UPDATE: Help Me Respond to a Right-Wing Editorial (Draft of Letter to the Editor included)

Yesterday, I posted a diary asking help in formulating a response to an editorial printed in my local newspaper that slanders those who oppose Bush's escalation.

I have written a draft of a response (quoted over the flip).  There were many things I wanted to talk about such as the fact the all three Iraq war veterans in Congress voted for the resolution, how the Iraq War took time, effort, troops, materiale, and attention away from the hunt for Osama, and so on.  However, I decided to keep in short (158 words) and focus only on the question of supporting the troops, hoping it will increase the chances of getting printed.

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Letter to My State Senator: Why Do You Oppose an End to the Iraq War?

As you may have heard by now, the California State Senate approved a resolution opposing the proposed escalation of the Iraq War last week. And while that is overall good news, I am saddened. Why? Because my State Senator, Lou Correa, voted against this resolution. I wanted to know why my own State Senator would vote against this resolution. I wanted to know why he voted against a resolution that called for an end to this disastrous war that has hurt our community in Central Orange County in many, many ways. So I took out some time last night to write my Senator a letter. And since Senator Correa's office has still not responded to any of the previous calls and emails asking him why he voted the way he did, I figured that I might as well share my letter with all of you. And besides, I would like for everyone here to know how one of Lou Correa's own constituents feels about his vote.

Follow me down below for the full letter...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)

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Stop Prolonging the War, Steny

I don't disagree with Chris when he writes about his support for a slow plan to bring the war to an end.  From Murtha and Pelosi's perspective, it's the only plan that makes sense.  I'm just not convinced that there's enough Democratic unity to get it done.  Here's where the problem lies.

Despite their inability to offer an alternative to the Democratic resolution, Republicans managed yesterday to lure Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to the floor to defend his party and declare that they would not cut funding for the troops....

"I was watching this debate from my office and I was constrained to come to the floor," Hoyer said. "There are legitimate issues raised by this resolution as to whether or not you support or do not support the escalation that has been proposed by the president... No one ought to come to this floor and say that this Congress, 435 of us, will not support whatever soldier or sailor or Marine is deployed to Iraq...Whether it's today or tomorrow, they will have our support." 

Hoyer addressed Wilson's remarks directly, and said her remarks did not accurately characterize the resolution.

"And, very frankly, for my friend from New Mexico to come to this floor and make the representation that somehow we have limited that support to those who currently are on the ground is not an honest representation, in my opinion," Hoyer said.

Hoyer is reinforcing the dishonest and dishonorable concept that Congressional use of its authority to wield the purse is 'not supporting the troops'.  There are plenty of ways to defund the Iraq war, and no Democrats are suggesting anything of the sort.  In fact, by arguing that Congress won't defund the war because that would be anti-troop, Hoyer is basically forcing our troops to stay in a dangerous situation longer than they would have to otherwise.

It's this kind of reinforcement of right-wing frames that is so destructive to Democratic unity and to progressive policies.  Hoyer isn't a bad man, but he always seems to play into these awful positions that prevent us from achieving what we need to get done.

It's people like Hoyer that need to be challenged on their position, because they are the ones keeping our troops in Iraq and refusing to carry out their constitutional duty to wield the power of the purse.

Update: The New York times offers a different way of framing the issue (via Americablog:

How do you explain to the thousands of American troops now being poured into Baghdad that they will have to wait until the summer for the protective armor that could easily mean the difference between life and death?

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What Is Your Representative Going to Do?

I know what my representative is going to do this week, tell the president that she is against the escalation.  Do you feel as confident in your representative?  Has your representative, or a member of his/her staff told you the same thing?  How comfortable to do you feel about this?

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House GOP Extremely Wary About Iraq Debate

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, the fifth-ranking official in the House Republican leadership, and Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the ranking member on the House intelligence panel, have penned a dear colleague letter to their fellow members of the GOP caucus on the issue of the Iraq War debate currently raging in the chamber. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer got a copy of the letter, which he has posted in .pdf form on his website. Among other things, the letter states:

We are writing to urge you not to debate the Democratic Iraq resolution on their terms, but rather on ours.

Democrats want to force us to focus on defending the surge, making the case that it will work and explaining why the President's new Iraq policy is different from prior efforts and therefore justified.

We urge you to instead broaden the debate to the threat posed to Americans, the world, and all "unbelievers" by radical Islamists. We would further urge you to join us in educating the American people about the views of radical Islamists and the consequences of not defeating radical Islam in Iraq.

The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be abou the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose. [emphasis added]

If the non-binding resolution in the House is a means of getting closer to bringing American troops home rather than being an end in an of itself, as Rep. Jerry Nadler has indicated and as I would tend to suspect, then I think it has a very good chance of being successful. Already, even before the chamber has voted -- and Republicans are already warning that at least 10 to 20 members of their caucus could vote with the Democrats on this measure -- it has already backed Republicans into a corner in which they cannot and are unwiling to defend the President's Iraq strategy.

To reiterate, if the ultimate goal of the Democrats is just to pass a non-binding resolution, Americans will see this move as a cynical ploy to score political points without actually achieve that which it should set out to. But if the goal is to end the war in Iraq, this debate will help move the ball down the field and, to an extent, already has by forcing Republicans to move away from their President's plan for Iraq.

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