This week, the Senate may consider Senate Resolution 636. The Resolution, co-sponsored by Senators Graham and Lieberman, is a chance for all Senators to get “on the record” about whether or not they believe the Iraq surge has been a success. It’s a very important, if symbolic, vote.
This vote has the potential to galvanize the Iraq debate and puts anti-war opponents in a tough position. In less than a year—and as a result of the surge—the “finish the job” Iraq policy position has gone from a tremendous liability, to the policy position with all of the momentum. With 636, all Senators must go on the record either thanking the troops, or ignoring their success.
Nonetheless, both Senators Biden and Obama continue to insist that—overall—the surge has failed, even though violence has dropped dramatically (both said again on this week’s Sunday shows). They cite “insufficient political reconciliation;” which, at this point, is completely counter-factual. Iraqis at all levels have made incredible progress, from political benchmarks to local councils to returning refugees.
Below is the text of the “Dear Colleague” letter that Lieberman and Graham have circulated to their fellow Senators – of which 17 others have thus far signed on. It’s worth a read, and makes the case better than I.
Vets for Freedom is helping lead the charge on this vote, asking our membership to call the Senate and airing new TV ads that can be found on our website at 10am today. It’s called our “Truth about the Surge” campaign and we hope folks will join us.
Will keep all posted on the vote, as the Senate Dems may block it all together. See letter here:
United States Senate
We invite you to join us in cosponsoring Senate Resolution 636, a bipartisan resolution that recognizes the strategic success achieved by the surge in Iraq and expresses our gratitude to the brave men and women in uniform who made that success possible.
As you know, the war in Iraq has been deeply divisive for our country. The Senate spent much of last year locked in intensive debate about the wisdom of the new strategy that General David Petraeus was pursuing in Iraq and the deployment of approximately 30,000 additional U.S. Army and Marine Corps servicemembers in support of it.
In fact, it was just one year ago this month that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker returned to Washington to report on the progress of the surge. At the time, many Americans still doubted whether the surge was working.
Today, by contrast, it is beyond dispute that the surge has been an extraordinary strategic success for our country, an operation that is certain to be studied and praised for decades to come in the annals of American military history.
Although the war in Iraq is not yet over, virtually every indicator of progress-political, economic, and military-has dramatically improved since General Petraeus took command in February 2007 and the surge began.
Large-scale sectarian violence has effectively ended. Al Qaeda in Iraq-which our intelligence community last year characterized as “the most visible and capable affiliate” of al Qaeda’s global terrorist network and “the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland”- has been dealt a near strategic defeat, in the words of CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden. The Iranian-backed militias that once controlled large swaths of the country have been routed. And as our enemies have retreated, American casualties have likewise plunged.
These represent more than mere “tactical” gains. Because of the surge, the United States has been saved from a strategic defeat in the heart of the Middle East that would have carried catastrophic consequences for our country, and our allies, far beyond the borders of Iraq. Indeed, because of the success of the surge, America’s strategic position in the Middle East and the world is stronger; our most dangerous enemies- al Qaeda and Iran are weaker; and our country is safer.
General Petraeus is expected to hand over command of coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday, September 16. After months of divisive debate, we hope that members of both parties can set aside whatever disagreements have divided us over Iraq in the past, and join together now to acknowledge what we all know to be true: that the surge has been a strategic success; that we owe our deepest gratitude as a nation to the courageous men and women in uniform who fought so valiantly to achieve that success; and that their
struggle and sacrifice must not be squandered.
We hope that you will join us as a cosponsor of Senate Resolution 636 to send a bipartisan message of national unity that we salute our heroic troops for their extraordinary achievement.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Vance Serchuk in Senator Lieberman’s office or Jen Olson in Senator Graham’s office.
Joe Lieberman, United States Senator
Lindsey O. Graham, United States Senator