On the 6th Anniversary of the IWR, Vets Speak Out for Merkley
by Sarah Lane, Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 04:20:56 PM EDT
Today marks the 6th anniversary of the Iraq War Resolution. As of today, we've lost 4,181 brave men and women and thousands more have been injured. Our moral standing in the world has been weakened and we're mired in debt. We desperately need new leadership in the White House and we need to increase our numbers in Congress to finally put an end to the war. Here in Oregon, Iraqi veterans are speaking out in support of Barack Obama and Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley. More below the fold....
Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley
Paul Evans, veteran who served in the Aghanistan War and Iraq Wars, wrote a letter calling on Oregonians to support Obama and Merkley. Here's his letter in full, which I have been given permission to post:
Fellow Veterans and Oregonians:
Six years ago this week, George Bush and his allies pushed the Iraq War Resolution through Congress.
It was a decision made in haste; with an eye toward the midterm elections, the Republican Party forced a vote for war.
Since 2002 our nation has been on a collision course with history. Our America is in crisis, and we need structural change to salvage it.
Barack Obama will bring that change. I believe Obama is the leader we need at the helm to change the course of our ship of state.
But a new president - no matter how talented - isn't enough: we need a Congress that will help the new administration navigate the hazardous waters of change.
As a veteran of the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War, I believe Jeff Merkley is the U.S. Senator we need at this moment in history. Jeff is committed to fighting for us - and representing our interests.
We did not get into the situation we are in without collusion between the President and Congress. Our failures at home and abroad are the result of an arrogant, broken, and corrupt administration.
It was this administration and its allies in Congress that pushed wars abroad - and then failed to meet the needs of the men and women fighting those wars.
As a former Republican - and an often criticized Democrat - I am not writing this letter as a partisan; I write it because I am a veteran that loves America - a citizen that wants my country back.
I want a U.S. Government that governs responsibly; supports policies that promote a stable economy; leaders that fights wars of last resort - and a nation that supports its warriors.
2008 is about one thing: securing our future - securing a better tomorrow while repairing the damage done yesterday.
Since 2001 we have racked up an additional $4.5 Trillion in debt. With the recent emergency intervention in the markets, we will owe nearly $11.3 Trillion by the inauguration.
Our country has fought to maintain stalemate in two theaters of war at a cost of nearly 5,000 of our brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.
Infrastructure around the country is crumbling; at times we have been unable to protect our neighbors from natural disasters that had been predicted for decades. And our economy is on the precipice - weaker than at any time since the Great Depression.
Ironically, the administration punished responsibility and rewarded unchecked speculation.
By any measure, the Bush Administration and its allies have failed us.
Anything that helps us restore our image abroad and strength at home is the "best" answer for each block on your ballot this fall.
Jeff Merkley will work hard to restore the America we all swore an oath to defend.
Here is the bottom line: Jeff Merkley supports full access to Veterans Health for all veterans; Jeff Merkley was a strong advocate for the new GI Bill; and Jeff Merkley will work with people of all philosophies to secure a future for military families and veterans.
Our past does not have to be prelude: we have the power to change our reality; we have the obligation to restore our honor.
Together we can accomplish this mission.
Many more veterans are calling out for change on election day and showing their support for Merkley:
I was proud to serve my country upon being called to duty. Making the decision to send our men and women to war is not an easy task, but when making this decision a leader should consider all options. Jeff will work to make sure all options are on the table before making the ultimate decision to send our men and women off to fight. This is why I support Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate," said Ben Hier, veteran, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.
"I am angry and frustrated that the supporters of military power again got us into a civil war in another country, for our own selfish purposes. Like Wayne Morse and Mark Hatfield who went before him, Jeff Merkley has the wisdom, judgment, and independence to keep us out of wars of ideology and pre-emption," said Gary Thompson, Vietnam Veteran.
Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley is committed to ending the war in Iraq. Merkley signed on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and believes we need to begin redeploying our troops immediately. Merkley won't stop fighting for our veterans when the war ends in Iraq, he will fight to make sure our veterans are taken care of when they come home. Merkley has a long history of working to better veterans' lives. Merkley fought to pass a bill which provided college education to family members of the fallen which he has pledged to fight for at the federal level. He also pushed through a bill that provided additional financial aid to veterans and passed a personal tax exemption to more National Guards members. Merkley also passed a bill creating incentives for employers to hire veterans. Merkley passed tax incentives for health care providers who participate in the TRICARE program.
Merkley will always fight for our veterans, just as they have fought for us. If you'd like to learn more about Jeff and what he plans to do for veterans if elected to the Senate go here. We're less than a month away from election day, and it's never been a more important time to change course for our country. Our veterans deserve a President and Congress who will finally do right by them.