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The Pennsylvania Progressive discusses progressive politics, issues, and candidates with a particular emphasis on Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. We have moved so please click on a link below.
Look at the difference between the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004
in Pennsylvania. George W. Bush received about 693,000 more ballots in 2004 than
he did in 2000 - but still lost the state. The reason: John F. Kerry received
452,000 more ballots than Al Gore had received in 2000.
It's time to shake them from their smug complacency. All House seats and half of the Senate seats are up for grabs Nov. 7.
Here's what you can do:
1. Find out who your elected representatives are by typing in your zip code at www.legis.state.pa.us.
2. Visit http://go.philly.com/payraise for an up-to-date list of how area lawmakers voted on the pay increase, who took the money, and who still has not repaid it.
3. Come Election Day, as you enter the voting booth, remember that your representatives work for you. Their hands have no place in the cookie jar.
Rendell, a prolific fund-raiser who once headed the Democratic National Committee, said asking his finance committee to work for Casey was difficult "because they raise so much money for me." The most recent reports showed Rendell with $13.7 million on hand and his Republican challenger, Lynn Swann, with $3.3 million.
Indeed, a half-hour before the event, one Rendell fund-raiser said a lot of "arm twisting" was going on to create a good showing.
A Casey spokesman said, "Bob appreciates all of his help."
His chief of staff told investigators that Jackson, the HUD secretary, "personally intervened with contractors whom he did not like . . . these contractors had Democratic political affiliations," says the report, a copy of which was made available to The Washington Post.
Calls for an inquiry came after Jackson, Bush's onetime neighbor in Dallas and former housing authority chief in that city, told attendees at a public forum in Dallas on April 28 that he had killed a contract award to a firm after its chief told Jackson he disliked Bush. Jackson later took back his remarks and told investigators from the inspector general's office that he had "lied, and I regret having done that."
"not becoming for a head of state."
"Yesterday, the devil came here," Chavez said, referring to Bush's speech Tuesday to the General Assembly. "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of."
He then made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if praying, and looked up at the ceiling.
"Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world," Chavez said. "Truly. As the owner of the world."
Very unstatesmanlike. I can't imagine what could have prompted a leader like Chavez to be so rude? Was it the attempted coup that Bush financed and organized against him in 2002? I can see where someone might hold a grudge about something like that...
CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress:
Members of the Senate:
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Bill Frist (R-TN)
Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Members of the House:
Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Richard Pombo (R-CA)
John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Katherine Harris (R-FL)
John Sweeney (R-NY)
William Jefferson (D-LA)
Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Gary Miller (R-CA)
Curt Weldon (R-PA)
We've obtained the top secret first draft of President Bush's UN speech. The address, given yesterday, was originally much different.....
Mr. Secretary General, Madam President, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen: I want to thank you for the privilege of speaking to this General Assembly.
Last week, America Lebanon
I again used the solemn occaission to politicize the attacks extremists killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, including citizens of dozens of nations represented right here in this chamber. Since then, the enemies of humanity have continued their campaign of murder. Al Qaeda and those inspired by its extremist ideology have attacked more than two dozen nations. And recently a different group of extremists deliberately provoked a terrible conflict in like me who use terror as a weapon to create fear, and moderate people who work for peace.
Americaand the world marked the fifth anniversary of the attacks that filled another September morning with death and suffering. On that terrible day,
Lebanon. At the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle, between extremists
Five years ago, I stood at this podium and called on the community of nations to defend civilization and build a more hopeful future. This is still the great challenge of our time; it is the calling of our generation. This morning, I want to speak about the more hopeful world that is within our reach, a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists,
like myself, are marginalized by the peaceful majority. This world can be ours if we seek it and if we work together.
The principles of this world beyond terror can be found in the very first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document declares that the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and justice and peace in the world." One of the authors of this document was a Lebanese diplomat named Charles Malik, who would go on to become President of this Assembly. Mr. Malik insisted that these principles apply equally to all people, of all regions, of all religions, including the men and women of the Arab world that was his home.
In the nearly six decades since that document was approved, we have seen the forces of freedom and moderation transform entire continents. Sixty years after a terrible war, Europe is now whole, free, and at peace -- and Asia has seen freedom progress and hundreds of millions of people lifted out of desperate poverty. The words of the Universal Declaration are as true today as they were when they were written. As liberty flourishes, nations grow in tolerance and hope and peace. And we're seeing that bright future begin to take root in the broader Middle East.
Some of the changes in the Middle East have been dramatic, and we see the results in this chamber. Five years ago, Afghanistan was ruled by the brutal Taliban regime, and its seat in this body was contested. Now this seat is held by the freely elected government of
Kabul Afghanistan, which is represented today by President Karzai. Five years ago, Iraq's seat in this body was held by a dictator who killed his citizens, invaded his neighbors, and showed his contempt for the world by defying more than a dozen U.N. Security Council resolutions. A man I've allowed to escape and survive to fight us anew Now Iraq's seat is held by a democratic puppet government that embodies the aspirations of the Iraq people, who's represented today by President Talabani. With these changes, more than 50 million people have been given a voice in this chamber for the first time in decades.
Some of the changes in the Middle East are happening gradually, but they are real. Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election, and the military remained neutral. The United Arab Emirates recently announced that half of the seats in its Federal National Council will be chosen by elections. Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. Citizens have voted in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, in parliamentary elections in Jordan and Bahrain, and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt. These are important steps, and the governments should continue to move forward with other reforms that show they trust their people. Every nation that travels the road to freedom moves at a different pace, and the democracies they build will reflect their own culture and traditions.
Some of us are reversing the course of democracy. But the destination is the same: A world where I'm the Dictator free society where people live at peace with each other and at peace with the world.
All have argued that the democratic changes we're seeing in the Middle East are destabilizing the region. This argument rests on a false assumption, that the Middle East was stable to begin with. The reality is that the stability we thought we saw in the Middle East was a mirage. For decades, millions of men and women in the region have been trapped in oppression and hopelessness. And these conditions left a generation disillusioned, and made this region a breeding ground for extremism. I decided to capitalize on that misery and compound it.
Imagine what it's like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform. You're 21 years old, and while your peers in other parts of the world are casting their ballots for the first time, you are powerless to change the course of your government.
You're in a country with no jobs, no peace, no security, no clean water and no hope so you become a suicide bomber. While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country's shortcomings. And everywhere you turn, you hear extremists who tell you that you can escape your misery and regain your dignity through violence and terror and martyrdom. For many across the broader America Middle East, this is the dismal choice presented every day.
Every civilized nation, including those in the Muslim world, must support those in the region who are offering a more hopeful alternative. We know that when people have a
job voice in their future, they are less likely to blow themselves up in suicide attacks. We know that when leaders are accountable to their people, they are more likely to seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, rather than in terror and conquest. So we must stand with democratic leaders and moderate reformers across the broader Middle East. We must give them voice to the hopes of decent men and women who want for their children the same things we want for ours. We must seek stability through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are marginalized by millions of dollars citizens in control of their own destinies.
Today, I'd like to speak directly to the people across the broader Middle East: My country desires
imperialist conquest peace. Extremists in our your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a crusade war against Islam. My This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Christianity Islam to sow death and destruction. Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths and promote the peace.
To the people of Iraq: Nearly 12 million of you braved the car bombers and assassins last December to vote in free elections. The world saw you hold up purple ink-stained fingers, and your courage filled us with admiration. You've stood firm in the face of
our horrendous acts of terror and civil war sectarian violence -- and we will not abandon you in your struggle to build a puppet regime free nation. America and our coalition partners will continue to stand with the puppet democratic government I appointed you elected. We will finally help you continue to help you secure the international assistance and investment you need to create jobs and opportunity, working to undermine with the United Nations and through the International Compact with Iraq endorsed here in New York yesterday. We will continue to train those of you who stepped forward to fight my aggression the enemies of freedom. We will not yield the future of your country to terrorists and extremists like myself. In return, your leaders must rise to the challenges your country is facing, and make difficult choices to bring security and prosperity. Working together, we will help your civil war democracy succeed, so it can become a beacon of hope for millions in the Muslim world.
To the people of Afghanistan: Together, we overthrew the Taliban regime that brought misery into your lives and harbored terrorists who brought death to the citizens of many nations. Since then, we have watched you choose your leaders in free elections and build a
puppet democratic government. You can be proud of these achievements. We respect your courage, and your determination to live in peace and freedom. We will continue to stand with you to defend your democratic gains just not with American troops. Today forces from more than 40 countries, including members of the NATO Alliance, are bravely serving side-by-side with you against the extremists who want to bring down the free government you've established. We'll help you defeat these enemies as long as it doesn't interfere with my wars against Iraq and Iran and build a free Afghanistan that will never again oppress you, or be a safe haven for terrorists.
To the people of Lebanon: Last year, you inspired the world when you came out into the streets to demand your independence from Syrian dominance. You drove Syrian forces from your country and you reestablished democracy. Since then, you have been tested by the fighting that began with Hezbollah's
defense of Palestinians in Gaza unprovoked attacks on Israel. Many of you have seen your homes and communities destroyed by American bombs caught in crossfire. We see your suffering, and the world is helping you to rebuild your country, and helping you deal with the armed extremists who are undermining your democracy by acting as a state within a state. The United Nations has finally, after allowing hundreds of your citizens to be murdered passed a good resolution that has authorized an international force, led by France and Italy, to help you restore Lebanese sovereignty over Lebanese soil. For many years, Lebanon was a model of democracy and pluralism and openness in the region -- and it will be again.
To the people of Iran: The United States respects you; we respect your country. We admire your rich history, your vibrant culture, and your many contributions to civilization. You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential. The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you
my leadership as your Supreme Leader liberty and to use your nation's resources to check and balance my imperialistic ambitions fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear technology weapons. The United Nations has passed a clear resolution requiring that the regime in Tehran meet its international obligations. Iran must abandon its nuclear tachnology weapons ambitions. Despite what the regime tells you, we have an obvious problem no objection to Iran's pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program. We're working toward a military diplomatic solution to this crisis. And as we do, we look to the day when you can live in freedom unlike what I envision for Amerika -- and America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of war peace.
To the people of Syria: Your land is home to a great people with a proud tradition of
torture learning and commerce. Today your rulers have allowed your country to become a crossroad for terrorism and I thank you for assisting my torture program. In your midst, America, Hamas and Hezbollah are working to destabilize the region, and your government is turning your country into a tool of the USA Iran. This is increasing your country's isolation from the world. Your My government must choose a better way forward by ending its support for terror, and living in peace with our your neighbors, and opening the way to a better life for you and your families.
To the people of Darfur: You have suffered unspeakable violence, and my nation has called these atrocities what they are -- genocide.
I wish I'd done something, anything, to help. For the last two years, America joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support for an African Union peacekeeping force. Yet your suffering continues. The world must step forward to provide additional humanitarian aid -- and we must strengthen the African Union force that has done good work, but is not strong enough to protect you. The Security Council has approved a resolution that would transform the African Union force into a blue-helmeted force that is larger and more robust. To increase its strength and effectiveness, NATO nations should provide logistics and other support. The regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force. If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations must act. Your lives and the credibility of the United Nations is at stake. So today I'm announcing that I'm naming a Presidential Special Envoy -- former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios -- to lead America's efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes and help bring peace to your land.
The world must also stand up for peace in the Holy Land. I'm committed to two democratic states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side-by-side in peace and security. I'm committed to a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity and will live peacefully with the Jewish state of Israel. This is the vision set forth in the road map -- and helping the parties reach this goal is one of the great objectives of my presidency.
I've been unwilling, however, to do anything to advance peace in the region. The Palestinian people have suffered from decades of no jobs, no peace, no hope, no assistance from America, corruption and violence and the daily humiliation of occupation. Israeli citizens have inflicted endured brutal acts of terrorism and constant fear of attack against the people of Gaza since the birth of their nation. Many brave men and women have made the commitment to war and violence peace. Yet extremists in the region like myself are stirring up hatred and trying to prevent these moderate voices from prevailing.
This struggle is unfolding in the Palestinian territories. Earlier this year, the Palestinian people voted in a free election. The leaders of Hamas campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of the Palestinian people, and they prevailed.
So I cut off our aid to them. The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises, or pursue an extremist agenda. And the world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people. Abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements, and work for peace.
President Abbas is committed to peace, and to his people's aspirations for a state of their own. Prime Minister Olmert is committed to
violence peace, and has said he intends to meet with President Abbas to make real progress on the outstanding issues between them. I believe Armageddon peace can be achieved, and that a democratic Palestinian state is possible. I hear from leaders in the region who want to help. I've directed Secretary of State Rice to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders across the region, to help the Palestinians reform their security services, and support Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences. Though I won't provide any funds. Prime Minister Blair has indicated that his country will work with partners in Europe to help strengthen the governing institutions of the Palestinian administration. We welcome his initiative. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt have made clear they're willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed. I'm optimistic that by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in a Holy Land we all want.
Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed
as I've learned quite painfully in Iraq -- it must be chosen. From Beirut to Baghdad, people are making the choice for freedom. And the nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice, as well: Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East -- or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists? America has made its choice: We will become stand with the terrorists and extremists moderates and reformers.
Recently a courageous group of Arab and Muslim intellectuals wrote me a letter. In it, they said this: "The shore of reform is the only one on which any lights appear, even though the journey demands courage and patience and perseverance." The United Nations was created to make that journey possible. Together we must support the dreams of good and decent people who are working to transform a troubled region -- and by doing so, we will advance the high ideals on which this institution was founded.
Thank you for your time. God bless.
1. How does the Bush administration define precisely what it means for theFor more detail on each of these questions please refer to the article via this link.
Iraqi security forces to “stand up?”
2. What incentives exist today for the Iraqi leadership to take greater
responsibility for its own affairs?
3. What’s the status of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's
instability and the possibility of civil war?
4. Has “Operation Together Forward” in Baghdad achieved sufficient progress
in stabilizing Iraq’s capital?
5. What is the status of the efforts to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq?
6. What is the Bush administration's cost-to-completion estimate for its
7. Which agency has primary responsibility for each of the action items
outlined in the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy?
8. What are the Bush administration’s contingency plans for helping address
the growing problem of internally displaced Iraqis?
9. What is the status of the efforts to disband militias that operate
independently from the Iraqi government?
10. Does the Bush administration stand by its original certification that
Iraq has not undermined the effort against terrorism?
11. What is the administration's plan for rebuilding the damage done to the
Army and Marines?
12. What is the plan to support and protect the Military Transition Teams
assisting Iraqi troops?
13. What are the Bush administration’s long-term plans for construction of
American military installations in Iraq?
14. What is the status of provincial reconstruction teams for Iraq
reconstruction and what have each of these teams achieved thus far?
15. What are the specific priority action items for diplomatic and
development assistance with Iraq's political transition and democratic
16. What contingency plans does the Bush administration have in place if
Iraqi leaders decide to set up a system that decentralizes power?
17. What is the Bush administration’s strategy to stabilize northern Iraq,
which has seen cross-border strikes by Turkish and Iranian forces against
Kurdish rebel groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party, and what plans does
the Bush administration have to keep tensions from spilling over in
18. Why isn’t the administration rushing to field new technologies that can
protect our troops from RPGs, the second-most deadly weapon used by the Iraqi
19. What is the Bush administration’s plan to ensure that assistance
pledged by other international donors is delivered?
20. What is the status of the international compact for Iraq, similar to
the one formed for Afghanistan?
Like the Georgia law, the federal legislation would almost certainly be challenged in court. A coalition of interest and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, AARP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, denounced the bill yesterday, saying it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority and elderly voters.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy issued an injunction against the law, likening it to a segregation-era poll tax because the digital picture ID would cost voters $20.
Speaking to the Federalist Society on November 12, Frist said filibustering judicial nominees is "radical. It is dangerous and it must be overcome."  Frist called judicial filibusters "nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority." When Bill Clinton was President, however, Frist engaged in the same behavior he is now condemning.
"There are times in history where you have to change either the rules or the precedent based on external behavior," he said.
"There is no need for change in relation to legislative matters," Frist said in a statement issued before GOP senators met for their weekly policy meeting.
For years, Frist was criticized for holding HCA stock while directing legislation on Medicare reform and patient issues. His office has consistently deflected criticism by noting that his assets were in a blind trust and not under his active control.
Frist asked a trustee to sell all his HCA stock in June, near a 52-week stock price peak of $58.40 and at the same time HCA insiders were selling off shares. Reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission showed insiders sold about 2.3 million shares, worth about $112 million, from January through June, said Mark LoPresti of Thomson Financial.
Dr. Frist, as he likes to be known, didn't just make his case as a pro-lifer. He invoked his expertise as a member of the medical profession. "I close this evening speaking more as a physician than as a U.S. senator," Frist said during the March 17 debate on the bill forcing a federal review of the case. Proffering references to medical textbooks and journals, Frist led his colleagues through to his conclusion. He argued that "a decision had been made to starve to death a woman based on a clinical exam that took place over a very short period of time by a neurologist who was called in to make the diagnosis rather than over a longer period of time." Dr. Frist, in other words, was offering a second opinion. In an appearance yesterday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Frist insisted: "I raised the question, 'Is she in a persistent vegetative state or not?' I never made the diagnosis, never said that she was not." Well, that depends on the meaning of "diagnosis." In the midst of his impressively detailed medical review, Frist declared flatly: "Terri's brother told me Terri laughs, smiles, and tries to speak. That doesn't sound like a woman in a persistent vegetative state." So, Frist wanted to be seen as having the medical expertise to support his conclusion when doing so was convenient -- and now wants us to think he did nothing of the sort.
During the Terri Schaivo controversy Dr. Frist offered his expert medical opinion, based only upon watching an edited video, that Ms. Schaivo was NOT in a persistant vegetative state. The autopsy said her brain was mush. So much either for his medical qualifications or his character, one of which was trashed in this case.
Become your precinct Judge of Elections
Find a good local programmer who also happens to be a Democrat
Order one of these keys
Buy a smart card
Spend your time alone with the voting machines to guarantee a Democratic victory
"Neither my son, Bobby, nor I had any involvement in the tragic death of Lou Farrell,"
"It was not loaded and was not easily accessible, as I have young children at home. I, like many other Westmoreland Countians, keep a gun for safety reasons,"
Well, no, if talks between Solana and the Iranian representative Larijani can get us to a suspension, that would be terrific. But the international community also has a credibility issue. We've said as of August 31st suspend or we will pursue sanctions, and so we are talking with our partners about that course as well.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
"It's not as if anybody believes that Saddam Hussein was without weapons of mass destruction."
"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
"Saddam Hussein -- no one has said that there is evidence that Saddam Hussein directed or controlled 9/11, but let's be very clear, he had ties to al-Qaeda, he had al-Qaeda operatives who had operated out of Baghdad."
(But we know that there was training of al Qaeda in chemical and perhaps biological warfare. We know that the Zarqawi was network out of there, this poisons network that was trying to spread poisons throughout . . . . And there was an Ansar al-Islam, which appears also to try to be operating in Iraq. So yes, the al Qaeda link was there." ("Going into the war against Iraq, we had very strong intelligence. I've been in this business for 20 years. And some of the strongest intelligence cases that I've seen, key judments by our intelligence community that Saddam Hussein . . . had biological and chemical weapons . . . ."
("[H]e had . . . an active procurement network to procure items, many of which, by the way, were on the prohibited list of the nuclear suppliers group. There's a reason that they were on the prohibited list of the nuclear supplies group: Magnets, balancing machines, yes, aluminum tubes, about which the consensus view was that they were suitable for use in centrifuges to spin material for nuclear weapons."
( "Now, I can tell you, if the CIA, the Director of Central Intelligence, had said, take this out of the speech, it would have been gone, without question. What we've said subsequently is, knowing what we now know, that some of the Niger documents were apparently forged, we wouldn't have put this in the President's speech - but that's knowing what we know now."
("And there were other attempts to, to get yellow cake from Africa."
("At the time that the State of the Union address was prepared, there were also other sources that said that they were, the Iraqis were seeking yellow cake, uranium oxide from Africa."
("Already, we've discovered, uh, uh, trailers, uh, that look remarkably similar to what Colin Powell described in his February 5th speech, biological weapons production facilities."
("But let's remember what we've already found. Secretary Powell on February 5th talked about a mobile, biological weapons capability. That has now been found and this is a weapons laboratory trailers capable of making a lot of agent that -- dry agent, dry biological agent that can kill a lot of people. So we are finding these pieces that were described."
("We have found, in Iraq, biological weapons laboratories that look precisely like what Secretary Powell described in his February 5th report to the United Nations."
("Now the al-Qaida is an organization that's quite disbursed and --and quite widespread in its effects, but it clearly has had links to the Iraqis, not to mention Iraqi links to all kinds of other terrorists. And what we do not want is the day when Saddam Hussein decides that he's had enough of dealing with sanctions, enough of dealing with, quote, unquote, "containment," enough of dealing with America, and it's time to end it on his terms, by transferring one of these weapons, just a little vial of something, to a terrorist for blackmail or for worse."
(There is no question in my mind about the al Qaeda connection. It is a connection that has unfolded, that we're learning more about as we are able to take the testimony of detainees, people who were high up in the al Qaeda organization. And what emerges is a picture of a Saddam Hussein who became impressed with what al Qaeda did after it bombed our embassies in 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania, began to give them assistance in chemical and biological weapons, something that they were having trouble achieving on their own, that harbored a terrorist network under this man Zarqawi, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was told that Zarqawi was there."
("We do know that there have been shipments going . . . into Iraq . . . of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to -- high-quality aluminum tools [sic] that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs."
("We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon."
("We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon."
("The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
TIME TO FACE THE TRUTH ABOUT IRAQ
By Lois Herr
Democratic candidate for Congress in the Sixteenth District of Pennsylvania.
The War in Iraq has cost Pennsylvanians dearly in blood and money. At least 126 of our men and women in uniform have lost their lives so far, and unknown numbers have been wounded physically and damaged psychologically. The Department of Defense has been spending our tax dollars at the rate of $6.4 billion per month on Iraq operations at a time of record federal deficits. Yet the current representative, ultraconservative Joseph R. Pitts, continues to vocally support "staying the course" in Iraq; voting recently for a bill promoting "continued resolve" there.
I have a different view. I believe the time has come to face the truth about where we are. No partisan rhetoric, no rose-tinted glasses, and no spin.
As the nation now knows, this White House did not plan effectively for the post-invasion aftermath. In fact, President Bush and his advisers did very little war planning at all. Instead, they cherry-picked intelligence, undermined the work of U.N. weapons inspectors, misled the nation about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and stiff-armed our allies in a headlong rush to war. In doing so, they diverted the nation's resources from our true enemy al Qaeda, and created a breeding ground for terrorists where none existed before.
Today, our military is stretched to the breaking point, caught in a complicated conflict between insurgents, militias, and Iraqi security forces. And despite the best intentions and valiant work of our armed forces, our presence in Iraq is creating deep suspicion and resentment toward America. (Even General Brent Scowcroft, the national security advisor to President George H. W. Bush, has said that the Iraq war is "feeding" terrorism.) Most Iraqis want us to leave, and most Americans want to bring our soldiers home.
It is time to bring them home. We must change our policy and change our course. With a top-level commitment to bring our troops home, the logistics can be worked out very quickly by our quite capable military leaders, and experienced and respected diplomats can once again be charged with the rightful task of international negotiation. Withdrawing from Iraq involves the complicated task of bringing personnel home safely and recovering weapons and materials. It would be irresponsible and financially foolish for us to allow our weapons to fall into the wrong hands.
While America must remove its military presence from Iraq, we still have a responsibility to aid the Iraqi people not just for their own future but also to avoid destabilizing the entire region and threatening our own national security interests. We must work with the international community to assist Iraq's newly formed government in ensuring that all the major parties--Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds--feel well represented, to refocus on providing training and technical assistance to Iraq's newly-forming ministries, and to seek international aid for reconstruction efforts.
Making progress requires that our leaders put aside partisan attacks and face the facts. America has made great sacrifices in the past three years. Now to honor those sacrifices most fully, we must acknowledge that our men and women in uniform have done their job. It is time for them to come home and for a redirected policy to take effect for the future of our country and for the future of Iraq.