Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bring Our Troops Home from Iraq

There are times to go to war. There are times to stay at war. And there are times to end a war.

The decision to go to war and to stay at war must rely on clear objectives. The objectives should be achievable, and a plan must be in place to succeed.

Our war in Iraq does not meet these criteria. We have no such plan because our objectives are not clear.

It is clear that Americans continue to be killed. It is clear that families with a solider in Iraq face incredible hardships. It is clear that this war is costing us billions in dollars, and thousands in lives. And it is clear that there is no end in sight.

Why are we there? Originally it was about finding weapons of mass destruction. Then it was about deposing Saddam Hussein. Then it was about fighting terrorism. Then it was about creating a constitution. Then it was about having elections. As the circumstances shift, those arguing that we stay there seem to adjust their stances in order to rationalize the continued failing policy.

Some worry that pulling out our troops will further destabilize the region. But without a clear objective, without defining what is needed to ensure stability, we will never be able to depart. I cannot envision a set of circumstance in which there will ever be enough stability to satisfy the war hawks; they certainly have not articulated what those circumstances would be.

Had we known three years ago that this war would cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of U.S. lives, Americans would never have accepted the call for war. Looking forward, we must ask what additional human and financial costs America must bear for years to come.

Every day, Vermont men and women serve loyally and honorably in the United States Armed Services. I support them and their commitment to our country. It is time for us to bring them home.


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