persian Gulf. Eisenhower deployed 01 October 2006, and could remain on station into March 2007. It is difficult for one Carrier Air Wing [CVW] to conduct flight operations for much more than about 12 hours before having to stop. However, with the combined striking power of two CVWs, the Carrier Task Force (CTF) is able to conduct air operations over a continuous 24-hour cycle.

     

    If the White House is politically risk averse with reference to striking Iran, striking Iran in early February 2007 would allow the maximum time between the strikes and the 2008 Presidential election.

     

    1-11 February 2007 - Ten-Day Dawn

    The 10 Day Dawn (Daheh-ye Fajr) celebrations mark anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. On 12th of Bahman 1357 (01 February 1979), the Imam Khomeini appeared in Iran on the steps of an Air France plane. The great crowd of people who had gone to welcome their Imam were waiting at Mehrabad airport and along his way to Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery. They desired to meet their leader whom was returning to his homeland after a 15-year exile forced by the Shah’s regime. The whole city was illuminated and strewn with flowers. The Islamic Revolution gained the victory on 11 Febreary 1979. The Ten Day Dawn marks the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and is celebrated by Iranians each year.

     

    On 14 November 2006 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that two major technological achievements of the government will be made public during the Ten-Day Dawn (February 1-11) of 2007. He said this year’s Ten-Day Dawn will the ten-day celebration of Iranian nation for its nuclear and technological achievements. “This year’s Ten-Day Dawn period will mark the Iranian nation’s success in mastering fuel cycle as well as its achievements in other fields,” Ahmadinejad said. He said Iran possesses the “full nuclear fuel cycle and time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy.” Further, “We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by [the Ten-Day Dawn festivities at the beginning of February].” On 18 Decenber 2006 Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said that Iran will be announced as an established nuclear state during the 2007 Ten Day Dawn ceremonies.


    Eerie isn’t it? .... The time-line continues… see:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-timeline.htm#070201

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    By Anthony, January 13, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    There has been a lot of rumbling about civil war in Iraq…What about a civil war (again) in the U.S.A.?

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    By Kellina, January 13, 2007 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    We need a revolution. Some options before us:

    All that takes is to have the military on our side. It’s possible. There have been defections to Canada. A lot of the generals are upset/resigning in protest. Now if we could just persuade the Secret Service! Probably just talking about this is going to get me in trouble. Oops, I forgot, we don’t have free speech anymore.

    Seventy percent of the public is against the policies of the Bush Junta, so perhaps the military is not needed. I envision the march on Washington marching right up the White House doors and demanding the President’s ouster. Of course, we can no longer get anywhere near the WH. They anticipated that. After 9/11 all the pieces of the police state fell into place. We’d be trapped and herded into detention camps. We certainly wouldn’t make it onto the 6 o’clock news. The media belongs to Bush&Co;.

    How about offering these poor young people going into the military some alternative incentives? Start a pool to help pay their college costs? Ooops, scratch that, the military is recruiting non-citizens by promising immigration (if they live through the perma war).

    What will it take for us to all stand up and say “ENOUGH!” “Basta!” What if Bush gave a speech baldly declaring his intent to bomb the hell out of every country in the Middle East that will not bow to our wishes (which appear to coincidentally coincide with Israel’s wishes)?

    What if he came out and said that millions would be killed and the countries ruined with radiation. Iraq is already ruined with radiation (‘depleted’ uranium). Will that be enough for us to rise up and destroy this administration? This is happening, people! Isn’t there some other intelligence agency in the world that can help us perform a covert operation to extract these assholes from office?

    How about a one-day strike? March on Washington on Jan 27 or else STAY HOME FOR PEACE.

    I’m sick of all this blogging without action. We WILL be held accountable. IF you live and IF your descendants live, someday you will have to look in your children’s or grandchildren’s eyes and tell them what you did, not what you said, to stop this madness. Go ahead and call your congress people. But in addition, DO something.

    Don’t let them bomb Iran/Syria. Such action will set up an irreversible chain of events. We’ll be devasted economically if not militarily. Our nation’s experiment with democracy is ending, don’t let them take our country. We have a limited time to do this.

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    By David Swanson, January 13, 2007 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Time to Purge the Media:

    Bush just claimed he was making Americans more safe with his occupation of Iraq. The media will not contrast this claim with any studies of the actual effects of the Iraq War.

    Bush just claimed he cared about U.S. service men and women. The media will not ask our troops what they think. Veteran and military family organizations opposing the war will not be asked to comment for the morning headlines.

    The media WILL report on Bush’s posture, tone of voice, tie color, and attitude. The trivial will be made into the gargantuan. The important will be slipped in sideways, quietly, in the form of an unstated assumption that the “surge” is already underway and out of Congress’s hands to stop—an action that would be indecent anyway.

    The media will not ask or try to answer what Bush means when he says “victory.” The media will not raise the question of what this war is being fought for. The media will depict the anti-war movement as striving ultimately only for a rejection of the “surge.” No mention will be made of efforts to de-escalate and end the war. And the media will continue to call the “surge” a surge, gradually dropping the quotation marks.

    The media will not show us the Iraqi people killed and injured by our war.

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    By Paul Craig Roberts - Part II, January 13, 2007 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Part II:

    This, of course, is a massive duplicitous lie. We have brought no liberty to Iraq, but we have destroyed their way of life. Bush suggests that Muslims in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine are waiting and hoping for more invasions to free them of violence. Did Bush’s invasion free Iraq from violence or did it bring violence to Iraq?

    It is extraordinary that anyone can listen to this blatant declaration of US aggression in the Middle East without demanding Bush’s immediate impeachment.

    Republican US Senator Chuck Hagel declared Bush’s plan to be “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” In truth, it is far worse. It is naked aggression justified by transparent lies. No one has ever heard governments in Iraq, Syria, or Iran declare “their intention to destroy our way of life.” To the contrary, it is the United States and Israel that are trying to destroy the Muslim way of life.

    The crystal clear truth is that fanatical neoconservatives and Israelis are using Bush to commit the United States to a catastrophic course.

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    By Paul Craig Roberts - Part I, January 13, 2007 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    “Surge and Mirrors: What Bush Really Said”


    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS


    Part I:

    Bush’s “surge” speech is a hoax, but members of Congress and media commentators are discussing the surge as if it were real.

    I invite the reader to examine the speech. The “surge” content consists of nonsensical propagandistic statements. The real content of the speech is toward the end where Bush mentions Iran and Syria.

    Bush makes it clear that success in Iraq does not depend on the surge. Rather, “Succeeding in Iraq . . . begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”

    Bush asserts that “these two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.”

    Bush’s assertions are propagandistic lies.

    The Iraq insurgency is Sunni. Iran is Shi’ite. If Iran is supporting anyone in Iraq it is the Shi’ites, who have not been part of the insurgency. Indeed, the Sunni and Shi’ites are engaged in a civil war within Iraq.

    Does any intelligent person really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to arm Iraqi Sunnis who are killing Iraqi Shi’ites allied with Iran? Does anyone really believe that Iranian Shi’ites are going to provide sanctuary for Iraqi Sunnis?

    Bush can tell blatant propagandistic lies, because Congress and the American people don’t know enough facts to realize the absurdity of Bush’s assertions.

    Why is Bush telling these lies? Here is the answer: Bush says, “We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

    In those words, Bush states perfectly clearly that victory in Iraq requires US forces to attack Iran and Syria. Moreover, Bush says, “We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region.”

    What do two US aircraft carrier attack groups in the Persian Gulf have to do with a guerilla ground war in Iraq?

    The “surge” is merely a tactic to buy time while war with Iran and Syria can be orchestrated. The neoconservative/Israeli cabal feared that the pressure that Congress, the public, and the American foreign policy establishment were putting on Bush to de-escalate in Iraq would terminate their plan to achieve hegemony in the Middle East.

    Failure in Iraq would mean the end of the neoconservatives’ influence. It would be impossible to start a new war with Iran after losing the war in Iraq.

    The neoconservatives and the right-wing Israeli government have clearly stated their plans to overthrow Muslim governments throughout the region and to deracinate Islam. These plans existed long before 9/11.

    Near the end of his “surge” speech, Bush adopts the neoconservative program as US policy. The struggle, Bush says, echoing the neoconservatives and the Israeli right-wing, goes far beyond Iraq. “The challenge,” Bush says, is “playing out across the broader Middle East. . . . It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.”

    America is pitted against “extremists” who “have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.” “The most realistic way to protect the American people,” Bush says, is “by advancing liberty across a troubled region.”

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    By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, January 13, 2007 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I saw at least one very desparaging comment about Ted on TD.  I understand the range of feelings for him and Kennedys.  He certainly isn’t perfect.  But, Ted has pretty consistently stood up for the ordinary American in his tenure as a U.S. senator, despite his personal means and his family’s history.  Here, he’s right on.  Perhaps, at this point in his career, he has nothing to lose.  So be it.  The fact is, ordinary Americans needed someone to start the ball rolling, and Ted did it.  TD is also right on.

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    By John, January 13, 2007 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    The words Kennedy and truth should NEVER be uttered in the same sentence.  By the way Democraps do you know the truth about his trip over the bridge?

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    By SamSnedegar, January 13, 2007 at 4:29 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Oh, for God’s sake! It’s not a surge nor is it an escalation; it’s a way to get crack airborne troops in there to guard the oilfields and pipelines without tipping off the world that all we EVER cared about in Iraq was its oil.

    I promise you that Democrat or Republican Congress or Administration we’ll be there in Iraq for 20 to 40 years using their oil as the only base for our dollar.

    Accolades are not in order for a Kennedy who has yet to acknowledge that we went to Iraq to steal oil, we stay in Iraq to steal oil, and we will BE in Iraq for many years for no reason other than to steal oil.

    Not to sell, mind you, to HAVE. To control. To use as a backing for the dollar, which is fast going south, what with a negative trade balance of gigantic proportions and a national debt of a size which cannot ever be paid down no matter what happens, including the theft of all the oil on earth.

    The only Congressman so far to admit our involvement in Iraq is for oil would be the only honest Congressman, Charlie Rangel. Send your accolades his way if you like, but don’t waste them on a liar like Kennedy.

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    By Misty, January 13, 2007 at 2:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Ted Kennedy is just about the best Senator we have.  Hoorah for him.

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    By Bob, January 12, 2007 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I absolutely agree! Senator Kennedy’s remarks, and his proposed legislation make him the big winner this week from my perspective as well.

    There are far too many people claiming that Congress has its hands tied, that the President is the Commander-in-Chief, and so forth. Congress has the authority and the responsibility to act now.

    I fully support Senator Kennedy’s legislation, and am writing my representatives to let them know that.

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